"So, any idea what you're going to use your wish for?"

"Wish? I thought that was only for people with deadly diseases."

Actually, my chemo whacked brain was looking for 'terminal' as in "chances of recovery NOT good" instead of 'deadly,' but that's about what I did say when the Make A Wish Foundation first came up (that would be way back in '96). At the time I thought of doing something garg related, maybe go see an episode recorded, another season maybe, or some such thing. But I was still getting treatments, and it got put aside.

Then the show ended. Well, thoughts of using it for another season did come through, but.... well.... there are limits, even to a wish. ::shrugs:: So I didn't do that either. Treatments ended, I entered remission, and the wish got put aside while I kept plugging away at school.

Last December I turned 18. Make A Wish is only good up until that age, so I went over my options on what to use it for, or even that I would. I didn't really want to get some garg merchandise. I'd decided against the episode/season idea. But I still wanted to do something with gargs....

So I went to the Gathering. And with the example of Christine Morgan's con reports (which, might I add, convinced my parents that the Gathering was a legit deal.... parents, go figure) and a need to do SOMETHING in order to rant about G2K, I've cobbled this ramble together. Pictures and a sorta log of my viewpoint of the Gathering. Hopefully it'll be different enough from the others out there to keep your attention. Due to the fact that my memory is horrible and I don't want to offend anyone by getting a name horribly wrong, I've tried to keep the names down to a minimum. No offense to anyone, I just couldn't read badges fast enough.

Welcome to my mind, and thanks for visiting.....

Overall impressions

First and foremost: WOW! What a blast! I had the most incredible time, and better yet, the parental units enjoyed themselves as well... enough so that we've got two spots of registration for next year! It was fun to match names with faces, meeting Greg and Thom was... well... pardon the overused term but: very cool. Vic Cook and Greg Guler were awesome too. As for the fellow attendees, while there was an occasional urge to throttle a person or two, y'all are too cool.

I think I scared Greg. Or at least, the cancer thing scared him, the whole 'there but for the grace of God go I or my family.' I don't think I'm that intimidating, but he really didn't seem comfortable to be around me. ::shrugs:: Maybe no one made it clear that I am in remission?

I'm amazed Thom hasn't gained more of a following in the female portion of the fandom; he's a wonderful person IRL. Whenever I went by him, he always had a smile and a greeting. And watching him with Greg's kids and/or Becca is entertaining all in itself. Speaking of which, I want to know where the Morgans hide Becca's batteries. I swear that kid saw more convention time than I did. Posterchild for energizer batteries.... :)

I never did follow through on my intent to put the Orion sculpture into the art show. Between the deadline, general insecurity, and the fact that I didn't want to muck around with registration (Make A Wish handled that, and sending in the art bit after the fact might've messed things up too much), I figured it would be better to do it next year. Of course, after seeing the art show.... A little intimidated? Me? You betcha! ;)

I have two modes when dealing with people I'm impressed by (which, considering the talent in the fandom, meant pretty much everyone!). Thankfully most of the week was spent in Awed Silence, in which my brain tries to convince my subconscious that yes, these are real people and I am allowed to talk to them about silly stuff. Hopefully people weren't too put off by that. I only entered Gibbering Idiot mode once in public, and Thom seemed to handle it well. My respect for the man only increases....

Day 1 Flight down, getting the lay of the land

Day 2 Registration, Opening Ceremonies

Day 3 Storyboard session, Win Xanatos' Money, Radio Show, Banquet, and lots of Masquerade pics

Day 4 Auction and Closing

Day 5 Day at Disney, much ranting and non-garg related pics

Day 6 Home again

8/3 Thursday

After a night of minimal sleep, it was an early morning to catch the ride to the airport..... Make A Wish supplied a limo. Good lord, it was a heady feeling to have a white stretch limo pull up in the early morning light. Almost creepy, actually, but very very cool. The interior wasn’t quite what I expected - not in a bad way, just different with several neon light tubes and a big mirror on the ceiling, and of course we ended up sitting so Dad was the only one with access to the climate controls and other toys. Bad move; he played with those the whole ride to the airport. I’ll leave that alone with the comment that he enjoys temperatures around meatlocker cold.

