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Gathering 2004 Con Report/Journal
By Kaylee Skylyn
My gathering experience started well before the gathering. Little did I know what I was getting myself into when I volunteered to do the website for this years Gathering. Being a very shy person and very very thrifty I had never attended a Gathering before. Main reason tho is that I never considered myself a people person and was not fond of crowds, let alone crowds of virtual strangers, so never could bring myself to attend. After attending this year I can totally see why people make the Gathering a priority. The con staff was GREAT and the live meeting early in the year allowed me to get to know them first so I could better deal with everything else afterwards.
By being on staff I gained a good insight into how the Gathering worked and was amazed at the dedication people put into it. But my actual Gathering experience started days before the gathering when I tried to finish my costume in time. I'm such a procrastinator so had left it to the last week before hand. I only partly succeeded in finishing it. I ended up taking Wednesday off work to work on my costume and to pack. I was NOT ready to leave for Montreal yet so I really needed the extra day. There was much stress on Wednesday. Wednesday night I left Milton late and drove the 5 hours to my parents' house.
Thursday August 5, 2004
I got a few hours sleep then got up around 8:30 to say hello to my mom before grabbing breakfast and a few things then heading off the rest of the way to Montreal, which luckily was only 2 hours or so.
I arrived at Karines house around 12:30 to meet the rest of the staff and cart supplies to the hotel. After greeting everyone we trekked inside to get organized. We then piled into the van and car and took a bit of time for a Poutine lunch around the corner. The van was packed FULL of people, luggage and supplies so we filled the space left in my car. We unloaded everything at the Hotel and left most of the staff there to pack the envelops for registration while me and Karine gathered the rest of the supplies including the Anthology (which turned out wonderfully!) By the time we had most everything in place it was getting late and we sat down for a breather while Patrick and others took the van to pick up Greg at the airport.
When Greg arrived we all jumped up to greet him. Everyone was very happy to see him and stood back watching. This was my first time meeting Greg, I suspect he knew who I was by me being the only new face in the group and I was amazed how wonderful and …not aloof he was. Then we trekked down old Montreal looking for an open food place. We didn't have to go far so when we found one we crowded in. We ate, talked and laughed. Greg was a GREAT guy to hang out with, I can see why he is so well loved by the fans. After a nice dinner we walked back to the hotel. I love the old buildings in that section of town so I spent most of the walk looking around at the wonderful stonework. I also like how there are horse and buggies driving around and had to stop to say hello to an off duty horse (I love draft horses). When we got back to the hotel it was fairly late so we agreed to meet for a breakfast meeting the next morning then split up and headed to bed.
Photos from the day:
Friday August 6th 2004
I slept in a bit so had to wait for the shower, once it was free I took a speed shower but still was a bit late getting to the meeting. We walked down to a nearby breakfast restaurant and had a meeting during our time there. We went over who was doing what and made sure everything was covered. I don't remember what I mainly was doing… o_O I do remember running around a lot. I did my task then I tried to make sure everyone else had what they needed. The time flew and before I knew it it was 12 and someone asked me if the Perspective panel was still on so I took over setting up the Auction display while Karine ran down to do her panel. After everything in the dealers room was ready and people started filing in I started making sales from the Con table…despite not having the cash box. Heh…oh well. I make a few sales with exact change so that was good, and not hard as most were nice flat prices. The dealers room was fairly busy for a while and we sold a number of t-shirts ending up with only large left. That was encouraging. After things there settled down again I left Alan to cover the table alone and wandered about checking on things. It didn't take long for me to find another job and I spelled some staff off at the registration table. Part of me wanted to go to the radio play auditions but I knew I would not do very well. Being very shy and all, I also don't like to have the camera focused on me. I'd like to be on the DVD for a bit but am to self conscious for to concentrated attention.
