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TopMan writes...

Before I begin on the rest of my journal, I'd like to mention something I forgot to mention before, which isn't really relevent to anything, but I feel it important to mention it as it was a situation I felt I'd handled a bit awkwardly. During the course of Friday day, I had inspected the artwork, and saying (pretty much to myself and Reusch) my usual jokingly begrudging comments about how I wish I could draw. Period. Well, Michael (it was Michael, wasn't it? My memory is really bad, all the time) must have overheard me talking about drawing, and approached me during the opening ceremonies, and said something to the extent of "I heard you talking about drawing. You draw? Do you ever take character requests?" I was really caught off guard by this, because I really am not the greatest of artists (this isn't just something I tell myself to put myself down... I guess I have potential, but that's all it is at the moment) and I figured with all the great artists in the con, it was strange that he'd ask me. So I managed to blurt out in the Sentence-Fragment-Caveman-Language "Um. No. I mean... Yes, but... I suck. You don't want to ask me." What I meant to say was that I was really flattered by the offer, and of course I'd have done it if he'd really wanted me to, because I always love when people ACTUALLY want me to do something (it makes me feel helpful ^^) but with the very few art skills I possess at the moment, I was very doubtful at being able to give him anything that would match his expectations, nor anything that he'd really deserve. So, if you're reading, Michael, or if anyone who knows him is, tell him I'm sorry if I was rude!

Well, with that being aside, on with the journal!

Saturday, August 7th

Reusch and I had to take our own car so that I could stash my Thailog costume in the trunk until Masquerade time, so she drove, as I don't know how yet. We got there JUST in time for the Clan Olympics Trivia Torture... that is, it would have been just in time if everyone else had been there on time, and of course not everyone was (I envy their sleeping in =P). So, as we were taking our seats, Nez and David gave us our Clan Flags (little bandana things to represent our clan; ours were green and yellow with bugs on them) and I was told to sit at the front. Then, for some reason the other three decided for me to come up and for David to go down.

AND THANK GOD FOR THAT! If I had had to endure the gross tortures... *shudders* The Trivia Torture was fun, although our team MUST have come in dead last for the event itself. We got I think 2 answers right (or maybe even only one), and when we DID pick a card we got Boned, so we ended up with no bonus points. It's not that we didn't know the answers... Nez and Reusch were very savvy in the regular trivia, and I knew most of the answers to the Gargoyles trivia (though most others did too, so I once again found myself a hindrance to the team). The problem was the way the answering team would be chosen: we had to write it down and then raise our hands. Our team, unfortunately, was not equipped with speed writers, so the only times we won the round were when nobody else knew the answers, and that was rare. There was also a question that we had gotten right, about phobias, but then one of the other people objected, because they said they had been diagnosed with the phobia and it was something else. So the question became moot and another question was drawn. It turns out that the dictionary definition was on our side, so we should have gotten the point for it, but we only found this out in hindsight. Besides, we don't really have a right to complain, because the Green Dragons were really unfairly treated in this game, as they were about to win and then were deprived the title. I don't blame Abe or MAui for it, and I'm not mad at anybody, but there definitely should have been more rules laid out for the Spirits to follow. Of course, nobody would have been able to anticipate that going in, so I guess it was Live And Learn. Surprisingly, even though we got no bonus points, we somehow were only bumped back down to third after the event, which I assume was because we ended up in third for the final standings, and THAT was all because of the fact that we were too anonymous for anyone to even notice us, let alone target us. Good and bad, I suppose.

After that was the one hour lunch break, during which time Reusch and I went up to the con suite to watch more Gargoyles fun. Hunter's Moon part 3 was playing, which was funny because I hadn't seen parts 1-2, and Reusch hadn't seen anything past Future Tense, but we watched it anyways, and Awakening came after that, which has some of our favourite lines... ("Oh Magus... what've ye done?!") We made a new friend there, Kaylee, who was working on her costume at the time, coincidentally dressing up as Princess Catherine (and looked beautiful and elegant all the while). So we sat, chatted, watched the show, and told her how awesome it'd be to say this line or that line when she was in costume. She never did though (tsk tsk!)

Afterwards we headed down to the SCA Weapons Demonstration, which was pretty cool, but not really my thing. The thing I'd have been more interested in, the Melee Fighting part of the demonstration, was going to be during Clan Olympics, which was a blast, so I had no grudges about missing the Melee.

Pictionary was, well, a blast! I've always loved pictionary, and we ended up coming in first for the event. Reusch, Nez, and David, yet again, are the ones to thank for this, because I only got one of the four topics we got right (One for the money, two for the show!). That in itself is surprising, as usually Reusch and I are able to read eachothers minds, and we often do excellently in this category. Still, this event put us back into second place!

