Garry Chalk ~ Gatecon 2008 by Candi Santora

Event: Gatecon 2008
Where: Vancouver
When: August 20, 2008

Thanks to Candi Santora for her pictures & her report! Gatecon 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My mom’s and my day began at 2:30am, Wednesday, August 20. Our flight from Allentown, PA wasn’t until 5:40am but the airport suggested we be there two hours early from departure. So we left home around 3:30am and got to the Lehigh Valley International airport around 4:00am. We boarded on time and were on our way to Chicago, IL accompanied by a beautiful sunrise.

Upon arriving at O’Hare airport, we had little time to find our next terminal, which just happened to be all the way on the other side of the airport, and board on a little larger airliner. Departing on time, our four-hour flight consisted of food, a movie (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian), an episode of The Office, and an E! documentary on the Wilson brothers; Owen, Luke and Andrew. Landing on time in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, we breezed through Customs and made our money exchange. After that we looked for my friend William who was picking us up from the airport to give us a ride to our hotel and a tour of Vancouver. We found him holding a little sign that had my name printed on it along with a box of Tim Horton’s donuts. What a sweetie! And those are great donuts! After hugs and gabbing, we set off in his car and started our tour.

William showed us so much that I can’t possibly remember all the names and streets and buildings and beaches. One beach that stood out, with a spectacular view, was the one Garry had his “spill” back in February and messed up his leg while walking his dogs.

After that we moved on with our tour driving by fancy houses and the University. Now a few days ago, Garry had passed on his cell number to me and told me to call him after 5pm since he’d be working on Wednesday. Well, while we were driving with William, Garry surprised us and called my mom around noon to try setting up a place to meet for lunch. Eventually we caught up with each other, exchanged hugs, and Garry suggested we try the local market food. So we headed over to Granville Island (one of the sites I really wanted to see), found parking, and caught up with Garry again. He took us through the Public Market and it was a huge store full of tons and tons of food from almost everywhere in the world. All of us got our food (mine was a salmon burger with French fries and water; delicious!) and found an empty table out on the patio by the docks for small boats after Garry so graciously paid for our meals. Seagulls and pigeons were everywhere on that patio!

We sat at our table and got situated while Garry went to get his own food. Returning to our table with his food, he was ambushed by a seagull that stole a piece of his food off of his plate and whacked him in the head with its wing. I’ve never seen something so funny. Such rude birds! During our entire meal we watched the birds chase each other and eat food and fly at people, some of the pigeons even landing on people’s hands. Garry offered the seagull that ambushed him a French fry that he stole from my plate and then kept stealing my fries to feed them to the seagull. Of course I was the only one who couldn’t finish my food, but instead of wasting the rest of my burger, Garry took it and tossed it to a seagull that swallowed it whole! The four of us sat there for some time until we got up and allowed Garry to take us through Granville on foot. We stopped at many stores and admired the art we saw, joking here and there and having a great time until it started to rain.

After visiting an awesome art supplies store where Garry pointed out a few of his favorite things, he hurried to his car and grabbed a giant umbrella for us. William ended up carrying it most of the time; such a gentleman. Continuing our walk as it rained and thundered a little, we came across a kids’ toys store that Garry pointed out would be perfect for me (ha ha!) and I said, “I was just going to say that to you!” but he beat me to it. I asked, “Well, does it have Transformers? We could play those.” “I don’t know. It probably does,” he answered. So we went in for a peek and happily discovered some Transformers! “Which one is you, Garry?” William asked him. “I don’t see me,” Garry said and I frowned. They only had the Animated and movie toys. Eventually exiting the store, we continued our brisk walk in the rain, Garry pointing out more stores and its owners that he knew and brief histories about them. We got back to William’s car, swapped hugs and kisses with Garry as he took back his umbrella, and Garry added to my mom and me, “If you aren’t doing anything tonight, give me a call,” and told William to take us to the hotel to check in so we could relax from our flight. Instead, William wanted to finish our tour (which I was fine with), so we drove on. Our last stop was the hotel where we grabbed our luggage and hugged William, thanking him for all his help and the donuts, and then walked inside and checked into our hotel room.

