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kathy writes...

Con Journal - G2005 The Compressed Edition

I'm back. Home again just long enough to switch suitcases, do some laundry and water the plants. My Gathering went something like this...

Wednesday (If it's 4:00 a.m. it must be ORBITZ)
Thanks for the wake up call, Customer Service. But my flight isn't until 7:00 and I really (edited)ted to sleep until 5. Oh well. Grab the bag, feed the pets and away I went. One minor travel delay meant that instead of arriving in Vegas way before everyone else, I landed at the Las Vegas airport in time to shuttle over to the hotel with Mandi and Jenn my roommates. Yay for travel bungles that actually work out!

We arrived at the hotel after a short shuttle ride. And, as expected, there's a great big stack of boxes waiting for me. We check in, the nice men at the Bell Desk deliver all the convention stuff promptly and the three of us head downstairs to get some lunch and catch up.

Speaking of catching up. My biggest regret this very short weekend was the amount of catching up I didn't get to do. Bad timing, stuff to do, failing synaptic responses rendering me incapable of speech, all contributed to not nearly enough of what usually highlights my Gatherings - the chance to really sit down and talk to people about everything and nothing. But to Ellen, Seth, Lanny, Hudson, Greg B. and whoever I'm unintentionally blanking on that I did get to see this year - Thank you. And to Leo, a big hug and many thanks for the cd.

After lunch, there's convention stuff to do. Boxes to open, tee shirts to fold etc. We get the errands done and decide to see a show. Not a lot of same day tickets left, but we end up with tickets for "V" "THE ULTIMATE VARIETY SHOW" (second set of quotes are mine). Actually, it was pretty amazing. V is produced by the folks at Cirque d' Solei but isn't nearly as expensive (or sold out) it's a rotating group of performers and supposedly no two shows are exactly the same. We saw a singer with an incredible set of pipes, a drummer in a climbing harness who played a wall mounted kit, a really good juggler, a pair of Russian strongmen/acrobats/contortionists - sort of hard to put a label to, but it's the sort of thing that Cirque in all its incarnation is famous for. There was a pair of dancing illusionists and an impressionist who must have been raised on long hours of the "Gong Show" (you really had to be there, but the act was amazing in a trainwreck kind of way) and finally the host - a guy who told incredibly bad jokes ("When I first came to Vegas my luck was horrible. I lost everything, had to sell my clothes, my car. (beat) Boy was Avis (edited)ed.") He was also Mr. Memory telling the audience where they lived by their zip codes. Then after he'd interacted with more than a dozen people reeling their list of numbers and cities off one after the other.

And of course, there was audience participation. A guy got a group of men up on stage, put them into rubber masks and made them do horribly silly things to the delight of the audience. It was, all in all, a pretty good show.

After the show, there was dinner at Lombardi's an Italian restaurant and shopping in the Aladdin's faux foreign bazar. If it hadn't been for some bad news from home, it would have been a wonderfully relaxing evening. (Safe travels, Serena the cat, you are missed.)

Thursday (A bad dress rehersal means a great show)
Thursday the rest of the con staff gathered from all and sundry points. We had a TERRIFIC group this year and it was a joy to work with each and every one of my fellow staffers. Chris, Lanny, Lynati, Aaron, Mara, Seth, Winterwolf, Dreamie, Hudson, Carol and Abe, without which The Strip would have been a shadow of itself, you all ROCK. Thank you.

Any how, the usual pre-con chaos ensued. But, it was good, productive chaos and stuff got done. 'Course that doesn't mean it wasn't slightly nerve wracking. And then of course, there was Thom and Greg stuck in Ontario (California, not Canada) who missed out on Tournament of Kings, our pre-convention staff and guest dinner.

TOK was huge fun. Our block of tickets was in the DRAGON section, which means (for those who have never gone to one of these medieval themed dinner shows) we got to root for the bad guys. And you know, sometimes it's good to be bad. Sadly, the show was rigged and King Christopher the blandly handsome prevailed over Mordred and the Black Knight.

The group split up after that. Most of the attendees headed back to the hotel to either get the illusive "good night's sleep" or to do more last minute convention prep. I ended up in the wrong car (Chris's) and went for a tour of some of the sites of Vegas.

Bellagio, Luxor, New York, New York... I finally figured out what was throwing me about the Las Vegas hotels. All those famous places re-created, but the scale is off. And of course, they're all juxpositioned against one another in unlikely combinations. It's like being on a steroid enhanced version of the Universal Studios backlot. Cool, but weird.

Anyway, we saw the dancing fountains of Bellagio and the chocolate fountain, the indoor gardens and the fish tank behind the registration desk, missed the Sirens and Pirate battle, but did take in the Volcano erruption before heading back to the hotel.

That of course, began the dreaded search for my cell phone which began appropriately enough, in the Consuite. I was so hoping I'd left it on the table that despite the fact that Greg W. had finally arrived, I waited until I'd torn through everything on the conference table before saying a proper hello. (I'm sorry!)

Cell phones are leashes that tie you to... everyone really. But like every other user of the dread device, I've become dependent and not having it, especially during con weekend was a notion too awful to contemplate.

Never did find the blasted thing, despite retracing steps, reporting it missing in two hotels and the shuttle service. If anyone found a blue Nokia older model and is still hanging on to it - drop me a line, will you?