The workers at the airport were probably nearing the end of their shift, several were downright chatty. Nothing of particular interest, aside from a moment of justification. While we were waiting, a “Jay Karen Something” was paged over the intercom. Having been informed a time or two that Jay is pretty much strictly a male name, I got a good gloat out of that.

I’ll admit to napping through most of the flight; apparently adrenaline just doesn’t cut it that long (although the hyperactive bratling that insisted on kicking the back of my seat did a passable job for a bit). We were met at the airport by a Make A Wish representative: Renate. With several reminders to “follow the balloon” we made it out in one piece. During the drive to the hotel, I was getting some serious flashes of the Las Vegas strip. Sure, Vegas goes up while International Drive goes out, but they’re both flashy and out to suck up all your money.

When we finally got to the hotel, it turned out they have some bizarre rule of check in time begins at 4, so we had several hours to kill. Had our first taste of con weirdness when we met Zaius and Heather before running off to eat, then hit Wonderworks (think hands on science museum). By the time we finished that, we went back to check in.

Thus begins the room saga. Soon as the door was opened, it was clear the previous occupant was a smoker - personally, I think they were a chain smoker - never mind the no smoking sign placed very clearly next to the door. Considering we were there thanks to cancer.... that did not go over well, let alone my allergies were not pleased with smoke central. The reservation was upgraded - to the only room with an indoor waterfall. I kid you not: whenever the air conditioner stopped, it dribbled water pretty much everywhere. Lord only knows what housekeeping thought of the waterfilled trash can in the middle of the room. Add in a toilet that leaked in the tank, so it’d sort of flush regularly, and the nights were... interesting.

Anyway, once that was settled, we poked around for the convention area and bugged people there until crashing.

8/4 Friday

I refuse to comment on the meat locker conditions and the idiot who couldn't figure out she was using the wrong indicator for the water temperature, which gave a whole new meaning to the term 'cold shower.' ;)

So on to registration. It was rather amusing, about 20 of us were present before opening time of 10. Siryn was pretty much the only one manning to table for some reason, and at 10 exactly it was like vultures descending for the kill. After that entertaining scene, the art room crew came out looking for volunteers to set up. So Mom, Dad, and I signed up for that. I'm glad we did that; not only was it somewhat fun, but it was a great icebreaker. I mean, once you've spent an hour or so with a group of people fighting with cranky backboards, it's hard to NOT be at ease with them.

Not much more to talk about until opening ceremonies. There was some wandering around the ice cream social and Mom spent some time in the costume workshop, but I can't really ramble on about those.

Opening Ceremonies started off with the Jalapena eating contest: I signed Dad up for that. Heh heh heh. What can I say? He's a firefighter and loves that type of stuff, though I don't know how anyone could stand it. He managed to tie Slash, who bolted down 17 peppers before stopping. Poor guy looked like he was gonna be sick... and that was before Dad started playing around with his. Evil man. I can't take my parents anywhere. Well, not and expect them to behave.

Well, after that, Sara made the opening speech and such, and...um... ::coughs and squirms:: called me up front with the whole spiel about me going thanks to Make A Wish. Frankly, I feel the less said about that the better. I'm glad it gave her the warm fuzzies and all, but... I'm afraid I don't see what the big deal was. Publicity for both organizations aside, all I did was get to do something I've wanted to since running across Christine's con reports. Getting... er... 'stuff' was a great plus, but I was more'n happy to just attend.

Lessee, after that Hudson and Chris Rogers got up to discuss plans for the fandom. Making it a corporation... wow. Ambitious, cool, and totally fascinating. I don't envy the workload they're giving themselves, but much more power to them for it. Let's hope it works out.

Then Greg gave his speech on the beginnings of the series, the spin offs, and whatnot, introduced the other guests, and generally tried his apparent best to give himself laryngitis talking. No, that wasn't a bad thing.

Afterwards, Dad went back to the room to recover from the jalapenas while Mom and I hit the first part of the Starship Troopers videos. I think we both now have a mild new addiction..... ;)

Day 2 photos

8/5 Saturday

Not much happened during the first half of the day. There was the auditions for the radio show, but I wanted to see that from the audience rather than the cast. That and I wasn't too sure people would keep the cancer thing separate from what (little) talent I might have, so why tempt fate?

