| I made some mistakes last year that
I vowed not to repeat this year. But,
as is the way of such things, I made up for them with all new mistakes!
One blooper I managed to avoid was the
lack-of-sleep one. Last year, I
worked the night before I departed and told myself I'd have time for
a nap before
packing and a snooze on the plane. I knew better this time. And so
it was that,
well-rested, I boarded my flight for New York.
And then one of the all-new mistakes
came up -- I flew into JFK instead
of Newark, thinking it would be a shorter ride to the hotel. Ooh, was
I ever wrong!
I was planning to meet up with Christi, whose
plane was arriving 45
minutes after mine. But it took almost exactly 45 minutes for my luggage
unloaded, and only then did I realize that Christi's gate was in an
building, a good 1/4 mile away.
So I scrambled around trying to have
her paged and never did manage it
(but if any of you were wondering why I had an 800-number written on
for a day and a half, it was the Delta info line and I used a permanent
By now it was 5:00 PM, and I got on a
Gray Line shuttle with five other
people. We cruised around the airport for a while, at one point getting
behind a 3-taxi accident, and eventually pulled into the parking lot
in front of
another terminal (still in the same airport, one of those other buildings
mentioned). Whereupon the driver told us she'd be back in a couple
There we sat, with the air conditioner
on full blast (in retrospect, I should
have relished it, given how the hotel's climate-control would turn
out to be). For
fully 20 minutes, with no clue where our driver had gone. A bathroom
wondered. A latte? A bikini wax? What the hell was taking so long?
At last she returned with 4 German guys
in tow, at which point one of my
fellow detainees began haranguing her about the delay and wanted the
manager's name, etc. But we eventually got on the road again. In the
what I assume was rush hour.
The thing that most amazed me about my
various trips on the streets of
the city was that, given the way people drive, so few of the cars are
Nearly two hours of horns, hair-raising close calls, and pedestrians
who are either
convinced of their own immortality or have a serious death wish.
Sometime after 7:00 PM (and just my luck,
my hotel was the last stop!), I
finally dragged my suitcase through the doors. I was stressed, headachy,
from that darn air conditioner, and generally not at my best (plus
my bag got stuck
in the door and nearly gave me whiplash). I was just hoping that, after
all this, I
wouldn't have gotten the hotel wrong.
Four people leaning over the balcony
calling to me, cheering, and taking
pictures assuaged my fear. I recognized Missy, and the next thing I
and Thomas had pelted down the stairs. They carried my luggage, escorted
to the registration desk, and generally made me feel like a real celeb.
While I was standing there waiting for
the clerk to figure out something
about a fax I had supposedly received (it turned out to be another
Christi showed up, to my intense relief. I was terrified she would
be stuck at the
airport waiting for me, even though I knew she would figure out that
I wasn't going
to make it. So we both arrived, a little weary, and with our entourage
in tow, went
up to our room.
Our very small room. That was one thing
in which last year's con
surpassed -- the rooms last year were actual suites. But the view from
bathroom was exceptional: the Empire State Building and the Chrysler
Quite a thing to see in the mirror while brushing one's teeth. And
a good thing,
too, because the bathroom light was choosey about when and if it worked,
not for the glow of the skyscrapers, we would have been answering nature's
in the dark.
I wrote "The Christine Morgan" on my
badge, pinned on my Jericho
button, and went around to say hello to familiar faces from last year
faces to go with familiar names. I just had time before the opening
freshen up and make myself look human.
Some of the artwork was already on display
in the Crystal Room (so
named because there were chandeliers and crystal-dripping wall sconces
everywhere, not to mention the three enormous ones hanging in the lobby
overdone, and with the gold-flocked wallpaper, perhaps just a tad on
side, but I took a picture all the same).
The opening ceremonies got underway,
and Christi was given a T-shirt
emblazoned with her own deep-voiced smooth-talker of the night, Spike,
thank-you for her work in creating the gorgeous portraits of Keith,
Salli, and Greg,
which would be presented later in the weekend.
