Welcome To Star Marked Memoirs… The OFFICIAL Webpage Of The Adventures Of CM Showstopper.

Greetings and Salutations!  Welcome to the official website of me…CM Showstopper.  Star Marked Memoirs serves as a host to all my (Mis)adventures In Marking Out.

I am a HUGE pro wrestling fan, so you will find more stories concerning my trips to meet WWE, TNA, and other wrestlers than anything else.  Mixed in you will find music artists, UFC Fighters, television and movie actors.

In addition, my website features my twitter feed….make sure you follow me @CMShowstopper…..my ebay auctions, facebook, youtube account and how you might go about contacting me.

So feel free to take a look around, read my stories, follow me on twitter, make comments, send me questions, etc. etc.  Star Marked Memoirs serves as a place for me to not only share my stories with the rest of the world, but a place that gives myself a chance to remember a very special moment in my life.  These adventures have served for more than just getting a photo and/or autograph.  They have allowed an opportunity for me develop lifelong relationships with some great pals.

NYC 11/18/15


Its been too long. Thats what I said as I was waiting for Jason to come pick me up. I didnt realize it….must have become lost in my thoughts, but I hadnt been in the city since May. Thats 6 months. Since starting my travels to the Big Apple, I hadnt waited that long between visits. To be honest, there hadnt been much to entice me. A few things here and there and even a time or two that I did make plans to come up, but not one of those days where it was a must go. Was this a day of a must go? No, not specifically. There were some wants. But my biggest want/need was from a tip just a week before….Matt Ryan aka John Constantine would be there. I have met Matt once before, but was unable to score a photo op. I would look to rectify that. In addition, I have several items for him to be signed. Combine that with some other wants/needs, this seemed like a good a day as any to venture up.

The plan was to get to bed early in order to get a few hours of sleep before having to get up at 3:30am. Ultimate fail. While I did get to bed, I was unable to fall asleep. Tossing and turning. Turning and tossing. Before I knew it, it was 3:10am and I submitted. I got up and decided to get ready early. It was going to be a long day and I was going to have to function on absolutely ZERO and I mean ZERO hours, minutes, seconds of sleep. This is going to be bad.

I took my time and was ready early. I’m sure DJ wished he was coming just for this fact alone. Me…early. Ironically, Jason was 15 minutes late. So I got a taste of my own medicine. Jason, if you read my David Cook report, was a newbie. He had a little taste of what the hunt was like and today, he would get a bigger helping. I gave him some pointers and expectations. I explained how the days were long, being on your feet, limited amount of breaks, need to be aggressive and keeping your head on a swivel. There will be highs and there will be lows. The key is to maximize those highs and minimize the lows.

When he arrived, I loaded up the car and we were on our way. His first comment to me was he was tired. Tired already? I advised him to grab a Monster or some coffee or something. He assured me he would be ok. Sadly, as we hit the road, I didnt realize Jason drove more like Miss. Daisy and less like Fast And The Furious. As we hit the highway, it became apparent that 50 to 55mph was his comfort zone. Even when the highway hit a 65 zone, I couldnt get him to go 65. To be fair, there were times I saw the speedometer hit 65. But I think they were by accident and were quickly addressed by the brake. :okIsee:

What normally takes me about 2hrs 40 mins. seemed to never end. We did run into a little traffic before hitting the Jersey turnpike, but we hit the 3hr mark long before we hit the turnpike. When we finally came up to the turnpike, I looked up to see Jason was in an EZ pass lane. Jason has no EZ Pass. I told him he couldnt be in this lane and he didnt know why. I told him he has to be in a cash lane. He said he didnt see signs for a cash lane. *EMOTICON* I know Jason has limited experience on the turnpike, but WTF?! I told him he needed to be one lane over, but Jason refused to take advasive action and the line in that lane became too long. He them went to the right….4 lanes. Now he wanted to be aggressive?! Cars are flying all around us. Tons are honking. Jason then stops in the far right lane. He says he cant take it and asks me to drive. We cant make a driver change in the middle of turnpike. The amount of honking made me think we were in the middle of NYC during rush hour. Jason’s panicking. I’m screaming at him. I finally get him to drive up to the booth. It was at this point, he attempted to drive through partition. He wasnt going to stop for a ticket. I told him he had to. So he backs up and parks his car. Yes, I said he parks his car. He then meticulously, unbuckles his seat belt. Cars are still honking. The guy behind us is completely freaking out. He is screaming out the window and cursing. Jason opens his door and gets out of the car. WTF?! I told him he needs to get back into the car and he cant be getting out in the middle of turnpike. He climbs back in, without a ticket. Dude! He screams back that I told him to get in the car. GET THE TICKET!!! He slowly climbs back out and grabs a ticket. He sits back down. He meticulously puts his seat belt on and then begins to read the ticket. Somehow he must have turned off all the honking, cursing and honking. For the love of God man!!! DRIVE!!! He meticulosly finds a safe place for the ticket and shifts the car into drive. Meticuously…..everything that was so meticulously. I tell him he now needs to cross 6 lanes of traffic to the left because that is our exit. He finally makes it over there. I am utterly shocked and mortfied over what I have just witnessed. I told him about the turnpike before. He drove on it. He has riddden on it numerous times. He told me he wasnt paying attention. He then blames me that I didnt instruct him properly. You have got to be kidding me.

As we are travelling on the turnpike, I give him the tutorial of what to do upon exit. I tell him to make sure he pulls up close enough to the toll booth and not to park so far away. I told him that the cost would be like $2 and to have his money ready. I told him the exit was 15X. Each exit we passed, he would ask me if this was the one. And each exit we passed was clearly labeled with a number.

When we finally came to 15X, we exited and approached the toll booth. He once again attempted to use the EZ Pass lane. For what reason, I have no clue. He did say all the other cars were going there. I got him into the right lane and he attempted to again drive through the partition before I stopped him. He backs up and begins to meticulously park the car and unhook his seat belt. The honking begins again. He gets out and walks up to the booth. The woman in the booth instructs him to get back in his car. He gets back in his car and tries to leave. DUDE! You have to pay. Roll down the window and hand her the ticket. He grabs the ticket and crawls 3/4 of the way out cuz he cant reach her hand. She tells him its $1.75. Considering how long he has already taken, I figured he would just use pay with two $1 bills. Nope. He begins to reach into his coins, pulling out nickels and dimes. My patience had already been exhausted and we werent even in the city. Not to mention, we were approaching 4hrs in travel time.

Once we got into the parking lot, the lot was all but filled. We had to park in valet. Turns out this would be his first valet experience as well. We made our march to the station to get on the train. Its been so long since I was here, turns out they dont use the bar coded tickets and instead use the QR code. Only probably is for those who have their QR codes prepurchased on their phones dont seem to want to work so well. So getting through the turnstalls took a few minutes, as they were backed up. The next train had arrived, so I looked to see where it was. Normally we want track A or B, but today it was on 3. We headed to 3. We got down there and it stated that the track had been changed to track B. Unreal. Back up and back down on track B and the train was gone. Another train was arriving, so there wasnt much of a wait. We got on and headed into the city finally.

Our first stop was dead. We needed to be there like…right that minute, so I changed our course. Once we got to Penn Station, we headed for the subway and actually caught a train within 5 minutes, which rarely happens. We headed to what was supposed to be stop #2. It wouldnt be too long till we spotted our first celebrity….Burt Reynolds. Headed towards Burt, but his security said he was running late and they went inside. Burt was in ROUGH shape. He hobbled to the door with his cane. His hair was totally grey, unlike how he was earlier this year at Wizard World.
The second celeb to arrive was Gov. Chris Christie. He wouldnt stop, saying the same thing as Burt. We then had to wait a little bit before anymore action. Burt’s car moved up to the door, so we waited for him. He came out, but his security said he wasnt going to do it. I saw Burt reach for an 8×10 to sign. Security kept trying to get him in the car. I ran around the opposite side and headed for his car. Figured this was the best spot to try and get a picture. As he reached for the door, I asked for a picture and he said sure. I snapped the pic really quick and Burt got in the car. Scored the only photo with Burt at the spot. To Burt’s credit, he rolled his window down and he was a machine. He signed whatever went through the window.

While we waited for Christie to come back out, paramedics and fireman showed up. Thought maybe Christie got stuck in the elevator overdosing on Cronaughts. Well, the emergency crew distracted me and found out Dennis Quaid had just gone is across the street. That sucked. Oh well. Jason asked about stopping for lunch. Puzzled, since I explained that we dont always stop cuz of time and today time would be thin. I mentioned we sometimes stop at Steak n Shake, when there is time. Suddenly, Jason became super excitied. He was no longer tired, as Steak N Shake was all he could talk about. If we had time.

When we walked across over, we saw Tim Norman of Welcome To Sweet Pies. I got a picture with him. But Jason didnt want to. I wanted him to do it in order to practice his selfie taking. He waited until Norman started walking away. He got his picture. The next chance I had, I looked over to Christie’s SUV and saw it was pulling away. We missed him.
We hung out for about an hour longer, waiting for Quaid, but nothing. We had to go. We took off for our next spot, which was going to be for Matt Ryan, Keira Knightly and Judith Light.
Once we arrived, we saw one other person waiting. He wasnt here for any of those 3, but some other guy he said was from the movie Lawyers….but I didnt know who it was or what that movie was. He did tell me that Judith Light had been for an hour already. Oooooook. One of the security guys working there asked who we were waiting for. I told him Matt Ryan. He said that Matt is really nice and should be here in a few minutes. A minute later, Keira arrived. She had security around her and they bumrushed her in. I didnt even realize it was her till she got close to the door, as her head was down and her hair covered her face. She didnt seem like she was going to do it anyway. Then we spotted Matt Ryan. He was super nice, as before. He signed my Arrow poster and inscribed it Constantine and signed an 8×10. We both got selfies with him as well. Awesome! :yes:

Our next spot would be a bit of a gamble because of the time. The time ran against the Matt Ryan spot. But since it was for Tom Pelphrey, it was worth taking a chance. We headed over and it was less than 5 minutes and up comes Tom Pelphrey. I said hello and he told me it was good seeing me again. I asked him if he had a minute and he told me he didnt. He asked if I could come back and I said I could. He looked at his watch and said since it was me, he could be a few minutes late. :like: I got 2 autos and a selfie. Tom asked me if I was coming to his show tonight and I told him I was not. I want to. But tickets can be expensive. I did try and get a Student Rush ticket, but they wouldnt take my ID as it was missing the valid dates. One day. One day.

Because we scored so quickly here, time opened up. I stopped at the Duane Reade by Steak N Shake and printed my Pelphrey and Matt Ryan ops. The Pelphrey op was messed up. I kept looking at my screen and the print and the screen looked perfect. But the op was bad. I couldnt take a chance. I would need to go back to Pelphrey for an unscheduled stop to try and get anotherone. Had to make sure I got a solid picture. Then we headed over to Steak N Shake. We picked a good time, as there was no one there. We ordered. I ordered my normal, cept it was like twice the price. WTF?! I asked to upsize my fries and drink in my combo. But later I would find out they screwed me. Instead of upsizing by whatever price. They gave me a combo with no fries or drink and then charged me $3 for a large fries $3 for a and get some money back. So we escaped as soon as were done. There were people everywhere. Once outside, we headed back to Pelphrey. He came out and I explained what happened. He was gracious to take 2 more photos with me. He then told me I was like his girlfriend…she always needed a perfect picture too. His girl friend is Banshee costar, Lilli Simmons who plays Rebecca. And she is stunning.

Now we were crunched for time. We needed to get on the subway for a bit of a ride downtown. On we went. When we arrived, I saw we were about a mile to the next spot. So I called for an Uber and we Ubered over. It was around 4pm at this point. Jason seemed to be pretty quiet at this point. I was just fine, even with no sleep. We arrived and began the wait. Unfortunately, we were really hitting the crunch area of time. We couldnt wait long. Our targets were Michael C. Hall and Cristin Milloti from How I Met Your Mother fame. We waited the full hour we had and had to bail. We saw no one. I dont think we missed them, as we were really early. But we just couldnt wait. The next spot was for Piper Perabo and time to get her was ticking away. For an intents and purposes, this would be my last chance at her at this spot. We got in the Uber and headed over. I was telling Jason about how time was crunched the rest of the night and I looked over to him to find him slumped forward. It looked like he might have died in the backseat, as he wouldnt respond to my call outs to him. I shook him and he finally awoke. WTF?!
We got to the next spot and took our place for waiting. Something looked a little off. I needed to check my phone to make sure I didnt make a mistake about this spot. I told Jason that she should be arriving any minute. I told him that she is a beautiful blonde. If you see anyone matching that description, just say something. I told him he needed to do nothing else but alert me. So I started googling. A minute later I hear the door next to me open and I turn to look. A blonde woman walks inside. :killme: WTF!?!?!?! I think its her. JASON!!!! Jason lifts his head up and looks at me. I tell him someone just went inside. He said he was looking at the stars on the ground. YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE WATCHING OUT!!!! He then insisted that there were stars on the ground. Are you kidding me?! He told me he was tired. He couldnt focus. Jason then told me has a habit of just falling asleep while in the middle of doing stuff. I asked him if he was narcolyptic? He said he wasnt sure. Not sure!?!?!?  How can you not be sure? The next half hour turned ugly. It was at one point he started telling me about things that make him sleepy and told me chicken makes him sleepy. Chicken? I told him he meant turkey. He told me no….chicken. Chicken makes him sleepy. Needless to say, no Piper Perabo. 90% sure it was her. He saw a bunch of others go inside, but not her.

