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Beedoo!
This dragon has too many friends to draw! But I finally finished drawing them all! Well, all of the Arcadians, that is. Had I found a way to add Lauren and Devon and our flower girl, Noa, I think they'd just be standing around looking confused at all our Ar-chaos. In the pic: Top: Beedoo! and Arno; Middle: Andaroo, Countess, Robert, MAui and Chris (with future child), Scott as his dragon character Vinson; Bottom: Adm. Trimm with JG's Kyari and Mr Bear, Dovahkiin, Riptide, and Jade Griffin. (Sorry if I'm off on details... didn't have time to look up everyone's character specifics.)

You've heard us mention Arcadia Clan several times by now... our little group of Gargoyles fans that continue to get together every now and again to just hang out and have fun for a few days... This used to happen at the yearly Gargoyles Gathering, but for the past few years, the Gathering has been out of commission. There will be one next summer (unfortunately over the July 4th weekend), piggybacking on CONvergence, but otherwise, our yearly con is dead... so we have our own little Arcadia-cons to keep in touch with each other. But it's getting harder as we get older, more costly, or just more complicated. No one wants to sleep on the floor anymore, in a room shared by 6 people; we've got more serious employment and have to juggle vacation time; we've gotten married, many of us, and some have kids in tow.

One of the things we all try to turn out for though is weddings of one of our own. I tried to pick a good date for everyone to come... I thought I'd finally get everyone down to Flagstaff so I could show off my hometown. Well, I tried... Kessalia couldn't come because she had to go to Tennessee for her sister's wedding (again, as I understand it), and usually Delphine only comes if Kess is coming. (She didn't, but sent us a cute little dragon crossstitch, which we'll feature when we retrieve our cards and things from the States.) Our friend Renee and her husband had planned to come, leaving their 4 kids with their grandma, but the government decided that Andrew needed to be deployed that week, and their plans had to be cancelled. (So now he was furloughed, without pay because he's "not military enough," and now sent back to work but "not allowed to use any government property," which includes the computers and phones. GET BACK TO WORK, CONGRESS; WE'LL HAPPILY HIRE SOMEONE TO TAKE YOUR PLACE. ahem...)

Some of our friends made it on a shoestring budget. Scott, our impromptu emcee, only made it on the grace of Countess coming via Phoenix and renting a car; his transmission went out on him, meaning a hefty repair charge and no way to drive up and back. Countess also ferried Adm. Trimm up to us, saving him shuttle fare one direction. (Thank you, Countess!) Jade Griffin drove down from Reno... quite a long trip, especially with two young minions!

We got a taste of what it's like to have two small kids around for the duration of JG's stay. Trimm got along with both of them really well and helped manage them a lot, for which I'm sure JG is thankful! Kyari is a very polite little girl (every sentence began with, "Excuse me," and then came the question to get us to do something for her or give her something. If she didn't get what she wanted, you got a very crestfallen, "But, why?" How can a 4-year old be so manipulative?? How can so much energy fit in such a small person?? But it was cute. Kyari helped draw shy Noa out of her shell by asking immediately if she wanted to be her best friend and go play on the playground outside, to which Noa nodded emphatically. Dovah is only 1 and a half, and very clingy to Mommy. He would start whimpering and crying whenever JG so much as went to the bathroom. Trimm has some daycare experience, and I think that was invaluable in dealing with JG's kids.

Aside of the wedding, decorating and rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and dead-dog BBQ, we also went to the Coconino County Fair on Sunday: looked at a lot of exhibits, ate a lot of food, and those who could rode some rides. I think my inner ears are wearing out.. I never used to stay so dizzy after a spinny ride. :P In the evening, we played Apples to Apples (which I bought specially for the occasion), Scott's Lunch Money game, and a Redneck Life game of Jade Griffin's. Robert can do the funniest redneck impression: "Mah dear Wynona... she's mah shade in the summer an' mah warmth in the winter..." Everyone ended up with a large number of "Darylls." Monday, after bidding Countess and Scott and Andy farewell in the morning, we ended up taking a short nature hike up on the mountain. (No one can keep up with me except Kyari! MAui has a good excuse to go slow, though, and Trimm was snapping photos of the view.) The plan was initially to go on the Skyride, but between pregnant MAui and wiggly kids, we opted for something simpler. Afterwards, we checked out a little art fair in the park and ate at Monsoons downtown (unfortunately, Mountain Oasis, one of my faves, was closed for the holiday), after which, MAui, Chris, and Rob headed up to Vegas, where we'd be joining them a day later. JG and the kids retired for the evening, and Trimm and Arno and I went home and crashed for awhile before going out for ice cream and a drive back up the Peaks to see the stars. No place has a view like Flagstaff for stars (dark sky ordinances, small city, thin atmosphere). In the morning, we took Trimm down to catch the shuttle to Phoenix, and we set out for Vegas to meet up with MAui and Chris, JG and the kids, and Rob. I swear, these were some of the most packed days I've ever had! And then we still had 3 days of Vegas!