No more than 30 minutes later and one of my other friends who lives in Surrey called me on my cell phone. We discussed a brief plan on when and where to meet on Thursday and it came down to him planning on calling me around 12:30pm since our day was pretty open up until the Meet and Greet portion of the Gatecon at 7pm. No more than another 30-45 minutes later, Garry calls my mom’s cell phone asking about the “Open Invitation to Beach Party at English Bay” that was scheduled at 7pm Wednesday night according to the Gatecon itinerary. Since it had been rainy all afternoon, no one was sure if it was still going to be held, so we decided to check it out together. Garry came by the hotel in his vehicle and picked us up. I sat in the front and my mom sat in the back. We headed down to English Bay with no luck of finding any kind of party. We turned around and started a short tour by car where he told us more about his own past and the city’s history with specific buildings, as well as giving us ideas where to eat for breakfast since the hotel food was so expensive. Then he asked if we had dinner yet, but since we were still kind of full from lunch, we decided to look for a place for just a snack or dessert. After finding a parking spot, we walked up and down the sidewalks until we came across a nice restaurant called the Milestone and finally decided to eat there. Garry ordered a small appetizer that looked really good and all of us ordered dessert. It was delicious! We sat there and talked about all sorts of things. We also talked about our work, I finally showed him my “creepy eye” which he thought was beyond weird, and he had us laughing out loud with his Southern and English accents and stories. We couldn’t have had a better time out. But all good things must come to an end. After an hour or two, we left the restaurant and walked back to his car, talking about how stupid it is to pay $300 on a pair of jeans and $500 on some shirt. He dropped us off back at the hotel and blew kisses, saying we’d see him again Thursday night at the Meet and Greet. My mom and I returned to our room where we finally settled in and went to bed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My mom and I didn’t get up until around 11am, mostly due to the jetlag, but we hurried up and got ready for the day while Tony and I texted back and forth, and I had a call from Clive at 12:30pm. Afterward, we decided to head down to pick up our registration first thing, and since we were so late, there were no lines. Woohoo! My mom noticed that her autographed photo of Richard Dean Anderson wasn’t the one she requested on-line. So we searched for someone from Lengends Memorabilia but they weren’t available until 2pm. So we headed down the street to Denny’s for breakfast. I had French toast with chocolate milk and Mom had eggs, pancakes, bacon, toast and sausage with orange juice.

My friend called again while we were eating and told us he’d be at the hotel in about an hour since he lives in Surrey. After our meal, we walked back to the hotel around 2pm and checked out Legends. Now the sign said they’d be available at 3pm. So we waited for someone to talk to and finally spoke with Becky who took my mom’s photo but couldn’t guarantee that she could get the issue fixed. By then it was about time to wait for my friend to show up, and we waited in the South Tower of the hotel since it seemed to be the main entrance.

Around 2:50pm, my Surrey friend pulled up and we walked out to his car. He had a blue rose for my mom and a red one for me. What a sweetheart! He and I had a hug and kiss and then we were off to the “Metro” mall. Our first stop was the store he used to work at. It was Transformers galore inside! And they had Star Trek figures, and Family Guy, Mr. T, Gundam Wing, Final Fantasy, Gremlins, Reboot, Star Wars, and comics. It was great! Then we walked to Toys R Us and checked out more Transformers toys, and they had a pretty nice selection. Without spending much time in there, we strolled down the mall to a place called the Big Orange, where they made ice drinks with real fruit of smoothies, slushies and bubble tea. He insisted we try it, so we each got one and it was really good! Next, we drove off to his place in Surrey and spotted a bridge (for the sky train) that looked like the one they often show on Cold Squad. Arriving at his home, which was VERY nice, he introduced us to his giant Transformers collection that was freaking schweet. I have never seen so many in one place! Then he called one of our other friends and we had a three-way conversation on the phone, which was great since I had known her for years now but we’ve never met or spoken on the phone. While we were there, we also met his dad, and after a few pictures of us together and his Transformers, it was time to head back to Vancouver.

This time we took the sky train, which I thought was great because Garry and William had been mentioning it a bit and said it’s a great view to see the city from an elevated location. By the way, the sky train is unmanned, meaning there aren’t any humans driving it. It’s all controlled by computers. Can everyone say “Sky Net?” Hah! We got off at our stop and walked back up to our hotel. It was already after 7pm, which was when the Meet and Greet part of the convention started. We walked up to our room with him, exchanged hugs and kisses, and he set off on his own back to his home.