It was time to go and we headed for the subway. We needed an uptown train now. So we went into the uptown stop. We got on the subway and noticed we were going the wrong way. How this was happening, I have no clue. So we got off and got on another uptown train. Our next stop would be to Pelphrey for the third time. But before that, I needed to hit Duane Reade for another print. As we walked down, we saw there was a ton of graphers waiting for someone at a spot I usually do. I couldnt quite tell who they were waiting for. I tried to scope some 8x10s, but wasnt sure. My guess was David Bowie. It was definitely a musician. I printed my print and saw we had about 15mins to spare, so I headed back to see if we had a chance to catch whoever it was in the next 15mins. We waited, but couldnt wait any longer. So we were off for Pelphrey.

We got to the spot and Pelphrey came out minutes later. He was happy to sign my photo op. He wished me a happy Thanksgiving and we headed off to our next spot. When we got there, there was already 5 people waiting. This would probably be the toughest spot, as it was for Al Pacino. I wish I could say the wait wasnt long….but I cannot. It got so bad, it started to cut into the next spot’s time. The next spot, I had as a near guarantee for Bob Saget, who I needed an auto and a photo from. While Pacino is a much bigger score, sometimes playing it safe is better. This spot just seemed to get more and more crowded. In fact, it was getting so crowded that the barricades I was standing behind were so full, I wouldnt be able to escape even if I wanted too.
An hour passed and Pacino still wasnt out. The streets were littered with people and NYPD. They were moving people out of the street and across it to the opposite sidewalk. Finally, we were informed that Al was coming out. When Pacino stepped out, the crowd erupted. He went to the other barricades first. He signed for only people towards the front. He would reach up for those leaning stuff, but stuck to just the front of the barricades. He took 3 photos, 2 with the same girl who couldnt get her cell phone to work right and 1 with some other woman. This was not a good sign. He spent no more than 10 minutes there. He came over to my side. He started signing. Signed about 5 things, as I screamed out that I came 4 hours away and all I wanted was a picture. Al shuffled over and said sure. I snapped the selfie as quick as I could and it couldnt turn out better. Pacino walked off and left, leaving hundreds empty handed. On my side he signed 5 things and 1 photo with me. A lot of gripes to be had for sure. He spent about 2 minutes on our side. This is not an easy spot to score, but I overcame the odds, played my best cards and won.

I unhooked the barricades and people were not leaving. I needed to get out there and get to Saget. Luckily he was very close by. I had to figure I missed him, but had to take a look. I started walking, when I looked for Jason and he wasnt there. He was standing back at the barricades looking for Pacino. I told him we had to go, but he said he didnt get a Pacino pic. I said its the name of the game. It happens. Ruthless aggression is needed. Not gonna get anything by standing behind me, waiting for Pacino to climb the barricades and join the pit.

We scurried over and looked around for Saget. It looked dead. One of the security guys asked if I was waiting for Saget? I told him I was and he said that Bob didnt leave, so I didnt have to worry. They set 2 barricades up. I asked if he thought that would be enough. Security insisted it would. Told me this spot was dead. He was right. Total group waiting for Saget….5. Out first was Steven Boyer and then Sarah Stiles. Got photos with both of them. We were late to this spot and Saget still wasnt out. Ugh. I kept an eye on my watch, as we were seriously cutting into the next spot for Matt Ryan. I kept feeling like it was any minute till the point that we were now officially late for Matt. Now I was caught. I could bail here and go for Matt. But I might not make it in time and would certainly be giving up Saget. I opted to play it safe and stay for Bob. It took a good 15 more minutes, but he finally came out and apologized profusely. He signed and took photos with anyone that wanted one. He was very funny, telling jokes. He came to me and was impressed with my Full House cast photo. He even picked it up and was looking at it. He mentioned how young he was and now how old he looks. I told him he doesnt look all that much older, as he really doesnt. He signed it and then started talking about Fuller House. I elected to converse with him and he just kept talking. At one point, he turns to me and says….I think I just violated several clauses in my contract. He asked me not to say anything otherwise the House might not be so full. :tongue:

Saget left and Jason and I took off for Matt Ryan. It was a long shot, but had to at least take a peak. I had one other spot I could try for, but it was a lot further away and we would never make it in time. As we arrived, the crowd was all but gone or maybe this was it. Maybe 10 people here. Was told Ryan and Judith Light already left. I did score a pic with Gabriel Ebert from Ricky And The Flash fame. So it wasnt a waste. Keira Knightly came out next. Honestly, she should just leave. To sign or not to sign….totally up to the celebrity. I can respect that. I can respect you cant do it for every person when there are hundreds of people there. But to show up, scribble a K, only on Playbills, refuse photos and sign for 8 out of 10 people is absurd. I didnt have a Playbill….so fine, skip me. But the woman next to me attended your show and had a Playbill and you just skipped her and ran off into your car. She walked over and even attempted to get you to sign it while you were in the car. Negative. Disgraceful. Should I give her the benefit of the doubt that maybe she missed her by accident? Nada. This woman was standing right next to the 7th person in line and had her Playbill out. No excuse. 80 to 90% of celebs are more than accomadating. Then you have people like this. Honey, your shit stinks too. I might make bigger turds, but your turds dont smell like flowers.

It was late and I was beat. Jason was beat. He barely could drag himself to the subway station. So we headed for the subway. Jason reminded me he wanted to stop at Toys R Us. I reminded him how tired he said he was and how he wanted to get home and had to get to work in the morning. He said he would be ok. I agreed we would stop. Then he wanted to stop in the middle of the road and start taking pictures and wanted me to take picture of him standing in front of random buildings. Dude, you fell asleep in the backseat of an Uber ride that lasted 5 minutes. Now you have all this energy? We headed into the subway and found the machines were all down for taking credit cards….cash only. I needed a refill on my Metro. Had to use Jason’s Metro to get on the subway.

We got off at Time Square and headed for Toys R Us. Jason wanted to stop in Times Square so I could take pictures of him. I was agitated. He was agitated. He couldnt understand why I thought it was a big deal. I thought it was a big deal because since we left, you’ve been complaining about being tired, narcolepsy, lost in the stars, blah, blah, blah. But now you have all this energy to take pictures in Times Square. We must have wasted a good 20 minutes out there. Finally, we walked over to TRU….cept it was CLOSED! TRU closed at midnight….it was 12:05am. Uh OH! Jason was very upset. He was more upset over this then missing Piper Perabo! I called for an Uber, since credit cards were down for Metro and we headed back to Penn Station.

When we arrived, we found our train was boarding. We got down to the tracks ASAP and got on the train and took a seat. Back to NJ we went. When we got to NJ, Jason had issue with getting out. Those QR codes were having more issues. Finally we got on the elevator and to the car. As we were pulling out of the parking lot, I reminded him about how the turnpike works. I also told him the parking lot works similarly to the turnpike. He failed to understand pulled the same shit. He did successfully navigate the first turnpike booth. But it was all downhill from there.

We get on the turnpike and down the road we went. We were both tired, but I was still feeling ok. I wasnt going to pass out. I stuck with the plan to keep him awake. I would ask him questions and keep his mind thinking. It wasnt long till Jason became extremely agitated. He told me to shut up, he was trying to sleep. :greatscott: SLEEP?!?!? I told him to get off the exit and get a Monster, coffee, something. He refused. He tried to tell me that he was only allowed 1 caffeinated drink a day and he wanted Mountain Dew. He said he didnt care about falling asleep. This was by far the worst drive home I have every encountered. You’re tired and falling asleep because you were unprepared. You were given a golden handbook and you CHOSE to ignore it and opted to bitch and complain instead. I think it took us about 2 hours….normally takes about an hour. But that happens when you drive 45mph.

We pull into WaWa. I swear Jason started crying. I couldnt take anymore and just got out of the car and went inside. I did scream at him to get a fucking Monster, a coffee, caffeine pills, 5 Hour Energy….all of it. Every fucking thing inside, he must take NOW! I went in and got some food. This WaWa had no Steakburger sub. DAMN!!! Fine….I’ll get the Gobbler. Its back and its so good. I place my order and head back to the car. When I open the door and I found Jason slumped over the steering wheel, sleeping. Fuck it. I dont have to be home. You wanna sleep….sleep. I ate my food.

Eventually he woke up and went inside. When he came back out, he sat down. I asked him what he got to eat. He responded….can you guess it? Chicken Quesadilla. CHICKEN!!!! The exact item he tells me that makes him sleepy!!! No Monster. No coffee. No 5 Hour Energy. No fucking caffeein pills. NO! Instead he has a single Mountain Dew and FUCKING chicken that makes him sleepy!!!!! THIS is why you are having the issues you are having.

The more he ate, the sleepier he got. He started whining that he couldnt make it and wanted me to drive. Yes, ask the old guy who is running on ZERO hours of sleep to drive….that makes sense. The reason I can make it is because I prepared. I couldnt take the incessant whining, took his keys and told him I would show him how its fucking done. I get behind the wheel and got back on the road. Got us home in 2 hours flat.

Words cannot express just how pissed off I was about this. All the complaints, whining, bitching, moaning and not taking my advice. You dont want my advice? Fine. You a big boy. Then act like it! Jason’s a good guy. I’m sure he was in over his head. Perhaps he didnt realize exactly just how much a day like this entails. Maybe he underestimated what was involved. Maybe he overestimated his ability to hang. I dont know. All I know is the ride home was an absolute nightmare.

Outside of those issues, the day was a success. I got my 2 biggest wants. Got 2 legendary icons in Al Pacino and Burt Reynolds. And scored a couple of other little names. Missing Piper Perabo hurt, but you cant win them all. The blood was reinvigorated for NYC. I got a taste of what I had been missing and look forward to my next trip, which I hope to be sooner rather than later. Until next time….America. Take of yourselves…..and each other.

David Cook – Steelstacks Bethlehem, PA – 11/10/15


When David Cook tours, I try to make it to one stop on the tour. I am a big fan of his music, since his Axium days and long before American Idol. Its only been the last 2 concerts I have attended that I even had the pleasure of meeting the man. The previous 4 were just for the music alone.

I chose the Bethlehem stop for two reasons. One was obviously the convenience of the location, as it was one of the more closer locations to my home. And second, was because out of Bethlehem, Philly and Annapolis, Bethlehem seemed to be the location that I could best surmise would be the least crowded. I’m not sure I could hit a more perfect bullseye.

I opted to tag with a buddy of mine, who has had only 1 other adventure in the celeb realm, Jason. You might remember him from my previous quest in Hershey, PA for Vanilla Ice. I wanted to introduce him slowly into the hobby, as it not scare him off or overload him. He has always expressed interest, so I took the baby steps approach. So it was onwards to Bethlehem. We made pretty crappy timing. Got held up in town, traffic, GPS took us to the wrong location. But since I wanted to try and mark out before the concert, we left in plenty of time. Now, normally the VIP meet n greet tickets come with an emailed itinerary a few days before the concert about the time of the meet n greet, rules, and what specifically is included. In prior years, they gave you a tour tshirt, lanyard, set of guitar picks, presigned 8×10 publicity photo, private sound check, early entry into the venue, etc. Nothing this year. Hmmm….

Once we arrived, we discovered the parking lot and the venue are about a half block from one another. Not horrible, but since it was starting to rain fairly heavy….the walk sucked. Once inside, I went to the box office to find out whats up with the meet n greet. Unfortunately, no one there seemed to know. They said that others were waiting on the 2nd floor, where the entrance to the concert is and the merch. stand. I went upstairs to discover, no one upstairs knew and everyone was in the dark as I was. I decided to tweet the venue and got a response back fairly quickly saying it would start in an hour. As I waited in line, I spotted David’s tour bus and saw where it parked. Sweet! At 5:30pm, they began to check everyone in for the meet n greet. This time they were a bit skimpy. We got David’s new CD, which came out 2 months ago and I of course already owned, a sticker to wear instead of a lanyard and thats it. No tshirt. No lanyard. No presigned publicity shot. No private sound check. We were then instructed we were allowed 1 photo op and 1 autograph.