The bonus round, however, dropped us back down AGAIN into third. It was a ball-picking game, where if you picked 3 of the same colour, you lost. We started off great! The deciding ball was yellow, and then I drew a blue ball to get us one point (I was the only one of the four teams to not draw the Bad Colour in the second turn), but then we drew two yellows right away, negating the point we'd earned and ending our turns.

We had some time before the Radio Play was supposed to commence, so Abe and MAui gave us boxes to decorate. While most of the other Clans were playing another round of Pictionary, we all jumped in and had a blast with our box! Reusch wrote the team name on the top of one side, where underneath I was drawing a picture of Riel, the Gathering mascot, heartily looking quite depressed and belting out the team motto (Groooooaaaan). Caption for the picture was "Riel loves us! So should you! ...please?" Nez and David were doing a fantastic job on the second side, where Nez drew a Gargoyle and we forced her to draw it holding a Tim Hortons bag (she was being avidly against Tim Hortons for no reason) and David drew a picture of the "Poutine Grande", I guess the Mexanadian official food, a poutine within a taco shell that disgusted everyone and delighted me to no extent. It was around this point that the Radio Play was gonna start, so Reusch and I went to go see it while Nez and David were gonna wander.

The Radio Play was FANTASTIC. I can't think of anyone who did a bad job, and the atmosphere was very lively and friendly, instead of each person just standing up, reading the line with the emotion of a robot, and then sitting down. Michael as Vinnie, *insert someone's name I unfortunately forgot, sorry!* as John Castaway, Eden as Margot, Stormy as Cagney (HEHEHEHEH!) and *insert ANOTHER name here, sorry!* as Macbeth were really the ones who made the show fantastic, but not a single line was delivered badly from anyone, and at the end I almost wanted to shout out "Encore" (to which the cast probably would have shouted out "NO!") ^^.

There was a lot of extra time here before the banquet, and obviously we didn't want to eat anything, so we met up again with Nez and David and went up to their hotel room to decorate the rest. They had bought several tacky little items, including a loon with propeller wings, weird coloured balloons, and stickers with traffic signs. So while David drew a picture of a Gargoyle shouting "You want Tomalés?!?!" (which, incidentally, is still stuck in my head) and Nez did some weird giant flower with the jumbo wax crayons she'd bought, Carolynn and I were having some immense fun with the stickers, putting little captions. We had a stop sign sentence that read "STOP beating our clan", a recycle-esque sign captionned "All around fun", and a no-parking cloud (very random). Then, I had a stroke of genius, or stupidity. I took the speed signs (which, for some reason, ALL had the number 80) and put them sideways, so they'd make a little face. I then dubbed it "The Official Groaning Emoticon". We all got a kick out of this, so we decided that we really WOULD make it our official emoticon.

It was around this time the banquet would be starting, so we said goodbye to Nez and David yet again, and headed down. At first we felt foolish, because we were sitting at a table alone... then Flanker came along, and we convinced him to sit with us, yay! Then he convinced Sarah, he/we convinced Kaylee, and we convinced Annie and Catherine to sit at our table. We now had a full table (since we were asked to keep one spot open for a Guest Raffle, heh) and we couldn't have asked for better tablemates. The conversations were fun, and Annie and Catherine irritated Reusch and I to hell with a weird rearranging game that ended up having a surprise twist to winning, which they refused to tell us until much later. Reusch and I started doing a little tap dance routine with our silverware, we found that the hotel had WAY too much time, as their vegetables were cut into Stars of David and U.S. states, and *most* of our table were unanimous that the food wasn't bad, but wasn't at all to our tastes. The shrimp was ok, although I can't say I'm one for avocado sauce, the salad seemed a little bland (but then I'm just used to creamy caesar), the potatoes and vegetables were good, and the quail was not bad, though none of us were big on the stuffing... so we all sort of carved it out and just ate the bird. When desserts came, only one at our table (Flanker) got the chocolate, but I had decided several months in advance that I HAD to get the chocolate dessert, so I did what I do best, be annoying, and asked the waiter if he could possibly substitute it. He did, and I ate some of the best cake I've ever had. Reusch got stuck with the fruit thing, but she didn't like the cake much when she tried it anyway, so I guess she was kind of boned there.

KEITH DAVID CAME! It was very sudden, and suddenly we were just all clapping as he came into the room. The poor man had to answer questions as he ate, but I think he actually enjoyed the attention, at least partly. The room would have been quiet enough to hear a pin drop, as we were so attentive to his words... if it hadn't been for the GodAwful Karaoke (TM) next door, which, at least for us near the back, and with my semi-bad hearing, completely drowned out his low voice. Also, unfortunately, I had to leave early to start applying my blue face makeup and putting on my costume, which also meant I missed his Dead Horse comment =( Ah well.

