Our Gathering adventures really
began long before the weekend arrived, as we were part of the Con Committee.
Which is not, as some people would believe, a pat-on-the-back "aren't we
cool?" sort of forum ... it's a year-long morass of stress, anxiety, and
pressure that now, afterward, I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. And Tim
and I weren't even at the core of things. That unenviable honor goes to
Jen, Patrick, and Kathy.
They were the ones worrying about
the money, the guests, the hotel, all that good stuff. Tim just had the
dealers to wrangle, and my job was relatively a cakewalk by comparison.
Even allowing for the last-week fun-fest of getting the programs done,
copied, stapled, folded, and then finding some typos and one major
blunder -- the last half-dozen or so of the actual attendees wound up by
accident in the "Supporting Members" list. Truly and terribly sorry about
Not that any of us really had
it what I'd call easy. Kenna lived in the Video Room all weekend, ditto
for Cindy in the Art Show. Jordan and Carol busted their heinies making
sure the guests were seen to. Mitch helped out tons beforehand with all
the legal stuff, making sure we were doing this right. Everyone really
worked hard, and I think it showed. And let us not forget the real unsung
hero of G2001 – Jen's husband Alan, who built the art show panels, ran
untold errands, and rode herd on a bunch of kids, all with a smile (or
at least a look of strained determination) on his face. What a guy!
Before I get down to cataloging
the events and festivities, there are a few things I want to say. Firstly,
to the Con Committee -- great job! It wasn't easy and it wasn't pretty
and lesser people would have resorted to physical violence. But in the
end, we whomped together a con that surpassed all the previous ones and
will be a hell of a hard act to follow (note to future Committees: I wouldn't
mind being proved wrong on that one, best of luck to you all!).
Secondly, to the guests - thank
you for coming, for putting up with us, for seemingly having a grand time!
The impression I got from one and all (of the Gargoyles bunch, at
least) was that the show had been a standout moment in their careers, which
makes me glad. I like knowing that something which means so very, very
much to me and my dearest friends was not just another job for you.
Thirdly, to Greg (who by now fits
somewhere in a weird Twilight Zone of being Guest, Committee, and as always
the most obsessive fan of us all) -- I meant what I said, after five years
it still hasn't gotten old, hearing the presentation and seeing the videos.
Over this time, I've come to admire you all the more for your creativity,
your vision, and your passion.
Fourthly, to the attendees --
it was great to see so many of you, to meet some for the first time in
real life (like Josh, and Jannie, and Chris), and reacquaint with so many
more (Leva, Alison, Ashlee and her mom, Anthony, dozens of others!).
From what I've seen of other fandoms
and cons in general, there seems to be one of the closest bonds among Gargoyles
people. Not to mention the highest percentage of really kick-ass writers
and artists. Once again, the one regret I have is that the weekend kept
me so busy that it didn't allow for as much time just for sitting and chatting
as I would have liked.
Fifthly, to the supporting members
-- I wish you could have been there in more than spirit, but doing what
you could for the con was a gesture above and beyond the call of duty,
and it's deeply appreciated.
Sixthly, to the sourpusses and
nay-sayers who would have griped even if the banquet had cost ten bucks
and been served without utensils off of Marina Sirtis' bare midriff --
I hope you got your money's worth, ya darn bunch of Grinches, and I feel
sorry for you for not being able to understand what others do. But go on
and gripe. If anger and bitterness is all someone's got, well, after a
while, even that gets good to them.
Seventh (and this is starting
to feel weirdly like a speech), to the hotel staff -- catering crew, you
were fantastic, especially tending to us at the staff breakfasts. We were
assured of at least one hour on an island of serenity before the hectic
bustle of the day began, and it also made sure that we all got at least
one square meal. Thank you. For the housekeeping staff, well, Becca did
find a hairbrush, an empty bottle, an airline ticket stub, and a plastic
six-pack ring in our room that first day, so evidently deep-cleaning wasn't
a priority despite the room charge. And you probably thought I was a kook
for knotting the pillow and stacking towels under it, but that's because
I must sleep with my head elevated and those squishy pillows did nothing
for me. For the bellhop staff, apologies for not tipping your captain on
the first day (when we were in a panic to get Registration set up), but
that's still a pretty shabby excuse for the pretty shabby service we got
whenever anyone from the con tried to get a cart. Raspberries.
Eighth, to Becca's pals who spent
so much time in the Dealers' Room playing with her -- weary parents love
you! Arno, Siryn, Dubble, everyone, I owe you one! And to the kids, especially
Erin and Benny Weisman and the Anderson brood, you're the best!
Ninth (let's see if I can't make
this an even ten), to my dad and his new wife Wendy -- I'm so pleased that
the two of you came down to the big city to see part of my world, and I
hope I'm right in assuming that you're both glad to see that at least someone
in the family understands the quality of fandom that is found, in a different
vein but the same bloodstream, in our re-enactments.