Soon it was time for opening ceremonies and so we shut down the registration and started setting up for opening ceremonies. After we set things up and finaly got the equipment running properly we opened the doors and waited for our guest of honour to arrive. Apparently "Where's Greg?!? Is a very common question at the con. *giggles* Shortly after we had everyone and the staff went on stage, took their seats and Karine got started. I stayed below the stage with the crowd, not wanting all those eyes on my but also to run the tapes for Greg. I loved Gregs speech and the promotional videos of Gargs. They were great. And the tape of the other voice actors messages to us at the convention were very cool too. Very nice to hear them all. Being my first con these were all new to me and was great to see them, very cool to see what he went through to convince the others to make the show, and boy am I glad he succeeded!
After opening ceremonies many staff headed out to dinner with Greg again but I was exhausted so I went back to my room for a snack and a long nap. Happily I woke up just before the blue mug-a-guest so I headed up to the con suite and waited for Greg and the others. The room slowly filled and I'm sure we had more than the scheduled 30 people, not that Greg minded and we didn't have the heart to turn any away as long as there was room to breath. I LOVED the mug-a-guest! It was so cool to just sit and listen to Gregs comments on the show and the background of the show, gargoyle biology, love lives and other cool things. It was stated that this was the most tame mug-a-guest ever but I found it very cool that way. Finally Greg had to dash to the bathroom at 2 am and I took the opportunity to do the same. I was starting to nod off just before that so I decided to just go to bed lest I not be able to function the next day.
Photos of the day:
Saturday August 7, 2004
I managed to get just in time to make in to the con suite for our morning breakfast meeting. Having been a bit late getting back yesterday we decided to go to the hotel restaurant. We all went for the breakfast buffet being fast and lost of food…but it turned out to be darned expensive… We went over jobs and duties and quickly headed out to do our jobs. I ran to the store for a few things before heading up to watch the con suite. I managed to grab my costume and worked on the bottom hem (the only part of it unfinished) of it while I was watching the suite. If I hadn't of had that to work on I would have been quite nervous and fidgety. I like to feel like I'm helping out or at least working in some way.
Luckily Patrick was able to spell me off for a while and I caught the SCA combat demonstration, I was really looking forward to that. I was very thankful. It was cool, fun to see them play around with the swords and see the different styles. When they took a half hour break I rushed upstairs for a shower and then peeked in the con suite and took over the duties again...although sadly it was to late for him to catch the biology seminar. I felt bad (not having known he wanted to see it). So I returned to watching the con suite and working on my dress.
As radio play started Karine popped up and we closed up the con suite and I was SO GLAD I got to watch the radio play (I had forgotten what time it started). It was AWSOME!! I loved how everyone put so much into the voices and it went of so very well! So cool!
I think it was after radio play that they announced the music videos so I grabbed a con suite key and ran upstairs with the first elevator or fans. Saph still beat me to the door. *laugh* But I let them all in and started the videos, we had a good crowd. I passed around a sheet for them to vote on and we got quite a few votes down which was nice. My favourite of the videos won: Faint. So that was cool too, but they were all nicely done!
The time flew and it was time for the banquet before I knew it. My costumes bottom hem was not finished but I ran upstairs and changed into it anyways. While waiting for the elevator Greg came down the hall and I think the look on his face will be etched in my memory. A sorta double take-blink sorta thing. I think I surprised him with my costume. *giggles* I hope he liked it! I took a needle and worked on the finishing touch between courses. I got the front half of it completed and that was good. Made me happy because the back of the hem could be hidden by the cape.
The baquet was great! I really liked the food, although my table mates didn't seem to like it. *shrugs* I loved it. I also think If I am going to pay any sum of money for a banquet I want a NICE banquet, not a cheep buffet. And this banquet was a VERY NICE banquet. I really lucked out as well and I got the chocolate disert. The one I could actually eat too! Made me very happy and it was so taisty.
Near the end of the banquet our long awaited guest Keith arrived! He was greeted with warm applause. It was cool to see him, my first time putting the name to the face. We had a bit of a mug-a-guest as Keith tried to answer questions between bites of food (and he was sure trying to eat as fast as he could) Greg tried to answer questions as well but poor Keith still had trouble eating. For the two days he was at the convention I felt bad for him, as we never gave him a moments peace.
