October 03, 2005

So the second international gathering of Crossroads eclectics has come to a close, and the various parties have staggered homeward in varying stages of exhaustion and in my own case a relapsed influenza (which may partly explain the odd staggering of entries): I will hope that last at least stayed only with me! The first gathering, some will remember, adopted as its excuse the release of the final episode of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy: and given that it was me who proposed this smaller gathering within the context of a larger convention, all participants were immediately draughted into full-time convention volunteering -- while additionally creating a full-time gathering of our own. The result was heady, exhausting, utterly predictable in that exhaustion (although most of the after-effects were not noticed until the return home), and apparently irresistable enough as to make a sequel inevitable (if, it was vowed, a bit less condensed, this time around). Life issues pre-empted its intended summer scheduling; life issues equally demanded its sudden, spontaneous, virtually no warning resurrection with less than a month's warning.

Suffice it to say I was not going to allow a simple bout of the flu to keep me from this shindig.

This time, seizing as our excuse the release of Serenity (and the associated inevitable fan mutual discovery and communion), we determined to allow the days more independent sponteneity: with the agreed-upon film showing and subsequent gathering at a local watering hole as the only pre-scheduled event. Predictably, once again the days began at dawn and ended again almost at dawn. Fewer costumes this time around: many Jayne hats to be seen among the local fans, none yet among us, even if Jayne hats take up considerably less luggage space than cloaks or Jedi robes. We walked, climbed, watched, climbed some more, ate my cooking (which led to instant vows that next time things would be different), travelled on public transit (oh, the horror!), climbed to the top of a tower and elevated to the top of a second, rotated, tried to figure out where to restaurant in the midst of the restaurant district, shared DVDs and tapes, discovered that we had forgotten the DVD remote (which led to interesting backing-up and alternate track issues and finally culminated in at least one DVD being watched to its end on a laptop), and above all, talked. Until dawn.

Returned with a newly revived cough, drowning the persistent attempted hacking in hot liquids of every denomination and trying once again to pre-empt bronchitis and minimise contagion with every trick and technique known to me. My sight still grays in and out, with interesting blotches occasionally travelling across the paler backgrounds, but this approximates normality for me: and -- I am assured -- at least for the short-term future not an imminent encroaching blindness.

Returned to discover the city centre clock out of order, the building hot water non-existent (a cracked hot water heater is being replaced ... in its own good time), and most of the main road intersection next to my home converted to height-deep ditches within a creative chaos of construction that does not seem to have taken into account actual traffic patterns -- but this time with actual posted bus station posts! at least, on one side of the street. Those on the opposite side still remain best guesses and have a tendency to migrate at whim: if you don't know the neighbourhood, you will never find them.

Returned to smog and a strange second summer, after the weather had been on its best behaviour straight through the weekend -- after, that is, the nightmare ten-hour commute through a windstorm on the way to the gathering. Whether 100 kilometre-an-hour winds are less nerve-racking to drive through than the early winter snowsqualls of the previous gathering remains an open question. Perhaps we have established a new tradition of arrival, stay, and departure.

We will see what the future brings ... next time.

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