Tenth, to my husband Tim and daughter
Becca for supporting me and letting me drag them into this fandom to the
extent that I have. This was my fifth convention and their third, which
after hauling the whole family clear across the country several times just
makes me all the less sympathetic to those who whine about not being able
to afford it. Heck, we can't either, and yet we've done it. We might not
be able to next year, probably won't in fact, but you'll never hear me
blaming it on the con itself.
I think that sums up the intro,
except to say once again that it was an honor to be a part of the staff
that worked so hard on this con. I share Patrick's vow that this'll be
one bunch of people that don't vanish from the fandom once the Gathering's
done (though I see some of those former con chairs creeping back now and
then, which is good). Mua-ha-ha, you won't get rid of us that easily!
Least of all me ... I have the
feeling that I'll always be around, one way or another, because this show
and this fandom have had an impact on my life that can be rivaled by only
two other factors -- gaming, and my family. Though my involvement might
decrease now that it looks like my writing career is beginning to go places,
I plan to write more fanfic, albeit at a much slower pace (I'm tied with
actual episodes of the show now, including TGC, and have set my
sights on an even hundred at least), and hope to be able to continue bringing
you Avalon Mists as
well as visiting the comment rooms. And someday, I want to be able to give
something back to the fandom that has given me so much. I don't know what
that might be, but I expect to be in love with Gargoyles, and the
fandom, for many years to come.
Thursday, June 21 --
It proves how dedicated we are
when we pull Becca out of the last two days of school so we can go to a
convention. I think it's a good enough reason, better than most, and luckily,
so does she.
We were packed and ready to go
when the Shuttle Express van pulled up and the driver found out that we
were totally pushing the airline luggage limit. Two of the big suitcases
were merchandise for our table in the Dealers' Room, and we also had a
full box of Archmage
of the Universe as one of our carry-ons.
And then, of course, the flight
was overbooked and crammed to capacity. Ordering our tickets online had
somehow gotten us split up, with one aisle, one window, and one across
the way. But the girl in the middle seat was willing to trade, even eager
because as it turned out, she and her friend had gotten split up too. Seems
like the airlines should be able to organize things better than that.
We arrived at Burbank to be greeted
by Jen and Jamie Murray. Quite an ego-boost when the Con Chair and the
Master of Ceremonies show up to help schlep luggage! Everything got piled
into Jen's beast of a truck, and after a typical drive on the freeways,
we reached the hotel.
I was surprised to see so many
people there so early, but sure enough, there were some familiar faces
milling about already, and I heard that some had even come the day before.
We got checked in and hauled our stuff down to our room -- for some reason,
we were in 138, down on the Terrace Level which looked out on the pool,
while everyone else was on the upper floors.
The hotel itself was very nice,
though our room was nothing to write home about. But there was little time
for relaxing poolside. We had program packets to put together!
So the first order of business
was to go up to 1701, the Con Suite, which had windows that only opened
5 inches to deter the clumsy, suicidal, or murderous (which was probably
a god thing, all in all). From there, we could see down into the Jurassic
Park ride at Universal studios; until then, I hadn't connected just how
close we were.
The next few hours were spent
flirting with paper cuts. Our assembly line went thusly; Tim put the badges
together and added ribbons where appropriate, I put the badges into the
envelopes and the stickers on (making sure the names matched, and since
I didn't hear otherwise, I guess I got it right) and added calendars for
those who had pre-ordered. Then the envelopes went to Cindy, who put in
a Citywalk flier and the pocket program. Last but not least, it was Kathy's
job to stuff pre-bought t-shirts in.
And then we had a mammoth pile
of envelopes that we had to alphabetize and get into our limited supply
of boxes. Becca was starved and we found out that chicken strips, fries,
and a Sprite from room service went to the tune of 18 bucks, ouch! People
wandered in and out all through this process, and there were kids everywhere.
Eventually, the packets were done
and it was time for dinner. We walked up to Citywalk, not at the time knowing
about the handy little tram that circulated among the hotels, and met at
what Becca calls "a beans and chips place." Greg and Carol were there,
and let me see if I can recall around the table ... Kenna, Jen, Izobel,
Crispin, Cindy, Stephanie, someone-whose-name-I-forget (sorry!), Tim, Becca,
myself, Patrick, and Kathy. I think that was the bunch. But Becca was tired
and fussy, so she and Tim left before food arrived.
After eating, we returned to the
hotel for a walk-through of the con areas. The registration desk was truly
amazing, being a big marble and brass affair that looked like the concessions
counter in an old-time movie house. It was also filled with boxes that
would have been perfect for the packets, making Kathy and me exchange a
wry look. We found where the Dealers' Room would be, the Studios, the Terraces,
and the Performers' room that did double duty as the staff breakfast chamber
and the video room.