Anyway, Greg and the rest of the consuite contingent were talking comic books, graphic novels and the like. I stayed to listen for a while but soon it was time to call it a night (morning?) and we all went to bed.

Friday (Places people, it's SHOWTIME!)
Staff meeting, pre con last minute stuff to do and we still had registration running at five after 10:00. Yay team. Thing were off and running. The Dealers Hall and Art Show were assembled, staffed and stocked dispite a technical problem with the drill. There were blessed few problems with reg packet distributions and (eventually) we even got the bulk of the items for the silent auction out for display.

In the midst of much running around, I managed to get in a little shopping myself, acquiring a new cel of Goliath, a nice ensemble pencil sketch and a leather belt.

Good merchandise was had this year. Many thanks to Alan for coordinating the hall. And thank you - Van Eaton Gallery, Designs by Kate, Knightscross Leatherworks and all of our other participants for providing such spiffy stuff and such good company. (I spent several shifts behind the G2005 staff table selling tee shirts, anthologies and calendars and everyone was just terrific looking out for each other and generally keeping the atmosphere lively.)

(Oh! and there was AMAZING flourless chocolate cake and ice cream brought over from the Con Virgin 101 panel. Yum is an pale word choice.)

Eventually though, the Dealers Room and Registration closed for the day. We secured everything that needed securing and it was off to Opening Ceremonies!!

New dvds! New comics! New material from Greg! And to top it off - Thom Adcox's pants! What more could a couple of hundred eager fans (edited)t?

Dinner maybe. Which is where we were off to next. The seafood place was busy, but the Italian one wasn't. Plus we had coupons! Excellent food, good company, leftover eggplant parmesean for breakfast. It worked for me!

Sadly though, a tradition was broken. No frantic jog walk through a new city to make it in time for the Blue Mug. Thom got lost and was late even though it was just up the escalator and around a couple of corners, but that wasn't really quite the same.

The mug wasn't really "blue" this year. Maybe a light skyish color. Many people were really more interested in the impending comic and Greg tried hard not to scoop himself since that was the focal point of the Slave Labor/Creature Comics panel the following day.

After the Mug, it was time for pie! And after that, the group called it a night (morning).

Saturday (We're Swinging Now!)

Cold Eggplant might not be the breakfast of champions, but it did hit the spot. After which there was con stuff to do (silent auction set up) and then a panel to present.

Yep, a panel. With Ellen and Revel to keep things anchored, we talked about writing Action Scenes until we were kicked out of the room. It went great! The audience was engaged and interested and for the first time since I got roped into doing these things I felt completely at ease. Thank you Ellen for organizing my rambles into a coherent outline and Revel for providing really excellent talking points during the discussion.

Then there was cake! Scott (Brother Abe) bakes. Well. Very excellent chocolate goodness. And I never got the chance to thank him properly. Abe, if you're reading this. Mucho appreciado.

More con stuff. Registration table. Dealers room. Moved stuff that was stored in my room into the con suite during the radio play auditions. Fire alarm went off due to an over enthusistic cook. Everyone remembered the 3rd grade drills and exited the hotel through the stairwells in a quiet and orderly fashion, milling around the alley behind the hotel until we got an all clear. I was impressed.

The exact sequence of afternoon events after that is all kind of blurry. I do recall closing the Dealers Room for the Slave Labor/Creature Comics panel so that everyone could attend.

Got there a bit late. See above. But what I did hear was worth it. As usual grass roots participation is a must for project success. Spread the word.

After the panel I went back to the Dealers Hall to do cashier prep for the silent auction lots that sold Saturday and to explain the system to the rest of the crew.

I checked out of the hotel. Then Lanny and I went to dinner,talked about deep and profound things and generally made ourselves late to the poker tournament so I had no idea exactly what was happening during the game itself having not read the rules to Texas Hold'm. But everyone seemed like they were having a good time and the pot moved back and forth between Gore, Greg, Chris and even Thom. (I think Kai had busted by then) before Chris eventually took all.

Everyone trooped down the hall for ice cream. I said my goodbyes and I was airport bound.

Carol, everything was perfect. You dropped me off in exactly the right spot. I got through check in, slogged across the terminal, cleared security and arrived at my gate five minutes before they called my section number.

I wondered briefly what I was going to do on my way home. (I'd read my book and it was too cramped to knit properly). Two minutes after take off they killed the lights and I didn't wake up until we were in approach to Charlotte. Guess I was tired after all.

Sadly, the Charlotte airport doesn't have those comfy rocking chairs in the waiting area where you actually need them. Three cold, uncomfortable hours later, I was headed on my final leg home, and thus ended (for me anyway) the 2005 Gathering of the Gargoyles.

Love and many thanks to all,


Greg responds...


That was a great read. Brings back memories.

Now that we've started 2005 conjournals, I want to extend a blanket apology in advance to all who posted them here.

Posting ConJournals here was and is very important vis-a-vis the powers that be. But in the interest of trying to catch up on ASK GREG, I'm going to keep my responses to a minimum, so that I can race through the year-and-a-half-old journals and get back to answering questions.

Thanks for understanding!

Response recorded on November 30, 2006