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Gathering 2008 Journal - Day One
Friday, June 27, 2008
I started waking up around 7 am or so, but kept going back to sleep until I finally decided to officially wake up around 9ish. Then I loungted a bit, watched TV and added more to my con notes before getting out of bed for real around 10ish.
My first priority was more supplies from CVS - a crate of bottled water and a few Diet Pepsis. Dracandros left a message inviting me to go to the Taste of Chicago festival that day (the original idea having been for Monday after Closing Ceremonies). By the time I'd called him back, the plan had changed - instead, he wanted to go downtown and see the Sears Tower. I agreed, but went to go pick up my registration first (and briefly meeting with Merlin Missy, who I last recall meeting at my very first Gathering in 1998). I also chatted a bit with Harvester of Eyes (Rob) and King Cobra before going with Drac and Ed.
The three of us met with three more - Leo, Doppleganger, and dtaina (D. Taina) - and we set off, taking the L (Chicago's elevated train system) from Davis on the Purple Line to Chicago/State on the Red Line. Along the way, we chatted, and also met a fellow in a Zelda shirt who offered some tips (such as not obviously using maps, as it's a clear sign of being a tourist). Before Sears, however, we went for the slightly shorter John Hancock Center and its Observatory, taking in some sights along the way (such as the Chicago Water Tower, one of the few buildings in the area to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871). The view from Hancock was pretty nice, and I took far too many pics while we were up there. (It also bragged of having a hyper-fast elevator that moved upwards at 20 mph - made your ears pop.)
After Hancock, we took a trolley to the Sears Tower, but before we went there we decided to get a late lunch/dinner at Giordano's, a well-regarded Chicago pizza parlor. Delicious stuff, and surprisingly filling - we got two pizzas for six people, but the first one was more than enough! (The second pizza had mushrooms, so I wasn't too distressed.) Dracandros brought the leftovers with us, leading to some envious looks from people in the Sears! At the Tower, we watched a neat intro movie and then saw even more great views (and again, I took too many pics). However, time was running out before Opening Ceremonies, so we needed to leave after only a short visit.
(Observation from my time downtown - Chicago architects really, really like revolving doors. Think we had enough of those for a lifetime.)
Unfortunately, our return trip - taking the Purple Line express from Quincy (a neat station restored to a vintage state) back to Davis took about 50 minutes, so we all returned about an hour after Opening Ceremonies was supposed to start. I wasn't too troubled, as I've seen most of the material many times by now, so I took the time to return to my room and clean up, as well as typing up more notes about the downtown trip before I started forgetting things. By the time I headed there, it was after 6:30 pm.
I initially checked the ninth floor for the opening ceremonies, only to find a succession of dark and empty rooms, but a member of the hotel staff kindly pointed me to the second floor. I arrived just in time to see most of the Bad Guys leica reel. When Greg (Weisman) renewed his review of Gargoyles production and fandom history, he mentioned something I'd never heard of before - a "proto-Gathering" in 1996 at an animation art gallery in Queens, with Keith David and Greg in attendance. Greg wrapped up after that, only to realize at the last moment that he'd forgotten to show "The Last", the Gargoyles-linked episode of the cancelled Team Atlantis series. It's fortunate he remembered, as the episode - gradually being completed by fans - added a lot of new material, with many new scenes added or improved. Turning out rather nice, it is! (While it played, I believe Keith David returned from... somewhere.)
With ceremonies genuinely finished, I talked a bit with Dracandros and Ed, and said quick hellos to Jennifer "CrzyDemona" Anderson and Mandolin as they passed by. I talked of hanging with Drac and Ed later, and meant to go back in to the emptying Opening Ceremonies room, but instead I wandered into the business center looking for a trash can. While I was there (and looking at the oddball picture of floating men in hats), I figured it'd be better to follow up on the phone calls I received and silenced during the ceremonies, so I caught up with Jack and Randy. By the time I was finished, everyone was gone (except a group that was doing some camera work - later, I learned they were working on some sort of documentary). I did talk a little bit with A Fan, though.
With not many con-goers obviously around (a problem that repeated itself several times during this Gathering - a late-running con suite would have been much appreciated at several points), I went to the terrace to take some pics, only to have my camera start running low on power. So I made another supply run to CVS, noticing that they were setting up some sort of festival on the nearby streets. (On the way out, I believe I also walked by Josh Silver, but I'm not positive.) Returned to my room, and updated my notes again.
Later still, I was invited to dessert with Dracandros and Ed, and we ate at Cold Stone (after some trouble finding it). (I would expect a fair number of us Gathering-goers to stop at a place called Cold Stone, but I dunno if that was the case. Good stuff, though!) On the way back, they hit CVS and I parted ways again, checking out the ninth floor again and seeing some group up there (not sure if they were with the con, though). The terrace was locked, and although I figured out it could be opened, it seemed like a bad idea to go against the hotel's intentions - so no night-time pics. I gave the workout room a try with fairly ineffective results, and after a little more wandering (and running into Thom), I returned to my room for the night. Did a bit of web surfing, organized stuff for my card game (not that I got much mileage from it in the end), then went to sleep.
Didn't even get into Chicago this trip, myself. Glad you managed it.