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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?
In "Gargoyles"#8, Hudson at one point called Constance "Lassie" during the battle at Westminster Abbey. This fits his speech patterns, but I wondered if there was some additional significance to it.
In the original comedy proposal, the equivalents of the trio were named Coco, Amp, and Lassie. Constance and Staghart are nicknamed "Coco" and "Amp", as a reference to that. Was Hudson's use of the word "lassie" intended as a way to get all three of the original names into the story? It was a great way of doing so, since those who didn't know about the comedy development wouldn't even realize they were missing something (for the reason that I gave in the first paragraph).
Ya caught me, laddie.
Does your Red Tornado mini-series take place in the present, or is it set in the past relative to other DCU titles?
I've been a fan of this series since I was a little kid and it saw it on the disney afternoons. I'm 23 now and have bought the dvds. I know it's not likely but is it possible season 2 volume two will be released sometime within the next year or 2?
It's possible. (Please check the archives before posting the same question for the umpteenth time.)
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!!
Ok, first up is my 2007 Gathering con jouranl. Yeah, I know it is a year late. Sorry about that Greg.
Gathering 2007 Report
Wednesday, June 20th:
I got up at 4 am for my 6:10 am flight to Baltimore. I read my usual round of web comics, ate and packed up the last of what I needed for the trip. I got to Sacramento International Airport (which oddly doesn't have any international flights) around 5. After finally getting through the check-in line and security check point, my first task was to find the gate and then track down some over priced caffeine.
After getting some gum, I boarded the plane and we took off pretty much right on time. A little over an hour later, I finally got to experience the Salt Lake City airport. Oddly enough, the plane I had flown in on was the same one I had to get back on for the hop into Baltimore. While sitting around, I kept reading "Conquers Legacy" by Timothy Zhan.
Around 9:45, I was back on the plane and around 10:45, I was in the air again. Like the previous short flight, I pretty much stuck to reading the book while occasionally looking out the window. I finished up the book about 20 minutes out and I thought it didn't live up to Zahn's previous work on the Thrawn triology (Star Wars books).
Landing on time, I first called home to say I safely landed. And then I called Mandolin to see where she was. She was going to be a few minutes later, which was fine with me. Finding the luggage claim, it started up as I got there. Maybe 20 bags came out as Mandolin joined me. Waiting, we watched the same suitcase go around about 6 times before the conveyer stopped. About 20 minutes later, it started up again, this time with the rest of the luggage.
After getting my bag, we headed over to her place to drop it and my backpack off. From there, we got dinner and then went to a couple stores to pick up some sandwich material, bottled water and a few other little things for the drive down. Around midnight, we called it a night.
Thursday, June 21st:
Mandolin woke me around 9. We packed up the car and then headed to Dunkin' Donuts, where I got some breakfast. From there, she stopped by a friends house to see if she had left her wrist brace there. No joy. After that was Sprawl-Mart, eh, Wal-Mart for a pillow (mine was not comfortable) and ice for the coolers.
The drive started off fairly well until we hit the Harper's Ferry Crossing over the Potomac River. They were doing some sort of bridge work, which cost us half an hour since there was only one lane open (two lane bridge). After getting into Virginia, we got onto a different highway. And then we crossed into West Virginia and then back into Virginia. We stopped for a short break before getting onto I-81.
After a couple more hours, I took over as the driver after taking a late lunch break. I spent the next 3.5 hours driving. I'll say this, driving along I-81 is as boring to drive along as I-5 between Stockton and the Grapevine; just more trees and hills. After swapping again, I went back into navigator mode for what was left of the drive.
After finding the needed exit in Tennessee, the directions got to be a bit more confusing. Mainly since some of the turns it told us to take didn't exist and it was off when it came to the number of miles. Finally hitting Pigeon Forge, Mandolin and I agreed the main street was similar to the Strip in Las Vegas, Orlando, and a couple other places… lots of lights on the buildings to confuse and distract the drivers. It nearly worked, since we almost missed the light.
We made contact with Kathy, who I asked if I could crash on her hotel floor for the night. As we pulled around into a spot closer to the room, we ran into Gorebash right as he arrived. While going to the elevator, we saw Jen, Karine, and Patrick briefly. Getting rid of our stuff and having a late dinner, Mandolin and I watched a little TV before walking to Walgreens. I bought some Coke and cookies to drink and munch on during the con.
Getting back to the hotel, we watched some TV for a while before calling it a night around 11.
Friday, June 22nd:
Around 7 or so, Mandolin and I got up and decided to shower and go get breakfast. I went for the pancakes and had some Coke to help wake me up. We ended up chatting for a bit before trying to find our badges. All three of us got a quick taste of the rather… odd elevator.
After getting my badge, I was dragged by Gorebash into Karine's art panel. After that, I helped watch the registration desk (yet again). At some point, Flanker and Sara the Great arrived and I got a room from them. I quickly moved my stuff from one room to the other and went back to help out at the reg desk until opening ceremonies.
After Greg's usual spill, Norcumi, Quidnar, Conna and I went to get dinner at the Japanese Steakhouse that was across the street (the name escapes me). I have to agree with Patrick's earlier comment about the crosswalks. Its faster to drive across the street than walk. The food was pretty good and once done, we went back to the hotel and talked for a while.
