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It was the weirdest thing, being in the west. I kept waking up at like seven a.m., due to not being adjusted to the time change. LA has some beautiful sunrises. (Got some nice sunsets too) Still didn't make it out of the room before ten tho'... Heh. "Every time I try to leave... Someone keeps pullin' at my sleeve..."
Anyway, we went in search of registration, and found it, along with Jen, and one of her twin daughters. Which still freak me out. Jen doesn't look like she's had four kids, nor does she look old enough to have had four kids. Not only that, but her eleven year old is *taller* then me. (Future WNBA standout, I guess)
We also ran into Warpy, the Cutest Couple from last year, (Who were sporting a great "Let a gargoyle sit on your face" button) Vatana, my old auction partner from G99, who I don't keep track of well enough, and Lynati, who we would end up adopting, and spending most of the con with. Lynati's cool.
Which leads me to another point. How many people remember their first con? (If G2K1 was your first con, then obviously you do) I remember mine. (G99 in Dallas) It was fun, but like most firsts, losing your con virginity is also kinda scary. I remember being on my own in a strange city, not really knowing anyone, feeling kinda out of place. I mean, I met people in Dallas, but I felt a little too intimidated talking to *The* Greg, or even *the* Christine Morgan, to really do more then sort of float around their periphery. (Heh, that was when I even knew who people were. When I met Jen in Dallas, all I knew was that she was a pretty lady who responded to my offer to split a pizza with the words "F**k yes!") I know Mara had a similar experience when she first got to Orlando.
I know I'm supposed to be talking about *this* year's con, but bear with me, there is a point to this.
The point is that we, the people who've been here before, the older guard, (I wouldn't call myself old school, since it's the people like The Morgans, The Andersons, and the Wittenbergs, who were going to Gatherings when I didn't even know there *was* a fandom who deserve that distinction) need to do some more voluntary newbie adoption. If you see someone in Virginia who looks a little dazed, a little lost or a little overwhelmed, and they're sitting by themselves... (Had to include that. If they look all of the above, but are surrounded by people, they're probably Con Staff, not newbies) Anyway, if you see someone like that, go over and say hi. Introduce yourself. Invite them to join you. Make them feel welcome. Because we were all newbies once. And because newbies *are* the lifeblood of the fandom. Without them, there is no growth, and really, no hope of getting our beloved show back. And they're more likely to keep coming back, and bring others with them, if they have a good time. So adopt a newbie, and eventually they, in turn, will adopt their own. To quote a movie nobody saw, they won't pay it back, they'll pay it forward.
Whew, I didn't expect to get so into that. But anyway...
Right next to registration there was a nice big TV showing garg eps, and well, we couldn't resist MiSTing them good naturedly, along with a group of about twenty or so. Eventually the tape ran out, and since no replacement seemed forthcoming, I grabbed something I'd brought, a tape with a bunch of fan videos, mostly by Brad De Moss. We got to watch about half of them there before decamping to the con suite to watch the rest. (BTW, could someone who was on staff remind me of that one staffer's name? She was about my height, i.e., short, kind of curly brown hair. I was supposed to see about getting her a copy of that tape. My email addy is JCarnage@Yahoo.com Thanks)
While we were in the con suite, Thom and Greg showed up, and, to me at least, it looked like they'd come as each other, since it looked as if Greg had taken off his beard and given it to Thom. When I remarked on this, Greg misinterpreted, and said, "When did I wear khakis?"
We made a quick trip back to the room to dump off our registration stuff, and then hit Crispin Freeman's panel. I wish Greg could have made it, because I think he really would have appreciated a lot of what Crispy said about the hero's journey, mythological archetypes, historical gargoyles, and such.
(After the panel, Crispy also told a story that might be of some interest to Slayers fans. Apparently, due to recording schedule, Crispy was supposed to do a bit where Zelgadis says "That... is a secret." like Xellos does. Only they hadn't done any recordings with David Moo yet, so Crispy had no idea how he was supposed to deliver the line. So the Voice Director, (or VD as Warpy would later remark) told him, "Don't worry, just say the line however you think it should be done, and we'll make him do it like you did it." So Crispy does the line, and it sounds pretty cool when he does it. Not quite as cool as when Akira Ishida does it, but pretty cool. And then they called him back the next day... (Insert hilarious impression of David Moo by Crispy here) and said they'd have to do it again. Yes folks, bad as he was, David Moo could, and did, do worse.