It was about 7:45pm when we finally checked out the Meet and Greet. We didn’t see Garry but we saw Alex Zahara there first and weren’t sure if it was him or not, so we went to Corin Nemec and introduced ourselves and asked for photos with him. He was so nice and always smiling.

We still didn’t see Garry after that so we decided to sit outside of the ballroom where we could catch him and anyone else coming in before the horde of fans would see them. On our way out of the room, Cliff Simon showed up and was greeted with applause and cheers. He was just as pleasant so we were able to get photos with him as well. Unfortunately, we heard from someone who was talking to Cliff when he asked who all was there and she said Alex and Corin were there and that Garry Chalk was there earlier. I was immediately disappointed and felt bad that we were so late and had missed him, especially since Garry’s always punctual for these things. It was almost 9pm when we finally walked out and I decided to give Garry a call to see if we could hang out some where else that he and William like to go some times but he didn’t pick up so I left a message (retardedly without my number).

We sat for a while in the main lobby of the North Tower where it was quieter in case he’d call back and noticed Corin walk by toward the elevators. Not much later and he walked by again and looked at us because my mom waved and called his name. He smiled and continued walking on out of the hotel. Soon we decided to head up to our. From 11pm to midnight I watched an episode of Star Trek: TNG called “Q Who” on the Space channel which was cool because Q is such a pain in the butt and it was the first time the Enterprise’s crew was introduced to the Borg. I got my shower after that guessing that Garry probably wouldn’t call at that time and then went to bed.

  Pics by Candi Santora

Friday, August 22, 2008

We awoke around 6:30am this time even though the alarm was set for 7:00 but we couldn’t sleep anymore. The sun was already trying to peek through the clouds. After getting ready for the day, and my mom finding out that her new slacks were too long, we went down to the hotel’s café for breakfast. I ordered the breakfast panini sandwich which was delicious and included dark forest turkey, tomatoes and sticks of asparagus. My meal also had an Omega 3 egg fit for dipping my hot sandwich in, fruit, and potato “chips” with orange juice. Mom had pancakes with fruit and orange juice.

At about 8:30am, we left the café and ventured back up to our room to grab our VIP passes and cameras. And so my mom could hem her slacks to wear them. Near 9am, we returned to the lobby level and headed down the escalators for Richard Dean Anderson and Captain Paul Watson’s (of the Sea Shepard Conservation Society) Q&A panel. It was spectactular! Both of them had a great sense of humor and jokes. Captain Watson was very knowledgeable in his answers and really made me open my eyes about all of the illegal whaling that’s still going on, and the seal hunts and dolphin slaughtering. It made me appreciate the oceans and its inhabitants even more and what the SSCS is doing every day, constantly putting their lives at risk to save every whale that they can. Recording was not allowed, but everyone took tons and tons of photos. Richard was great, it was definitely O’Neill sitting up there on the stage. After the panel, they left and we were showed a documentary on the SSCS. It was very moving, and I just couldn’t understand why people could murder such harmless, adorable creatures of this planet. I loved how Captain Watson told his stories; they were very touching. And how he explained that the Sperm Whale is the most intelligent mammal on Earth; more than humans. And how worms and insects are the custodians and cleaners of our planet; worms can live without humans but humans can’t live without worms. We are BELOW worms. And WE are killing the planet. My eyes watered at a couple parts of the video that showed dramatic slaughters, and showing what the crew of the SSCS goes through sometimes; attacks from ships of other countries, both physical and verbal. And I especially teared up at the clip at the end showing a baby harp seal crying tears from its large black eyes.

My mom and I went back to our room to freshen up and found out that we had voicemails since our phones had been off during the panel. I had the darnedest feeling one of them was from Garry but we couldn’t access our inboxes! Utterly frustrated with her phone company because my mom’s service kept roaming and she kept losing her calls, she finally got it figured out and she was able to listen to her messages. Yes, one of them was Garry saying he had actually waited for an hour for us at the other place the night before! I felt so incredibly bad. First we missed him at the Meet and Greet and then we left him sit all alone at that place! But we didn’t know because he never called us back because evidently he didn’t have our numbers on him, and I KNEW I should’ve left my number in my message on his cell phone. Also, he was under a time constraint for the Meet and Greet, so after he waited for about 20 minutes or so for us, he left as he needed to be somewhere else. I hate being late! So we finally got that figured out and we simply waited to see if Garry would call to catch up. Meanwhile, we decided to take a walk down Burrard St to see how far the McDonald’s was for a cheap breakfast over the weekend. And my mom took pictures of the building that reminded her of the one on Ghostbusters. Coincidentally, Garry had told us during our night out with him on Wednesday that he shot a movie waaay at the top of the building and that it’s just an enormous ballroom inside. We headed back up past the hotel and down the other end of Burrard, but since it only seemed to be businesses that way we soon turned around and came back to the Sheraton Wall Center hotel.