The venue is pretty much a bar restaurant with a 2nd floor, which has an amazing view of the stage. The 2nd level probably had the best view, as they were THAT close and got to sit down with a dead center view. The line moved fairly quickly. When it was my turn, I got an 11×14 signed and they had someone there to take your picture for you with your own camera. This was a plus over last time, as last time the photo turned out shit with “professional photographer” who didnt seem to know what a zoom is. In addition, it was just utter confusion and took 2 weeks to email pics out. The use of your own camera is better, if people would PLEASE STOP USING CELL PHONES!!!! I saw 4 people in front of me having all kinds of issues with taking a picture because they refused to use a camera and insisted upon using their cell phone. This continues to rise on my pet peeves list. If you cant figure out, how can you expect someone else to. Anyway, I handed the security my camera, my DSLR. He then took 1 step back and proceeded to take the picture. Now, I give him credit….he did take two to ensure a good one. But he was so close up, a part of the ceiling was in the picture that I had to crop out. Getting a picture with David Cook….a good one, seems to be one of those weirdly tough things. My first one is from a weird angle and it looks far away. I am looking at one camera and David is looking at another. My second one after the show, was a result of a piece of shit Nikkon I bought and was junk. I was forced to use my cell phone, as this camera couldnt handle a simple posed photo. My cell phone was down to 3% battery and did not have enough juice to muster a flash in a dark location. And now this. :facepalm:

Meet n greet was over and I rejoined Jason, who did not have a VIP ticket. We went back to the car to drop off my stuff and grab a smaller bag for the concert. The rain was coming down harder. I grabbed a Sharpie and my point and shoot for some after the show marking out. We headed back into the venue and had no issue with backpacks or security. They werent supposed to let anyone inside the concert venue till 6:30pm and being that it was just a little past 6pm, figured we would be good. We werent. They had already let anyone in, even non VIPs. I was in the pit, which I am too old for, about 3 people back. But the venue is small, so this wouldnt be an issue. And with my height, to take pictures wouldnt be an issue either.

The concert started a little late, about a half hour late. The opening act was ok. The guy was a mix of country and rock, but definitely more country. He tried to tell bad jokes and it didnt go over well with the crowd. The crowd was small….REALLY small. Im guessing maybe 150-200. By the time David took the stage, this small crowd had mellowed out and needed David to get everyone excited again. The show was awesome. I loved the acoustics here and the intimate show, allowed more interaction with the crowd. In fact, there was a moment that I got David to start cracking up. He had said he asks a question every night when he performs and the responses get weirder and weirder. So he proceeded to ask his question; “Who here is in a committed relationship?” A small group cheered and I cried out “With What?” David stared right at me with the most puzzled and perplexed look. He repeated it back. He then broke out laughing. He said he has gotten some weird responses, but this one tops all others. I screamed “HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE” raising my arms up in triumph. :victory: He then answered saying with a woman, a man or some other at least alive thing…..not an Xbox, like this guy. Why he thought I was in a committed relationship with Xbox was quite confusing. If he knew me, he would know video gaming is not my thing.

Oh…I almost forgot, I caught a pick. David was throwing TONS of picks into the crowd. Technically, I caught 2 picks. He threw another one right at me, but I was in the middle of taking a photo and the pick….literally landed on my camera. It then slid off and hit the floor. Jason picked it up and scored his first concert souvenir.

I only had 2 small complaints about the show. One, it was short. But others told me David was only playing about an hour and half each night as he was having some issues with his vocals. And second, he usually plays some great cover songs and he did not do that this time.

Once the show was over, I went right for the stage and attempted to score a set list, only to find out….there wasnt one. I talked to one of the stage hands, who David made mention a few times throughout the concert, and he informed he didnt use one. I found it strange, but ok. I also noticed the drummer did not throw out any drum sticks. He told me it was a new drummer and this was the guy’s first night. He said he would be back out to tear down the stage in a few minutes and I was more than welcome to wait for him to ask. So thats what I did. About 10 minutes into the waiting, the venue started to tell everyone they needed to exit out. I told the stage hand and he called the drummer on his cell phone. The drummer came out and I asked him for a stick and he hooked me up with no issue. SCORE!

Jason and I exited out and headed downstairs. There was probably about 15 people hanging around outside, waiting to see if they could find David upon exit. Jason and I left the front door and headed for the tour bus. After about 5 minutes, the tour bus started up and started moving to another location. We followed it through the heavy, freezing rain. Had to figure that David would be out any minute. Only 2 chicks followed us, others just waited around the front door. Well, it wasnt a few minutes…..it was more like a half hour. They began loading all the equipment and still no David. One guy told the chicks that David was already on the bus. I knew that was BS. Then someone from the concert venue came out and said we had to leave. Cept I was standing on a public street. The girls began to leave. I turned to tell them they didnt have to and as I did, David Cook walked right past them. They were so blinded by disappointment, they didnt even see him. I immediately stopped him and he said he needed to put his stuff on the bus and would come right back out. And a minute later….he was. I got a selfie, a posed photo and he signed my pick and drumstick. He even stuck around in the rain for a good 15 to 20 minutes to just shoot the shit. AWESOME!!

Jason and I left, walking past the front door, as people were still standing and waiting for David. We made sure to announce how awesome it was to meet David just a second ago. They took off running from where we came. Jason was pretty excited. He loved the concert and thought his first meet went so amazing. He was shocked at how cool David was and began to ask me if they were all like this. The young padawan had much to learn. But this was a good way to introduce him to the world.

We got in the car and headed to Wawa for dinner. Wawa, or at least some locations as I would learn later, has this new amazing Steakburger Sub. MMMMM!!! It is so good. Its not steak. And its not hamburger. It truly is a combination of both and it is so good. And a 10inch sub was $6! The price is right….BITCH! Sadly, for some strange reason, the GPS took us a completely different way home. Instead of going back 78, it took us out to 81. We ended up having to cross over and head back to 78 to catch WaWa. But it was worth it.

Other than that, the drive home was uneventful. Jason wanted to see more celebs and wanted to see NYC. So I would be on the lookout for the next trip. And yes, a next trip would be had. Unfortunately, just because you want….doesnt mean you can. More on that in the next report!


Eyecon VD & The Originals – Atlanta, GA – 10/10-10/11/15


This is a story all about how…well, I was looking for something creative and that rhymed so you could sing along to theme to Fresh Prince Of Bel Air. However, my mind is so full with so much to tell about this little adventure, I pretty much failed at the creative part and the rhyming part. That leaves me with just all the sordid and seedy details. So grab a drink, get comfortable…cuz this is gonna be a doozy.

Our story starts approximately 7 months ago. Anyone who knows me, knows just how big of a Joseph Morgan fan I am. I have been lucky to meet him once before and he was awesome. Not only did he stop for a photo, but in the pouring down rain, he ran across the street leaving his security detail carrying an umbrella to sign an autograph for me. It’s one thing to stop, it’s another to do so while its pouring down rain and abandoning your shelter. Needless to say, this only solidified my fandom. Well, a chance of a lifetime arose. There are two major Vampire Diaries and The Originals Conventions. One is promoted by Creation Entertainment and the other, Eyecon who is based out of Atlanta, GA. Well, almost 7 months ago, Eyecon announced its main guest and it was indeed Joseph Morgan. This announcement would send shock and glee throughout the TVD and Originals convention fan base. Countless people began posting messages of extreme happiness that Joseph would be appearing. Joseph has done VERY few and by very few I mean around 3. And he hasn’t done one in years. Others post messages of hate and/or caution. In fact, several of my friends warned me about Eyecon, telling me they could not be trusted. Just the year before Eyecon announced Claire Holt, who plays Rebekah and is a main cast member. She was eventually pulled and many complained of issues with receiving refunds. I even read that one girl who wanted to attend for Joseph was concerned since she still had not received her refund for Claire 5 months after her cancellation. Personally, I take reviews under advisement, especially one’s from friends…..but I still try to use my own personal experiences to be the final judgment. Could this all be a bunch of BS and be nothing more than a ploy to drive ticket sales? Perhaps. I would remain cautious, yet happy. I bought my tickets for Joseph the first day they went on sale. No admission ticket and no other tickets would be purchased until the very last minute, as to avoid having to fight for a refund in case he was to cancel.

Over the next 7 months, I found myself checking the con’s FB page and website constantly. I even tweeted Joseph a few times, trying to get a confirmation to no avail. When my annual NYC trip for TV week came up, I planned to use that to ask Joseph directly. Sadly, he was not there this year. However, I did find some time to speak to Daniel Gillies about Eyecon. He confirmed that he was aware of Joseph being scheduled for this convention and even went as far as to inquire about the date of the convention, as he was interested in being added to the guest list. He even asked that I recommend him to the convention promoters. A Mikaelson Brother photo op would be awesome. That was definitely a step in the right direction. Throughout the summer, Eyecon would announce a couple of names. In fact, they also added Daniel Sharman, who plays Kaleb. This was a very cool addition, a fresh convention name that I needed. Michael Trevino, Chris Wood, Chase Coleman and Micah Joe Parker will also added. Some common names, but also some names I did have need for. Previous years saw no less than 11 names and averaged about 13 names. I had confidence, with this being their last VD con, we may see some very cool names being added.

As time slowly ticked away and a guest was announced here and there throughout the summer, I became more and more anxious for the show, but concerned of a possible cancellation of Joseph Morgan. Then, Joseph actually tweeted about him attending. WOW! I think it makes a world of difference for a celebrity to tweet about themselves attending a few months in advance. Of course, a cancellation could still occur, but at least now we know Eyecon isn’t using Joseph’s name to sell tickets for a show he was never attending. Still, I did not purchase any additional tickets and kept all my buying towards just Joseph. You just never know. I did, however, book my flight to Atlanta as well as my hotel. All these would be able to be canceled with minor inconvenience and no monetary loss.

With less than a month before the convention, I took notice that the convention had just 8 names announced and then we lost one. Chris Wood was announced for NYCC and now could not attend Eyecon. He tweeted about it, but Eyecon never addressed it. In fact, people on FB began to complain about it and rightfully so. Why is it a guest cancels and the only mention is by the guest on twitter? Eyecon’s twitter doesn’t mention it, nor does the website update. A few days later, Eyecon updates the website, removing Chris from the guest list, but never makes an announcement on social media concerning it. They do not respond to tweets or FB messages concerning it. A few days after that, Paul Telfer cancels. We lose two. There is growing concern that something is wrong. We are less than a month away and went from 8 guests to 6 guests. Emails, tweets, FB messages, etc. are being ignored. People have spent a lot of money on this convention and cannot get any answers on what is going on, including me. 6 guests?! While my sole reason in attending Eyecon was for Joseph, this is a little insane. More importantly, the lack of communication was extremely unprofessional. Finally with about 2 weeks before the convention, Eyecon responds….sort of. I asked a question through DM on twitter and responded with a simple no. They didn’t answer my question or explain, just no. My FB messages were still ignored. However, some of my fellow con goers posted their disappointment concerning the number of guests and lack of communication. They were promptly met with seething fire by the promoter, who went on to tell me if they don’t like it…..they can stay home. Well, some of the people opted to take her up on her suggestion and requested refunds. They were promptly mocked and told there are no refunds, per the con’s rules. I didn’t get to read everything that was posted on the FB group page, but several people informed me of the childish antics conducted by the Eyecon promoter. She would go on to post how she felt she was the victim, as she has been so busy filming the Star Trek movie. Which turns out, isn’t the REAL Star Trek movie but Star Trek First Frontier that is directed by her husband. Look, I get it. We all have lives. I understand you guys have a major undertaking with the movie you are trying to make. Hell, I can see that you even have some names from the Vampire Diaries that are starring in it. So in no way, was this intended to demean your project. BUT….why in the hell are you making movie while trying to put on a convention for the Vampire Diaries and a few months before that, you did a One Tree Hill convention. Are you a convention promoter or a movie production company? It’s not to say you can’t be both…..but clearly, YOU can’t be both. Facts are customer service is the MOST IMPORTANT service a company can provide in this day in age. It can sink your company and alienate your customer base. You can’t just ignore people’s emails, messages, etc. and expect that to be ok. You are NOT the victim. In fact, every single person who bought your Diamond, platinum, gold or whatever package…..they were victimized. They were victimized by your lack of effort and your lack of professionalism, not to mention the lack of value in their purchase. For you to come onto FB and pretend you were the victim, mock your customers and pretend you were innocent is a damn disgrace. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Speaking of the lack of value, the lack of guests was finally addressed. Eyecon stated on FB that they tried to get other guests, but were turned down by several celebrities. Now you can see why. My friends contacted me about that and told me that Eyecon has pissed so many celebs off with issues with pay, that is the reason that stars do not want to work with them. Whether that is true or not, is unsubstantiated. I cannot verify that. What I can attest to is the level of unprofessionalism demonstrated by Eyecon’s promoters. I said I would reserve my final judgment based on my own personal experience and Eyecon gets an F in effort. They get an F in professionalism. They get an F in customer service. :dislike:

Where this convention lacked in customer service from the promoter, they did excel at with their staff and volunteers. I offer the highest amount of praise to several of the volunteers, some sadly I forgot their names. But the girls at the ticket table were outstanding! Whatever questions I had were promptly addressed without any coating of bull shit. Any problems were quickly resolved. No hands were thrown up, instead when I had a problem, they got up out of their chair and went with me to resolve it. A+ to these girls. The MC for the event, Joshua Reid-Davis….A+. Not only did he offer outstanding customer service, but he stopped me in the hotel one evening to ask how the convention had been going for me and to make sure I was enjoying myself. He said to please come to him if I needed anything and even though it was my first time attending, was energetic and welcoming to me. Lastly, when I needed help getting all my Joseph Morgan autographs signed in paint, he was quick to get 2 volunteers to go with me through line to help with the items so they did not have any of the autographs smeared. You sir are both a scholar and gentlemen. And it certainly helps when he recognizes just how great of a hair day I was having on Sunday. :smirk:

I usually do not rant this much concerning bad promoters, but this time I think the amount of detail was justified. I thoroughly hope celebrities and/or agents for these celebrities read this. I hope fellow fans who may consider attending an Eyecon event take heed with the events of my story. I’m not going to say you should not attend 100%. I just offer EXTREME caution. At the end of the day, I got my photo ops and my autographs that I paid for with a major want and the reason I chose to forfeit my opportunity to attend my annual NYCC trip. And again, the staff and volunteers did an amazing job. But it would take a name similar on my rankings of wants like Joseph was, to get me to attend another Eyecon event. They have already begun talk about doing an Arrow con. Honestly, as much as I love Arrow, I truly hope they do not. Leave that to the professionals like Walker Stalker/Heroes & Villains.