Thus ended Thursday ... not counting
a saucy scandal that for the sake of those involved I won't go into here
except to say I'm glad it worked out the way it did instead of the much,
much worse scenarios that could have been.
Friday, June 22 --
The day began with the staff breakfast,
followed by a madcap rush to get everything down to the desk in time for
registration to begin. All things considered (such as previous cons in
which the badges were being tediously put together right then and there),
it seemed to go very well. I say so because I wasn't told differently and
didn't see it for myself, being in the Dealers' Room helping Tim set up
and welcoming the other dealers.
The Red Cross van arrived to collect
blood, but we were later to find out that I'm not the only member of this
fandom with low blood pressure, and that plenty of people who wanted to
volunteer were disqualified as ineligible for one reason or another. That's
really a shame, so to those of you in good health, I urge you to go out
and donate, and maybe save a life.
In the Dealers' Room, we had quite
a few tables with cool stuff for sale. Clockwise around the outer edge,
from the doors, were cool cloaks/coats/hats, jewelry, art, cels and trading
cards, 13thstreet.com, swords
and weapons, sculptures and knickknacks, more art, and furs/horns/leather.
In the middle was Tim's domain, where Sabledrake enterprises was proud
to provide Gargoyles merchandise, and the works of Christine Morgan.
We doubled up with Slash and his mom, who were selling CDs, aroma stuff,
jewelry, and assorted goods. On the other side was the spot for the con
merchandise (I do believe there are leftover t-shirts, calendars, and filk
books still available), the space where G2002 was pre-selling memberships,
a table for messages, and another for fliers.
At the rear of the room, three
tables were set aside for various functions -- gaming, a rookery area,
and mug-a-guest. The rookery table, with its load of art supplies, was
a big hit. So too was the Random Gargoyle Generator. Some of the random
gargs were left behind, and I'll scan them for inclusion in the next Avalon
Mists. For those of you who took yours with, feel free to scan them
and send them my way!
The gaming table saw its first
action at noon, when I began my Elves in Black game with Warpmind and Draconis.
We were pressed for time and I always go over when I try to run
at a con, so we had to rush the ending because I had a panel to be on at
While the game was going on, so
was the reading of the Writing Contest entries. A big thank you to Batya
for volunteering to read the ones by those who couldn't make it or were
shy about reading in front of everyone. We had some really fun and clever
stories, poems, and essays, and the winning
entries can be found online.
My panel at 3:00 was Writing Successful
Crossover Fiction, and I was on it with Tigris, Mara, and Gencie (Tigris
and I, as well , were all wearing identical shoes, if anyone wants to make
a weird conspiracy out of that, especially when It turns out Leva was wearing
them too <g>). It went very well, though we never did wind up scheduling
the infamous "other" panel at which we were supposed to address some of
the questions that might have been inappropriate for that setting.
Which means, I think, that we
should set up a chat in the adult room specifically for the purpose of
that Other Panel. Fridays after 8:30 Pacific time are best for me; anyone
got any druthers?
I took a tour through the Art
Show next, and was once more reminded why I should really stick to what
I do best ... these people are GOOD! Astonishingly so. I spied some familiar
fanfic characters (remember, Lexy and Marisa, you promised to send me scans
of the ones with Aiden! And while I'm on the general subject, Jade Griffen,
I'll be looking forward to seeing that finished Becca-goyle! <g>). I
was blown away by Kythera's ballpoint pen renderings as well as Stephanie's,
Karine's, Aimee's, and basically all of them -- VERY impressive stuff.
The map (Niahmgold's ultimate
Best of Show winner) was breathtaking. There were many cool items besides
pics, from the painted miniatures to the stained glass to the stuffed Owen
and Brooklyn dolls to the metal sculptures to the action figures ... have
I mentioned what a damn talented bunch of artists we've got in this fandom?
The next big event that day was
the arrival of Bill Faggerbakke, better late than never. We all lined up
from outside the Dealers' Room to Terrace D and possibly beyond to get
his autograph, with Lanny (hunkier than ever, btw) assigned to keep us
all in line. Literally. When it was our turn to see Bill, Becca kept poking
me and saying, "He doesn't sound like Broadway," so I suggested she ask
him to 'do Broadway' for her. He asked her name, and then said, "Hello,
Becca!" and she broke into a huge beaming grin.
It's odd, though ... you wouldn't
think that a guy who is nearly seven feet tall would be able to slip away
unnoticed, but that's just what happened at some point during Opening Ceremonies.