Then I was whisked away by Mitch (aka
Pogo, fandom hunk) to a
romantically-lit French restaurant and plied with wine and champagne
... but I
suppose I should point out that Christi and Mitch's lady Karine (aka
were also part of the group.
After that, we went back to the hotel
and learned that Greg had made an
appearance while we were gone -- wearing his official Gathering striped
got to finally say hi to Denis, who'd come all the way from Belgium,
and finally met
Jennifer (aka CrzyDemona) face to face and presented her with her own
button, as she is president of the fan club.
The con suite was on the 4th floor, originally
in one room but then the
hotel staff had us move to another room so they could re-carpet or
and there seemed to be a lot of aggravation and confusion caused by
all of that.
I roomed with Christi, Missy, and Mandi,
and we arranged for a 7:00
wake up call on Saturday. Somehow, it all worked out with four ladies
dinky bathroom (though with an incredible view, did I mention that?).
mastered the art of stealth, since by the time the rest of us woke
up, she was
already dressed and ready to go -- she attributes this to plenty of
not to wake up her boys so that she can get things done in the morning.
I had volunteered for a shift at the
registration desk from 9:00 to 10:00,
but Jordan showed up shortly after I did, and since he knew what he
was doing, I
sat there and tried to be supportive. At 10:00 was one of the events
anticipating, the fanfic panel.
It was originally supposed to be Christi,
Missy, and myself, but we
managed to pull a few other folks in so we filled all six chairs. Leva,
A Fan, and
Scott (aka Abram Wintersmith) were persuaded to join us.
Now, I don't know about my co-panelists,
but I had a great time. I love
attention, and I love to talk about myself and my stories. And plugging
Which, sadly, was not ready in time for me to have actual copies on-hand.
some people just couldn't wait to give me money, so I got several advance
that will be shipped out as soon as I get and sign the copies. Which
to be by Friday Aug. 21; we shall see.
I ran into Greg and gave him the Goliath
figure to replace the one that
had been stolen from him. While it was tempting to see what I could
get in trade,
figuring that if anybody had Garg goodies that I couldn't get anyplace
would be him, my more diplomatic side prevailed.
After that, I told myself to get down
to the gift shop and buy Becca a
present before I spent all my money on stuff for me. But just as I
was about to do
that, the dealer (Jubilee?) began setting up, and I spotted a bunch
of things that I
didn't have in my collection. The thing about collecting is: you're
content until you
are aware of something you don't have, and then it becomes a constant
I walked away from that table with lots
of stickers, issue 9 of the comic,
some static-cling things to go in the window (of my new car, hee-hee!),
other items, and most amusing of all, a "locker bag" which was a plastic
drawstring bag containing Gargoyles brush, toothbrush, toothbrush holder,
even official Gargoyles Kleenex. I also bought a bunch of raffle tickets,
had my heart set on the big vinyl play tent.
After that, it was time for part of Greg's
Secret Event (GSE), so I did that
and hung out in the con suite, and finally visited the gift shop. Bought
some presents -- a snow globe with the Statue of Liberty in it and
a boxed set of
toy cars including a taxi and NYPD patrol car. I also got a postcard
of the Empire
State Building and a stamp, and mailed it off to my mom.
There were also a couple of workshops
going on -- fanfic, webmasters --
that didn't pan out because so many people were trying to get in on
the GSE. I
also poked my head briefly into the art workshop but didn't stay long,
what some of those people draw with their off hand with eyes shut is
anything I could ever hope to do. There was also a filk workshop, and
filk hurts my brain so I try to avoid it whenever I can (to the relief
of Missy and
Constance, who first tried to encourage me and then feared I'd be too
good at it!)
