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Knew I would get to this eventually.
Tuesday, June 24th.
Woke up early to pick up Aaron and Mara from LaGuardia Airport. Drove to my friend Nick's house in Pleasantville to pick him up, as I needed someone to navigate as I've never driven to the airport before. Well, the directions were confusing (it would take another trip later to teach me that Mapquest.com really sucked), but we got there eventually. I parked the car, Nick and I grabbed a quick bite-to-eat (though he bought a whole meal) at the food court, and waited for Aaron and Mara. They soon arrived, and we grabbed their luggage and brought it to my car, where we made the trip back home to Croton.
My brother's graduation was later in the day, so we all lounged around and rested before the event. We watched some anime music videos, and later on made our way to the graduation. We all agreed that the ceremony was way, way too long. It was a small class, and they filled it up with long speeches, and songs (I actually quietly heckled it). We knew more guests would be arriving later for the party at home, so as soon as Alex (my brother) got his diploma, we were out of there. Good thing to, cause people were already arriving. The food was great, we spent some time mingling with various guests. Got to see family I don't get to see often. And eventually Aaron and I went to pick up Lynati at the train station.
After the party ended, I drove Nick home, and came back here, where we checked e-mail, and then Aaron, Mara, Lynati, Alex and I watched this horrible animated Ben-Hurr movie, narrated by the great Charleton Heston himself. Bad animation, bad CGI, and a Jesus that looked like a child molester. All and all, it was fun to just rip into it. Then we called it a night.
Wednesday, June 25th.
Alex, Mara and I were the first ones up, we chatted out on the deck about things, and shared a smoke. Eventually, we had to get Aaron and Lynati up, cause we needed to drop Lynati off at the train station. After that, the three of us went shopping for con equipment, first to Wal-Mart and Office Max, then to a Toys R Us to grab some Nerf Guns for Clan Wars.
We came back, and watched Kevin Smith's classic film, Clerks. I've seen the movie a million times and it never gets old. But this was Aaron and Mara's first time seeing it, and since they were both fans of the six episode cartoon series based on the movie, I thought it was about damn time they finally saw it. ;)
Best reaction came from Mara after the incident in the movie with the Chewlies Gum rep that tried to start an anti-cigarette riot in the store.
Mara: I feel like going out and having a cigarette.
The movie ended, we had leftovers for dinner, and began loading up my car with Con equipment, as Aaron and I needed to be at the hotel early the next morning with it, just in case the Home Depot people showed up (they gave us an 8 AM to 5 PM window). So Aaron and I loaded up the cars, while Mara prepared envelopes up stairs.
We were done by a quarter past midnight, so we decided to get some sleep.
Thursday, June 26th.
Aaron and I woke up early, and headed down to the city. We got to the hotel shortly before 8 and had my car parked. We then proceeded across the street to take care of getting cash we owed the hotel. Chase Manhattan took a look at us and well, let's just say it took a very, very long time and a couple calls to his local Chase in San Antonio for the withdrawl to go through.
I ended up making my way back to the hotel, where I was spotted by Mooncat and Princess Alexandra (Mooncat I had met at G2002, but this was my first time meeting Princess). Also ran into Leo, and Dreamie and Winterwolf. We waited, and Aaron came back to check Greg Weisman, Thom Adcox, and Vic Cook into their hotel rooms. And soon, Mara arrived with Alex and Greg Weisman. My mom was nice enough to pick Greg up at the LaGuardia.
Everyone arrived, and we checked into the Con Suite. Soon we got a call that Home Depot arrived with the wood and panels, so we went outside and brought them in. We brought them up to the 18th floor, to the Madison Suite, which was where we were keeping our Dealer's Room and Art Show. Met Sapphire there also (had previously met her at previous Gatherings, but never really got to know her till this year). Now, I'm useless when it comes to things like power tools, so were Alex and Leo, so we all stood back while the women did the work. Quite funny actually.
We took our lunch break at Sbarro's. Tasty and cheap. And met up with Kathy Pogge there. Food was good, and we came back
A good portion of the rest of the day, and con planning is kind of a blurr, but Lynati and Ethan eventually showed up, and I saw many con early arrivals (like Hudson (though he was staff) and his crew). Then Thom and Vic showed up. Thom recognized me, which was cool ;)
(Also at some point, we had a quick meeting in the Con Suite, and Greg W laughed at me for looking dazed already)
The staff, and the guests, and some of the early arrivals went to dinner down at the Monster Sushi. I had eaten there before with Aaron, Mara and Lynati about a year or so ago, and the place is still good. Too small unfortunatly, as the large group we were could not get a table together. So we divided up by three tables. At my table was Aaron, Mara, Lynati and Ethan. We talked about the con, how to eat sushi, Aaron played with his chop sticks, and we discussed Mayor Bloomberg and NYC's new smoking ban (which none of us agreed with), and I remember Ethan was really upset about it (I don't blame him, I am too). Aaron made a great comment in reference to "Clerks". "Bloomberg is a representative of Chewlie's Gum."
