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Ok, Greg, here's mine:
June 23 - 25:
Boarded the train in Sacramento at roughly 11:25 and was moving about 5 minutes later towards Chicago. Learned something interesting as we passed through Truckee, CA. Between 1871 and 1882, the town completely burned down 6 times. Oops.
Spent most of the time between Sacramento and Chicago sleeping, writing and listening to my E Nomine CD's. Through in a couple stops where we were there for several minutes at least, so I go off and stretched for a few. Got into Chicago around 5:00 p.m. on the 25th. Was roughly an hour late, but wasn't an issue since it cut my layover from 3 hours to 2. Then I walked into South Lounge and it was packed with bodies and more showing up every minute. They had no AC going and the only thing that was moving the air was 4' by 4' fan. This area was meant to seat roughly 250 people. There were probably about 400 of us packed in there. Lovely.
Had Pop-Tarts and a Mt. Dew for dinner. Yum. Around 6, they said the train would a few minutes late to the track due to some issue with the diner car. So instead of leaving at 7, I figured maybe 7:15. Wrong. At point, I called Kelly to let her know there was no chance of me meeting her at the hotel at 2 like planned the next day. I told her I would call back the next day with more information about the arrival time. As the delay got longer and longer, I was beginning to wonder if they somehow had lost the train out in the yard or if it burned to the ground.
At 9:45, we get told the train will be to our track in 15 minutes. Of course, it didn't pull up to the track until 10:10. No real surprise there. So the delay ended up turning into just over three hours. We board and finally depart from the station at 10:30 p.m. Just after we cleared the yards, you could tell the engineer had throttled way up and was trying to make up some of the lost time.
Wake up at 6 a.m. Where is the train? Cleveland, Ohio. We're now 4 hours behind. Went and got breakfast in the diner car. The food left something to be desired. Explained to somebody about the show, since I was wearing one of the sweatshirts they gave out last year. As the day goes on, we get later and later. By the time we reach Buffalo, NY, we're 5 hours late. By the time we get to Rochester, NY, we're not 6 hours behind. While at the station there, I mentally waved to Siryn. At one point, it looked like we might make up about an hour, but we fell behind once again.
Because of how far behind we were, they served us a free lunch and dinner. The lunch was some Beef Stew. That food really left something to be desired. It was rather... gross tasting. Not to mention, couldn't find any beef in it either. I could just see it now: "Beef? You want beef in your beef stew? HAHAHA! That's a good one!"
Dinner was a boxed meal. Got to pick between turkey or ham and I went for ham since I rather dislike turkey. Got a drink and sat down. Opened it up to discover it was a sub sandwich, a bag of chips and an apple turnover. The sub wasn't bad, but wasn't great either. Was far better than that beef stew though! Finally got to NY Penn Station at roughly 8:40 to 8:45 p.m. At this point, I was almost 7 hours behind. I was supposed to be in at 1:50.
It sure wasn't pleasant when I stepped off the train with my luggage. Walked out from a nice and rather cool train car into a sheer wall of heat. I moved out of the way and quickly stripped off my Gargoyles sweatshirt, but that didn't help much. Trudged upstairs and tried to find the I needed to get to the hotel. I figured out the right direction, but wanted to double check, so I asked the guy at the information desk. He laughed when I asked which exit for Hotel Pennsylvania "Are you serious?"
I wanted shake my head, but didn't. "Yes, I am." He then told which way to go. I thanked him and walked off. I still find a bit ridiculous that he laughed at for making sure which direction I needed to go to get to the hotel. Short walk later, I get to the hotel and checked in. Called Kelly to see where she was, but she was out doing DDR. We had planned to meet up after I got in, but that was for the 2 p.m. timeframe, not the almost 9 p.m. timeframe.
This is the first hotel I've seen where you need to show your room card before getting in the elevators. My room was up on the 11th floor as was maybe 30 feet from the elevators. Nice and close. When I went to shower, I had to wait over five minutes just to get some hot water in my room. Of course, there was the weird water pressure that made me feel like I was getting pelted by stuff. Ate a small dinner and tried to fall asleep. Didn't pass out until roughly 2:30 a.m. 3 hour time difference can be such a pain to adjust to. Oh well.