Instead I lurked in the Dealer's Room for a bit with the Wintersmith Dreams crew - mostly Scott and A Fan, who if I catch putting down his writing again will be badly beaten with a stuffed monkey - and discussing stuff before hitting Vic Cook and Greg Guler's storyboard session. Wow. I'm already impressed with anyone who can draw, but those two have some incredible talent. The stories about making the show were also very cool.

After that, hit Win Xanatos's Money, which was worth quiet a few laughs. Once again I don't have a clue about name, meaning I'm not sure who the guy was who won, but he did a VERY impressive job of beating Mandi/Xanatos 9 to 1.

The Radio show was.... wow. Unbelievably amazing. The plot (if a bit longer than originally expected) was fascinating, the actors did an incredible job, and I get the feeling Thom's warcry of "Die you bastards!!!" will go down as a future con catchphrase.

Somewhere along the way we picked up (or more likely were picked up by! ;) two fans who were locals, so our room was offered for their painting session for the masquerade. Glad we did drag them off; between the radio show and the banquet, power to the entire street died. At least there was natural light.

The banquet was interesting, considering most of it was by candlelight. I ended up at Greg's table. Spent most of the time talking with his wife Beth and wondering just what I was eating. ;) It was fun. There was a set of trivia questions for a contest, and it was rather disturbing how many of them I knew (although I still say the ship carrying the Scrolls of Merlin was the Lucitania). The Q&A session was pretty short, but considering how late things were running that was probably just as well.

I have no comment on the Masquerade other than the variety and skill in costumes was unbelievable. Kudos to everyone and on with the pictures!

Day 3 photos
Masquerade photos

8/6 Sunday

I'm not certain where Sunday went. Greg had a great scriptwriting lecture, although I figure that's too much for me to handle. The auction was somewhat long, but entertaining. Congrats to Wanderer, who did a spiffy job as auctioneer. I picked up Wingless's CD's, and I hope he's happy to know I'm getting badly addicted to the Newf's Rule one....

The highlight of the whole deal was the storyboard of The Mirror, which Seth Jackson (I hope it's him, at least... the name thing again) drove up to $805. He didn't get it, but it made my day when it got to somewhere around $750 and he said something along the lines of "what the hell, it's a worthy cause" and raised the bid again.... I don't have anything to do with Make A Wish aside from being a recipient, but to everyone who spent money in the auction, especially Seth and the person who did end up with the Mirror, I feel the need to send out one huge thank you!!!

After the 3X3 Eyes presentation (I'm not normally one to go overboard on Anime, but I think that's one I'm gonna have to hunt down later), things got a little odd. At least the power stayed on. A game of Whose Clan is it Anyway was scheduled, but never got going despite the crowd that gathered for it. So Hudson got up and started to rant and ramble for the two hours, an hour AFTER when closing ceremonies should have begun. Once again an amazing impromptu performance by a fan, he did a wonderful job while people tried to hunt down the 2001 con staff and guests of honor. Even Beth (who didn't know where Greg and company were) and Benny Weisman got into the entertainment. Finally Thom ran in and explained that the rest were caught at Red Lobster. While waiting for them to arrive, Hudson managed to threaten Thom into showing off his 4 tattoos he got since the last Gathering... just in time for Greg to come in and ask if Thom was stripping for entertainment. I do wish that picture had come out.

Annnyway. Thom gave his award to Patrick Thomas for dressing up as Captain Chavez, then Greg gave a great prep talk concerning the con (apparently he's lost all fear of the con in general) and next year's. 2001 sounds totally awesome, and I'm happy to say I'm signed up already. C'mon, don'tcha wanna make sure Disney knows we're serious about getting the show back? Or at least obsessed, since serious isn't the best word to use.... ;)

Some more 3X3 Eyes wrapped up the evening, making a very nice ending to the festivities.

Hot damn, that was fun.

Day 4 photos

8/7 Monday

I've actually been to Disney World before, but since the last time was about 10 years ago, I only have vague memories of it. So we went to the Magic Kingdom for a trip down memory lane. We got there early enough that the lines weren't that bad for the most part. One of the oddest moments was on Small World - yes, I went on It's A Small World, I swear I was obsessed by it when younger. Aside from the shock of there being so much detail on that silly ride, I kept finding myself thinking, "oh god, I'm stuck on the Avalon world tour...."