We got our food, ate, and eventually we made our way back to the hotel, to the Con Suite. Revel and Spacebabie showed up around this time. We stuffed enevelopes and watched the first half of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. But it was late, so we all went to get some sleep. Aaron, Lyn and Mara in the bedroom, while I took the "couch that turns into a couch".
Friday, June 27th.
Woke up early to turn the Con Suite over to Batya and the Dreamer Clan. Saw Stephen somewhere around here. Met up with Kathy and we arranged Sky Top for panels. Then went down and had a shift at the Registration Desk in the Lobby. Got to meet a lot of familiar faces, and new faces during that. Though I got sick of people coming up and asking where the bathroom was. It got so bad, we had to put up a sign saying "Gathering 2003. We are NOT Hotel Staff. We do NOT know where the bathroom is". Of course people kept asking anyway.
My shift over, I went to a panel I was supposed to sit on, and my brain was on overload. I barely said a word. And it wasn't till later I finally thought of something to talk about. Like Kathy said, staff members should not provide content. Then it was down to audition for the Radio Play. Being on staff, I knew it was "The Reckoning" several weeks in advance. I was hoping to be cast as Thailog, cause Thailog is just good, old fashioned, evil fun. ;) Though I would find out the next day I was cast as Hollywood, but I was just happy to be in it.
After that, I browsed through the art room. Walked around the hotel to make sure everything was running smoothly, and nothing was on fire. Popped in on Mara briefly during her Round Robin. Couldn't stay though.
Eventually got back to Skytop, where Kathy and I, with help from volunteers set the room up for Opening Ceremonies. Lined up the chairs, and had one table in the middle for the projector. Then Leo, someone else (was it you Winterwolf?) tried to set up the screen, but couldn't get the damn thing open. I think Hudson finally got it open. It was also around now that I met Lain for the first time. I've been friends with her since shortly after G2001, and it was nice to finally meet her in person.
Everyone arrived, all the guests arrived. And it was time for Opening Ceremonies to begin. Now, I have had this fear of public speaking all my life. So when I first went up, first thing I did was bring up G2004. WHile watching them, I figured that I should just get over it. Mara offered to go up and speak, but I went up again, and I thought I did so much better. Made a short speech, and introduced the guests and staff. Then I turned it over to Greg Weisman, who made the same Opening Ceremonies speech he's made ever since the cons first began, but never get old.
Afterwards came Hudson's rant, which I'd have loved to stay for, but I had to set up a TV and VCR, and tapes in the London Suite for Mara's MST. This year's victims; "Enter Macbeth", and "Vendettas". We were supposed to head right into Greg and Thom's Othercon: Blue "Mug-A-Guest", but as learned at G2001, the letters in "Gathering of the Gargoyles" can be rearranged to "Get Greg In Here", so we ended up MSTing "Turf" and the first act of "The Reckoning".
Finally, Greg and Thom arrived. By now everyone has heard the big revelation, but I'll say it anyway. Lex is gay. And it took less than twenty four hours for that tidbit to reach the comment rooms ;) Greg obviously didn't plan to say it, but Anna has a way of getting things out of people ;)
Lots of great and funny, and perverted questions were asked, I think we would have been there al night had Hotel Security not told us to vacate. I think I met Allaine and Ellen Stolfa for the first time around here also.
"I have a ten inch tongue."
Afterwards, Mara and I went to the COn Suite to get our bags, and settled in to the room Aaron got for the night. We were up for a couple more hours chatting with Hudson, Chris Rogers, Kythera and Cat. I was dozing off and really needed sleep, but I'm not one to be a party pooper. Besides, I really enjoy their company.
But we got to sleep.
Saturday, June 28th.
Got up early, and fetched sodas for Aaron and Mara before making our way to the sixth floor for a brief staff meeting.
Then went to a TGS panel, which consisted of little more than a former staff editor voicing complaints about another staffer. I didn't stay for the whole thing as I was pulled out by Goliath116 to let me know about a security issue. Which he and I made brief announcements about. I won't go into it here, but we ended up telling people not to leave the hotel unless they were in groups of four.
