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..well.. this being my first convention, I'm now posting my first con journal. I hope I'm doing this right..
First of all it was just a little too ironic and serendipitous that the convention happened to be in the same general location as my WestGate resorts vacation package.. I had been offered this package about two years prior and kept not knowing exactly when I wanted to use it.. The location was chosen but the dates had not been. When I found out about the Gathering being in Pigeon Forge I then knew what dates I'd want to use.
...Although... I really didn't like WestGate at all... blah.. I still had a pretty good time overall.
Thursday June 21.
It took us only 5 hours to drive in from Cincinnati.. I was going on no sleep because I was up all night the night before with severe nausea ~ My vice and my Kryptonite since my gal bladder came out. We checked in at 4, did a little shopping and crashed around 9 or 10pm.
Friday June 22nd.
So this was it..Denny's for breakfast at 10. Then we found the hotel which was about a 15 minute drive [5 if there wasn't any traffic...] from WestGate and got checked in. Then spent a good while just browsing over the dealer's tables and artwork. Very nice. Made me wish I had followed through and posted some art of my own. The opening ceremonies weren't quite what I expected but it was nice. My poor foot fell asleep because we were all on the floor in order to see the TV. I can't figure out how to sit Indian style without that happening. Then my friend had mini golf with Kirin who was sadly unable to attend due to being a mother and all. But mini golf was kinda cool... I actually got to play with them even though I was not signed up because Kirin did not make it.
Greg and Tom's group were finished before us, and I was a little surprised they waited till we got done as well. I didn't actually realise the scores were going to be tallied up for later. I lost. hehe.. our whole group did pretty bad.
Then we walked to Hukk Fin's Catfish Grill.. I had no idea we were doing that afterward I would have saved my appetite.. I wasn't thrilled about the location because I'm not a big sea food fan.. but they had fried shrimp and my personal favorite.. Fried Pickles!! YUM!
AND I got to sit near Greg and Susan so that was totally awesome. It was just cool as hell to be able to hang out with him! watching the show when it first came out was the most important part of my day when I was younger and now over ten years later I got to meet the man responsible. or at least mostly responsible.
And Tom Adcox is such a funny guy to be around. Such a wonderful personality, and very entertaining. He found a funny visor hat in the gift shop in the restaurant and walked over to our end of the table with it. I didn't catch all of what he said but it was some funny stuff. One of those Polaroid moments and my camera never came out of it's bag. It's so cool his voice really does sound like that! I wish I could have hung out with him a little more, maybe for the mug-a-guest but that was happening at the same time as the physiology panel which I surely did not want to miss.
Anywho.. as we walked back to the hotel there were alot of sports cars in a parking lot near the street. I noticed a dodge stealth and drooled.. then.. I noticed a second.. a third..at least 6 total. No one really noticed as I ran to my bud to exclaim all excitedly that there were at least 6 dodge stealth's sitting within 5 feet of each other. They went into the hotel. we got in my car and went back to our cabin and crashed.
Saturday June 23'rd.
Today we got up around 10 or 11 and went to Red Rooster for MORE pancakes. Afterwards we headed to the hotel and again went upstairs to the dealer's room and art show. There was more artwork to see this time. Then it was time for Mug-a-Guest with Greg. That was interesting but there were alot of questions I either didn't ask or forgot to ask. I missed out on the Radio play casting and rehearsals and the Radio play itself which was a huge bummer.. I didn't even know what it was otherwise I would have tried to be there for that. We left for a few hours and visited Cades Cove which was about an hour away.. it was a waist of time and gas. It wasn't what we expected though it was kinda pretty.
We came back in time for the Blue Mug deal which was certainly interesting if not entertaining. Then my stupid stomach started flaring up again so we didn't get to stay for the whole thing. We needed to get to sleep anyway.
Sunday June 24th.
Today started with a mandatory 90 minute spiel and tour at the WestGate which I was not interested in but if I didn't go I'd be hit with a $100 charge for every night I was there. When they showed me the 1 bedrooms that timeshare owners got I was thoroughly pissed. So much nicer than the crap hole we got at the top of the hill.. And it caused us to miss out on the open story reading.
so.. we got to the hotel in time for the physiology panel and hung around for the Bad Guy's panel after that. Then there was some time to kill before the banquet. Greg was downstairs talking to a fellow in the lobby. I sat down on the couch across from them hoping for a chance to share some thoughts and ideas I had as well as other questions I had either forgotten to ask or was too self conscious to ask. But it seemed to be a bit of an important discussion between him and the other guy so I just sat back and half listened half meditated on things. There's always next year lol.
Then it was time for the banquet. I was impressed the food was good. The mashed potatoes were the best! When we arrived most of the tables were taken. My friend and I sat down at one that was all empty near the front of the room. Some cool people sat with us, including Lynati. I was happy to meet her finally I'v seen some of her things on deviantart. Luck was on our side in a way, they decided to do a table at a time for the buffet and our table was first to go following Greg, Tom and the staff. I'm still kind of surprised that one of the front tables was empty.. I'd have thought most people would want to be up close to where Greg was so they could hear better. I guess most of them figured being closer to the buffet would grant them a better spot in line HAHAHA!