I eventually realized I should get something
substantial to eat because I
kept noshing on munchies. So I popped across the street to McD's, where
the food more expensive than in Seattle and the customers considerably
Then it was a quick stuffing of the face before my stint guarding the
While I was keeping tabs on the artwork
-- lots of beautiful paintings and
drawings, a stained-glass of Demona using the Phoenix Gate, a sculpture
Goliath, and three fantastic reproductions of the magic items (Grimorum,
and Eye of Odin) -- I was also able to listen in on part of the TGS
I'd lost track of Christi at some point
in there; I think she was whisked
away by Mitch again for Indian food; the man seems to eat constantly
and yet just
look at him! (which I did, whenever I got the chance!).
Around 8:00, it was time for GSE, which
was great. Lots of talent on
display, not only Greg's writing and narrating ability but the acting
skills of many of
our own beloved friends and acquaintances.
The GSE ran long, though, until after
10:00 PM. And then there was a
scheduling conflict, because the Gathering '99 World Tour Bid Party
was going on
in the con suite at the same time as the auction in the Crystal Room.
although I am fully in support and hoping to be very involved with
the G99 team,
the siren song of merchandise I didn't have yet was too strong to resist.
So it was that I stayed for the auction,
and let me tell you, the bidding was
out of control! I had brought plenty of money, but could not bring
myself to go that
high on several items! I dearly wanted one of the Gargoyles floormats,
instance, but I guess I didn't want it enough since I wasn't going
to bid 60+
Seth (aka IRC Goliath) must have come
with a wad o' cash, because he
outbid me more times than I care to remember. Even on the final item,
cardboard stand-up of Goliath (okay, there was some other video-game
guy in the lot too, but I only wanted Goliath). But if he was going
to take it away
from me, he was going to have to pay! Which he did.
The highest bid, as I recall, was $105
for a pair of T-shirts. Wow.
Speaking of T-shirts, I was disappointed
because I had pre-ordered and
paid for a specific size, and was planning to buy one of another specific
Stephen, but due to some sort of problem with the T-shirt makers, there
only shirts of one size to be had. So I have to wait until mine gets
mailed to me.
The auction wrapped up at sometime after
2:00 AM, and by then most
everybody were punchy from exhaustion. I dropped by the con suite to
see if the
party was still going on, and the tail end of it was. Apparently Greg
had been there
for a while, giving some good advice and suggestions to next year's
As late as it was, I was still the first
one to bed, and must have zonked
out the minute my head hit the pillow, because the next thing I knew,
mom was calling bright and early Sunday morning.
I came downstairs just in time to photograph
the two big lines of people
heading out on the Central Park tour. I wasn't going this year; my
remembered the blisters from last year and the thought of a ride on
a real New
York subway somehow failed to appeal to my sense of adventure.
I got some breakfast (juice and a pastry
from the place in the hotel lobby)
and hung out in the con suite with Brian, Alison, Constance, Thomas,
some other folks. Then there was a slight snafu, because Constance
was supposed to wait until the Central Park tour came back before taking
Empire State tour out, but some of the other con staff thought Constance
taking the Empire State tour during the Central Park tour.
So anyhow, eventually the tour thing
worked out, and we set off to the
building that had once been the world's tallest. A walk of many blocks
humid, noisy street. Made noisier by the fact that there was some sort
of a parade
about to start (someone said it was a Republic of Jamaica celebration?),
there were spectators and flag vendors all over the place.
There were 26 of us that lined up in
the cool marble foyer while Jordan
bought our group tickets. The lines surprised me -- it was like being
Disneyland! Waiting in line for the elevator (twice, as there were
two), battling the
crowds ... but the view, even though it was hazy, was just as impressive
advertised. We could see our hotel -- I meant to hang a towel out the
window and see if one of those coin-operated telescopes showed anything
alarming, but forgot -- and the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and
After shooting some film, I was ready
to head back, so Shari, Jen, Patrick
and I told Batya and Jordan (who might have freaked if their headcount
four short) and we returned to the hotel. I took my lunch to the Crystal
watched Merav's (sp?) costume workshop, which had done a materials-run
thrift shop and had fabric and stuff strewn all over the floor.