Went down and joined Mara for a shift at the Reg table. Sign was still up, and we still had people asking where the bathroom was. Spent a couple hours there, and then it was time for Radio Play rehearsal.
(somewhere before rehearsal, my aunt and uncle showed up, I gave them a brief tour, told them what the Gathering was. They couldn't stay long, but it was a pleasant surprise.)
Rehearsal went great. I was cast as Hollywood, and we went through Act One twice. Thom and Alex Garg (not to be confused with my brother) did this great Thailog and Sevarius Dr. Evil laughing scene. And speaking of Thom. He was great as Sevarius. Truly, truly hillarious. Thom really needs to get on to the internet, and visit the CRs.
Greg also made a funny joke about Batya and Alex Wittenberg. They were cast as Demona and Fang. And when Demona says "he's a fool but he may be of some use," and Fang says "I can work with that." Greg turns to them and says, "I bet that's what you said at the wedding." Which got a big laugh. No offense to both Batya and Alex, tyhey're great people, but that was just plain funny.
As soon as we finished Act 3, the hotel catering told us to clear out while they set up the banquet. Which caused me to spend the next several minutes arguing with them, cause the Radio Play was schedualed. but we soon cleared things up, and held the Radio Play. Which went over very well. Aside from grunts and roars, I only had one line, but it got a big laugh. I think Gore tried to one-up me, but never! I am master of the stupid voice! ;)
Afterwards it was time for the banquet. Nichelle Nichols arrived, and I have to say I was impressed. The woman looked and carried herself like a queen. And speaking of stunning looking women, Karine, Sapphire and Dreamie arrived and dressed to kill. Damn, did they look great.
We all took our seats, with at least one staff member minding each guest. I sat at Greg's table. Also there was Lexy, Revel, Spacebabie, AlexGarg... and I'm blanking out on the others. The food was great, I especially liked the rice and chicken. At some point I made this observation. "I kind of feel sorry for the people sitting with Nichelle. I mean look at her. They're all going to have to watch themselves and how they eat. Wheras Greg is probably almost as big a slob as the rest of us." To which Greg said; "Actually, I'm probably a bigger slob than the rest of you." We discussed quite a few things at the table. Revel kept a great conversation going. Lexy and I discussed Griffith from "Berserk" briefly. And we had a conversation on X2, and why Greg thinks Magneto's name is corny. I respectfully disagree though ;)
Dinner ended, and we set up for the Masquerade. Dreamie and I were running this. She MCed the event while I handled the behind the scenes organizing and the entries. The number of costumes dropped, but what we had was great. We had a great Lady Macbeth, two great Owens, Patrick and Karine as Anastasia and Fox, Revel as Vinnie, Spacebabie as Robyn Canmore, A Fan as "A Highly Educated Individual with a job straight out of college" (actually, A Fan wasn't going to enter, but I put him up to it), and of course Hudson and Kythera's show. I'm blanking out on everyone. Though I personally thought it was a shame that Aaron and Mara couldn't enter as Severus Snape and Herminone (I can't spell her name, sorry ;)).
Then came the Awards Ceremony, which ended with Siryn getting her much deserved Fan Guest of Honor award. She may not think so, but no one deserved that award more than she did. I hope she enjoys it.
After that was over, it was time for our showing of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", at first I wasn't going to attend, and went down to Chris Roger's room to watch anime. They were playing the Animatrix, which unfortunatly did not impress me, so I made my way back up to Rocky. There were problems with the DVD player (I swear that thing never gave me a problem before), but Anna and Jill were kind enough to... ahem, entertain everyone till this was sorted out. Then we had a great Rocky showing.
Afterwards I went to sleep in the con suite on "the couch that transforms into a couch".
Sunday, June 29th.
Woke up early, showered and dressed, and picked up sodas for Aaron and Mara. it was time for the auction, Aaron was in charge of the auction, and Cat resumed her role from last year of vibrating the auction items. And encouraging people to bid by removing an article of clothing as the bids increased. She was down to her bra and panties when "The Last" broke $750. Aaron, who never needs an excuse to show off his Demona tattoo manned the auction shirtless as well. And I think at some point Greg agreed to take off his shirt if anything broke $1,000. Which didn't happen.
The auction kind of died off when most of the big spenders went off to the "Team Atlantis" panel, but we resumed and sold off what we could after Closing Ceremonies.
Ah Closing Ceremonies. Always bittersweet. I introed my staff again, and let G2004 pitch their con as well. Thanked everyone for coming, then turned it over to Greg.