Looking for the room where the photo sessions for the other guests were going to be on the 3rd floor, Garry happened to call my mom to let us know he was one of the guests for the photos and that he’d be at the hotel shortly. We dropped off our jackets in our room and went back down in the line for the photos. Garry showed up and quickly said hi to us since he was in a rush to get situated for the session. But we noticed we needed forms of some sort for the photos, so while my mom went to figure out what that was about, I stood in line and Garry popped back out of the room, telling one of the volunteers he wanted to say hi to a couple people but couldn’t see us because we moved. He spotted my mom at the nearby help desk and then spotted me when I walked toward him. We walked together over to my mom and he apologized for missing us last night. I said that I was sorry for missing him! He asked, “Why are you sorry?” And I said, “Because we were out with one of my friends all the way over in Surrey and came back on the sky train.” “What were you doing in Surrey?” he asked a little surprised. And I said, “Well, that’s where my friend lives,” and we went on chatting about that for a minute or two. While my mom spoke with a volunteer, for some reason (that I can’t recall) Garry stared at me and tilted his head and pretended to rub noses with me like an Eskimo.

He had to head back in to the room so we said we’d see him in there soon and got the rest of our stuff ready for it. Thirty dollars for each photo with a guest! Both of us chose five photos and I picked Colin, Corin, Cliff, Garry and Alex. My mom chose Colin, Corin, Cliff, Gary Jones and Garry. So we both spent $150 on professional photos with only five of the many guests. We were in line for a while, watching Colin playing the Wii and the other guests gabbing or talking on their phones. When we got to the front of the line, I saw Garry talking to Dean Haglund and looked and pointed in our direction and Dean smiled. I wasn’t sure if they were talking about us but I smiled and waved back anyway. And then Garry was trying to wave to us again but the photographer was in the way the whole time. I was up in line before my mom and I started off with Cliff since he was already up there with a previous fan that was from Florida. We shook hands and I said it was nice to meet him again and he said the same asking how I was doing. I said I was great and asked how he was and he said cool. After the photo, we thanked each other and shook hands again.

Next was Corin’s turn so I told him the same thing upon shaking hands, that it was nice to meet him again. He said the same and I asked, “How are you holding up?” And he answered, “Real good!” And I added, “That’s good!” We shook hands again and thanked each other. Then it was Colin’s turn and as he approached, I said, “Wassup?!” with the appropriate hand gesture. He did the same thing and smiled saying, “What’s up?!” We shook hands and took the photo, Colin deliberately taking my right hand and placing it on his left side like he did with at least all of the women. Then we thanked one another. And then it was Alex’s turn, and I could see Garry standing up and getting ready to walk over before Alex did, automatically assuming I was getting a photo with him. He looked a little startled or disappointed, probably wondering when it was going to be his turn. I felt a little bad but laughed about it and tried telling him he was next and not to worry. Alex and I shook hands and introduced each other. He asked where I was from and I said Pennsylvania and he was a little surprised. We took the photo and he added that I could walk up to him to say hi anytime. I said that was great and thanked him. Finally it was Garry’s turn. When he was called, I pointed at him and called him over with my index finger. He smiled and started doing a little dance so I started to dance too and we laughed. As we stood for the photo, he told me that he was telling Dean about my artistic talent and I thought that was awesome! I said, “Awe, that’s great! Thank you!” We hugged and posed, took the photos, and then I was rushed out of the room like every other fan who was done. I waited in the lobby for my mom and then we hung out for a while there before we realized how long it might be until they were done with the photo session. She also mentioned that she had told Garry that we were free between the end of the session and the banquet but he had already had plans before the dinner. So he said we’d see him in a couple hours. After he left, we checked out the Legends dealer room and bought a few things for our selves and birthday presents for my younger sister and my brother. Back to our room for some relaxation and snacks, it’d be soon enough for us to get ready for the banquet.