After the banquet we gave everyone some time to get into costume and us time to get ready for the Masquerade. After a while I wandered up to find some of the staff and me and Si decided to go through with our evil cos-play. We asked to go last rather than first because we were both so nervous. Si went as page-boy Tom and me as Princess Katherine so we played the scene where the Princess knights Tom as Guardian of the Eggs. But our evil twist, or Si's evil twist anyways, was that Tom jumps up and kisses Katherine at the end. So we decided to do that, but not really kiss but pretend to. I'm not sure I did very well….ok, I know I didn't. I totally blanked out when we got up there then totally lost my Princess Katherine accent…oy, I was embarrassed….but everyone seemed to like it as we did get some applause and the staff found it very funny. (as we had not told anyone except possibly our roommates, about our plan). Everyone's costumes were great! It was really great how almost all the staff had dressed up too. Very cool. I think the Mask was my favourite part. I'm hopping I can get on the DVD at least for a few seconds with my costume, but I kind of didn't go in the right spot for them to see me in the cos-play. I had my back to them…opps. Well there goes my only chance. Bla.
Afterwards we set up the music stuff and played some music but mostly they did Karaoke. I do not sing well and do not sing in front of others so I did not stick around for too too long. I did feel very bad about going to bed before Greg left as he was so great to just hang out with. I wanted to have another mug-a-guest that night too. :P I think he just stayed up all night talking with people. I wanted to stay up but just couldn't…
Photos from the day :
Sunday August 8th, 2004
We got up for the usual morning meeting, this time me and my roomies were a bit late as we all slept until 9. Those there decided to go to the bagel shop close by, not wanting to pay outrageously at the hotel restaurant. As I couldn't eat anything they would have there (due to gluten intolerance) I decided to stay and have a shower, for breakfast I ate some fruit I brought just for this type of occurrence. When the staff got back and we got to work I found myself jumping between jobs as people needed me.
I wandered over to the animation magazines table during a slow time and started browsing their stuff. The guy promptly swept over and hit me with the plug, and did well as he got me to sign up for the mailing list with the slight chance that I could win a CD.
Keith slept in, and I certainly don't blame him, but this meant that there were lots of people milling about waiting for his mug-a-guest. When Keith finally did come down and do the mug a guest he was great! Such a cool guy and the fans had a good time too. I helped to finish taking down the art show set up as quietly as I could while he was talking (and me trying to listen). After the mug-a-guest we started to set up for closing ceremonies, I kept running errands and such then came back for a few seconds and was just about to run off again when I hear someone call my real name (a rare occurrence this weekend) I look around kinda dazed and Karine points at me and I see the magazine guy holding up one of the ballets and I realise I won something! How cool is that! So I picked out a CD, not having any idea what any of them are I just chose the cover I liked the look of best. Later Si explained what the anime was about and now that I listen to it, it does have son nice music so it was a good choice.