If you’re still with me, hold on…..cuz the complaints ain’t done. Though the rest won’t be as egregious nor composing of mini tirades. Rewinding back to the week before the con. I was getting everything together for my trip. I actually packed a good bit several days before my trip. I wanted to get a head start on it. As I was getting my PayPal receipts printed, just in case, I wanted to double check my hotel reservation. When I initially booked my reservation, I was told that the convention rate was $135 and they had an exclusive contract with the promoters that would not allow any room to be sold at less than the $135 rate. I booked my room at the Sheraton in downtown Atlanta for 2 nights. They took the first night as a deposit. They broke down the cost of the room; $135 rate plus taxes and fees. It worked out to be around $164 a night. They also told me that their policy is that if I find an advertised rate anywhere, including discount hotel websites, the hotel would not only match the rate, but take an additional 10% off the room. They assured me that I would get the lowest possible nightly rate. I checked different sites periodically, but the Sheraton was right. No one was even close to the $135 rate. Well it had just ticked past midnight on Thursday before my trip and I decided to check my favorite discount hotel site and WHAM! They were selling the same rooms for $30 less than what I had paid. For some reason, I decided to check the hotel’s website. When I did, the room was again cheaper! This time by only $3, but still. What happened to the lowest possible rate? I immediately called the hotel and explained the situation. The lady in reservation said she never heard of that policy. I explained that while I was on hold, it was playing on the recording. She opted to call the hotel line herself and did in fact verify that it does say that. She said she was going to write to the hotel directly, as she was a centrally located reservation center for Sheraton. She assured me the hotel would make this right and someone one call me later on that day. By 5pm, I received no call and called the hotel direct. I asked to speak to a front desk manager. I was told there was no manager available and they had to take my info. and someone would call me back no later than Friday morning.

By Friday afternoon, no return call again. I called again and was told all managers were in a meeting. How convenient. They took my information and told me that someone would call me back. As Friday night approached, I called again. I spoke to the front desk manager who told that all she could do is cancel my reservation. But since I was past the free cancellation period, I was going to be charged for 1 night. She did say she would request the fee be waived and felt confident that the billing office would in fact honor. Only problem is it would take several days to know for sure and 2 weeks before the money would be refunded to me. I would still need to shell out 2 nights through my favorite hotel discount site. Well, that’s not gonna work. I asked that she compensate for the inconvenience and the rate discount I should be receiving by giving me $30 in credit at the hotel restaurant or Wi-Fi or something. She said she couldn’t do that, but did offer me VIP Club access. The VIP room would provide me free hot breakfast, snacks, Starbucks Coffee, a fountain soda machine, etc. Ok….fine. Something is better than nothing and I wasn’t in a position of power considering my trip was a few mere hours away.

My flight on Saturday morning was at 6:40am. I had to take the first flight out in order to get to the convention in time for the photo ops which were to start at 10:30am. I also needed to drive 1.5hrs to Baltimore to do it. As I put the finishing touches on my packing, I found out that Eyecon announced a last minute addition in Riley Voelkel . Riley plays Freya, the lost sibling of Klaus, on The Originals. This was a stellar add and her first convention too. So while quantity was lacking, they did have a few quality names….names I can’t get at other VD cons. They even announced dual photos with Joseph would be available. Awesome!

My 2am wake up came way too soon. Especially considering that I didn’t get to sleep till midnight. A lousy 2 hours of sleep and I was in the shower and getting my bags out to the car. I actually got out the door 8 minutes early. The word early and me and almost foreign at this point. I hit the road with a giant can of Monster in the cup holder and an old episode of Sportscenter blaring on ESPN radio. I made terrific timing to the AP. I parked in the daily garage in order to save a few dollars and had zero wait to catch the shuttle. I got on and headed over to the AP. I had already checked in for the flight, so all I needed to was check my bag. I had virtually no wait to do that and made my way through security very quickly. I was almost 2 hours early. It was so early that the shops inside were mostly closed, except the Brooks Brothers suit store. Why they would be open at 5am beats me. Even Barney Stinson isn’t shopping for suits at 5am. Unless…..5am is the END of his night after riding the DRUNK TRAIN aka The Whore-int Express aka The Long Island Tailroad aka The Little With Wood, aka Slamtrak aka The Chatta-noogie Choo-Choo. Some of these would sound better if I wasn’t in Baltimore. Anyway, finally some of the convenience stores opened and I grabbed 2 bottles of juice and headed to my gate. I sat down and prepared for my flight. I hate flying, as I have mentioned before. Because of my size, it’s awfully cramped on most of these planes and I don’t like takeoff or landing. I was in group B, so I would be assured a window or aisle seat. I got on the plane and grabbed the best aisle seat I could. Unfortunately, they already announced that the flight was completely full, so I knew I would not have the row to myself. And sure enough, I did not. Both window and middle seat were eventually taken. I was cramped. It sucked. I dealt with it. Put the headphones on, bought some Wi-Fi and loaded my Sirius XM radio app. I used the on Demand feature and listened to Busted Open Radio, while reading some comics.

The flight itself passed fairly quickly. If you have ever been to Atlanta before, Hartsfield Jackson AP is a big one. You take a train to baggage claim. It’s not just a train 1 stop. It’s a train that you must ride several stops for several minutes. Once I got to baggage, I waited for my bag to come up. It took about 20 minutes just waiting. Finally my bag came up and I grabbed it. I headed outside and summoned my Uber. In less than 5 minutes, my Uber pulled up and I was on my way to the hotel. God I love Uber!

It took no more than 10 minutes to get there. In fact, I got to the hotel at almost 9:30am. I hoped my room was ready, but it was not. They had been sold out the night before. I put together my con backpack and checked the rest of my bags with the hotel until my room was ready. I headed downstairs to the con to get registered. Once downstairs, I went to registration, presented my ID and collected my tickets. I neglected to mention that I worked a deal out with someone who was unable to attend Eyecon. At Eyecon, each ticket you purchase has to be registered in someone’s name before the con. Once they are, they cannot be changed. Only the person who has the ticket registered in their name can pick them up, as ID is required. Unlike other cons, this is strictly enforced. Well, one of the girls from the FB group I belong to couldn’t attend. She paid for a Platinum ticket and had no way to use it and could not get a refund. I made an offer based on what I felt was fair compensation for myself. That meant that most of what was included in this ticket was of no consequence to me. The only interest I had in the ticket was you were guaranteed a seat for the Q and As between rows 3 and 5. Well, all autos and photos were based off of where you were seated. So this would get me in and out of lines a little quicker. Turned out, it was far from necessary. But in the end, I paid no more than what I would have paid for admission. So it worked out to be valuable enough for me. As I walked away from the counter with my envelope in hand, I headed over to the ticket table to purchase the additional autos and photos I needed for the con. I opened up my envelope to make sure I had all tickets in there and soon discovered that all my autos and photo ops were there, but no admission. I left the line and went back to registration. I explained what was wrong. I assumed that the envelopes were labeled with the name of who purchased the tickets and not who registered them. This made no sense. What was the purpose of the registration then? Anyway, I gave the name of who purchased them and they found the envelope. However, the lady at the counter didn’t want to give it to me since it had someone else’s name on it. She said this person would need to be here for me to claim it. I explained that the ticket is registered in my name and I have the email confirmation that it was. She opened up the envelope and the Platinum badge did indeed have my name printed on it. However, she still would not release it to me. She needed to get authorization. Another person came over and looked over the situation. He said he wasn’t sure if he should release the ticket to me. :1distraught: Dude, MY NAME is on the badge. MY NAME….it matches MY ID. It didn’t take long, but he finally agreed and I went back to the ticket line.

Back in line to purchase tickets, as 10:30am was rapidly approaching. When I got back in line, I found my friends from Chicago were also there now. I caught up with them as we waited our turn. I got my additional autos and photos purchased, minus the dual op with Joseph and Riley. I was told those were not on sale yet because they were awaiting confirmation that Joseph would be available to do them. Huh? Last night, they were already announced as being available and now there is a possible issue?! They instructed me to come back later on. So I opted to hold off on purchasing a Riley solo op, as I was just gonna do the dual.

Got all my tickets together and my friends and I went into the main ball room. We didn’t miss anything. They had just started to go over the itinerary for the day. I looked over the entire crowd and there were empty seats EVERYWHERE. I did a quick count and there was just under 100 people there and this was day 2 of the con. About 15 mins later they began photo ops. It wasn’t long till the Daniel Sharman line began. He hasn’t done a VD con yet and was awesome on The Originals for season 2 as Kaleb, Kol Mikaelson back from the dead and stuck in this witch’s body. He had some great scenes and even though died at the end of Season 2, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him return. The line moved very quickly. During photo ops, I try and keep the interaction very short. The time to converse is during the auto part. I went in, shook his hand, posed and was gone. Quick and easy. They were putting photo ops out on the table already from Daniel’s photo op. So I waited a few minutes and grabbed mine. I looked at it and wasn’t impressed. I had heard Froggy nightmares, but was I now living one? It looked a little off. Not a blur issue, but just seemed to not be crisp. It looked over saturated and it looked like it was taken by some dude using a 4MP camera. Maybe it was the ink or the paper. Something wasn’t quite right. I looked over other photo ops and they all seemed to have the same issue. I almost wanted to have him use my camera to retake it, but figured that was a lost cause to even ask. I went back to the main ball room and checked the time. It would be several hours before the autograph session began. I had no other photo ops today and no interest in the Q and As. I left and went to check on my room.

When I got back to the lobby, I found my room was ready to go. I got my key and I was in the South tower. As I was walking down the hall for the South tower elevator, I did see all these notices posted on the walls warning anyone in the south tower that BET was filming here and that by being here, you agreed to appear on camera. Never found out exactly what they were filming, but the hotel was pretty packed.

Once I got to my room, I opened the door and it was pretty cool. Bed was very comfortable, refrigerator…which is always a must for me, nice work area, available outlets and a beautiful bathroom. What I liked most about the bathroom….the toilet. First time I had seen one of these in a hotel room….the kind with the 2 functions. Press the #1 button when you go #1. Press the #2 button for when you go #2. When you press the number 2 button…. :yikes1: The roar was incredible. One roll of toilet paper rattled off the top of it. The force coming down on the water and toilet was strong enough to suck a fucking brick down. I felt safe that there would be no need for a call to maintenance for a backed up toilet. Well, at least if I remember to press #2.

I still had a couple of hours of time to kill. I got my stuff unpacked, charged my phone, cleaned up a bit, kicked off the sneakers and relaxed for a bit. Had to be careful not to drift off while lying in bed. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t exhausted. With about 40 mins before the autograph session was to begin, I opted to head to the VIP club lounge to see what this was all about. I went inside where I found the promoter and some of her staff sitting around having a staff meeting. I grabbed a bag of Doritos and a fountain soda, sat down for a moment to eat. The lounge was ok at best. Couple of chairs, couch, plenty of dining area, fruit, cookies, self-serve fountain machine, bottles of water, milk cartons, Starbucks coffee, even to go cups. It was nice. As I was finishing up and getting ready to head out, I see Micah Parker come in. He goes to get a coffee. Free selfie. Drats! The promoter is right here. Certainly not worth the risk of getting tossed out of the con before I get what I came for, for a guy that had 20 seconds of screen time on VD. If I really wanted to, I could have followed him onto the elevator….but to be honest with you, just wasn’t worth the effort to stand up at the moment.