I left the banquet Q&A a little early to get my camera's battery charger and Nik's Laptop. Nik would be my friend but I'm tired of saying 'my friend' all of the time. Got back in time for the Masquerade wishing like mad I had been able to make the costume I thought about making...well maybe next year. There were some great costumes, got some pictures. They handed out awards for the best costumes in different categories then played music for the ball. At this point I was getting very detached from it all and started to feel some anxiety and depression setting in. I took Nik's laptop back to the car and returned not sure what I would do next.. A trip to the bathroom to get away from the crowd for a bit seemed like a good plan. Nik wasn't having any trouble hanging out with all the new people anyway.
So I went and found someones phone in there. Kirin happened to be in there as well but she sat down on the bench to give Samuel a little meal of his own before exiting so a conversation began between us. I had finished washing my hands and she asked if this was my first convention. The lost phone was gonna be stuck on the sink before returning to it's owner for a while lol.
And what a blessing it turned out to be.. It just seemed ironic that the timing happened the way it did, I wasn't in the best shape when I entered the bathroom. I felt much better when I left. We talked about artwork, her artwork, her plans, what she was doing and had been doing and will be doing.. I talked about some of my art blocks and troubles and belly aching and she shared some advice and thoughts on the matter. And Samuel was so well behaved through it all just suckling away. Then Niki/Y2Hecate entered asking about a phone and my hand went up before she could completely get the words out. So the phone found it's owner lol. Then we left and I met back up with Nik and we caught up on things and returned to our little crappy cabin for another nights sleep.
Monday June 25th.
This was our check out day for WestGate and I was happy to leave. I dropped Nik off at the hotel while I went down the street to check in at Shular Inn for one night. I unloaded some stuff, fixed my hair, stopped at Walgreens for some sweet vitamin water and a zebra cake then met up with Nik at the convention in time for the closing ceremonies. I had this idea to write down the websites on my con shirt with a sharpie.. I could only remember the Gathering site so I put that one on the front near the bottom. I don't know if Greg noticed it or not.
After the Closing announcements, they decided on doing Lazertag since Dollywood was rained out. I got Greg to sign the back of my shirt which was cool. I'm still kicking myself for having forgotten my DVD's. I even picked them up while packing then put them down because all the episodes are on Nik's laptop so I didn't think I'd need them. I'm such a dumba**!
Then we went to lazertag.. I was hoping to be in Greg's group but he got sucked into another game of air hockey. I wanted to ask him to play but I heard him complaining about his shoulder so I figured it would be an instant no, or just a bad idea anyway.. then later he started playing with someone else and I felt silly for having passed up the idea. It was time for our team to play anyway though.
Bot what a grungy nasty sweaty moldy old locker room smell that was back there.
.. we eventually started playing and I wasn't doing so grate at first. Then I found one of the sniper points and started to really have a blast. I so enjoy catching people off guard and being able to duck down where they can't get me too easily. It was loads of fun and as it turned out I was first place. ...some might call that cheating but.. what can I say.. I like being the sniper type.. close range combat was never my style when it came to lazertag. *shrug*..
After that they all decided to go walk down the street ..for ice cream I thought.. We decided to say our goodbyes and Greg gave us both a hug which surprised me but it was really cool. Very nice man!!!
We drove around for at least 45 minutes looking for a place to eat.. we saw the group walking lol.. We settled on Ruby Tuesdays and I got more shrimp and no cocktail sauce! They decided to stop carrying it.. what a crock. As we left to return to the entertainment and gift shops we again saw the group walking this time back to the hotel. It was just kinda funny. We did some go carts and some browsing and we did this mining thing which was really cool. Then we went to the hotel and crashed.
Tuesday June 26'th. We were late checking out but we had a great time.. we were even later getting on the road we wanted to go horse back riding but we got rained out. We ate at Denny's again and did some last minute shopping. I got a nice cool new katana and some great shirts for my parents who thoroughly enjoyed them. We got on the road finally around 5 and made it home by around 9:30.
We reminisced about the convention on the way back and I asked Nik if anyone asked him about me or said anything about me. he asked me what I meant and I said about my 'intense expression'.. Yes I do get pestered about this sort of thing all the time so I tend to ask him about it when around new people. The responses tend to amuse or interest me.
Apparently Greg had mentioned it so I was wishing I could have been a fly on the wall for that one. ..and apparently when people say I look intense.. they mean I look mad or mean.. but that's also no surprise to me as I get it all the time. *shrugs*
There is a reason for it..there are several. I am aware of them.. But that's a rant for another time.
I enjoyed the Gathering and look forward to next year.. now if someone could just please invent a miracle potion beyond the strength and effectiveness of Pepto and Emetrol so I could enjoy an evening sans-stomach upsets.. I'd be ever so grateful ;)-
I don't remember mentioning your expression to Nik, but then the Gathering weekends or always something of a blur to me...
I'm glad you had fun though. Hope to see you in Chicago next year.