Jen came over to me and asked if I'd seen him go, because sometime during
the video portion of the show, he managed to sneak out. ::chuckle:: I was
told it was because he had another appointment, so let's hope that was
it and we didn't scare him off. Our record has been pretty good despite
Opening Ceremonies finished off
the evening with a bang. Many of the guests were in attendance, including
Frank Paur (he does exist; like Todd Jensen, there had been some
debate because they were the great heard-of-but-not-seen, but now Todd's
been proven real too), Thom, and quite a few others. Jamie Murray, whose
alter-ego Myhr was scheduled to make appearances later in the weekend,
ran the show, singling out the con virgins, finding out who'd traveled
the furthest -- if memory serves, the decision was a tie between Warpmind
(Norway) and Siryn (Korea), despite the many Palm Pilots trying to work
out the mileage -- and ribbons for those lunatics among us who had been
to all five cons. I got one of those.
A very special award was presented
by Thom, who had something under his shirt he wanted us all to see, and
it wasn't a new tattoo. That pretty much set the tone for Thom's entire
convention experience; he kept showing us things from under his clothes.
But this one was the first-ever Gathering Fan Guest of Honor trophy, given
to Lexy for her unfailing efforts to support the con and encourage attendance
in the face of adversity. She had no idea, and then we made her get up
and make a speech which brought most of the staff and hopefully some of
the audience nearly to tears.
Then it was time for Greg's presentation,
which, as I've said, is still fun after all these years. He's warmed to
it and to us quite a bit, very much one of the gang by now. In addition
to the video bits, he also read a letter from Ed Asner, who was unable
to attend because of hip replacement surgery (a giant get-well card for
him was in the Art Show room to collect signatures).
Opening Ceremonies also included
Siryn and Sara talking about G2002, which will be in Virginia Beach, Virginia
(on the beach, as in, you could spit out the window and hit the ocean).
Highlights of that one will include a talent show and a beach party, and
more information will be forthcoming.
The only snag to the day was our
increasing concern over the fate of Tim's sister Kathy. Her plan had been
to drive down from San Jose and get to the hotel around 4:00. By 6:00,
there was still no sign of her. We eventually found out that she had a
good excuse. Kathy is a rocket scientist (she really is!) and had a luncheon
meeting with a 4-star Air Force general that turned into a tour of the
plant, and resulted in her not hitting the road until very late. But she
made it, even if she did stagger in at 12:30 in the morning.
Saturday, June 23 --
I woke up nervous this day, because
my reading was scheduled for 10:00 AM and I was up against some pretty
big-name panels. I had this terrible fear that no one would show, except
for my father and his new wife, and that I'd first meet my stepmother as
a loser in a big empty room.
As we arrived in the lobby on
our way to the staff breakfast, I caught sight of a tall guy with long
silver-white hair and a beard, just coming in with a blond, tan lady. Talk
about timing! So we greeted my dad, met Wendy, and they went off to get
coffee until programming got underway. They live in the high desert, out
Highway 138 between Victorville and Pearblossom, for those of you who know
the area, with a great view and water that has to be trucked in.
I'd borrowed a tape player from
Kathy, who had brought it down just for that reason (because we couldn't
have fit one more thing into our luggage) and set it up in Studio 1. One
thing about the function rooms -- not only did the hotel provide water,
but also pens by the boatload, notepads, and little bowls of candy. Very
And then, wonder of wonders, people
showed up! Including a good chunk of what I began calling my "international
fan-club;" Denis, Warpmind, Duncan, and Guandalug were all present. From
north of the border, Karine's fella Patrick wound up buying the book and
closeting himself away from much of the con to just read; he would finish
it late Monday night.
I had an hour and a half all to
myself, and believe me, a showoff such as myself thrives on that sort of
thing. I talked about my fantasy novels, gave a quick rundown on the series
to date, and then read a bit from the first chapter of Archmage
of the Universe.
Then I shifted gears a bit and
talked about the Trinity Bay books, my series of horror novels. Well, 'series'
may be jumping the gun; the first one, Black Roses, will be out
as an audio book in October, and hopefully the second, Gifted Children,
will follow apace. I'd finished the recording of Black Roses in
May and TimeFare had
hustled to get a demo tape ready in time for the con.
The tape is 25 minutes and includes
all of Chapter 7 plus an excerpt from elsewhere in the book to show off
how weird the voice filter made me sound. Anyone wanting a free copy can
send postage to Sabledrake Enterprises, P.O. Box 30751, Seattle WA 98103.
I think Tim worked it out to a buck-seventy-five for the U.S. We'll pop
one in the mail to you. It is still a little unnerving hearing myself on
tape, but so far responses have been favorable.
Next stop was the Dealers' Room
again, to let Dad and Wendy look around. From our "Small World" file, the
guy selling furs and stuff was a fellow re-enactor, a Buffalo Soldier,
whom Dad knew from other events. Tim's sis was also there, and apparently
all she had to do was walk in to utterly win Jamie Murray's heart ... by
the time she started trying on velvet cloaks, he was lost. Saw Beth Weisman
and the kids then, and Dad started trying to sell Beth on bringing the
family to see their 'living history' shows.