Conveniently, the "Writing Successful Crossover Fiction" panel featuring Mara, Christine, Tigris Euphrates, and Gencie Salter was in the same room, so we didn't have to move much. Not having a set agenda, the group wandered merrily for over an hour, entertaining the masses and making a lot of humorous references to the "Other Panel" which is apparently extremely entertaining if you can find out where and when it's being held. (I think I showed off my tattoo for the first time this con in here. I seemed to be showing it to more people then last year, but then I think Mara just likes any excuse to have me take my shirt off in public) We also met Josh, and made his list of people he's pretty sure exist.
After the panel broke up, we took a quick look around the dealer's room, and then ran into Hudson, who told us he was forming a "Gargoyles Mafia" out of everyone who brought enough black clothing. After happening by accident at the last two cons, Clan Mafia now officially exists. And, even better, it's integrated now, Mara, Lynati, and (I think) Kanthara being the female contingent of CM.
A quick run back to the room to change into more evil-looking outfits, and Clan Mafia assembled, waiting to make an entrance at Opening Ceremonies. (Poor Kai. He tried, he really did. Black T-shirt, slacks, and wingtips, but I don't thing he's really cut out to be CM. Sorry Kai) While we were waiting I had kind of an interesting Admin to Admin to Admin talk with Kai ("Oh, so you're the sucker that got my job.") and Hudson, who has made me his Padawan. One day, I too shall be able to smite people like he does. ;)
I love hotels with mirrored walls, and CM looked pretty cool, if I do say so myself, doing that Reservoir Dogs walk down that wide hall, all of us flanking Hudson. (BTW, if anybody has a picture of that, or of later, when we're doing the group photo, please contact me at the addy listed above, because mine didn't come out)
Opening ceremonies were their usual blend of old and new. (Hee-hee, I wonder how long it'll be before Greg starts making *us* tell his stories. We know them better then he does) The highlight was Lexy receiving her "Warpy" (As we nicknamed the little bald statuettes later) for being Fan Guest of Honor. Congratulations Lexy. No one deserved it more.
Other notable points included Greg's ace podium-moving crew, (Can Patrick Toman supervise or what?) a really nice letter from Ed Asner, who said he wanted to be there so bad he considered crawling to LA, and a message from Frank Welker. The original was lost, but Greg summed it up in his usual inimitable manner. "Frank says he doesn't do conventions, because truthfully you people scare him." I'm not sure if he was kidding or not. Greg also showed off one of his contributions to the charity auction, a shrinky-dink Brooklyn, which would come to be known as The Eye of Greg.
And I want to echo Patrick's thanks to Scott Sakai and his crew. The AV setup rocked! (And it's probably be the closest we'll get to seeing gargs on a big screen anytime soon. Sigh)
After OC, a showing of Awakenings was scheduled, but most of CM decamped after being told it was the movie edit. We again adjourned to the courtyard in front of the hotel, and hung out by the "Mountain Dew fountain", so named because of the color of the water in it. (The observation was made that for their prices, we should get an *actual* fountain of Mountain Dew) Ordering pizza for twelve is always complex, but we managed. While we were waiting, Hudson regaled us with stories of how the dotcom fallout affected he and Chris, and a really funny one involving Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It!" and a patrol car... Another one of my lost pics, Mara and Lynati doing a really, um... interesting looking stretching exercise happened somewhere in here.
Eventually, the pizzas arrived, and we returned to catch the last of Awakening Part V while scarfing pie. And then it was time for the moment I'd been waiting for, Garg MST3K.
I admit to a bit of professional jealously here. I wondered at first why, if gargs were to be MiSTed, Mara and her trusty sidekick (That'd be me) didn't get to host. But Jade Griffin and Beedoo! do episodes, not fic, and do them pretty well, so it worked out. Eventually and appropriately enough, The Gathering, Parts I and II, were MiSTed. If anyone knows where the final script wound up, or if it's even up yet, please direct me to it.
Gargs fans tend to be pretty funny people, and this group proved no exception. The two episodes were MiSTed with much hilarity. Although I think the best gag may have been between episodes, on a joint effort between Hudson and Josh. (Which is funny in and of itself, considering the cr@p Huds was giving him earlier about his Mac Geek shirt) The blue screen you get from an empty VCR came on, and Josh shouted "It's a blue screen of death!" Hudson promptly responded: "This con has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down. Please reboot your con head, or strike any attendee to continue."
Again, much appreciation for the big screen, since it made physical comedy possible. At one point, I simply reached up and made it look like I was groping Titania. Which started Josh picking Oberon's nose. I'm told that Greg, who unbeknownst to us, had been watching the whole time, put his hand over his eyes and shook his head at that point.
Pure fiction. I never covered my eyes. Sometimes my head does shake of its own accord, however.