Woke up around 8:30 when the maids wanted to come clean my room. So much for getting a rather good amount of sleep to start the con off with. Tried to sleep for a little longer, but decided it was futile at best. Got up, showered and went downstairs to the cafe down in the lobby. Got a banana muffin and a coke for breakfast. On the way back to my room, I ran into Mandolin. On the way to her floor first,
we both started to get annoyed by the CNN that kept playing in the elevators. The first couple times it was amusing, but got real old, real quick.
She drops something off in her room, then we went to mine. She thumbed through my cels while I chewed on breakfast. We talked for a little and then headed down to find registration around 11. After getting my badge and shirt, went to lunch with a few others. I got the chicken fingers. The food was pretty good, but the service was crappy. Several times I had started to wonder if the server had forgotten we were there. Got back and was supposed to be a runner, but didn't really do anything. Went up to the art room at around 2:30 to help watch it while Kellie Faye was helping get some supplies. Took a look at the art that Disney had lent us. Very spiffy stuff.
Too bad I couldn't buy some of those pieces. Would love to get one of the pre-production Goliath's so it could join the one I picked up last year. Not to mention, would have loved to have gotten the drawings for the clones as well. Oh well, maybe someday?
Checked out an art panel before hitting opening ceremonies. After a the brief introductions by the 2003 staff, those of us on the 2004 staff got to stand on stage to make our pitch. Karine and Kelly did all the talking and did a great job at making the pitch. We handled a few questions, plus Kelly took care of the whole speaking French deal. After that, Greg Weisman went through his usual spill that I've heard four times now. Sure it's the same stuff over and over, but it's still good to hear it. Course, we started finishing his sentences too.
After that, got some raffle tickets. Was supposed to meet up with Karine, Kelly and a few others for dinner, but Kelly couldn't reach my phone for some reason. Went up to the MST3K they were doing for a few episodes of Gargoyles. After that, went to the blue Q&A that Greg and Thom were holding. Several times the questions went out of the gutter, but after did get back there. Learned that Lexington was gay, more or less. Wasn't something I really expected, but as Greg went on, I could see where he was coming from. Of course, he wouldn't say who Lexington's lover was going to be, or what species for that matter, other than it wasn't somebody we've seen on the show. Ended up getting kicked out around 2 by security.
Tried to sleep in, but once again, didn't work out too well. And this time I had been smart enough to put up the "Do Not Disturb" sign on my door to keep the maids from waking me up. Went through the morning routine and got breakfast. Talked to several folks for a while, though I can't remember their names. Around 2, I went to check out the "When Worlds Collide" writing panel. After that, checked out a storyboarding panel by Vic Cook. After that, went up to the art room and voted. This year they had folks write down the numbers for the pieces they wanted to vote on and then enter the information into a computer. Very smart idea, since it cuts down on them having to tally it all by hand.
Skipped the radio play this year and hung out with Kelly as she did pre-registration for next year. Also got a pic done by Liz while chatting. After that, went up to wait for the banquet. Showed Greg, Thom and Vic my cels. I liked one of Vic's comments: "He's got more cels than Disney!" We talked briefly and I found out he has some relatives that live over in the Sacramento area. Sat with Karine, Kelly, Patrick and a few others. Oh yeah, Artgolem from Aimee's forum was at the table as well. Always nice getting to meet folks from forums.
Talked about a number of things before the Q&A session with Nichelle Nichols. She's got a good voice, but she seemed to be going on and on about her books. Hung around after that to get pictures at the masquerade. Was sort of disappointing to see not many entries this year. Also got picked up a free sweatshirt, since the 2003 staff was giving away free shirts and the likes for folks who went to the banquet.
Ran into Thom on the way down to get some breakfast. He had to pretty much start a war just to get cream for his coffee from the folks in cafe. While trying to pack away my drinks, he kept trying to prod me into hurrying up. For the first time, we both got asked to show our room key cards to go up the elevators, which surprised the both of us. On the way up, we talked briefly about how rude it was on them not to want to give him cream for his coffee and how my bagel shop job a few years back, we would have the cream out for folks. Plus we both shook our head at the CNN blaring away in the elevator.