Alison chose that moment to gift me with
a Scooby Doo doll, and if you
don't know why that made me scream, Dear Reader, you're very lucky
Let's just say that even I have written at least one fanfic I regret!
Meanwhile, the great "Where is Christi?"
panic had gone on. Seems like
everybody wanted to talk to her, and nobody knew when she was leaving,
that she had a flight sometime that afternoon. Turns out she'd toured
museum and then dashed off to the airport, so there wasn't much chance
Then it was 4:00, and time for Greg's
talk. Last year, nearly every picture
I took of that man was either the back of his head or had the worst
case of red-
eye I've ever seen. So hopefully they'll come out better this time.
Much of the info was the same -- we viewed
the promotional video, the
leica reel of Bad Guys (there may be hope for that one again, now that
of command at Disney's been revamped), and Greg told the jalapena story
the "better than Barney" story.
Some new treats included a pre-Gargoyles
plan for the New Olympians
as a series (and oddly, hearing all about that and seeing the pics
took a lot of the
sting out of an episode that really gave me a hairball), and a letter
from Salli Elise
Richardson. There had been a rumor flying about that she was going
to do the
same surprise appearance like Keith David did last year, but no such
luck, as she
was filming in Vancouver B.C. (and he was in Australia, apparently).
Eric (aka Gorebash) missed most of the
talk, and word was it was
because he was dying his hair, in preparation for going as Elisa to
All in all, though, I think my absolute
favorite part of the talk was toward
the end, when Greg broke off, looked toward the back of the room, and
"Jesus, there's a lot of people making out in here!"
At that point, everyone whirled. And
because Karine (Kanthara), sitting
with Mitch, had bent forward suddenly to hide, effectively submerging
behind the people in front of her, all eyes found Jennifer (Crzy) and
Alan springing apart with a guilty look. Hoots and whistles and ribald
from all corners of the room. Everyone thought it was just them until
making a noise that was half anguished-shamed wail, half hysterical
laughter. She surfaced briefly, showing a face as red as Brooklyn,
Needless to say, it took quite a while
to restore order and get on with the
talk! Then it was autograph time, and I took the opportunity to tell
Greg how much
I liked the essay he posted in "Ask Greg" about sex in fanfic. Up until
been operating with an attitude of "as long as I don't know for sure
he'd hate it, I
won't feel so bad." And then, after reading his thoughts on the subject,
I was very
relieved. I'm confident that if he were allowed to read my stuff, he'd
After that, we had an hour and a half
to get ready for the masquerade
ball. I called home and chatted with Tim and even Becca (who could
only be pried
away from the computer by telling her Mommy had bought presents). Then
up to the 32nd floor and got into my Una-suit. The horn had broken
in transit, but
a little tape patched it back up.
All things considered, for a costume
I put together with a hot glue gun, it
wasn't half bad! Una with a great big caboose. But I do wish that the
worked a little differently! One set went from the lobby through the
20th floor, the
other went from the lobby only to the 21st through 40th floors. So
all of us in our
costumes had to make an appearance in the lobby before escaping to
safety of the 2nd floor Crystal Room.
The costumes this year were spectacular!
I doubt anybody was surprised
that Jennifer walked away with first prize for her Demona outfit. It
The feet, the teeth, everything. If only she hadn't broken off her
perching in the window and scaring passers-by! Her husband Alan made
MacBeth, having grown a beard specially for the occasion (though, IMO,
should keep it!).
Shari and her sisters (or is one an in-law;
I can never keep track) came
as the Weird Sisters again, but this time in their little-girl-sailor-suit
had two Unas, myself and Noel (and Siryn was _not_ Una; don't call
her that or
she might ram that long golden spiral horn of hers right through your
Kathy was a very professional Dominique Destine, Seth was the Hunter.