Arno
Hoo boy, this was a big project for Beedoo! to draw. We spent considerable time in the car to Las Vegas discussing just what people would be doing, so that everyone would be presented as lifelike as possible.

What do you mean, they look like a bunch of freaks? Huh, I guess Beedoo! did a good job then!

So why is everyone (except for one) here portrayed as some kind of creature or other? Well, that's simple? Why are we portrayed as dragons? In the back-then days of the internet, when we met, it was common to choose an avatar to pretend to be while chatting, and from that creativity pretty much automatically flowed. I think it's more fun to think of it the other way around, though: this is what these people actually are - the human part is just a pretense on the outside. Because, well, isn't that pretty much the truth for everyone? :)

From left to right, back to front, I present to you: The Friends Who Managed To Come To Our Wedding!

Beedoo! - known to ordinary people as "Christy".
The bride, as well as the creator of this piece of art! Beedoo! wants to start working on another webcomic besides this one now. Ask her how that goes!

Arno - known as "Arno" in the Boring World as well.
The groom. The dragon in the hat. Well, the dragon in the hat that got married. Arno is trying to write a story that he is pretty serious about, but he lacks the confidence to not be embarrassed about it, and slacks off too much as a result.

Robert - pretends normality under the name of "Robert" as well.
Robert is someone whom we have known for a long time. In fact, I knew him before I knew Beedoo!. At the time I got online during the day, from university, which meant that in America all normal people were in bed. By the time I had to go home the early risers showed up and apparently we were known to some as the "morning crew". I never heard of this, but then, I never met anyone else who could tell me this.

Robert had heard of the morning crew, that they were a bunch of fun crazy people, and decided that he'd fit right in. So he joined in the fun, with his persona of Robert the gargoyle, awkward sociopath in a pin striped suit. Of course, in the ordinary world, that's not him: he is neither a gargoyle, nor does he casually wear pin striped suits. Robert ended up as my best man, which is hillarious in various ways: firstly, the use of the words "best" and "Robert" in the same sentence. Secondly: his skills in dealing with you normal folk are possibly somewhere below my own, which is an achievement in itself. Thirdly: it's a terrifying job. Haha, that Robert! ;)

I poke fun at Robert. The joke about his persona is that he's an overconfident loser; look at how he is hitting on MAui right next to him! (Bonus joke: as part of a joke MAui at some point was his pretend wife. Now she's married to someone else, so he's been complaining about his wife getting married.) And he pokes fun at me - though not nearly as well, obviously. But the truth is, he came all this way from the state of New York to do this, he stood there in front of the crowd with me holding a toy alligator that functioned as the 'ring bearer and, frankly, he had written a wonderful speech for the two of us. With all the joking, the serious side doesn't always get the attention it deserves, but he really came through for us there.

And for those of you who heard his speech: what he talked of our time in the chatroom and said "I considered making several injokes about that, but I don't want to kill the room," ... That was an injoke.

Bloody brilliant.

MAui - Most violent thing in Canada; may use the name "Anne". Do not approach.
MAui is a friend whom I met when I first got internet access at home, and finally met all the other people. MAui is a murderously insane gargoyle and queen of the invisible cows (you ever see one? Exactly!). When she's not tending to her cows or being murderously insane, she acts like she is "Anne", a graphic designer from Canada. Her ruse is so comprehensive that "Anne" even has a blog with recipes (now slightly neglected) and a very own webshop!