The putting on of the costume took more than an hour. The horns I'd bought (the liquid adhesive kind) refused to stick to my head, so 15 dollars were wasted. One really exciting thing though was that as I was trying to apply the horns (and at this point I was half blue, half skin-coloured) who should walk into the bathroom but Keith David!!! After going to the bathroom, he came to the sink where I was, and as he was washing his hands he asked me if I needed help. I explained to him how the glue would stick the horns on but that it was feeble and wasn't drying well, and he asked to take a look at it, and gave me a bit of advice. I thanked him profusely, and though they still didn't work (it must have been something to do with the glue) I was glad that I'd wasted the 15 dollars on the horns, just so that I could get Keith David talking to me ^^. My ears weren't even visible either, so I didn't bother with them, so another 10 dollars wasted. I went through a whole tube of the blue stuff, but I had bought two, so no worries. Unfortunately it was rubbing off everywhere, so parts of my costume were unintentionally blue, while my fingers weren't quite blue enough. And of course, once I put the feet on, the evil feet that took days to create, they immediately began to fall apart. I'd brought a glue gun, but had nowhere I knew of to plug it in, and with my fake nails and all I wouldn't have been in any condition to use it, so I was stuck. Reusch helped with some scotch tape I'd brought, but as you know, that doesn't work well on fabric, so I had to walk EXTREMELY carefully.

Because I was so preoccupied with the falling apart of my costume, and adding to that it was my first Masquerade and I didn't know what to do, I was very nervous, and must have been on the stage for a total of what, 5 seconds? I waved weakly and left, period. Luckily, my shoes held out, coincidentally, until the moment I left the auditorium, where they immediately fell apart, so that was a plus. It's a bit of a shame, since the costume took a lot of time and money to make, that it ended up falling apart and being such a "failure"... which is to say, I didn't win any awards. I know, I know, how egotistical of me, because it was my first con and it was a bit of a thrown together costume and it didn't really deserve an award, but I was still hoping, you know? Anyways, everyone who did win certainly deserved it (*ahem* Korul, anyone?), and even those who didn't, still had kickass costumes. I don't want to mention any here, because I know I'll leave someone out who really deserves a mention, but I will say that whoever dressed up as Banshee did a really great job, and I think it's a bit odd that she wasn't mentioned in most people's con journals, because it really was an A+ costume.... everyone's was. Congratulations everyone! On a side note, I think one of the things that has made me so bitter about my costume was that I didn't end up getting a ribbon. And I'm not talking about a Prize ribbon, but the ones that were handed out to all the participants afterwards. Obviously, it wasn't intentional: They only had so many, I was the person on the far left, therefore the last in the row, and SOMEBODY would have not gotten a ribbon even if it wasn't me, but still, it made me feel a bit rejected nonetheless. It cheered me up a bit that a lot of people approached me afterwards asking me to pose for pictures, and a couple of people complimented me on my costume, so maybe it wasn't as bad as I'm thinking it was, but definitely, next time I'll make a human costume, as it's less time, less money, less chance of falling apart, and therefore less nervousness when presenting. I have an idea of what to dress up as, but I'm not going to say anything yet, in case it falls through. Still, I had a great time, and at least I have several pictures to boast, including one with Keith David, the guy who actually DID Thailog's voice. That's reward in itself. And this paragraph turned out to be a big egotistical rant, so I'm gonna stop now and move on.

Reusch and I were originally gonna enter the Karaoke contest, but neither of us were up for singing that night, and I was already feeling a bit down because of the unfortunate happenings of the costume, and I'm self-conscious enough about my singing as it is, so we ended up leaving after that. I wish I hadn't, as there were apparently some great moments that I missed, but luckily, most were taped and put on S8.org, so I got to see them! Thanks to Gore for that! So we went home, and slept.

Sunday, August 8th

After we arrived at the hotel (via my dad, again), we went up to join the Hunter's Moon Dash, a.k.a. Scavenger's Hunt. Nez and David had a permanent marker, and immediately on our arrival put an 80 on our hands. It was awesome! They actually liked my joke ^^ Then we decided to put them all together, and David spoofed the Wonder Twins of Superfriends "fame" by saying "Wonder-groan powers unite!" and we all groaned, it was awesome. Anyways, scavenger hunt. Reusch and I already knew that we'd lost. Scavenger hunts are death to us, as we SUCK at finding anything, and have no imagination, but we did our best anyways. We actually managed to find some stuff, but the problem was we were usually the last to procure them. I did manage to find a DISGUSTING KFC sandwich in the parking lot (still in the wrapping, thank god) that must have been from weeks ago, and that counted as A Bird, Any Bird, but that was about the only thing I contributed that wasn't exceedingly late. So yeah, definitely lost, but still had a good time.