Eventually, I got up to head back downstairs. I kept it in the back of my head that this might be the area used for their green room for the celebs. I would definitely be coming back periodically to check. As I got downstairs, I went back to the ticket table to check on the status of the dual op for Sunday. When I got there, I was informed the dual op definitely was NOT happening. The reason….had nothing to do with Joseph. The reason now…..Riley will not be here on Sunday, only Saturday. :ruserious: What the hell happened to Joseph might not have time? They didn’t know. I explained that I didn’t purchase a single Riley today because I wanted a dual. The one chick, who was extremely sexy with a Deadpool eating a taco tattooed to her arm, says they were just informed. Riley has some filming to do on Sunday and can’t be here. What happened to she was going be there both days? What happened to dual photo ops? What about people who bought photos for her on Sunday? The sexy chick tells me she is going to try and make this right. There are some people who didn’t get their singles with Riley on Sat. and were waiting for Sunday. They are going to do a special photo op session after autographs today. She said she would add me to the list, but they have to keep the list small, bc she has to go. So I purchase my Riley photo op and head back into the main auditorium. I guess they were running behind, bc they had the guest director doing commentary for a VD episode. I caught the last 20 minutes of it and it was fairly interesting to learn some of the tricks of their filming.

Once he was done, Josh was back out for more announcements. One of the announcements was concerning Riley photo ops and her not being here Sunday. He announced she would be here on Sunday morning for a very brief moment. All photo ops would be honored then, but all autographs needed to be taken care of today as she would not be a part of the autograph session. Ok…photo op on Sunday, got it. The autograph session was now beginning. I had autos for Daniel, Chase, Rob Praglo who played Mayor Lockwood in season 1 of VD and Riley. When my row was called, I went into line and it moved very quickly. I headed to Daniel first. There was no rhyme or reason. Once inside the room, you could just pick whatever table you wanted to goto. I turned my GoPro on to record my conversation with him. He was really nice and he signed my Originals poster for me. I asked him to inscribe Kaleb on it and he did. He was a big fan of the blue paint pen. I complimented him on his work with Originals and told him I thought he really did a good job in playing Kol trapped in Kaleb’s body. At times, I felt like Nathaniel Buzolic was actually on the screen with some of his mannerisms.

As I walked away and headed for Riley’s table, one of the security guys stopped me and said I can’t be recording in here and I need to turn it off. I promptly turned off the Go Pro. I don’t get why it’s such an issue. But it seems to becoming more and more of one. A second later he came back and told me that I needed to hand him the GoPro. I promptly laughed. I told him he asked that I turn it off and I did. End of story. I walked over to Riley’s table and she too complimented the blue Deco. She loved my poster and looked over the autographs that I already had on it. I asked her to inscribe Freya on it and she did. But she didn’t sign it? Ummmm…..she looked at me inquisitively. She asked me if I wanted her to sign it too. That was the idea. She signed it underneath it. Weird. Perhaps being her first con, she wasn’t used to the idea of inscriptions. But she did look over the poster and saw that others had inscribed their character names under their autos. Oh well. She looked amazing and was really sweet. So it’s hard to hate, right? I stepped over to Chase Coleman, who does quite a number of these. Even though he does a lot of cons, I have never gotten him. The reason why is Creation likes to spread their cons over 3 days and Chase is always on Friday and Friday only. Creation’s con is within a couple hours of driving, so there is really no need to go multiple days. I go 1 day and go home. I never go Friday. So having Chase here and being available all days of the con, was good for me. I had him sign my poster. He was nice, but seemed somewhat disinterested. I guess I wasn’t his type. I heard MANY Chase stories at Eyecon. They all involved alcohol, rats (not the rodent variety) and nudity. I witnessed nothing with my own eyes, as I don’t attend the parties, dances, concert, etc. Just stories that the girls like to trade. You can tell Chase is very flirtatious with many of them and he is very interactive on social media. He wasn’t rude at all, just seemed to be more disinterested. No problem, as I just needed my autograph and I was good.

The last auto I needed was Rob Praglo. A minor name in the VD world, but a cool one nonetheless. He has done Eyecon before several times, but I have never seen him elsewhere. So it was worth grabbing while I was here. I got him on my VD poster. He was very nice. He asked me what my name was and complimented me on the choice in marker. Nice guy. Quickly signed and I was on my way out. I got my stuff put away and waited for my friends to get through the line. When they did, I asked them if they wanted to join me in the VIP lounge. I told them about Micah being there, so they were up for it. We went up, sat down and relaxed for a moment. At 5:30pm, they put out Stuffed lasagna rolls. They were really good. The lounge had several people in it, almost at full capacity and these things didn’t last long. Sadly, they only put out the one pan full and never refilled. We hung out for a couple of hours, but never saw any celeb come in. :distraught:

My friends decided they were going to go into Covington and check out some of the sites that VD films at. While it definitely sounded cool, I opted to stay at the hotel. I didn’t eat lunch, so I was definitely hungry and I wanted to make sure to get a good night’s rest. I headed back to my room, ordered some pizza to be delivered and basically just chilled in the room. I was going to purchase the Wi-Fi, but then I saw it was $12 a day for the slow connection and $24 for the fast connection. WTF?! So basically its $12 for no service or $24 for slow service. No thanks. I’ll use my data and when I go over my plan, it will cost me another $10 for a GB of data. I’ll deal.

The restaurant I ordered from advertised Chicago deep dish pizza. While it was nowhere near as tasty as REAL Chicago deep dish from Giordano’s…..it was still quite good and quite expensive. $30 for a small pizza and a 2 liter. I could only eat half the damn thing too. I got everything ready for the next day, grabbed a shower since I was feeling rather grimy from the day of travel and con, crawled into bed, channel surfed for a bit and eventually landed on Iron Man. It was around 9pm and that was about the last thing I remembered. When I awoke….it was past 11pm and Iron Man 2 was on. I wasn’t sure what had happened. All I know is my phone was in my lap, my tablet to my side and the remote in my hand. I must have passed out. Wow. I put everything on the chargers, turned off the tv and went right to sleep. My wakeup call was scheduled for 7:45 and it was coming soon.

The phone rang and I was up. I felt refreshed. I wasn’t exhausted, but still stumbled to the bathroom to get ready. I wanted to be up early in order to hit the VIP lounge and see what free breakfast was up there. Eggs? Bacon? Pancakes? Waffles? What will it be? I left my backpack in the room and just took my camera up with me, just in case. When I got inside, the place was packed. I walked over to the hot bar to find……oatmeal. That was the main course. The other option was bagels with no toaster to toast them. I grabbed a Starbucks, a bowl of stale cereal and a carton of milk. Cereal was bad. Took the coffee and left. I got back to my room and grabbed my bag and headed back to the con. Found my friends waiting in the lobby and we went inside. Once inside, we found a MUCH different audience from Saturday. The room was packed, minus a few empty seats in the last couple of rows. There had to be well over 300 people here now. By con standards….very small. But versus what we saw Saturday….a huge uptick. The announcements started and then I started to get the feeling that there was some stalling. They kept doing a roll call for who had which photo ops. They then said they had an unfortunate announcement. Oh here we go. All the rumors? No Joseph Morgan? Even after the tweets….no, it can’t be. Riley. Must be Riley. They screwed this up so bad…..Riley is NOT coming. This is all racing through my head for the 3 seconds of pause before Josh announces that Rob isn’t coming, but he might come later in the day to just wander about. I seriously doubt that, but disaster avoided. Riley was the 3rd op they were doing. There wasn’t many of us and it moved VERY quickly. She was awesome and looked great. Got my photo done and went out the door. Within minutes my photo op was on the table. Just like the Daniel one, something was a little off in the photo. It definitely looked like something that could be fixed with Photoshop, but honestly…..why should it have to be? The price we are paying for these photo ops, they should all come out crisp and stellar. Wizard World does a fantastic job with these and they use Celebrity Photo Ops. Chris who does Creation, also does a fabulous job.

We head back inside for Joseph. The time is coming. And the anxious wait is almost over. And to reassure all, Joseph tweets he is in the house ready to meet us. FAN GIRL TIME!!!! :praise: They now began lining up for Joseph. I originally bought 2 Joseph photo ops. I was planning on doing 1 standard pose and 1 pose prop pose. I had brought a human heart prop and I was going to stand in front with him behind holding the prop heart. I ended up purchasing a 3rd photo op because I found someone who needed to unload 1 and was able to secure it for half price. Sadly, Eyecon announced no poses. I’ve never been one to follow this and always let the star tell me no. As I am standing in line, they have volunteers managing the line all about the hall. They are constantly reminding us no poses and no props. They say the only acceptable pose will your arm around him and his arm around you. They also mention that Joseph doesn’t do many cons and one of the reasons is people cannot control themselves. They clarified by saying people become extra touchy feely and cross the line. They tell everyone to touch Joseph only how you might touch your BROTHER. Remember, Joseph is your brother. Don’t touch anything on Joseph that you wouldn’t touch on your brother. They looked at me directly with the last statement. :perplexed: Just joking. The line moved fairly quickly, much slower than the previous ones. But what can you expect….this line must be 4 or 5 x the size of previous lines. Once inside the room, you stop before entering where Joseph is. Here you there are 2 volunteers who sole purpose is to physically demonstrate over and over and over the ONLY acceptable pose. They warn that any props will be seized. I had my heart in my back pocket, but I started to ponder and determined that this no poses and no props rule probably isn’t the cons. They are going overboard with this posing and what is acceptable. They didn’t do ANY of that with the other guests. Also, in terms of con lines, this line is incredibly short. There can’t be more than 300 people and he is here all day. At the last second, I reconsidered. I am not gonna try and ask for a prop pose. Maybe I missed out. Maybe I avoided pissing off Joseph and the convention. Don’t know. It just seemed to not add up to it being the con wanting the line to move faster. NOT ONCE during this entire convention did I feel rushed or pushed. It was actually very relaxed environment. My honest opinion is that Joseph was concerned with how some people, yes mostly the women, were gonna behave around him. He did not want to be touched inappropriately and probably to avoid having to turn people’s request for certain poses like being hugged, compelled, kissed, or having to hold a whip while spanking the fan…he opted to just say no props and no poses.

It was my turn finally. Since poses were out and I didn’t want each photo to look the same, I asked the photographer to shoot at least 1 photo long ways. The photographer offered for me to switch sides for the other, but for some reason I passed and now I am kind of kicking myself. Not the worst thing….but still, some variation would have been good. Anyway, I walk in and Joseph immediately notices the Klaus t-shirt I am wearing. I created a t-shirt with an image of Joseph from The Originals with one of my favorite quotes from the show. I even had something on the back, but more on that later. So Joseph loves the shirt. He stops to tell me how much he loves the shirt and wants to know where I got it. I told him I made it. He was amazed by it and really liked it. He said that the quote was one of his favorite from the show as well. The quote on the shirt read; “Let Me Buy You A Drink. I’ll Tell You All About Being The Bad Guy.” Technically the quote is from season 3 of Vampire Diaries when he was on VD, but it was still a Klaus quote. I got my 3 photos and left. Once outside, I waited by the photo op table for my photo ops. My friends were still waiting in line and they wanted the 411 on how Joseph was. I told them my little story and then spotted photo ops being put on the table. I rushed over and could see mine. I let others grab theirs and then I reached in and grabbed mine. The 2nd photo I took, Joseph changed it up a bit. Instead of just doing is normal grin, he pointed to my shirt and struck the angry Klaus face like in the shirt. It turned out really well. Still, the photos were about the same as the previous 2 I took. One, I could definitely tell was blurry. I would catch up with Froggy later to get it corrected.

I took my photos and went back into the main ball room to wait for the Q and A. Once the photo ops were done, which only took maybe another 20 minutes or so, Josh returned to let everyone know where we were at in the schedule. They were running a few minutes behind, but would be getting the Q and A started right away. Everyone took their seat and the Platinum badge paid off here as I was in the 3rd row and I had the center aisle seat. I could easily lean out into the aisle and had an unobstructed view of the stage and Joseph. The only thing that sucked was just as Joseph was entering, they announced no flash photography. I had to quickly make changes on my camera and had to start playing with the settings while trying to take pics. Needless to say, I took about 250 photos and only about 30 were worth a damn. Not only did the no flash hurt, but I just couldn’t find the right settings.

