The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Monday, July 10, 2006

What You See Is What You Get (even if you don't, actually, see it)

Previously, I've read of bloggers getting together for various little impromptu meetings. Folks who have known, and respected, each other from afar finally taking that step of testing the strength of those ethereal friendships. Of course, long before I, myself, was a blogger, I reached out to one whom I had greatly liked and respected from afar. And that worked out pretty well for me...;) So, the thought of meeting other long distance friends wasn't, at all, frightening for me.

When Tony Collett suggested to me, many weeks ago, that he'd love to come to River City to see the new SUPERMAN RETURNS flick on IMAX, and that Mark and Lisa Gibson, since they also lived fairly close to River City, should join us started sounding more and more like less and less of a pipedream.

Given all the hurdles of each couple, especially the last minute variety that inevitably rear their nasty little heads, we weren't sure we'd be able to pull it off. But, I think it went remarkably well, and I believe (even if I am more than a little deluded) that everyone else would concur.

Even before we met, Lisa Gibson remarked to me, "what you see is what you get". The internet affords us all the opportunity to reinvent ourselves. The opportunity to assume more attractive traits, as we downplay the less attractive ones that we wish we didn't have. Like Lisa Gibson, I am who I am. And you either embrace all of me (and you'll have to have a reeeeaalllly long arm-span to do it) or you don't. And that's okay. This weekend, it was very nice to spend some time with very like-minded folks, getting what I had seen, at our very own mini River City Geek-Con 2006.

Of course, I'd "known" Mark and Tony almost as long as I'd known Highlander. So, I've always felt very comfortable with them. Lisa and I had only forged a fast friendship over the last few months, but it's been very nice. And Kathy, well, I'd only ever 'heard' of her through Tony. While I've always heard good things, I'd just never had the opportunity to get to know her myself. So, because all of you have only ever had the opportunity to know them from computer's length, let me share a few things.

Kathy C -

For someone who had major dental surgery only three days before, Kathy was the very epitomy of a trooper. Anything and everything that we threw at her was met with smiling, cheerful acceptance. I don't know. Maybe Tony caught all the grief on the way home. If so, I owe him an apology.

Myself, I'd always wondered what Kathy did for a living. Tony had never mentioned it (that I remember) and so, I was very curious. And the first opportunity I had, I asked. Do you know that she works with handicapped children? And that she has for nearly twenty years? What challenging and rewarding work! I would never make it. I get attached. I get emotionally involved. I would have to toughen up a great deal to be able to even consider it.

Not Kathy, though. She has a most tender heart. On a walk in the neighborhood, she spotted someone she thought was a homeless man going through a dumpster in a retail district and mused about stopping to help him. Her generosity of spirit seems to have no end. And it's refreshing and inspiring to see that.

Tony C -

While I have had little opportunity to listen to it at this point, Tony was a sweetheart and burned me a cd of Bill Hicks' material. We've talked before about how we share some common love of various comedians, but that Bill Hicks was someone I'd missed. Tony aimed to rectify that egregious error. And I deeply appreciate the effort.

Of course, it pleased me greatly that he was looking forward to playing heroclix with Highlander as well. With such limited opportunity, it was nice to see him get a chance to do something he enjoys so much.

Kathy shared a story with me, when she and I had a private moment, about a gift Tony had given her some time ago. A dollhouse. Apparently, it was something she'd always wanted as a girl and one year, even though she was a grown woman, Tony had gifted her one. It touched her deeply. And as she's added little pieces to it, she's enjoyed it, and she's been reminded of his gesture again and again.

It made me smile. It reminded me that this guy I'd come to respect (ever since he'd sent a Vision heroclix to Highlander years ago when his had been stolen and then destroyed) and call my friend, had earned that place in my heart for good reason. That he WAS who I had believed all along that he was.

Lisa G -

Lisa is sweet and generous to a fault. She brought me cookbooks! RACHEL RAY cookbooks! For no reason even. And all I have to do to pay her back is send her a Derby Pie every month! No. No. I'm kidding. About the pie, I mean. Lisa was every bit as sweet and generous as I've noted. She was great fun to talk to and I was delighted to find that we share a bit of a devilish nature.

Seeing how much progress she's made, in a very short time, with her own self-discovery and self-assurance was very cool. She truly is a woman with the world by the tail. Hey, anybody who is willing to meet virtual strangers for the first time in bathing suits is one brave chick. Gotta admire that!

The easy, playful relationship she has with her own daughter was so easily turned towards my girls. She was open and non-judgmental and they immediately took to her.

I'm rather pleased to call her my friend. And, even though she doesn't like to cook, I'm willing to overlook that. For now...;)

Mark G -

I hate to report that Mark Gibson couldn't find his way out of a bathroom with both hands. Heh. Oh, he may be every bit as witty as he comes off on his blog (and he is), but doorknobs completely baffle him. Okay, the truth is that while Highlander and Tony were hunkered down over a map in the basement playing heroclix, Kathy, Lisa and I were chatting like grown-ups upstairs. Mark wandered off to check on the guys and watch their game and we thought nothing of the fact that he was MIA for 30 minutes. Of course, downstairs they were engrossed in their game and never missed him either. It never occurred to us that he could be stuck in the bathroom. (Whew...wait a minute, let me stop laughing, here...) So, when he finally chewed through the door, and got out on his own, we all became hysterical as he reported the incident to us. And, of course, beg as he might, I could not be deterred from reporting (Hey, I'm the Oral Reporter, right?) the story to all of you. All ten THOUSAND of you.