Certainly you have all clicked those links right away and have only returned an hour later, reading recipes and buying shirts and notebooks like the apocalypse was nigh and shirts and notebooks are going to be the future currency. Did you see this one?

That is me, you know! "Anne" made this for me back in 2000 or 2001, after I spoke the line underneath. She still sells it as a design to this day - my claim to fame! Better not talk about the "Evil makes me glad!" shirts she's also selling by popular demand, I guess...

MAui is a steady friend. Some friendships burn bright and then peter out, but MAui is always there. And she has been good for me, lately, and what is good for me is good for Beedoo!, so that's two reasons to appreciate her for the wonderful person she is. She is also the one who got us to tack a Las Vegas vacation onto our wedding. She's an adventurous one, apparently!

ALSO! MAui is pregnant - hence the egg! She came to our wedding slightly waddly, but is now, I hear, truly ballooning up. Congratulations, MAui!

Chris - normality amongst the freaks.
Chris is the only ordinary person in the drawing. That is because we don't know Chris from our old chatting days; we know him because he married MAui. As such, I don't know him as well as the other people, but I can go on what I know and what I've seen.

Firstly, a wonderful person has chosen to marry him. That surely means a lot. He is far, far more manly than I, but we still ended up discussing cartoons at some point - thanks to him I now know that I am not the only person in the world who heard of the bizareness that is Inhumanoids! (Hey kids! watch a main character be digested in a see-through stomach!)

What I think speaks most for him, though, is that he spent the vast majority of the first vacation he had in a long time at the wedding of and in the company of his wife's friends. Don't get rid of him, MAui! He's too good!

Abram Wintersmith - AKA Scott
Abram Wintersmith really came through for us when he agreed to the Master of Ceremonies duty at the last moment. And he took it seriously! Not only did he have a whole routine planned out, but he kept going even while he was overheating in several layers of clothes, in Arizona, August 31st. Abram is a large man, who impressively lost more then 50 pounds per year over the last three years, but still has a ways to go. When the ceremony was over, he was completely wrecked, but he had pushed through to the bitter end with no one noticing.

Beedoo! and I met Abram in the chatroom, where he used to post a lot of bits of story, or other kinds of creative posts. He even had a website with all sorts of collected creative expressions from various people. Later on he moved to Arizona, to move in with someone he loved. At that point Beedoo! turned from acquaintance to friend when she was drafted in his Dungeons and Dragons games. I've experienced one; they're out there! Creativity is his outlet, but over the last several years he has had less and less time for it - especially as he had to take care of his girlfriend, who had developed arthritis.

Ultimately, the relationship failed, and he's getting back in the creative saddle. He wishes to focus on a story he was working on in the past called "Fantis Call". Personally, I think he should call it after his main character instead: the Arizona Ice Dragon. How's that for a concept? We chose to try and draw him as the main character of his story, which along with his circus director get-up makes him the only other dragon-in-a-hat in the picture.

His story starts here. Sadly, it requires one to have a DeviantArt account to read it due to "strong language". I still plan to get round to that - I promised I would. It sure looked good enough!

Andaroo - or Andrew, if you must

The kangaroo in the front to the left is Andrew. He has been featured in this comic many times before. As such, what more can we say about him?

Andrew comes from Beedoo!'s side. That is, he is a friend of Beedoo!'s. In fact, they used to date. And this summer he was my groomsman. He went through all the motions quite well, and did a fine reading. He came prepared!

After featuring him so many times, I'm not sure what to say about him, except for one thing, but I think it's better said to him:

Andrew, you're a fine guy. Don't worry so much about not being good enough for the things you want to do or should do. I'll let you in on a secret (everyone else stop reading now!): we're all just pretending. Nobody knows what they're doing, nobody is really an adult, we're all just wearing that outside grown up human suit and hoping that no one notices the zipper. So don't be so stern with yourself - you're only losing opportunities! Most of the people who you think do better than you simply weren't introspective enough to worry about what they were getting into in the first place. :)

Countess - Griffins are royalty, you know.
Next to Andrew stands Countess, the griffin. As everybody knows, griffins are graceful, nigh infallible creatures, and one decided to grace our wedding with her regal presence. This particular griffin presents herself to normal people as "Tania", Beedoo!'s best friend for years.