Mitch and Aimee also passed through,
toting Krispy Kremes -- these donuts are NOT overrated -- and leaving me
with the weird realization that almost every time someone asked if anyone
had seen one of them, the reply was "yeah, they just went for food." Now,
given the way the two of them are, I have to wonder at that ... do they
actually eat? Mitch remains a Ferrari (vroom!) and Aimee can safely get
away with costumes that many women would never dare even try on in the
privacy of a fallout shelter. But the donuts, that gave it away -- she
wasn't eating them; she was feeding them to the rest of us. Aha,
her scheme has been revealed! ; )
During our visit to the Art Show,
Wendy bought four or five of Demona May's pieces (and one was already framed
and hanging up when we visited them the next week) and raved about everything.
It turns out that her son is a gamer too, and she was relieved to find
that Tim and I knew what Mark was talking about ; ) I look forward to meeting
him at some future family get-together.
After Dad and Wendy said goodbye
-- which meant a trip to the pool because Aunt Kathy had taken Becca swimming
-- and gone off to see Citywalk, I went to the panel on Writing and Research,
which included Tuppence (such a cool name!) MacIntyre, Michael Reaves,
Monique Beatty, and Lydia Marano. There were many questions about the magical
and mythical elements of the show, and Michael Reaves made my day when
he told how he'd one day, years later, realized that they must have used
a spell from the Grimorum to let Goliath and company get over the language
barrier. Because, of course, that's just what I'd used as an explanation
in my fanfic, and it's neat to get that sort of around-the-corner validation.
Another fun bit was hearing how
Michael threw in the Illuminati as a quick and easy explanation for why
Matt Bluestone wouldn't be rattled by all the weirdness; he was then surprised
to see it keep cropping up. But "grab it and run with it" is a great thing
for a writer or a GM, as I well know, so I can relate to and appreciate
what that's like.
I really wanted to ask Lydia about
the time travel thing, because every time it came up she would snarl and
make some reference to how Greg basically finally stomped down his foot
and said it was his universe so his rules applied. That time travel business
never fails to amuse me because of the division between those who grasp
it implicitly and those who insist it makes no sense.
With not much going on for a while,
I meandered back to the Dealers' Room and saw Taliesin Jaffe and Jonathan
Klein alone at their Mug-a-Guest table. Now, these are 3x3 Eyes guys and
I know nothing about it, but I went over anyway and soon an anime fan (whose
name escapes me!) came over and joined in, bailing me out before I could
hopelessly expose my ignorance. And Taliesin, by the way, reminded me uncannily
of author Don DeBrandt, whom I'd met at RadCon a couple of years ago.
The Radio Play was scheduled for
that night, auditions and rehearsals had been going on all day. But when
the Dealers' Room closed, we Morgans headed out in search of food (waiting
for Kathy the night before, we hadn't eaten until after 9:00 and were in
no hurry to repeat being that starved and headachy). The Radio Play was
the director's cut of Hunter's Moon, with unseen footage and all that good
stuff, and from what I heard after, it was a tremendous hit.
So we missed it, and went to Tony
Roma's instead. When we got back, I was hailed by Leva and Tigris, and
the plan was to discuss some of the Third Rainbow storylines. For those
who haven't yet been exposed to this cool project, it is a shared-universe
sort of thing that involves many of what used to be called the "First Ladies
of Fanfic." Supposedly even me, though as many people know, I don't usually
do well at that sort of thing and have mainly restricted my participation
to some back stories and character input.
But if you're looking for a good
fantasy read, once you've finished with my books <g>, check it out here
on the Third Rainbow site. Lots
of talented writers and artists have been in on it, and I wouldn't be surprised
to see it someday be in print in one form or another.
The discussion, to the sound of
Slash's softly jamming guitar, took place in the lobby but was interrupted
when a flock of EMTs came rushing in and scared the daylights out of us
-- Noel was ailing, but thankfully she was back at the hotel and feeling
better by morning.
That ended the evening for me and, worn out, I headed for bed.
Sunday, June 24th --
This was the big day, the really
busy day, tons of events going on. I started off with a "From Fan to Professional"
panel at 10:00, with Meredith, Shannon, Rahsaan, Aimee, and Karine, all
of us talking about the effect fandom had on our various chosen careers
and some do's and dont's (in my case, with the horrible story of my first
book, lots of don'ts) for anyone wanting to take the step from fandom into
actually trying to make a living at writing or art.
Next up was the Series Production
panel, which had the most guests of all. They were crowded in behind the
tables, all across the front of the room and bending around a little to
the side. Greg introduced them all, pointing out all the ones who'd married
and reproduced during the course of the show, and when I raised my hand
and asked to what he attributed this phenomenal matchmaking and fertility,
he replied, "romantic concept." Poor Greg; there's a drawback with him
getting to know us so well ... we get to know him so well and the awe starts
to wear off in favor of sass, backtalk, and general teasing.
