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Journal part 2 Stuff about the con, how about that!
Thursday, Once again scheduled plans of departure were way off because no one wanted to wake up. Breakfast was Dunkin Donuts because the night before the refrigerator died and so did everything in it. Weather reports were sketch but we only hit a couple of light patches of rain, nothing to slow us up.
A small note about driving in NY, the people, even outside of Manhattan appear to all be emergency vehicle drivers, because everyone is driving like they have a person dying in the back seat. I am not a slow driver, but I try to exercise a little bit of caution when driving through narrow, near 400 year old, dinky town roads that do not appear to have been widened, just paved over. Crazy.
Upstate New York is very pretty, lots of places one can imagine where Xanatos would place a retreat (since I donât think a specific location was determined) but we drove reasonable and made good time. Gas in NY is ungodly expensive compared to Texas. I will never complain about our prices again.
Now, we come to the border. When we arrived, there were two posts open and not a one of them appeared to be going fast. I was later told that the Customs agents were on strike but still had to work so they took their sweet time. About an hour and a half wait and I had to use the rest room nearly the whole time. Like sitting in a theater and not wanting to get up type feeling. I will admit that I made one little lie to the border agent, they did ask if we were armed or carrying any weapons and I did have my knife with me. The short of it is, I carry it when I go place that I am unsure of the security, like rest stops in some states, and I really, really had to go, so didnât want to slow things even more.
Montreal was not far from the border, about half an hour Iâd guess, but had to drive through a trench with no shoulder or escape, which is very, very unnerving. We survived. Our first exit was blocked off, had to double back and finally across the bridge to downtown.
We found a small group congregating in the lobby as a welcoming committee, was nice to see some faces that I had not seen in over a year. Hung out there for a while, Seth, Wingless, Sapphire, Kyt, Hudson, Chris Rogers, CKayote, and many others were there as well. I crashed pretty early, was road fatigued.
Now about the Hotel. An excellent location for people like us who were unfamiliar and could not read many signs. It was very easy to find. The lay out of the hotel was well thought out, with the convention levels close together and easy to access and we could stay in the lower floor till all hours and no one said a thing to us, because we are so far below the other guest that we canât disturb anyone if we tried. The rooms were as advertised, or at least ours was. A nice double with two queens that we really needed on the last day, Iâll explain later.
Two minor complaints. The parking spaces in the basements were reeeeeeally narrow. Erik drives a Town Car, and to get between the lines he and I had exactly 8 inches of space door to door. Second complaint, which is very minor, was that good cheap food was quite a walk away, thatâs just the sacrifice of a downtown hotel though, oh well.
Friday, first day of the convention itself. Spacie and I hunted about trying to find a breakfast place, settling on a bagel place next to about a block and a half from the hotel. I had a croissant and a sesame seed bagel. Was not too expensive, 7 bucks for the two of us.
I first went about locating the Art Room. Easy to do once I found Cindy, who was recruiting to help set up art. Naturally fair that if I want to set up art I should help set up the art space so I did. It went well enough, some of the joints were uneven or kept popping out. One over all comment I had heard was that the lighting was poor. It was, but we all survived and there was a lot of good stuff.
After set up I invaded the Round Robin, that despite our best efforts at keeping it PG slipped at some point or another. And of course there is a tape of it floating around.
The film crew came in and watched Gregâs Voice acting panel, this was the first time Iâd say most of us had seen them, I could tell a lot of people froze right up, but they were very cool people and Iâd say most warmed up to them. I did get to do a reading with Emambu, who is a very talented individual even if heâs too modest to admit it. He was Lexington and I was Brooklyn from the scene with Tom and Mary in Awakening part One. This was a good warm up for me because radio play auditions followed immediately after the panel and I was one of the first to go. Having been in the play last year I felt more confident in my ability and read the Broadway lines (not expecting to get the Broadway part the next day, but thatâs irony for you.)