My mom and I were getting dressed in our fancy gowns for the dinner around 6:30pm to 7:00pm and Garry called our hotel room saying he was waiting in the lobby. Well, he was way too early (the banquet didn’t start until 8pm) so we told him we’d be down soon. When we got down to the lower lobby, we walked around but couldn’t find him. But we did bump into Corin who didn’t seem to know exactly where the dinner was either, like us. So my mom went to the ballroom to save seats at a table while I went to find Garry. I went back up a set of escalators, and another set, and looked around all the lobbies. I didn’t see him so I headed down the long hallway that connected the North Tower to the Residential Tower and stopped to look out the glass wall that faced outside. I saw a couple small groups outside and noticed Garry’s vehicle parked near the South Tower so I knew he was there somewhere. I went back down a set of escalators and finally found him chatting outside with one of the groups I had spotted from above. I walked outside and met up with him. He seemed pleasantly surprised to see me all dressed up and one of the other guest actors (who played Anubis at one point) that was there asked me to do a little spin. With Garry egging me on as well, I spun lightly and smiled at them. Garry complimented me very nicely and I said thank you with a small curtsy. I had comments from a bunch of people for my dress and my Stargate tattoo.

“Is that a real tattoo?” the “Anubis” guest asked. And I replied, “Yes, it is!” I never really think about it so I often forget that it’s there. Garry said, “Now that’s a true fan.” I laughed. Another lady joined our little group and showed us her tattoo, which was just like the Earth patch they wore on the left shoulder of their off-world jackets. That was a lot of ink but it was pretty awesome. So I was outmatched. Ha ha! We were out there chatting for some time and Garry helped with introductions when Michael Greenburg showed up between us and a nice mother-and-daughter couple from Ohio. We all talked about sports, and he said he was a local and went off on a couple other actors who lived in Vancouver as well, and we went off on all kinds of topics. So much time went by that my mom actually came strolling out and got just as many compliments as I did with her dress. Eventually we headed in to the hotel with Garry and headed down to the ballroom since they were beginning to serve the bread. We sat at our table and let Garry do his quick rounds, and I immediately noticed that we were sitting at a table that were all women. Boy, Garry was going to get a kick out of this. Ha ha!

It turned out that they were all from the website known as Gate World, and they were all so nice so I hoped it wouldn’t be a problem. I caught Garry walking around and looked like he might have been searching for us, so I walked over and showed him our table. He said there might be a reserved table for him and the other guests and I said jokingly, “Forget about the reserved table and sit with us!” He strolled over and we sat down. The first thing he said was, “Oh man. A whole table of hot chicks! I’m definitely sitting here.” Ha ha! Everyone introduced themselves to each other and the ladies seemed very pleased that we managed to bring Garry to our table. It was such a great time. All the fans and the actors were laughing and carrying on and taking photos during the entire banquet. Garry showed us the accent he used to have when he was younger, and his Scottish accent, and his Russian accent from SG-1. It was awesome! But we talked about all kinds of things and he really kept it entertaining (as usual).

One of the ladies was from Philly, another was from Florida, another from Nashville, another from Georgia, and the other was from Edmonton, Canada. Throughout the dinner Garry made some rounds to other tables, and Corin made a point about someone’s birthday; a 19-year-old named Steph. He got everyone to sing happy birthday to her and he brought her on the Stargate stage to chat a little before he let her go on and said congratulations to making it to the legal drinking age in Canada. Cliff had stopped by our table to speak briefly with Garry, and later on while he was making more rounds to the tables, Colin stopped at our table and asked for cameras so he could take his picture with everyone sitting there. That was really nice of him. But the actors were available to everyone the whole time it seemed. Colin, Corin, Garry, Dean, Dan Payne, David Winning, Andee. We got a load of hugs and “naughty” photos with Garry while he was at our table for some longer periods of time. He rubbed noses with me like Eskimos while the ladies snapped photos of us. And when we were standing with him to take more random pictures with our gowns, we had quite a little crowd forming with cameras and flashes from fans from other tables. It was really fun! Soon it was getting late and the banquet was wrapping up. Garry’s leg was getting sore and he was getting tired, so we called it a night. Most of the room had already cleared out. We gave hugs and kisses with Garry and he complimented us again. Since he said he was beat, and it was getting late, I didn’t bother asking about hanging out afterward, but he did mention that he had to check his itinerary to see if there was any time to drive us around again on Saturday. It was already 11pm so we went up to our room and got for ready for bed.

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