The panel was fascinating and
really did shed light on how much hard work and creative input by so many
different people went into the making of the show. So Greg can't take all
the credit (and to his credit, he doesn't), though most of the rest
did agree that it was his intensity and drive that kept them going, that
inspired them to do their best to keep the show the wonderful creation
Perhaps the biggest event of the
day was the voice actors panel. The room was packed, and up on the stage
were, in order of seating, Neil Dickson, Cree Summer, Thom, Keith David,
Jeff Bennett, Gregg Rainwater, Elisa Gabrielli, and Crispin Freeman.
Now, Jen has been after me for
months to watch Slayers and wouldn't I think Crispin would be a good voice
for Jericho and I had no idea what to say (except to remind her that I
don't like anime, at which point she would usually make a face and throw
things at me). And what little I'd heard in conversation hadn't particularly
done anything for me. But when he started talking in his speaker's voice,
I could hear a sort of low, potentially evil undertone that made me think,
"yeah, okay, maybe she's got something there!" Plus, he really does do
an astounding Broadway impression!
But you know, it's one thing to
have my reputation precede me among the fans ... I've brought that on myself
and I expect that. It's something else altogether to ask the panel a perfectly
innocent question -- "What would you have liked to see done differently
in the show?" -- and have Keith David point his finger at me and growl,
"You know what I would have done differently!" I mean, okay,
sure, I have a pretty good idea, yeah, but still! ; )
To the delight of all, Keith repeated
his performance from G1997 and did the "Even my revenge!" line, and gave
us a Goliath-snarl by request. Jeff Bennett was also a hit, showing off
his amazing range (impersonating both Thom and Bill too) and generally
seeming to have a good time. Cree Summer was sick that day and dragged
herself to the con, big applause to her for making that effort, and had
to leave before the autograph signing. Neil Dickson, whoa-baby, I could
have listened to that accent all day, and he was a hottie to look at, too!
During the autograph signing,
when the line stretched all the way to Citywalk (or so it seemed), I was
able to complete the set and get Jeff's signature on a copy of a pic of
the three of the Trio in the studio; when I gave it to him, he groaned,
"oh, God!" like he would have rather snatched it away and torn it
up. But he didn't, so that one gets framed and hung on the wall, signed
by all three. I also got the chance to ask Keith how his puffball Goliath
was holding up, and he grinned hugely.
Keith had brought his little boy,
and we'd scrounged up a Goliath stamper and a hat from the Dealers' Room
for him (though the last time I saw the hat, Keith was wearing it so I
don't know if it will get to the kid). There then followed what was for
me one of the most memorable moments of the con. In the Dealers' Room,
Keith was prowling around looking at the items and Jen deputized me to
make sure he didn't get mobbed -- since most everyone was still in the
autograph line, it wasn't much of a problem. But then he got to the sword
merchant, and began testing them out, swinging them around, and ... ::gasp::
quoting from Othello! Having seen it both in Ashland and
on video, I can safely say that the guy in Ashland and Laurence Fishburne
have got nothing on Keith David! Okay, so maybe I'm biased, so sue
All the excitement was too much
for me, and knowing that we'd be up late for the masquerade, I was able
to persuade Becca to come back to the room and take a nap. Which had the
probably-good side effect of making me miss the auction, though all that
meant was that I had plenty of spending cash to commission pics from David
Wong. I understand that the auction went amazingly well, with much money
garnered for the Gathering fund and for charity. Myhr
is always a crowd-pleaser, with thanks to Draconis for taking over after
everyone's favorite cat-man's voice started to strain.
We had a little trouble at dinner
with Becca, who'd just woken and was cranky and thought all the food was
'gross,' but after a short break and my reminding her that there was cheesecake
for dessert, we came back. And it turned out there was more than just cheesecake;
there were creampuff swans, chocolate cake, and all sorts of other goodies
But we were on the wrong side
of the room to witness the wacky hijinks between Thom and Crispin, so I'll
leave that to other Gathering reports than mine. I did tell Thom, though,
that his antics made my job of writing up a report each year much more
During the meal, awards were given
out for the art show and video and writing contests, as well as door prizes.
Becca and Kathy both won, Becca gloating over a full box of trading cards
and Kathy getting a cool book on mythology that I couldn't pry away from
Then it was time to go suit up
for the masquerade. I came back up with two Elisa Mazas, a pint-sized Becca
one and a very-grown-up Kathy one (in the hot ensemble from 'Protection.').
But then Becca had an attack of stage fright and changed her mind about
participating in the actual contest, so we staked out a good spot behind
the judges and watched (and took pictures, lots of pictures).