Opening Ceremonies was fun. One of my favorite parts is to see the show of hands of con-virgins and second timers. It always seems there are a great deal of virgins, but very few second timers. Itâs like once you come twice you will do what ever you can to come again. The DVD info was good to hear, and yes my Dadâs birthday is December 7th. *evil grin* This was also the first time I had gotten to hear the Team Atlantis tape. At 2002 I missed the radio play all together, and 2003 I stayed at the auction, which ran into the Team Atlantis panel. Someday Iâd really like to watch the teaser trailer that was played for the media with the kind of speakers and bass that Greg describes, till then Iâll just have to imagine it. Chrisâs pitch for 2005 sounded really good, Vegas should be a lot of fun, just need to start saving some play money now.
Dinner was McDonaldâs, I ordered nuggets, and some how ended up with a double big Mac. Not what I wanted and too far to walk to change it back so I ate it. Afterwards was mostly just hang out time. Catch up on what everyone had been doing. Went to the Blue Mug a Guest and enjoyed hearing the questions and asked a couple of my own, neither even slightly Blue, but was nice to get a change to ask Greg. The whole thing about whether he had read the original Heinlein âStarship Troopersâ was important to me, since I didnât feel the screen writer for the movie had. Got to bed about 2am I think.
Canât even remember what I had for breakfast, must not have been very good. What I do remember was being approached my Hudson and being asked if I could drive Zaius Monkey to the Airport because his baggage never made it through customs and he had to go down and confirm it. At first I agreed. If we had left right then and there I may have even been able to get him there and back in time. But we became distracted. Our small group ended up down on the bottom floor where the film crew were shooting individual interviews and they wanted to see Aaronâs infamous Demona tattoo. So that ate half an hour and I found out I was in radio play. There was no way I could make it to the air port and back and neither could Emambu. Luckily Kai and Lexy offered and came through, big thanks to those two.
Not much later, my car was required again. Lynati needed more paint for her costume and we were all short on time. Aaron, love you like a brother, is not good with giving directions, or working with sketchy ones. Karine told him where a Home Depot was and we attempted to find it. What we ended up doing was spending half an hour cursing at one way streets, going the wrong way, illegal left hand turns, and some how I found a gravel road down by one of the bridges that cut back to a real street. See, driving video games do pay off. We finally got oriented and started down the right direction, but I had to let Aaron take over because I had radio play rehearsal.
The rehearsal was fun, for a minute there, while Greg was passing out scripts I thought Iâd end up with Vinnie, but instead received Broadway. Not expected, but certainly fun to play.
Had just enough time to run down to the hotel store and get some snacks before the play itself. As many know now we read âThe Journeyâ and though Broadway only had once scene I did it the best I could, even tried mimicking Billâs voice, not sure how well it came out since we always sound different to ourselves.
The banquet soon followed and my only complaint was the lighting, not the food, the food was really good. The lighting was really poor for picture taking that was disappointing. We had some of the white wine, not sure who paid but was nice to have something besides just water. Our table consisted of myself, Spacebabie, Kathy Pogge, Yggdrasil, Chyna Rose, and Seri Wavelength. We had some good conversations. Everything from fandom stories, to alcohol, to farm stories, to politics.
Keith David did finally arrive and I felt bad because he seemed like he really wanted to eat, but at the same time be a good guest and answer questions. I did manage to ask him a question about Harrison Ford, which was for my mother who is the biggest Ford nut in the Central South West.
Had to check out of the Q&A early to get my costume together. For the most part, it was easy, the hard parts had been done already, which was trying to dye a suit to match the burgundy/maroon that Dracon wore. The hardest part was the jacket, I went through several thrift store jackets, but spent more on dye than I did on them. The hair, which completed the look, was done by Spacebabie, I sat in the bath tub and she used spray in hair color. Was hard for me to see but was told it came out wonderful. I didnât have a skit in mind, thought about saying something when I got out on the floor, but went blank so I posed like Han Solo in Return of the Jedi and the crowd cheered. At the awards presentation I won the Thom Adcox memorial award, but sorry, I have not progressed enough to dropping my pants in front of the public yet.
After it was all over I washed my hair as best I could and went back down to convention level to hang out and chat till 3 am.
Nothing like those late night chats. They're easily my fondest memories from most Gatherings...