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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...
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!