They had 2 people walking around with microphones to people who wanted to ask questions. All questions were prescreened and there was no shortage of them. I was the 3rd person to ask. As they handed me the microphone, I greeted Joseph. He then said he wanted to acknowledge once more how much he truly loved my shirt and the quote on it. I told him if he liked that, he should see the back. His eyes lit up like Christmas and he leaped off the stage. I stood up and he walked over to take a read of the back of the shirt. On the back was a screen capture of a tweet I sent to Joseph at the end of season 1. If anyone remembers my Upfronts story from 2 years ago, you would know what I am talking about. At this point it has over 1200 RTs and 1700 favorites, including one from Joseph Morgan. We had chatted about this and I reminded him about it. He read the tweet aloud to the crowd, smiled and lifted his hands in the air in victory. It was an awesome moment for myself. I was lucky that so many people were taking photos that they pretty much captured this moment from all sides. And one person even sent me her video of him jumping off the stage to come read it. After Joseph retook his seat I asked my question. My question was if Joseph could choose any 2 characters to bring to New Orleans, who would they be and why? I warned him that Caroline better be one of his choices. Joseph said he would like to see Damon or Stefan to come to New Orleans. He thought Damon would be perfect to raise hell with, while Stefan he hoped to see in full Ripper mode. He then said that he would like to see Caroline come to New Orleans more for an end to the series more so than just having her stopping by. I think he misunderstood what I was asking. I wasn’t asking about a crossover, but I was alluding more to how VD seems to be coming to an end. With Originals still going strong, I expect to see at least a couple more seasons of Originals to go on after VD. I am sure we will see a few characters permanently come to New Orleans if VD was to actually end.

As the Q and A continued, there was a point that Joseph started to talk about a movie he did called Alexandria. A smile came over my face, as I reached into my bag and pulled out the back of cast’s chair that was for the movie Alexandria and was the very seat back of Joseph Morgan. His character’s name is printed on the inside. I hold it up and catch his eye. Joseph asks what is that? I turn it around and he reads aloud. Philotas. In wonder, he says that’s the name of his character. He then says….that’s my chair! He wants to know where I got that. He says we will talk later. Uh oh.

The rest of the Q and A went fairly well. Questions were solid and this would make the 3rd Q and A I have been too where the questions were good. I think weeding out questions plays a big role in this. It was at this point that I needed to check into my flight. I got on my phone and tried to use the Southwest app to check in. I kept getting this error. I figured it must have been the app and would have to try later when I could get to a computer.

As the Q and A came to a close, the script got flipped. Suddenly Joseph says he wants to do something different. Since we had fun asking him questions, he wants to do the same to us. How’s this gonna work? Turns out he wants to run a little trivia contest. I love trivia contests! The prizes are t-shirts that he has designed for his own Represent fund raiser. The shirts were quite nice and I was ready to make myself a winner. And I felt like I had a bit of an advantage. I just binge watched Season 3 Of Vampire Diaries to Season 2 Of The Originals. Only 1 snag…..I couldn’t answer the questions. His first question was what was the title to the episode he made his debut in? First off, that’s season 2. Secondly, I couldn’t name the title to ANY episode of VD or Originals.

His second question was about the books. Oh joy. I’ve never read the books. He asked who was Klaus’ victim when he took his or her blood and wrote Sweetheart on the wall? Ironically, I had read an article about this exact scene on the plane ride to Atlanta. I couldn’t remember the character’s name from the book, but she was based on Vicky Donovan from the season. I guess technically, Vicki Donovan is based off this character, which turned out to be Vickie Bennett. It only came to me after 20 other hands had already hit the air.

Joseph remarked that maybe his questions were too easy. He had a 3rd question, but maybe it was too easy. He asked during the major fight scene between Klaus and Marcel’s vamps, what was the item that Marcel picked up? Not only did my hand leap into action, but my entire body sprung from my seat as I forgot to wait to be called on and shouted out…..A COIN!!!! Joseph said it was correct, but it was too easy and he needed a different question #3. :melopain: DAMN!!!!!!

After taking some suggestions, I ended up coming up on his own concerning his movie Armistice. Armistice stars Joseph Morgan and Matt Ryan from Constantine fame. It’s awful. I mean…..it’s hard to watch. I sat through the whole thing after having huge expectations. It was downright confusing at times. I am still confused. I will say the acting is stellar and the end is shocking, very Sixth Sense like. But it’s not worth the 2 hours you have to sit through. I can’t remember the actual question, as I completely tuned out. I just was never going to be able to answer any of the questions about it.

The final question would finally stump a few people before someone got it right. Sadly, it was from Season 2 of VD. What was the first thing that Joseph Morgan as Klaus ever said on Vampire Diaries in present day time? Hell, my name is Klaus. Please call me Klaus. Both of these were said and both were wrong. That’s what Matt Davis said, as he was playing Klaus stuck in Alaric’s body. The correct answer was….That’s More Like It.

The trivia game came to an end and I could hear the Price Is Right failure horn go off in my head. Joseph said he wanted to do one more thing before he left for break and that was to take a group selfie for his Instagram account. He opted to use the panoramic video option instead after they failed to get a selfie stick to work. Really?! A fucking selfie stick? Anyway, it was pretty cool and very interactive by someone who is widely considered to be introverted.

As the Q and A ended for Joseph, the next one was to begin. More than half the room exited. The next Q and A was to last an hour, so my friends and I opted to go and get some food. First we stopped in the photo room to sort out an issue with jpegs and also to get my 1 photo fixed. Froggy was good about it. They sharpened my photo and reprinted it. As I was walking out, Froggy stops me and apologizes for the trouble. He says I want to make up for the mistake with the jpegs. He reaches into his pocket and begins to dumping all kinds of stuff out on the table. There were like 3 dollar bills crumpled up like they just came out of a stripper’s g string. He opened up his wallet and inside was a single dollar bill and a condom. He turned to his partner and asked for $10. He turns and hands me $10, saying this is to make up for the error. Not one to turn down money, I was confused. But quickly blurted out…..I bought 5 jpegs. Froggy looked at me and then just went back to packing up his equipment. Off we went.

We stopped in the VIP lounge, partially in hopes to find Joseph in there. Perhaps lunch with the hybrid would be possible. No dice. Room was empty. And by empty I mean….no people AND NO FOOD. AND no coffee. This place was trashed. I called to the front desk and waited a good half hour, but they refused to come up to restock. Before we left, I stopped at the PC they had in the room to check in for my flight. I went to southwest.com and once again was met with the same error. I still couldn’t get checked in. So we left for the restaurant. I went to the restaurant, but it was closed to the public. That left the bar. We went inside and took a seat. There was no waitress. I went to the bartender and asked do we order at the bar or will someone take orders from the table? He stated he would be with us in 1 second. He walked away from the bar and we waited 20 minutes and he never came back. The bar got backlogged, people were trying to settle up their bill…..but this dude never came back. Now our lunch hour was about gone.

We passed on lunch and headed back to the con. We had about 15 minutes before autographs were scheduled to start. I saw someone exit the autograph room with Joseph’s autograph. WHAT?!?!? :shock22: I headed to the main ball room to find the entire room was already in line. They evidently started autographs about 20 minutes ago. Josh was kind of enough to agree to come into line with me to help me get my stuff signed. I had several items, plus I wanted to have it signed in paint. But when I look around, Josh is nowhere to be found. My friends get in line and I wait on the sidelines. I know I won’t be able to handle it all on my own.

Finally, I spot Josh coming in and I head right to him. He tells me that my row went through already and he apologizes profusely for screwing things up and not being here. I told him it was no biggie. He rushes me to the front of the line and grabs 2 volunteers and says now I will have 2 ladies to help me. He explains to the handler at the table what is going on and I put to the front. I walk over and hand Joseph a gift. Joseph is a big fan of Anne Rice and loves Interview With The Vampire. I too love the series and one of my favorite books from the series is Memonch The Devil due to its religious overtones and how Lestat deals with them in the book. It’s a first edition hardcover. He thanks me and tells me he has not read this one and looks forward to reading it. I start with the easiest pieces and that’s my flat photos. I have an 11×14. I asked him to inscribe Always And Forever and he does. I then move to my photo op with him from earlier. Then I break out the chair back. He asks me where I got it and I told him off of eBay. He says he hasn’t seen this in years and is kind of glad. He didn’t like his performance in the movie and wants to forget about it. Oh great. He signed it and even wrote his character’s name, which turned out to be redundant since his character’s name is already printed on it.

My last 2 items were my posters. The girls had done a wonderful job handling my items. The one girl had the 2 flats, 1 in each hand and the other girl had my chair back. I got my Vampire Diaries poster signed. Joseph looked it over and was checking out who already signed it. He said….you got everyone. Not quite I mentioned, but I have a lot and certainly most of the big cast names. I then pull out The Originals poster. He smiled and was impressed with this one. He inscribed Klaus on it as well. He complimented me on my markers and said they were really nice to sign with. I thanked him for coming and grabbed my stuff and left. The girls followed me over to some empty chairs. They laid my items down to continue to let them dry. I waited a solid 5 minutes and checked everything before leaving. I put everything away and walked out of the room.

My plan was to head directly to my room and relax. My found my friends waiting in the hall, so at least I got a chance to say goodbye before they left. I got on the elevator and headed to my room. I crashed for a solid half hour. Just laid on the bed watching the Falcons/Redskins game. I was definitely beat now. I tried for a third time to check in for my flight, but same error. I googled and found out that Southwest computers were down across the nation. No one could check in and Southwest asked all people to show up 1 hour earlier than usual because they have manually check everyone in and check bags manually. I decided to head to the VIP room and see if it was stocked yet. I went up and it STILL wasn’t restocked. I grabbed a soda and started watching the Patriots/Cowboys game. A couple of Redskins fans came in and sat down with me and we started talking Skins football, RG3, Gruden, Patriots, Brady, Cowboys and more. Good chat. They finally came in to restock. They put out meatballs for appetizers today. Awesome. Last night’s stuffed lasagna rolls were so good, I couldn’t wait to taste the meatballs. Besides, I was so hungry from no lunch…..I could eat about anything. I filled my plate FULL of meatballs. I must have grabbed 20 of them. I grabbed 2 bags of Doritos and sat down. I stabbed a meatball with my fork and bit right in. :saswhat: BARBECUE SAUCE!!!!!!! What. The. Fuck. Why in the hell is there barbecue sauce on these meatballs? Marinara….I get. No sauce….good by me. Barbecue sauce??!?!? I knew I smelled a nasty fart in the air…..just turned out to be these fucking things. I picked up my plate and dumped them in the trash. Disgusting.

As the game got out of hand, the guys departed. Still reeling from that horrid ass tasting meatballs, I headed back to my room. I set my wake up time and curled into bed ready to just relax for the rest of the evening. I wanted to be up extra early to get to the AP extra early so I could get checked in and not get stuck in the last boarding group.

About an hour later, I got hungry and ordered room service. Ironically food came from the bar that I couldn’t get serviced from earlier for lunch. Food was good and it was brought up quickly. I ate it and watched the Sunday night game to close out the evening. I was beat and couldn’t wait to get to sleep. Could be a long travel day tomorrow.

When I awoke, I got showered and ready quickly and last touches on the packing finished. I checked the room before I left, as I usually do, and it was clear. Downstairs I went to check out. Here I ran into a problem. As I checked out, I noticed the bill was $10 more than I was expecting. I asked for an itemized receipt and noticed 2 $5 dollar charges for a State lodging fee. I checked my receipt from the 1 night deposit I had to put down. This was the total I was told, including taxes, that the room would cost per night. They informed me that in July the state of GA added this new fee on. I’m sorry…..that’s why I ask what my total is going to be. I don’t care what the state of GA has done. This room was booked on July 7th and you said that on July 1st is when it went into effect. The front desk clerk said it was posted on a sign on the counter. I read the sign and it mentioned nothing. She told me it was posted around the hotel and I asked for her to show me and she could not. She said she has a copy she can hand to me. She left the counter for several minutes and came back and said she couldn’t find it. I said great. Take it off the bill and the hotel can eat it. I am not paying for it. She tells me that its already been charged to my card and hands me my receipt. I have spent over 20 minutes at the counter and I need to get to the AP to deal with that issue. I take the receipt and will just have to call in and deal with the hotel when I get home. I call for my Uber and it’s a new Uber record. I press summon Uber and I look up and a car pulls right up to me and it’s my Uber! WOW! Something went right.

The driver gets me to the AP in 10 mins and I head to the ticket counter. It’s actually a lot quieter than I expect. Southwest tells me the computers are up and running now. I check in for the flight and they have me in boarding group C. WHAT?!!?!? I am 3 hours early for the plane and no one could check in yesterday. How am I in C? A lot of back and forth fighting and she will not upgrade me. She tells me the flight is only half full, so I shouldn’t worry about getting a middle seat. I said if its half full, then why am I in C? Shouldn’t people who check in after me, especially people with no ticket, be in group C. Seems to me some of them are going to be in A or B. She offers me an upgrade to boarding group A if I am willing to pay $40. That’s fucking extortion. I decline.

I leave the counter, as its clear I am getting nowhere here. Security takes a bit to get through. Once I am through, I head to the Southwest counter by my gate. I explain the same situation and this lady is much more helpful. She tells me the same upgrade but says its $30 and not $40. She says I have to pay it, but she will issue me a $30 voucher good towards another SW flight in the future. While this is not the best situation, it beats getting stuck with a middle seat. I am now in Boarding group A. She even suggests that I call SW when I get home and they will probably refund me my $30 since its clearly not my fault that I couldn’t get checked in and I will still have the $30 voucher.