We only saw about 3 other Gathering people, but it's a big park, and I guess most of them ended up going to MGM that day.

The Buzz Lightyear ride is totally nifty! You are IN the video game. Much fun. Dad ended up going by himself, so he had two guns to use, but oddly enough Mom, the... eherm, clueless one, kicked some major ass. Her score was higher than Dad and mine put together (I, on the other hand, came out with the lowest).

Some time mid-afternoon, I finally got hit by dehydration and general heat exhaustion, so we took the ferry and headed for Disney Downtown. As a last ditch effort, we ended up at the Rainforest Café. The restaurant from hell. Admittedly, I was tired, cranky, and highly irritable, but I think I truly hate that place. Theme based on a rainforest, there are animatronics animals everywhere that make noises and move every few minutes. I got stuck right beneath this parrot, so whenever it spread its wings I swore the shadow had me thinking the damn thing was gonna go right on my head. Throw in 'thunderstorms' every ten minutes when the lights dim, there's thunder, and more rushing water, and I was not happy. In an effort to be more cheerful about it, 3 good things: some wonderful drinks called Rainbow Coladas, reasonably friendly staff, and... er... it had air conditioning. Air conditioning was very important at the time.

Ah well. Enough of that. Made it back in time to catch the Electrical Parade, a very cool event, then headed over to Space Mountain. Although we had good timing on the line, the fast pass people meant it was an hour long wait. Some time during that, a woman stormed past ranting about fares.... it was too dark to tell, but the accent and attitude make me think it was Demona May. And a bit later on there was a loud, southern accented scream from one of the riders.... ;)

A word of advice: if you go to Disney World, do NOT wait until 11 to leave; all of humanity is trying to get out then. Lordy those crowds were frightening.

Day 5 photos

8/8 Tuesday

Disney totally wore us out; the morning was spent packing, then heading to the airport. Ran into the same two garg fans I kept seeing all week (ack. And after all that time, I never did catch their names: someone with a Goliath hologram thingy on her backpack and the person that was always with her? ::sighs:: Apologies to you both for never figuring out who you are, is you happen to see this feel free to e-mail me and give me a good whack upside the head!), then spotted Kythera while we finally got around to writing out those postcards we promised to people. Decided to check in our luggage and began the airplane saga to match that of our rooms - only more... interesting.

Turns out the plane we were originally scheduled on was already running late at Dullus for some reason. So the very helpful person manning the desk moved us to a plan leaving in about an hour (compared to the 4 or so), only difference was a quick layover at Dullus. Sounded cool, getting in early and all that, so we signed up.


After settling in to the waiting area, Dad and I left to scrounge up some food for the flight, and got sidetracked by Crazy Demona, Kythera, and those unnamed fans (I think; the backpack was there again). Never did get the food, but it was worth it the conversation. Scurried back, and it turned out there was a half hour wait to fix some unidentified problem involving the need to keep the aisles clear. It was cursed from that point on. We made it to Dullus ok, and even got past the layover bit - then we tried to take off.

It's rather disturbing when you're on the runway, going for take off, and the plane keeps going instead of taking off. We headed back to the gate, and given the option to debark while they fixed a problem. Half an hour later, those of us who stayed on were kicked off. To add to the fun, the President was in the airport with Air Force 1, so half the runways were shut down too.

Anyway, about two hours later, we finally took off, repairs finished. Most of the people gave up and changed to another plane that was leaving, but got held up so the ones from our flight could get their carry-ons.... it was one big mess. Although honestly, between reading Dark of the Elvenwood and watching some kid go by on his scooter (a somewhat disconcerting pastime: I kept seeing him go off to the left, but almost never to the right.... was almost ready to swear he had some way of circling around), I didn't mind.

We ended up getting back later than when our original flight did, and the poor limo driver was stuck waiting 2 hours for us. ::winces:: Oops. But at least he waited. And once again Dad ended up in control of the toys on the way home.....

If you're interested in a better con report, I highly recommend Christine Morgan's essay.

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