I went to browse what they had to auction while he went off to do something else. Didn't see anything of interest other than the Atlantis storyboard, but knew that would shoot out my price range real fast. Went over to the art room, where I sat down with Karine and Kelly to help sell raffle tickets and pre-registration. Kelly showed my some of the new art she had gotten from Karine, plus a doodle of some of some of the folks and how they arrived. I loved how she had me going: "Tap, tap, tap," while waiting in Chicago.
Got Karine to do a colored commission of my gargoyle character, Chaos. She did it of him counting money and saying, "It's good to be treasurer..." I really love the expression she gave to him. After seeing it finished, I went, "That is so going to be put on a shirt!" After that, we started discussing about doing special staff shirts. We would have the mascot on the front like everybody else. On the back would be "Staff" and our own character doing their respective job. Brought this up with Greg, who told us to surprise him for the design on the back of his shirt.
Moved over to closing ceremonies and sold some more pre-registrations. Also drew the raffle tickets for the prizes. Stayed through part of the auction as well, during which I bought the Gargoyles board game. We did pretty well on pre-registration. Sold 54 of them, which isn't a bad start.
Around 5, Met up in the lobby with Greg and company that was going to Coney Island. We took a vote and stopped at where the WTC towers had been. It's hard to believe that one of the places my grandfather had worked in was gone. He had worked on the 68th floor of the North Tower after they had been built. Took several pictures before we moved onto Coney Island.
Of course, Greg kept counting us... several times over. Barely had entered the place when Kelly and Liz ran over to play DDR, effectively separating myself and Talyesin from the group as well (they were my buddies). After that, we wandered for a little bit before getting on the Wonder Wheel. While going around on that, we tried to see if we could spot anybody from the group, but wasn't able to. After some walking around, we hit up the McDonald's. We stood in line for twenty or so minutes and noticed the smiles are free sign. Liz asked for a large fries, small chocolate shake and four smiles. It took the guy a couple seconds to catch on to what she had said. We only got two smiles. After we walked away, I said I felt cheated since we only got two.
A couple minutes later, we ran into a couple others from the group. Found out where we were supposed to meet up and when. Joined up at the right time and headed back to the hotel. As we waited for the subway, a few of us took group pics. Boarded the train and got to the hotel a little over an hour later. As we were walking back, Greg decided he wanted pancakes. We started searching about for diner or a Denny's. Course, this isn't Williamsburg, so no luck. Of course, he said he could go for a donut or ice cream. We finally managed to find a place one the lower level of Penn Station that was still open and selling ice cream.
We heading back and after a few minutes of seeing the con suite crowded, headed down with Kelly and a few others down to her room to chat while they drew. I said goodbye to them at around 2 a.m. and went back to my room to start packing. Finished up around 3 and set the alarm for 10:30. Course, having the con is over jitters, I didn't fall asleep until 4:30 a.m.
Woke up at 8:30 to somebody's door slamming shut. I tried to get another hour to two of sleep, but it didn't work. Checked at around 11:30 and ended up chatting with several folks from the Gathering until about 2:15, when I had to head to Penn Station to catch my train at 2:50. Felt sad that the Gathering had come to an end. There I ran into Silver once again, who was taking the same train, but getting off long before I was. The train managed to make good time.
July 1 - 3:
Got into Chicago at 9 a.m. and got to sit there for a little over 5 hours before my train back to Sacramento. The train pulled out at about 2:40, a little over 30 minutes late. The trip went pretty well until we got to Denver. At this point, we were an hour behind, but that's nothing new from what I've heard. As they went to disconnect the mail cars and the sleepers, they derailed the sleeper cars. Thankfully, nobody
was hurt. Turned me from getting into Sacramento about an hour late into me getting there almost 5 hours late. Instead of getting in at around 2:20, I got there at 7:10.
One of the first things I did after I got off the train was go to Denny's to get some non-train food, which I was really sick of at this point. While it was nice to be home, I miss the fun I had at the Gathering.
Did you have pancakes?