Since I have A LOT of time before takeoff, I head over to get some lunch. There are a couple of nearby options. I narrow it down to a cheesesteak place or this taco joint voted best Mexican in all of Atlanta. All right…..I’ll try the taco place. It’s not the best taco place in Atlanta. And if it is…..Atlanta must not have a Taco Bell because as awful as Taco Bell is, this place was worse. It’s possible that I didn’t like it because they messed up my order. I looked over the menu, found a taco and asked exactly what was in it. When they said there was some fiesta lime sauce, I asked for no sauce. When I opened them up…..I found some white cream. STOP! Get your head out of the gutter. It actually had a sweet taste to it. Ok, that one’s on me. Anyway, I was hungry and was out of energy to fight. I’ll let this one go. I ended up having to go back bc the Snapple Fruit Punch was really good and I wanted to grab 2 bottles for the ride home. They asked me how it was and I left no rock unturned. I told the cashier that they messed up and put the sauce on it. The guy in the back assured me he did not. I told him there was a white sauce on it. He said it wasn’t the fiesta lime sauce, but the sweet mayo. What sweet mayo? It’s not on the menu and the cashier never told me about it. She said the sweet mayo comes on all of their tacos. Ok. Well, I asked what came on the taco I ordered and you never mentioned it. She said she didn’t think she needed too. The manager over heard the conversation and offered to remake them for me. I told her it wasn’t necessary, as I was full. I did tell her that if she wants to satisfy me, she can take care of these 2 drinks for me. She agreed and I was off with 2 bottles of Snapple Fruit Punch.

I sat at the boarding gate for the long wait before it was time for takeoff. As the time approached, they announced the flight was now sold out. Thank God I upgraded my boarding pass. Or I DEFINITELY would have been stuck in boarding group C. I get on the plane and head right for the “prime seat” on a Southwest flight. I couldn’t believe it was open, but the premier grade people all wanted to sit at the front of the plane. I get there and go to sit down and immediately find that while there is extra space to the side, there is limited leg room. So I opt for the 2nd best rated seat. I prefer the aisle seat, but this window seat will do as now I could stretch my legs. But wait….there is something wrong here. The seat has limited reclining. This won’t work. I am better off where I was…..too late. Someone took it. Ok, I am better with an aisle seat. Unfortunately, there are too many people on now. I’m gonna have to stick with this seat. I sit back down and find I can’t even buckle the seat belt. What is going on here? Do window seats come with smaller seat belts? Surely the tacos I just ate haven’t added extra inches that I can’t buckle the seat belt. I am on the exact same type plane as the one I came down here on. And the moment I dread, someone has sat down in the middle seat next to me. This big guy is in window seat. There is a big black guy in the aisle seat and this tiny black guy in the middle. You barely could tell there was a person sitting in the middle seat as myself and other guy in the aisle just completely eclipsed the poor man in the middle seat. I felt bad for him….but not as bad as I felt for myself. I was SO uncomfortable. I couldn’t even read some comic books on the ride back. It just required too much space and any movement just made the entire row upset. I sat back, plugged in my headphones, streamed some Sirius XM, closed my eyes and just tried to make the best of it.

When we touched down in Baltimore, I couldn’t wait to get off the plane. It was exhilarating to be freed of the confines of that prison. I was just as excited to get home as I was to meet Joseph Morgan. The upcoming week was going to be a long one. But this trip was well worth it. With all the issues from ticketing to the hotel to Southwest…..it was worth it. If things were so easy and simple…..how would I be able to return home to write this 18 page diatribe? On that note…..I’ll leave you with wise words of Jerry Springer. Until next time….take care of yourself and each other.

As of the night I am finishing this write up, Southwest did the honorable thing and refunded me the $30 and I still got the $30 voucher. The Sheraton in Atlanta is a different beast. 5 additional phone calls went ignored and messages were left for manager after manager. Not one single manager returned a call. I called corporate and they, after a lengthy argument, finally agreed to refund me 1 nights stay. And then the next morning, I received an email from the hotel’s Assistant GM stating that they are canceling the refund, but apologize for the inconvenience. This is not over…..not by a long shot. Not by a long shot. :f8you:


Cody “No Love” Garbrandt – Pinnacle FC – 8/29/15 Cannonsburg, PA


This is more than a story about meeting a UFC fighter, a favorite celebrity or someone I admire. No, this is the tale of a little boy from northern Ohio, a young troubled youth who sought out redemption and a promise that each made to one another. Maddux Maple was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 5 years old. Cody Garbrandt was a then 19 year old man who was becoming the poster child of cautionary tales and wasted talent. The story of Maddux spread in his local town and that news would bring Maddux and Cody together. Introduced by Cody’s brother Zach, Cody and Maddux forged a bond that is even stronger today. Though Maddux saw Cody as a hero, it was Cody that would find himself needing Maddux even more.

Touched by the young boy’s joy and admiration, Garbrandt turned his life around. He now had an obligation towards a little boy who saw him as a hero. Garbrandt would refocus himself, his life and his MMA career. But the story would not end there. Somewhere along the way, Maddux’s treatments for the cancer got too hard for him to take, so Garbrandt headed back for another meeting with his young muse. Garbrandt and Maddux made each other a promise: the little boy would keep fighting until he had beaten cancer and the once troubled youth turned MMA fighter would keep fighting until he made it to the UFC. And Maddux…..Maddux would be right there at his side.

And one half of that promise was made true in January of 2015, when Cody Garbrandt made his UFC debut, knocking out Marcus Brimage. And as promised, Maddux Maple was in the crowd cheering his hero on.

What about Maddux’s end of the promise? Well, in July of 2015…..Maddux, now 9, was cleared of all cancer and kept his end of the promise. Garbrandt attributes Maddux’s influence for putting him on the right course. Garbrandt now one of UFC’s top prospects, is moving his way up the Bantamweight ladder, training with Team Alpha Male that includes big name UFC fighters like; Urijah Faber and TJ Dillashaw.

So thats the background and now here’s where I come in. I got wind of this story right before UFC 189, Cody’s 2nd UFC fight and victory. At first, I thought it was a cool little tale, but never thought much more of it until I watched the prelims of 189 inside the Hollywood Casino while playing poker and being up a few hundred at the time. The story caught my eye and I became even more fascinated. So much so, I took a minute to step away from the table to listen more to it. After cashing out for the night, I went home and began to google more information. Reading the details of “the promise” I found myself even more intrigued. This is a script that Hollywood could only dream to write and its being written out in reality. With his ability inside the Octagon, his knockout power and excellent ground game, compounded with his tale of redemption and heart of gold, Cody Garbrandt quickly became a top want for me to meet.

So now fast forward to August 2015. Cody Garbrandt is returning to his old stomping grounds of Pinnacle FC out of Cannonsburg, PA to relinquish his championship title as he is now firmly entrenched with UFC. Its announced by Pinnacle that Cody will also be doing a meet n greet for his fans at the event. The trip would take between 3.5 and 4hrs…..but it was doable in a day and it was an easy straight down the turnpike ride. So with the opportunity upon me, I could not pass it up.

I called Cancer Free Dave and hopped in the car and took the trip down the turnpike to Cannonsburg. We made decent time. Once we arrived, we quickly found parking and headed inside. Pinnacle was being held out of this really nice skating rink. We headed downstairs and asked about where Cody will be signing. We were told they did not know, but he would definitely be there. So we bought a pair of GA tickets and went inside. $40 each for a GA ticket. Cageside was $150, to give you an idea of how strong of a gate an MMA show can draw.

Once inside, we took a quick lay of the land. There were some tables setup in the back, but only 2 gimmick tables and not one of them was Cody’s. There was a chiropractor, Pinnacle’s table and some other random sponsors. But nothing to give us any clue about where Cody would be appearing. :thinking: We grabbed 2 seats in the last row of GA and waited it out. I even tried asking one of the security guys, but he didnt know either. I saw some people with programs to the show, so I went back to the ticket table and grabbed Dave and I each a program. When I sat back down, I opened it up and inside it said that Cody would be appearing during intermission and would be at the chiropractor table for a meet n greet. Well….there it is.

Cody appeared early on in the show. He was introduced and well words spoken about him. He took a seat at the time keeper’s table and I couldnt quite tell if he was on commentary or just watching. The fights werent too bad. I saw one kid literally hit the other guy so hard that his mouthpiece went flying across the cage. :eeeek: Good competitive fights. Most went the distance and ended with a unanimous decision. All in all, the show was a lot better than I was expecting. It did have that “local yocal indy wrestling” feel to it by the setup, location, etc. But the performers were much better than the typical weekend warriors. I was somewhat impressed.

Intermission came and it was time. We spotted Cody immediately head over to the chiropractor’s table. Dave and I headed over. I wanted to get all my stuff ready, as I had 7 items I wanted signed and 2 photos I wanted. There wasnt a huge line at first, but it would start to grow. I turned the Go Pro on and started to record, as I approached. I had been tweeting Cody for a month now and he quickly recognized me from twitter. Very cool moment. He was as awesome as he seemed. He signed all my photos and 2 UFC gloves for me. We took 4 photos. 2 fight poses and 2 regular ones. I needed a redo on my regular because Pinnacle for some reason opted to bring a spotlight over for the photos instead of just raising the lights up in the building. Cody was super cool. :bowdown: I asked him if he had any issue fighting someone in his own camp, as TJ Dillashaw (current member of Team Alpha Male) is the current Batamweight Champion, same class as Cody. He said he would fight his own mom for the title. He also said he doesnt have an opponent yet, but is scheduled to fight at UFC 194 in December, headlined by McGregor and Aldo. Cody said he is trying to line up a fight with a top 10 contender for the Bantamweight Title, in order to try and move up in the rankings. Cody has all the makings of being a major star in the UFC. I could even see him moving up to Featherweight later down the road. Keep your eye on Cody “No Love” Garbrandt.

With my pictures and autos done, I packed up my stuff and Dave and I exited out. With a long drive ahead of us home, it was best for us to get out ASAP. The show started about 45mins late anyway. Had it not, we probably would have elected to stay for the end. We hit the road and Dave got us a tiny bit loss. There was a good bit of road construction and in the local area and the GPS did not know it, causing to miss our turn off. We had to drive 2 miles down the road before we had an opportunity to turn around and by that time the GPS rerouted us. We went down these deep dark backroads that were so dark, you could barely see 5 feet in front of you. We probably should have just hit the U turn, but we didnt. We put ourselves another 10 minutes behind and but found our way onto the turnpike eventually and made up some time on there. No one fell asleep on this trip home. I picked up half the drive after we stopped for gas. I did manage to score a Peach flavored Sweet Tea from McDonalds in Cannonsburg. Not sure if anyone out there has had a chance to try the flavored sweet teas, but it was amazing. McDonalds in my area do not have these, but I saw them the last time we were in Pittsburgh for NXT. I highly recommend you try this.

While the interaction was fairly short, the success was anything but. I look forward to the next time I get a chance to meet Cody and his next fight. You can also catch Cody on the upcoming season for the Ultimate Fighter. He will be an assistant coach with Urijah and a preview has already been shown of him and McGregor getting into it. THAT looks promising. Until next time America! :like:



Go Pro Meeting Cody Garbrandt

NXT Takeover – Brooklyn, NY – 8/22/15


Its not just a wrestling company…..ITS A REVOLUTION!!! And I firmly believe that. Not since the days of the original ECW, has a company risen from obscurity to capture the eyes and adoration of wrestling fans everywhere. But this is NXT and its the hottest wrestling company on the planet. And I….I just cant get enough of it.

So when NXT announced they would be apart of Summerslam weekend in Brooklyn, my original plans of NOT going to Brooklyn…..they immediately changed. Well…maybe immediately might be jumping the gun. I mean, the first necessity would be to obtain a ticket, which would be no easy feat. Let alone finding a seat that this spoiled smart mark would be willing to sit in. When tickets went on sale, I attempted to secure a single and was turned down. In fact, while my friends were able to get tickets 1 level off the floor or find tickets in the nosebleeds…..all my searches came up empty. Not that it mattered, none of these seats would be acceptable. Hell, 2nd row would be a failure.

I would be forced to hunt the secondary market. Ebay, stubhub and the sorts and the only good seats required a 2nd mortgage to obtain. No seriously…..a 2nd mortgage. With Takeover looking doomed, I started to put the idea of Brooklyn on the back burner. And then Summerslam VIP tickets were announced. Several opportunities to meet your favorite WWE superstars. Names like Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, The Divas; Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch and more! And hey….there was a special NXT panel ticket that included a VIP Photo op and a presigned autographed poster. On this panel; NXT Champion Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, WWE Champion Seth Rollins, Sasha Banks, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton and COO HHH. Now this could truly be something. And it would be. But more on that later.

