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Time to journal.
As usual, let me open with a few caveats, apologies, etc.
I'll try to be as complete as possible, but inevitably I may forget a few names or forget to include a few people or events. My apologies. Please don't feel slighted. The con for me is always a great time, but also a whirlwind of people. With few exceptions, I only manage a few minutes with everyone. Sometimes it takes me two or three years to really nail a name to a face. (The fact that many of you have multiple names doesn't help either.)
I'd also like to mention a few of the people I didn't see, people I hope to see next year. Former con-chairs like Jubes and Batya and especially Mae Lee. People who made an impression, like Spike and Vanessa and many, many others. I'd like to ask all of you who did attend and/or all of you who are reading this now to reach out to fans who have wandered. As many of you know (and as Friday's G-Journal will soon make clear) this is really a make-or-break year for the series. We need to re-energize, rejuvenate and REAWAKEN the fandom. Especially those who have drifted away. We need everyone!
Speaking of which, here's ANOTHER reminder to post your GATHERING JOURNALS here at ASK GREG. Cut & Paste. If necessary, enter them a con-day at a time as I'm doing. If you're reading this and you know of people who attended the convention who haven't yet posted their journal, get on their cases. I think we've got about a dozen so far. I appreciate them all, but that's NOT nearly enough. We had 200 people attend the con. If we can't get at least 100 journals here at ASK GREG, I'm going to be VERY disappointed.
Finally, as most of you know, my diaries tend to center around food. Basically, I love to eat, and it's something I really have a talent for. I love great food and horrible junk. And I'm often obssessive about the subject. Strangely, or perhaps not-so, my memories of this adventure do NOT revolve around food. In part, because I didn't get to eat as often as usual. Just not enough time. In part, because I had such a blast just spending time with all of you. Thanks.
ANYWAY, enough preamble. Let's get gathering.
The week before the Gathering had been extremely eventful. Good things and bad things were happening to my family, especially my siblings. For more info on both check out the very well-written websites of Robyn Weisman...
and/or Jon Weisman...
Over at my house, things were almost as crazy. We had taken out a loan to paint the exterior of our house. Right after we were financially committed to that endeavor, our upstairs bathroom cracked its shower pan, creating (ultimately) a hole in the ceiling of our entry hall. We have had to totally demolish that bathroom in order to repair it, which caused further damage to our bedroom, living room and powder room. Even our doorbell has stopped working.
Plus, I got a stye in my eye. For a couple of days, it was swollen up, and I thought: "YAY, MY DISFIGUREMENT CAN BE IMMORTALIZED FOREVER ON THE DVD!" Fortunately, it faded by Thursday and was all but gone by Friday.
Also, there was that ladder thing. How many Gargoyles-Creators does it take to screw in a light bulb? I was up on a ladder changing a ceiling bulb. I had the old bulb out and in hand, when the ladder (which is missing three out of four rubber feet) tipped me off. I landed on the hand holding the lightbulb, which <SHATTERED> on the brick floor. Blood and glass everywhere. The wounds, such as they were, turned out to be very superficial once they were cleaned off and the imbedded glass was tweezered out. I was wrapped in gauze for a night and my daughter took to calling me "Daddy Mummy" or "Dummy" for short. Smart kid. Anyway, by the next day, I was down to two band-aids. By Thursday, the puncture wounds were barely noticable.
More seriously, there's Norman, our ten-year-old Bassett Hound. Earlier this year, Norman was stricken with a life-threatening ear infection. We tried multiple courses of anti-biotics (including some human versions). Nothing worked. Finally we had to have his ear canal surgically removed. Then last month, the other ear got infected. It soon became clear that we were going to have to have his remaining ear canal removed, rendering him completely deaf. It was very upsetting to all of us, and I felt horrible that I was going to be out of town during the surgery. Of course, I had made a commitment, and to be honest I really didn't want to miss the Gathering.
And the fact was, I was already planning to miss a portion of it. My daughter's birthday is August 8th, 1994. I wasn't going to miss her tenth birthday, which meant I'd be leaving VERY early on Sunday morning in order to make it home in time for her birthday dinner. That meant that I was going to have to stuff all my G2004 fun into a few short days.
So, Thursday morning I got up at 7am, reminding myself that I couldn't use my own demolished bathroom. I showered in the kids' bathroom, and made my way downstairs. I had been vaguely Atkinsing for the last three weeks and had in fact lost about eleven pounds. But the diet was done for the duration. I had Cereal and banana.
I was picked up at the house at 9:30 am. The trip to the airport was uneventful. Got to LAX and got through all the various lines without incident. Then I bought a loaf of sourdough bread and ATE the entire thing. Also had a Three Musketeers bar and a bottled water. Obviously, I was craving carbs and sugar.
Aboard the plane, I began to read "I DREAMED I MARRIED PERRY MASON" by Susan Kandell. This is a very well-written murder mystery by a friend of ours. The protagonist is Cece Caruso, a biographer who stumbles onto two murders (one old, one new) while researching the life of Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of Perry Mason. I definitely recommend it.
On the plane, I had Tomato Juice and toyed with my meal: beef, biscuits, cole slaw, rice and a roll.
The movie was "Day After Tomorrow" and even though it was free, I couldn't bring myself to watch it. Though I did get curious about how it would end -- about what could possibly be considered a coda for it, so I ear-phoned up for the last ten minutes or so. Uggh.
The flight, like the whole trip, was easy. Customs in Montreal was a long line, but had the advantage of non-stop movement, which at least makes the wait FEEL more palatable.
Patrick, Jen & Rob were waiting for me. I was already in a good mood, but I immediately felt better. Now, the Gathering had really begun for me.
We had a completely uneventful ride to the Delta Centre-Ville (our G2004 Hotel). In the lobby, I saw Carol, Kathy & Kelly. Mandi, I think? Abram. A Fan. I checked in, and hit my room to do a VERY quick unpacking before meeting everyone in the consuite. I saw Becca right away, and asked where her parents were. Christine was standing just behind me and gave me a big hug.
The constaff had planned in advance to go to dinner as soon as I got in. There was some miscommunication, which I really regret, as some non-staffers were waiting to join us and the restaurant we were heading toward couldn't accomodate us all. Sad irony, we didn't even end up at that restaurant (as its kitchen was closed) and the place we did eat at had plenty of room. In the future, I'm gonna make an effort to be more inclusive at these things.
Not to rub it in, but those of us who did attend: Lanny, Derek, Michael, Karine, Cindy, Rob, Jen, Alan, Kaylee, Shawn, Patrick, Laurean, Liz, Carol and I had a great meal. We had taken a long walk to get to the crepe place that Karine wanted us all to enjoy. The weather was lovely but just a tad cool for a guy from California in a t-shirt. If I had just brought my sweatshirt along, it wouldn't have been a problem, but I was shivering by the time we sat down in our second-choice restaurant.
Which was great, by the way. Lobster Bisque, Fettucine Alfredo, Bread, bruschetta, a mussel and coke.
And great company. I enjoyed the walk back a bit more, even though I was still freezing. Karine offered to lend me her sweatshirt, but I'm still enough of a gentleman (just barely) to refrain from taking a pregnant woman's wrap.
Back at the hotel, I ran into Lynati, Mara, GXB, Alex, Eric, Hudson, Ethan, Maui, Kyt, Chris & Aaron. I hung out in the lobby with a few of them for a bit. But it was getting late, and I wanted to call Beth and the kids and talk to them before they went to bed.
So I headed up to my room. Called home. Then tried to sleep. Wound up watching TV until at least 3 or 4am, though that was only midnight or one my time. Then I finally went to sleep.
TO BE CONTINUED...