Future Tense Brooklyn and Demona, a couple of Xanatoses and Foxes,
Alexander as a grown-up, an evil Ninja, a Quarryman, lots of gargoyles,
Dracon (when Thomas got rid of the moustache, he looked eerily like
minus the trademark chin; the Green Baron is too cute to be a priest
and I must
admit to having some very evil thoughts about corrupting him!) and
even a guest
appearance by one of the Scarlet Angel band members, portrayed by Denis.
And then there was Gore. His entrance
was a complete showstopper. If
Jen as Demona wowed the socks off us, Gorelisa left us stunned.
Now, a lot of guys can't pull off dressing
as a woman convincingly. If
nothing else, the wig ruins the whole effect. But Eric is blessed with
a lush fall of
thick, gorgeous hair, and the best eyelashes I've ever seen on anyone,
female. With the hair darkened, the goatee gone, and Aimee's make-up
not to mention the outfit and the balloons, it was an amazing transformation!
Deciding that if he was gonna do it,
he was gonna go all out, there was
much pouting and preening for the camera. And maybe just a little too
much of a
fixation on the boobs. Someone should have loaned him a bra, because
were wandering all over every time he moved. But that gave him the
fondle them back into place, something that he might have enjoyed just
a wee bit
too much! I heard that Alison accidentally popped one, and how she
talons on his cha-chas is something upon which I'd rather not speculate.
The promenade was really something. Each
contestant had to parade
back and forth down the aisle to show off the costumes. And oh, was
there ever a
lot of wiggling and prancing! I thought Seth was going to hurt himself!
At some point during all this, Greg snuck
in unnoticed. I have no idea
when or how, but Jordan eventually spotted him (hiding behind Jennifer's
Well, at least by then he couldn't have possibly thought we were any
I managed to get a few chances to talk
to Greg, about the GSE and my
book and all that, and was tremendously flattered when he told me I
the hell out of him with my writing. Not that he's read any of my fanfic,
but because of the book. Wish I'd had a copy to send him. Something
So I'll have to send one, a thank-you
gift because in a way, the book
owes a fair amount to him, seen as how all this practice on fanfic
has helped my
"real" writing quite a bit. If anybody knows the address for Dreamworks,
appreciate it. Much safer to send it to work, rather than track down
address and make his family worry about crazed stalker-fans!
One thing I did notice about the masquerade
-- as the hours went by and
more and more bits of costume were shed (wings, wigs, and tails mostly),
I was thrilled to win the play tent in
the raffle, although between that and
my plastic Una-wings, packing everything into one bag was quite a challenge!
Wish I'd stayed up later. I heard there were some wild conversations
in the wee
small hours after I'd showered away that white makeup and collapsed.
Monday morning was a time for lots of
hanging out in the lobby and
saying goodbye. I bet the hotel people were glad to be rid of us, since
us out of the Crystal Room and con suite as early as they possibly
they were peeking in the windows at us all through the masquerade).
a sketch out of Karine, figuring I'd better ask before she reads my
what happened, as she'll probably want to kill me. And got more hugs
had all year!
It began to rain shortly before my shuttle
was due. The rain softened the
city with a grey-gold light, making it prettier than I would have expected.
rain, buckets of it, also flooded the intersections and made the pedestrians'
movements even more likely to get them run over.
The ride back was much better. No getting
stranded for 20 minutes. A
few honks, yeah, but not too many. We reached the airport with plenty
of time to
spare before my flight, so I settled myself down and wrote out titles
notions for my next dozen fanfics.
I was even inspired to do a little sketching,
once I was safely away from
people who really knew what they were doing. Though one would think
last thing I'd want to do was depress myself seeing how my feeble skills
up to all the art I'd admired this weekend!
Overall, last year was fun and this year
was even more fun, and I'm
looking forward to next year! Dallas in '99!