Then I went down to the Con Suite after Patrick set up his laptop there, so we could accept PayPal payments for auction items. While doing this, I corrupted Batya by showing her the first two episodes of "Clerks" ;)
Since the Dreamer Clan was bidding their farewell, I spent most of the day in the con suite, making sure it wasn't trashed and nothing was stolen. Helped clean up where ever I could, and eventually showed the remaining four "Clerks" episodes. Then we watched "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker", anime music vids, and later "Cowboy Bebop the Movie". Seth made a great comment here. "This movie is about SARS! Nano-SARS!"
After that was over, we watched anime music vids again, but I was exhausted and went to sleep.
Monday, June 30th.
Woke up, showered and dressed, and Patrick, Mara and I, (forget who else), cleared up the con suite before we had to check out. We relocated to Aaron and Mara's room for the rest of the day. And later, most of us took a trip down to Midtown Comics. The majority of the time we spent in the pr0n section. I believe it was Aaron, Goliath116, Cat, Revel, Spacebabie, Y2Kecate, and I. Revel and Spacebabie cut out early. But the rest of us, shared pr0n, and just looked at it for a long time. Some might say we're all a little too comfortable with each other.
Came back the hotel, but it was almost time for me to leave. Had the hotel staff bring my car around, while we transported all my crap and other stuff to the car. I said good bye to everyone and drove off. I ended up leaving my katana in Aaron's room, but that was okay, because I had to come back the next day to pick up Greg W and takin him to LaGuardia. but first I went to work to cash my paycheck, went home and ate dinner, and got myself directions from the Hotel to LaGuardia from mapquest.com.
Tuesday, July 1st.
Lesson of the day. NEVER, EVER, EVER Use MapQuest.com.
Started driving back into the city, and as I approached the hotel, something happened and my engine began to sound like a lawnmower. but figured I'd make it. Got my katana and said good bye to Aaron again. Said bye to Carol, and Greg and i got into my car. Some small talk, we discussed comics, and his time in NYC. He mentiond pcking up "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", and having liked it. He thought making Captain Nemo an Indian was interesting, cause he's never seen him played like that before, and it was a long time since either he or I had read the book (actually I checked the book recently and saw that Verne wrote Nemo as an Indian, the movies just made him a Brit.)
Then Murphy's Law kicked in. The direcions sucked and we were going in circles. We passed the Hotel Pennsylvania at least twice. They wouldn't let us get onto 34th St, where we needed to be to take the Midtown tunnel. A guy in a van smashed my mirror, got out, tossed $20 and left. Greg wrote down his license plate number though. The transmission in my car started going crazy up the yin-yang. We finally go to the tunnel, and missed the exit, drove all over Queens, trying to get back onto the highway. Almost ended up in Brooklyn. I'm panicing, and Greg is keeping a level head. But we got directions, and made it to the airport. Greg thankfully made his flight. He told me he's going to make fun of me in Ask Greg, but it's all in good fun. I look forward to seeing it. It was an adventure. And looking back, I can laugh about it, though I was a wreck for a couple days after it happened.
My car has been repaired, nothing bad happened, and it's running beautifully again. Figures, of all the times it goes crazy, it had to happen with Greg Weisman in my car. But we're cool. Everything's cool.
Hosting the Gathering was a real experience. It was hard difficult work, and I doubt I'll ever do it again. But everyone seems to have had a good time. And I thought it was time to give something back to the series in fandom that I love. So, I'd love to thank everyone on my staff. You all did great. Best staff I could ever ask for. So, Aaron, Mara, Lynati, Dreamie, Winterwolf, Carol, Kathy, Patrick, Hudson, Noel, JEB (you helped a lot), and Jen (I know you couldn't make it, but I still feel I couldn't have done it without you), all my best regards to each of you, and I hope to see you all in the near future. To all the Security (Kythera, Goliath116, Zaius, Duncan, etc), and volunteers, you did great. To everyone for coming, this fandom is truly awesome. And to my brother, Alex, you weren't on staff, but you broke your back for us. Thank you.
The weekend has become a big blurr, so I apologize if i forgot anyone or anything. But to everyone, you all Rule!
I hope everyone goes to Gathering 2004. Montreal has a great staff, and a great location. G2004 is going to kick ass! Give Karine, Sapphire, and the rest of the staff all the support in the world. Being on con staff is not easy. It's a very hard job. be thankful there are people dedicated enough to do this every year. It's a labor of love.
Ah, yes, Mr. Bishansky's Wild Ride. Everyone should try it.