Again, this is someone from Beedoo!'s side, though I first met her over ten years ago. They are a lesson in friendship: while they both moved out of their home town, both in vastly different directions, and though they see little of each other, they are still, quite obviously, best friends. I am pleased to know that Beedoo! has someone like that in her life.

Countess gave a beautiful speech at our wedding, standing up in front of everybody and extolling the virtues of Being Different, which she discovered with Beedoo!. You might find her in the comments below, though you might only see her if you are worthy enough.

P.S.: she has a PhD. Obviously. :)

Admiral Trimm - One eye should be enough for everybody.
The one-eyed gentleman to the right of Countess, playing with the kids, is Admiral Trimm, joined by his first mate Mister Bear.

Trimm is the youngest of our group. I think I met him when I was 25. He may have been 13 or so at the time, I'm not sure. In any case, he's still on the better side of youth. That is not to say that he's not experienced or anything. He's been teaching kids for years. Then recently he got a job teaching at high school level, which he then lost when the school merged and they needed hundreds of teachers less. How's that for bad luck? Despite his current unemployed state he did show, thanks to his wife's income and her insistence that they'd get him over there one way or the other. I think that might be love. I hope Beedoo! and I will be the same way. :)

The funny thing is that Trimm is not really a gentle man - his sailor (nuclear sub commander) persona is well chosen - yet they let him teach kids for years, and by his own reckoning he was good at it. He might be right; I've seen him handle Jade Griffin's kids. There is a difference between 'gentle' and 'caring', after all.

Trimm helped me out while decorating the reception hall, carrying a heavy ladder all over the place. That saved me a lot of vital time! When everybody left for home or Las Vegas, he stayed in Flagstaff one more day, and we stayed with him. It was fun. At night we went to the Peaks, the mountains behind Flagstaff, and watched one of the most beautiful night skies you can find in civilized land.

Good luck on you mission of employment, Trimm!


Jade Griffin and kids - Megan. Is her name Megan? I think so.
Swinging into the picture is Jade Griffin. We always call her Jade Griffin, or JG for short, never anything else, so I'm not even sure of her assumed human name at this point. Isn't that hilarious?

Jade Griffin was the one who invited us over to Reno in 2010, when the yearly Gathering ended, and where I got horribly burnt. Now it was our turn to bring her to Arizona and Nevada for our revenge! Unfortunately, Reno lies in Nevada, so no burning of any sort happened with her.

Jade Griffin holds on to a kind of playfulness despite now being the mother of two children. The oldest one is Kyari, pictured with Trimm, sweet, adorable, polite and oh so manipulative. Enjoy your world while it lasts, peons, for she will one day rule it and you won't even realise it! The youngest, depicted in front, is Dovahkiin, or Dovah for short. Born on November 11th 2011, on the day when the much anticipated game Skyrim came out, his parents gave him the name of the main character of this saga, the dragonborn, earning a small prize and a bunch of internet scorn. I wrote a strong opinion about it on this very blog. Now, I am one of the very few people who can say that he had the dragonborn at his wedding!

Incidentally, since Jade Griffin is a gargoyle when she's not pretending to be a normal human being, Beedoo! drew her children as gargoyles as well. Dovahkiin's design is based on the design of the character from Skyrim. For those who will 'get it': we imagine he's saying "Fuh roh doh".

As for Jade Griffin, much of her time was taken up mommying, as is right and proper, but fortunately we had some time together. She had a good time, I hear, and I'm glad for it!

Did you know she and her husband have a webcomic, by the way, called Shards? You should, because I mentioned this before! Check it out maybe? :)

Riptide - Doesn't he look dapper in his little costume?*
Yes, we actually dressed up the toy alligator. He was the ring bearer, don't you know? Couldn't have done it without you, Riptide!

*B!: I keep telling Arno the word is tuxedo, but it hasn't stuck in his brain yet. The tux was borrowed from my Snoopy doll, for whom there was a frantic search by my mom: Snoopy was 'lost,' she couldn't find him in my cedar chest or the mesh bag in my closet, and no matter how I tried to direct her to the plastic bag of stuffed animals in the front closet, she couldn't find it. I knew right where he was, in the end, but trying to direct people via email doesn't always go well. This is one of those things I just had to try not to worry about until I got there... not easy! Mom fashioned a foam top hat for him to complete his outfit.

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