*Side bar here: I'd decided to wear my Team Bandana a different way each day, and I ended up with a bib, a loincloth, and a sort of Old Lady Shawl thing that goes over the hair, but I got no pictures of that, sadly*

Now we had some time before anything was going to start, so we Mexanadians were going out to lunch (we'd finally convinced Nez to try Tim Hortons). Along the way, we met up with a bunch of people, although unfortunately the only name I caught from the group is White, and I haven't been able to contact her since in order to find out who else was there (if anyone has White's contact information, I'd really appreciate it ^^) It was awesome, we practically took over the Tim Hortons. We took 3 tables and shoved them together, and we were carrying our box and everything, it was an insanely bizarre picture. We got to talk a lot about random things, and I got to know some more people (even though I never learned their names) and I had a great time.

What was SUPPOSED to happen was that we would spend 5 or 10 minutes looking in the art galleries, and then we'd head off to a panel. I'd wanted to go to all three of the panels featured in this spot, but Reusch had decided she'd be most interested in the Colouring seminar, so we were going to go there. However, with buying the PGA, getting it signed, voting for the art contest, buying random Gargoyles trading cards, and the like, we ended up being too late to go to any panels. So we attended the Keith David Mug-A-Guest, which was fascinating. I never knew that Keith David once played Moufassa in the Lion King Broadway, I'll have to talk to him about that if I ever get into a conversation with him.

After the Mug A Guest was closing ceremonies, which had all the energy of a funeral durge. We were all tired from the con, and sad that it was over. Still, the closing ceremonies were fun! Karine started off in french, which I'm now happy I understand, and while I don't remember everything, I remember the first thing she said was "I've lost ALL my english!" That got chuckles from all us french people, and weird stares from the others. The artists got their awards (the art was AWESOME this year!) the Clan Olympics winners were announced (we tied for third with Clan Challanged part Duex, which means we were never technically under third place ^^ GROOOOOAAAAAAN!) Canadian Body Massage was in second (congrats to Flanker and all his temps!) and Arcadian International came in first and won snazzy t-shirts, so congrats to you guys! The olympics were a blast, and I can't wait to participate again. Las Vegas presented again, and I REALLY wanna go, I hope my parents change their minds. I pre-regged for 20$, so at least I can contribute, if I don't end up going.

As I was waiting in line to get Keith's autograph, I signed up for Laser Quest, and then, when I got to the front of the line, I said to him "Mind if I be greedy and ask for two things signed?" He just laughed and said "Of course not". So I got him to sign a Goliath trading card, and the programme. On the programme he wrote "To my good buddy Thailog- All the best. Love Keith David". He didn't instantly forget me, and took note of my costume, so I was very happy about that! That man is such a great guy.

Laser Quest was awesome! Reusch wasn't there for it, so I hung out with Jade Griffin a bit, and talked with Wolffer a lot (he was a really big sweetie and offered to drive me home, because I insisted on taking home the Mexanadians box). I, of course, sucked at the Laser games, and of course I was picked as King for the team (Damn you computer! Don't pick me!!!!) but it was an awesome time. One highlight was when we all walked in, someone happened to look up, saw Gargoyles perched on the ceiling, and we all started cheering. Another was the staff there, who seemed elated to have such weird people here (I think the guy at the counter actually took a picture of the group making Gargoyle faces). They were just fantastic people, and it was a great night. Wolffer and Viv and I didn't end up staying for supper, as we weren't very hungry, so we left after the games.

Monday, August 9th

I'm running out of time to write this, so I've gotta be brief, and only mention the highlights. One of the best parts of the day was the Metro ride, because someone ended up starting to say the Goliath monologue from the credits, and of course we all joined in, and we had a bunch of people staring at us. After the metro came the shuttlebus, which was a quick ride to LaRonde. We started off in big groups, then broke off into smaller ones after lunch. Luckily, before that we got a picture of Kyffin and I perched on top of posts in Gargoyles positions. Chyna Rose, Sarah, Reusch and I stayed together for the day, singing showtunes from Rent and going on the Monster, the Ovni, the Vampire, and the Cobra. Unfortunately the lines were too long for anything else, and we left at 5 due to the heat and a bunch of other people leaving at the same time, but it was still fun.

That ended the Gathering, sadly. I'm really hoping my parents will change their position so I can go to next year's at Las Vegas. The people are so friendly, it wasn't at all what I was expecting. Thank you all for making a n00b feel so welcome ^^

-Top Man

Greg responds...

Did you make it to Vegas? What about Valencia? We're still here! Hope you are too!

Response recorded on August 15, 2006