Saturday, June 23rd:
Flanker, Kathy, Sara, Gside and I decided to go over to the Red Rooster for breakfast. We talked about a variety of things and noticed that a few other fans had shown up there as well. For food, I decided to have the bacon waffle. Eh, it could have used more bacon.
While some of them headed off to the shooting range, I went back to the room for a shower before handing out the forms for folks to fill out for the radio show auditions. There was a small bit of a crowd and at one point, I had to run after somebody because they left their form in the stairwell. Ooops.
Once again, I circulated upstairs and talked with a variety of others before helping with the registration desk for a while. Once again, we got some walk-ins. I had something for lunch, but can't remember what. At one point, I had to grab one of the radio play lists because Greg forgot to write down a couple on one of them. Later on, I watched one of the doors again while the radio play rehearsals occurred. And to fight the boredom, I made an attempt to write.
And when the radio show was set to start, I got to direct folks to go up one floor and and come down the other set of stairs (since the radio play folks were in the way). The show was pretty impressive. After it was over, Conna and I decided to go get dinner. On the way, we stopped at the nearby book store. It was not very impressive. The Science-Fiction section was rather small and it seemed to be more geared for religious themed books.
We went to Hardee's for dinner and the food wasn't all that impressive. We talked for a while before she had to go return something. On my way back to the room, I ran into Flanker, Thom and Sara as they were getting ready to go get dinner. I decided to tag along despite just eating a little earlier.
While they ordered the food, I found a table for us to sit at, which proved challenging since it was rather crowded at the Pizza Hut. We talked about Thom's new commercials, among other things. After that, we headed back to the hotel for the blue mug.
Blue mug had some interesting questions and answers. Granted I can't remember what was asked. I just know at some point it broke up and I went to bed.
Sunday, June 24th:
I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast before heading up the registration desk once again. Did some chatting before heading off to the Bad Guys panel. Of course, Greg didn't want to reveal much, so we only got to learn a little bit and some biology was discussed as well.
The rest of the day was a blur until it was time for the banquet. I sat with Conna, Norcumi, Quindar and I forgot who else. After discovering the tea was way too sweet, we kept trying to dilute it with the ice water. And the food was pretty decent, though the mashed potatoes could used far less butter.
The Q & A was also pretty decent, though one person kept asking tons of Owen/ Puck questions (if I remember right). We kept exchanging looks with another table and started to hope some other folks would ask questions. After a while, it broke up so folks could get ready for the masquerade.
There was some pretty good costumes this year. I don't remember who got what award, other than Flanker getting the Thom Adcox Memorial Award. Per Duncan's and Guan's requests, I tried to take a number of pictures. Some of us moved into the other room while others danced.
Going back to my room, I got my Scooby Doo deck of playing cards and Scooby Doo Uno deck as well. We played a few rounds of Texas Hold 'Em before playing Uno. We had quite a bit of fun playing and at one point, Thom joined us. After a while, I doubt he liked me dropping draw twos and fours on him.
After a while, the game broke up and I went to get money from the ATM to pay Flanker for the room. Naturally, it was raining and none of the ATMs close by were working. After heading back to the room, I decided to pack what I could and fell asleep.
Monday June 25th:
I got up early to take a shower, pack and eat breakfast. A quick check found that the ATMs were still down, but Mandolin was able to loan me the $30 I needed to pay off Flanker. Mandi and I said goodbye to a number of folks before starting our 9 hour drive back to Baltimore.
The drive was rather uneventful, though we ran into a pair of thunderstorms along the way. And amusingly, we noticed that US 11 crisscrossed I-81 around 26 times. After managing to avoid most of the bad traffic, we arrived at her house. We dropped off our luggage, turned on the A/C and went out to get some dinner. In this case, we went to a pizza place and it was pretty good.
Back at her place, we decided to unwind by chatting and watching some anime. I don't remember what we watched, but it was nice getting to bounce some writing ideas off of her.
Tuesday June 26th:
Mandolin and I spent part of the day trying to see if we could find a window A/C that would fit in her home office. Didn't have any luck since most of them were big to either fit or the cover for the hose (unit that sat on the floor) that fit into the window was too large.
Stopping off to get some food and going to an ATM, I paid her off before we ended up back at her place to decompress for the rest of the day. Once again, we spent it talking and watching anime, this time "Trigun."
Wednesday June 27th:
Mandolin went to work while I finished packing for the flight home. I finished watching "Trigun" and watched the end of an "Outer Limits" episode. At 11:15, she dropped me off at the airport where we said goodbye. Check-in for the flight took forever and so did the security line.
Before headed down to my gate, which was at the far end of the terminal, I got some cash from an ATM and picked up a shot glass to add to my collection. Seeing that I still had about 20 minutes before they started boarding, I got Wendy's for lunch.
For the flight down to Atlanta, I pulled out Tom Clancy's book "Without Remorse." I spent most of time in Atlanta reading while waiting for the flight into Sacramento. On this plane, their were TVs in the seatback. The choices weren't all that great and the music selection could use some work. Spent more time reading and realized that I had picked up a cold somewhere along the line.
The flight landed a few minutes early, bringing another Gathering trip to a close. And it started the quest to save up for the 2008 Gathering.
You have an amazing memory for detail, a whole year later!
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...
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