Somewhere in the Keith mug a guest Abe Wintersmith pulls me aside and asks me to help him set up the surprise for the staff. He had this planed for MONTHS. He had bought tones of chocolate and some wine as a thank you for the staff. I was nervous about it…I had no idea if I could keep the secret and get the staff up all at the same time. But we set up ok and I kept the key away from Karine as best I could. Then me and Ian tried to keep all the staff OUT of the con suite until the reveal time…it was hard! Everyone kept wanting to go up, and most of the time I could divert them by saying I could run up for them…but there were a few times they would not let me. I forget the first but then Tal needed to put some of his art away, then Karine needed her closing ceremonies notes and wasn't sure where they were… So each time I escorted them up and tried to look nonchalant as I stood IN FRONT of the door to the half of the con suite with the chocolate and wine. Boy was I nervous someone would see it! But NO ONE DID! *cackles!*
Closing ceremonies was prity good. Just before starting I had to go let Keith know we were about to start. The poor guy. Right after his mug-a-guest the DVD guys interviewed him for an hour or so. I found him in the restaurant trying desperately to get some food into himself and burning his tough trying. I felt horrible….but told him that we were starting…but to take his time! (he didn't of course, I felt so bad) so a bit after we started he came in and I popped down to show him to the stage and to a spot to sit up there. After Karine summed everything up Cindy gave out the art show awards, and Clan Olympics gave out their awards we then gave the 2005 staff a chance to pimp next years con in Las Vegas. When Closing ceremonies was finished Keith ran off for a bit and me and Liz tried to convince the rest of the staff that it was essential that we go up to the con suite for an emergency meeting! It took a lot of convincing but eventually they all agreed to. We ushered everyone up and I opened the doors to the other half "Come on in!" Karine was the first in I think and she was "Oh wow…" which was followed by the others, after the speechlessness (besides the wows) it was quiet for a minute and then someone said "So what was this emergency meeting about?".*laugh* Your looking at it. So Karine read Scott's (Abe) awesome letter and the staff thought it was totally awesome. And they thought it was a great idea to carry on as well. So I left them to it and popped back downstairs to make sure the signing session with Keith had started alright and boy was the line long! It was cool tho. And I let Abe know that the thank you gift was well received.
Just before Keith started the signing session tho he had be talking to some staff and I went to apologise again for interrupting his lunch. He spotted my necklace of porcupine quills and claws and leaned in for a REALLY close look (like inches from my neck) as he asked what it was. I was a bit surprised and didn't really respond to coherently...I'm not use to people being in my personal space and not use to a celeb doing that at the least! I told him what it was and then he asked where I got it. "Uhhhh…a trail I use to walk on?" I wanted to tell the full story but was too nervous and before I could collect my thoughts he was whisked off to the signing. I felt a bit silly.
After that I wasn't sure what to do with myself. It took a while for it to set in that "Hey the con is over." And I got a bit of a sad feeling. I really had a good time with the staff, they were all so awesome! I hung around watching fans get stuff signed then eventually wandered back to the con suite to relax. I later felt bad I didn't wait till Keith was done with the signatures to really thank him for everything, and apologise again. Eventually the staff slowly tricked back up to the con suite and we started the dead dog party. We ordered pizza, or rather the rest ordered pizza and I ordered a side of fries. We broke open the wine and started the drinking. It was VERY good wine! Ian had also been sent to buy us some other drinks earlier so Karine mixed up some stuff for us and the wine was gone in no time! We had a good time relaxing, it was nice to know it all went off alright. Granted there were some bumps but there was nothing really big that went wrong so we had much to be happy about.
Just before midnight we all started to wind down and some of us wandered off to bed. We tidied up a bit and vacated the con suite so Karine-mom could get some much needed sleep. I stopped in at Abe's room (as it was right beside mine) and watched them play Mario for a bit before I got too tired and headed to bed.
Photos from the day:
Monday August 9, 2004
I had to get up fairly early so I could get Patrick to drive me back to Karines, where my car was parked, before they headed off to La Rond. I took a speed shower and grabbed almost all of my stuff. (I realised later I forgot my shampoo and such but no biggy). We unloaded the art room stuff at Karines house then I said my goodbye and got in the car. I was kinda sad again, realising this was the end of the end. I loved hanging out with this gang and was sad to leave, but I really did need to get back. I REALLY couldn't afford another day off work. So I drove out of Montreal and back to my parents house, picked up some stuff, said Hi and Bye to mom then continued back to Milton. My adopted kitty was certainly glad to see me when I got home.
It was a great weekend! I thank the staff for being so very awesome and such a great effective staff. They all made me feel so welcome. I really had a good time being on the staff and I am very happy to have met them and to (if I may) call them friends. Thanks guys!
And thank you for all your hard work too.
I'm afraid those picture links don't work anymore. That's the trouble with having a two year backlog, I guess. Things get outta date.