Okay, now, I've known for some
time that Batya had a quirky sense of humor, but that Duck-Tales-gone-awry
skit was just bent! I think it was the quacking of the Gargoyles
theme song that was the final straw reducing us to hysteria.
Mitch and Aimee as Milo and Kida
from Atlantis were amazing, and I don't just mean Aimee's low-slung
skirt, though that was pretty amazing in itself. Come to think of it, there
were a lot of belly-buttons on display, what John Norman creepily referred
to as "the slave belly" look. And when Kathy won the Best Cleavage award
(and was introduced as Myhr's
future wife), she did so against some rather severe competition.
Shall we mention Karine's legs
and a succession of short hems that flirted with indecency? And Dreamie's
post-holocaust outfit? And Jen as a sleek, velvet-gowned, strawberry-blond
Fox? And Cindy as a perfect Titania? Oh, hell yeah! The hotel janitors
probably needed a wet-vac to get the drool out of the carpet.
I was beginning to feel like I
did when looking at the art show entries -- it's a good thing I can write!
Costumes, oh, the costumes! Oh,
the gender-bending mayhem! I can't believe that Aaron shaved for his Fox
getup, and hope Mara was able to remove that inked-on goatee. Heather was
a great trenchcoated Broadway. Patrick reprised his Maria Chavez, stockings
and all. Kythera and Morningstar's warrior-gargs were great, as was Xenexx's
medieval hunter, and so many more that I can't remember until I get my
And no mention of the evening
would be complete without telling how Dreamie and Winterwolf showed up
to confiscate Thom's boxers, prompting that worthy to, as is sometimes
said, "drop trou" for the enjoyment of all and sundry. He was later presented
with his very own pair of Backstreet Boys underpants, which we'll probably
be seeing at future Gatherings. (a suggestion for the next auction -- see
if he'll donate a pair <g>).
While the judges were away, it
was karaoke time. Jen, Jordan, Coyote, and others took to the mike for
some rousing renditions of various tunes, while Myhr
made kitty-eyes at Kathy. Greg hadn't realized until after he made Kathy
blush with her award that she was Tim's sister. At least Kathy was well
and repeatedly warned in advance of how these events usually went.
Then, wouldn't you know, Becca
decided she wanted to play after all. Although it was too late, after she
showed Greg her Elisa costume, he bounded back up on stage and announced
her as the winner in the Junior category (and only entrant, but hey, who's
counting?). He's such a dear! Becca posed for pics with her squirtgun and
her badge, and Cindy and Meredith rustled up a prize of a stamp pad that
worked almost too well as the state of our hotel room could attest.
It was a great night, a long night.
The rooftop garden ballroom at the top of the hotel offered a lovely view,
especially once the sun went down so the haze wasn't as visible, and the
lights of the city came up like a bouquet of stars. But the con wasn't
over yet, with still half a day on the morrow, and so we toddled off to
bed once more.
Monday, June 25th --
I really wasn't expecting anyone
to come to the RPG panel. It was opposite the Starship Troopers
guest-fest, and I didn't think we'd measure up against that kind of competition.
But, just as happened on Saturday morning, I was wrong. There must have
been 20 people in there, with all sorts of good questions and fun gamer
Because the Dealers' Room was
closed (an unexpected thing sort of sprung on us when we got to the hotel
on Thursday), Tim was able to be on the panel with me. Which was probably
the first waking hour and a half we'd spent in each other's company since
getting off the plane. With both of us being longtime gamers and him managing
a store, I think we did a fairly decent job presenting our talk on gaming
from various angles.
We got over to the Studios and
I commissioned three pics from David Wong. The first two were elven women
from my game/book world, a songstress named Kyra Ro'Sallin and Kai Tilanne,
my Morvalan warrior-priestess. Neither buxom. David whined and fussed.
So I thought, "okay, fine," and also signed him on to do one of Godiva,
in all her glory. I can't wait to see them!
All too soon, it was time for
Closing Ceremonies. A surprising amount of people had stuck around well
into this last day, so the room was probably half filled, and many of the
guests were still there too. Best of all, the entire Con Committee was
alive and relatively unscathed, grainy-eyed from lack of sleep, but basically
in good shape. Not, mind you, that any of us are in a hurry to do this
again. We'll happily pass the torch to next year's bunch, just with the
admonishment not to drop it! ; )
Tim hitched a ride with Patrick
to take Jamie Murray to the airport and pick up our rental car, because
our vacation wasn't even half done by that point. Oh, and while I normally
have nothing but the highest regard for the great folks at Steve Jackson
Games, what were you guys thinking to pass up the chance for a cover done
by Jamie? Tim and I were saying to each other that should it fall to us
to self-publish the print version of Black Roses, we should try
to get him to do the cover and sweeten it by having Kathy model for it
... she could pass for Theresa Zane ... sure!