That said, and in considerably less jocular terms, I must also report that Mark was almost as sweet as his wife, and was always ready with a joke. Some of them were even funny. (ba dum PAH!) Oh, I'm on fire here...LOL!

But, it was a very great pleasure to meet someone who has always been so gracious and supportive to me (other than calling me old...;).

All I will share about the little (and tempting though it is to say 'lesser', it simply doesn't apply) Gibson is that she was a very lovely girl who is funny and bubbly, and that she is going to be quite the teenaged boy magnet (if she isn't already), and that Mark and Lisa are in for LOADS of fun in a very short time! Oh, and that I find that amusing. That's how I am.

As for specifics of the weekend, they were pleasant and relaxed. Swimming on Saturday night and then back to our place for a trip up the block to Fat Jimmy's for some pizza and breadsticks, and lots of conversation as we all got to know each other a little better. You can imagine, I'm sure. "Who's your favorite comic book character?" Geek shop talk. Luckily, since no one brought up BMB or Wolverine, it was actually a very fun discussion...;) And it was nice getting to know these people better.

After dinner, we walked back to our place and Highlander kidnapped Tony to the basement for some gaming, while the rest of us chatted and made plans for the next day.

Sunday started early with an 11:30 IMAX showing of the film. Highlander, the girls and I met everyone at their hotel and they followed us to the theatre. After making sure we had provisions for the lengthy film, we were given our funny 3D glasses and off we went to our seats. It was the first time any of my kids had seen a 3D movie and it was the first time I had since I was a kid. And, I'm sorry, but it was fun to see the image take on the dimensions. I'm easily amused, I guess. But, I really wanted to "ooh" and "ahh" over it time and again. Seeing the new continent rising out of the ocean in 3D...seeing a plane flying right at you...well, as I said, I'm easily amused.

It was a good time and we all agreed it was a fun movie, even if it did have a few things that were difficult to believe. For me it was how in the world Lois Lane could get slammed all over that plane and not have a bruise or a mark of any kind on her. Okay, if she didn't die, she SURELY should have had a broken arm or a cut on the forehead or SOMETHING. You know? Uh uh. She walked out...well fainted and fell out...of that plane completely unscathed. I'm all about the fantasy of it, but help me just a little with my ingenuousness. Please.

Mostly, I enjoyed the movie. Having read Mike Norton's (delayed) reviews, I have to agree with him on a few points. Yes, seeing some kind of effort to make the krypton continent transportation more believable would have helped, but I was willing to work with them on it. And Frank Langella is just ANOTHER one who is getting too damned old on me. All in all, I thought that Brian Singer did a good job on the story.

The movie behind us, we all adjourned back to our place. And while I put the last minute touches on a meal I'd made for us all, Highlander walked everyone up to our neighborhood comic shop. It's nice to think that everyone will now have a visual picture of The Great Escape, when one of us mentions it.

For me, anyway, I know that seeing places that Highlander had mentioned in his blog (places like Lawrinson Hall and his previous place of employment in Florida) were interesting to me just because I was able to put that little piece together in my mind.

When they got back, we all ate and then, once again, Tony and Highlander headed off to get their post-meal hit of plastic crack. Mark, the youngest Gibson, and my oldest kid and her significant other (who had accompanied us to the movie and then home for a free never get rid of them once you feed them) all headed off to the Book and Music Exchange, roughly 4-5 blocks from our place (and then to Ear X-tacy a truly ecclectic music store a little farther up the road).

Kathy, Lisa and I opted to lounge on the front porch and take in the beautiful scenery our neighborhood offers and enjoy the lovely day while enjoying each other's company and the easy conversation. Once they'd finished their game, Tony and Highlander joined us.

Mike Norton (on an unrelated note, send all your mojo and well wishes his way as he battles his way through another fierce week...I'm pulling for you Mikey!) and Nate Clark were both sorely missed. (And I've still got plenty of left-overs to prove it!) Don't think either of you are off the hook for the next time either. As we all talked of making this at least an annual event. So, start rolling the extra pennies and marking your calendars.

Lastly, thanks to all the Hoosiers who made the journey. It was a blast meeting you all and getting to know the blogger(s) behind the blog(s). Nice to get that confirmation that what we see is what we get.

Can't wait to see you all again!


Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

Ohh...left out once again...{sniff}

Just kidding.

Well, you'll just have to invite me to the wedding...

7/10/2006 1:24 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

I didn't realize you were a Superman fan, Op. My humblest apologies!!

Send me an address and I'll send you a plate of leftovers!

In all seriousness, if you're ever this way, we'd love to spend some time with you.

7/10/2006 1:46 PM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

I'm glad the weekend went so well! Someday... someday... This simply would have been a bad time for me to go so far for a weekend.

Thanks for the mojo request. For better or worse, I'm looking at much less than 24 hours before I have to be ready for what will probably just be the first leg of a gauntlet.

7/10/2006 7:07 PM  
Blogger AaA said...

Sorry I missed it. Things have been, well, Chinese-style interesting up here lately. I'll blog about it.

7/13/2006 1:14 AM  

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