The con, though, was done, and
the survivors went off their separate ways while the staff staggered up
to the con suite to collapse and decompress. Brynne Chandler, Russ Isler,
and Greg hung out with some of us there for a while, but eventually they
left and the boozing began.
That sounds worse than it was
... there was a lot of eating, too. For the rest of Monday night, a die-hard
bunch of folks sat around and watched anime (I got roped into that somehow,
but finally rebelled and read, Swan Song by Robert McCammon, a fabulous
end-of-the-world book) and munched and ate and passed around sketchbooks.
Who did we have up there? Let
me cudgel my failing memory -- Jen, Kathy, Patrick, Kenna, me, Tim, our
Kathy, Becca (who napped amid noise and chaos for three hours), Karine,
Patrick, Kythera, Mooj, and appearances by Lanny, Hudson, Jen's family,
Cindy, Meredith, Seth, and more that I will probably remember after I post
this and go, "D'oh!" Which is an actual word now, apparently.
Anyway, there was drinking, there
was noshing, there was sketching (Jen -- finish that pic of my two boys!!!
<g>), there was lap-sitting (though no lap-dancing that I saw), people
falling asleep on each other, and lots of anime. Becca is now into Slayers,
and Tim and his sis both want to see the rest of Shaman Princess Girl's
School or whatever the heck it was.
During all that, we also experienced
a rolling blackout that left the hotel with one elevator (presumably not
the one that Karine and Patrick were trapped in for an hour or more doing
who-knows-what), so there were a few adventuresome climbs up and down from
the 17th floor, good exercise, as if we hadn't all been running around
like mad for the past four days.
But finally, when I'd finished
my book and Patrick had finished my book and told me how great it
was, bedtime was long overdue.
The rest of the trip --
Tuesday morning found some folks
still around in the lobby, so we said our goodbyes and could have sold
a few more books if they hadn't all been packed away (Wingless -- e-mail
me!). With Kathy in her black Mustang -- she's that pretty, and that smart
and nice, and she also makes more money than Tim and I put together --
and us in our rental car, we drove to La Mirada to visit my mother.
Disneyland tickets are available
at Disney stores for a discount, a meager one but every little bit helps.
When we walked in, a cheery chipper gal approached me with a bright twinkly
smile and asked who my favorite character was, just itching to direct
me to all their Eeyore or whatever. So I looked her dead in the eye and
said, "Goliath, from Gargoyles."
Her smile flash-froze and her
eyes glazed and she managed a weak little, "Oh," and that was it for her
Wednesday was for Disneyland,
and the lines weren't very bad at all. I'm still an ardent fan of Fast
Pass, which really takes the trial out of waiting with a 6-year-old in
the hot sun. We'd just been in November, but this time we got to many rides
we'd missed last time -- Big Thunder Mountain, Tom Sawyer Island, the Storybook
Canal (they should have a Castle Wyvern in there). Roger Rabbit was still
closed and Becca was furious about that.
The Villains store is getting
weak. Half of the shelves were devoted not to villains but to Sorcerer's
Apprentice Mickey. And still no Chernabog plushie. Rats!
On Thursday, we drove into the
high desert for a barbecue at Dad's place, and spent the night there. They
loaded us down with costumes for the re-enactment on Saturday. Friday was
spend in Rosamond, a town near where I grew up, visiting with my brother,
his wife, and their kids (twins on the way, too!). Then, Saturday morning,
we dressed in Civil War fashion and drove to Oceanside, where Tim joined
Dad (Major Atkins)'s Confederate army and tried to storm Little Round Top.
The re-enactment was a lot of
fun. The cannons were loud, watching the battle was very neat, and Dad's
right, it does make a difference to dress up. It's just like an SCA event
except a few centuries later. The ones dressed up, even if they're not
in the actual groups, feel much more a part of things than the onlookers
in jeans and shorts.
One problem with my outfit, though,
was that I got sunburned on my forehead and along an unaccustomed central
part in my hair, since I had to do it period style. I also got sunburned
along the square neckline and the hem of the dress picked up a thousand
stickerbushes, but we took a break in the middle of the day and escaped
to our motel to cool in the pool and pick the weeds from my skirt before
pinning it all back up. I'll post some of those too, why not.
Sunday, we took a leisurely drive
up the coast, through the pretentious artsy beach towns, and wound up back
at Mom's for the night. Monday, it was back to the airport, and then an
agonizingly long Shuttle Express ride home because of accidents along I-5.
But we made it, and except for
one of Becca's hamsters being dead in its cage on the morning of the 4th,
all was fine at home too.
So that was how the Morgans spent
our summer vacation. We had a wonderful time at the con and after. I hope
those of you who also went to the Gathering had an equally good time. Once
again, a tremendous round of applause to the con staff, the volunteers,
the guest wranglers, the dealers, the hotel, the guests, and most of all,
to each and every one of you who've helped make this fandom what it is!
July 6th, 2001