I was able to secure the Summerslam Travel package password and scored a 3rd row seat to the panel. The tickets were salty and NXT is my love, so this is what I went for. Now my plan was to goto Brooklyn on Saturday morning for the panel and head back home afterwards. It would be a quick run up and a quick run back. Only 1 small hitch….I just got a front row seat to Takeover. Yeah…thats right. FRONT FUCKING ROW!!!! Everyday, I would take a quick look online at the usual suspects and would continue to find the same tickets at the same absurd pricing. But with a week before Takeover, the Lord blessed me. A single front row seat….UNDER FACE. How? Why? I cannot explain. All I know is it would be an instant purchase and my plans for Takeover changed. It was on….a full weekend of NXT.

With a front row ticket and a panel ticket in hand, all I needed now was a tag team partner. Late in the game, I went to the bull pen and Cancer Free Dave was up. We went back and forth on where to stay and how to get to Brooklyn and ended up opting to stay in Secaucus and drive into Brooklyn. The dilemma was my DSLR camera. Barclays sent out an email and its posted on their site about what is allowed and what is not allowed inside. Cameras with detachable lenses and tablets were 2 items that caught my eye. While arenas say no, WWE never has an issue with it. But what if I cant get my camera inside? If I come via public transportation, I could have a huge problem on my hands. With the car nearby, I would be able to go there and put the camera in the car. So having the car in Brooklyn was a necessity. I could have stayed in Brooklyn too, which I did look at. But hotel prices plus limited parking, plus having to pay an additional fee to park….all added up and made Secaucus the right choice. In addition, I was able to secure a sizable discount and stay at the Hilton across from the Meadowlands for $90. This rate was $25 cheaper than the normal Red Roof we stay at. The room was awesome. Large, spacious comfortable. The hotel staff was great. The discounted rate only applied to a king room. We asked the front desk for some additional sheets and blankets. They knew we needed another bed and offered us a room change to 2 doubles. I would have taken them up on it, but we had already unpacked. So they got us a rollaway bed for no charge. The room was so big, the rollaway bed was easy to lay down. I cant say enough good things about this hotel. Far cry from all the craziness I have endured in the past with fetching soup for the front desk clerk to the towel covered in feces or the crazy people knocking at the door at all hours of the night. None of THAT was happening here.

Our trip into Secaucus was fairly uneventful, but the trip to the APort…..THATs a different story. Mapquest said it should take us 25 mins to get to the Aport from the hotel. Knowing NYC traffic and having to go through the Lincoln Tunnel…..I allotted ourselves an excess of 2 hours. That…..would NOT be enough. We hit the road and immediately ran into the Tunnel traffic. We were setback a little more than 30 mins. And then hell began when we got into the city. Once we got out of the tunnel, the GPS instructed us to turn right. Problem is we were in the left lane and NO WAY could we cross over. There just isnt enough time from the exit of the tunnel to the turn to make that. So now we are driving into the heart of rush hour NYC traffic. And it was crazy. Poor Dave started to have chest pains and began sweating profusely. A heart attack seemed to be coming on. I cant stand the traffic. Dave will about die. We eventually got through it, after some coaching from me. Change lanes…NOW. Cut this guy off. Dont use your turn single. Drive on this sidewalk. Its what it took. We ended up missing the first 2 flghts we were trying to hit, but made it minutes before NXT. Spotted a couple guys I knew and was quickly informed I missed Finn Balor, who was in already. Eventhough he still had this reservation, he ended up coming in earlier. Couldnt suck anymore now. Seconds later, people started to arrive. It was insane, but much better than Pittsburgh. This plane had tons of people, but not really any big NXT names. The first person I got was Alexa Bliss who signed my previous photo op with her. I broke out my imported Pilot Paint Marker, which is my NEW favorite pen in the bag. WOW! Unlike Deco, Pilot dries very quickly, easy to prime and has such a smooth and crisp signature. I would say the Pilot dried in about 10 seconds. I got the op signed…turned and walked away. I immediately checked if it was dry and it was. WOW! I then went back and got a picture with The Rock’s cousin, Nia Jax who will be making her debut soon. Then more people began spilling out. I spotted Solomon Crowe, who I was not expecting, and needed badly on my NXT poster. I went right up to him and got him to sign the poster. Then I saw Bull Dempsey, who was now the 2nd to last name I needed on that poster, and got him. Becky Lynch was now the LAST name I needed to complete the poster.

I also got autos from Crowe in the NXT program, Barron Corbin, Dash Wilder, Scott Dawson, Mojo Rawley, Blake, Aiden English, Simon Gotch, Bayley, Jason Jordan, Tye Dillinger. I got photos with Apollo Crews the former Uhaa Nation, Barron Corbin, Dash Wilder, Tyler Breeze, Mojo. All in all, things worked out fairly well. Bummer there was no Balor though.

There would be a 2nd NXT crew coming in, made up of mostly trainees. Since it wasnt too far after the one that just left, I opted to stay for it. Got photos with Hugo Knox, Normal Smiley, Gionna Daddio, Elias Sampson, Peyton Royce, Preston Cunningham Jr. I also didnt see Blue Pants, who was probably the biggest NXT name for this one. But Cancer Free Dave swears she was there. We grabbed out stuff and headed out. I drove back, as I didnt want Dave to die. The parking was EXPENSIVE…$28 for about 2hrs of parking. YIKES! Between tolls and parking, this was FAR from worth it. Hard to complain too much, as I grabbed 2 names that have alluded me, in completing my NXT poster and a bunch in the program. And I got to see Alexa Bliss again….which is NEVER a bad thing.

We headed back to the hotel The drive back took about 35mins. MUCH better. Ironically, we didnt go back the same way we came. Not sure why….but we didnt. Never went through Manhattan or the Lincoln. Once we were back at the hotel, we got our bags ready for tomorrow, ordered some dinner, watched a little tv and headed to bed. EARLY start in the morning.

Morning came and I dragged myself out of bed, which is pretty comfy. We checked out and had to hit the sites one more time to see if we could score Dave a cheap ticket to Takeover. Ones I were watching had not come down, but still got him a cheap ticket. I printed it out and we were on our way. We made pretty good time into Brooklyn. Following Lucas’ advice, we went through the Holland tunnel. We then needed to find parking. I put the address in of the lot Lucas told me to park in, but for some reason the GPS kept directing us somewhere else. When we arrived on a different street, I reinput it and took us somewhere else….still not the right street. But we did find parking and it was FREE!!!! The lot Lucas directed us too was $40. Sweet.

We walked to Barclays, which was no more than a block away, and immediately hit the merchandise booth. Scored an “old school” NXT Takeover poster for Takeover tonight and a new Finn Balor, Balor Club shirt. We took it back to the car and then got into line for the NXT Panel. I spotted Woodmo and he joined me in line. They actually werent too far behind and we got inside fairly quickly. Now security. Would I be able to get my camera inside? Well….security checkpoint included a backpack search, a metal detector, a wanding, a pat down, a full cavity search. :angry14: And yet…..I was through….NO ISSUE. I was NOT expecting all that. I figured a back pack search and that was it. This was insane.

Once inside the room, they had ushers to show you to your seat. They clearly have no idea how the setup was. Woodmo and I were seated and then ended being moved as we had the wrong seats. Cept, when I was moved, I was moved to the wrong seat and someone else was already there and I was relocated BACK to my original seat. :haeh:

Once things got started, it was truly a special feel. I usually hate panels, but this one was really cool. It was very intimate, open and honest. I felt like the guests didnt shy away from questions, Byron Saxton asked solid questions and even the Q and A portion from the fans was solid. If you love NXT and didnt attend this panel, I think you truly missed out. Hopefully it will be available in some format for everyone to view. It was VERY cool. And, I got to ask the last question of the day. They had time for one more question after the line was done and I was quick to leap into action. I had nothing controversial or hard hitting. In fact, my question probably wasnt something that was impactful for most of the crowd, but it was something I thought was personally cool. So when they selected me to be the last question, I scurried my way to the mic. HHH told me that he not taking a question from me and I should sit down, which he laughed and said he was joking. Cool moment. My question was for current NXT Champion Finn Balor and 1st ever NXT Champion Seth Rollins. I wanted to hear each of them speak on one another. Compare and contrast one another’s in ring style and discuss a possible match down the road for the two. Since these two are my 2 current favorites and I have been following both of them LONG before they were ever names….personally, I couldnt wait to hear their answers. And they didnt disappoint, especially Rollins. Rollins was very open about watching the former Prince Devitt in NJPW and how excited he was when he heard Devitt was coming to WWE. Rollins said he has been a fan of Balor’s and would love to get in the ring with him.

When the panel was over, they cleared out the GA ticket holders so the VIP ticket holders could get their photo ops. Many a debate raged on who would be apart of the photo. Originally the tickets said “Professional Photo op with the NXT panel.” Then it was quickly changed to “Professional Photo op with select guests of the NXT Panel.” I thought we would get everyone but Graves and Saxton. Most believed Rollins and HHH would not be apart of it. I thought there was a ZERO chance they would not be apart of it. I thought Graves and Saxton were going to be in the crowd to handle the Q and A and not actually sit on the panel like they did. Turned out the correct answer was all of them AND their respective championship titles. THAT was awesome! Sadly, WWE was VERY disorganized and it took over a half hour before they even started to take photos. Then they had some issue with the photos being printed. One crazy fan, who I have seen many times in NYC, tried to get HHH to sign his program when it was his turn. HHH promptly turned him down….he would try again and HHH got pissed. To be honest, I am glad he tried. Let me know where I stood….LOL!

As the line started to move, Fink texted me. He said that tickets for the Paige, Charlotte, Becky Lynch session had plummeted to $50. He asked me to score him a ticket, goto the session and grab him the official WWE Promo for them. He would pay for the ticket and I would get the autos/photos. I hit buy in a flash and now was in possession of a ticket to meet the ladies and get the last piece of the NXT poster completed with Becky Lynch.

As I was getting prepared for my photo, I didnt like the way everyone was standing. They put you in between HHH and Corey Graves. Why Graves wasnt towards the end, who knows? Not the end of the world….but I’ll be damned if I am not standing next to Balor. So when it was my turn, I walked up shook HHH’s hand. Finn gave me a warm welcome and instead of standing in the spot they designated, I stood in front of HHH. Hunter stepped back, the photo was taken and I was gone. In fact, I really like how it turned out…minus the Corey Graves photo bomb expression.

I joined Woodmo and Ira in line waiting for the prints. Ira told me he was not going to the NXT show tonight on account he was tired. So I offered to take his ticket off his hands for Dave and attempt to sell off the ticket I bought for Dave. Whatever I sold it for….I would give to Ira. Ira agreed and I now upgraded Dave to first level off the floor. The wait wasnt bad for me. How the prints were coming out of order and people who got their picture after me were getting their prints was insane. Woodmo and I agreed….we dont leave the room till we have the print. Once I got my print, Woody finally had enough. I was a good 15 people after him and probably 30 after Ira. Neither of them had their prints. Woody even commented that he was having a “CM” experience. These moments are none too fun.

I raced out of there with my print in hand, sort of. The ticket i just bought was a electronic ticket. All the Barclays tickets say they cant accept electronic tix and you have to print them out. When Dave and I walked to Barclays earlier, there was an Office Max there. But they have tons of signs posted saying they will NOT print Barclays tickets. Not sure why and Dave tried to find out, but they refused and told him he wasnt allowed to print them there. I talked to Mark Carrano from Total Divas fame and he said it wouldnt be an issue. The session was 30mins in and if anyone gives me trouble, tell them Mark Carrano said it was ok. I raced up stairs and back through security. When they went to scan my ticket, I showed it to them and they refused to let me in. I did as Mark said, explained that Mark Carrano said it was ok and they responded with “Who is Mark Carrano?” This was not good. They refused to let me in and said I had to get the ticket printed. They sent me across the street to Shake Shack, telling me Office Max wont print them. Still a mystery. I got to Shake Shack and the manager there was super nice. But he explained that he cant print these for everyone and to tell Barclays to stop sending people here. I was at Shake Shack for 30 mins and there was all kinds of issues on why it wouldnt print. The session was almost over. I raced back across the street with printed ticket in hand and got into line. The line was long, but it look like was no more than 50 people back. Turns out, I was at the tail end of the straightened portion of the line and that it still snaked around. With 30mins left in the session and maybe 300 more people to be seen.

I waited patiently in line. It was a slow go. They definitely went WAY over the allotted time. I saw Ira get up to the table and he had some sort of issue, but I wasnt sure what occurred. I figured they were just trying to rush everyone through. I understand the need to rush because of time constraints. But the way it was being run, it seemed like it was less a long line issue and more of a disorganization by the people running these lines. It started downstairs with the NXT panel, as many from downstairs were at this one next, to the people running this one. I saw people trying to get selfies, have long conversations, presenting gifts and not having their items ready. As I approached the table, I wasnt really concerned. My items were easy. I had the NXT poster for Becky Lynch, who was first. And I had the NXT Program for Paige and Charlotte. I had both pages marked to make it easy and quick to sign. They wanted to do the photo first. Fine by me. Im not doing that silly bend over the table op and I wanted to be next to Becky anyway, as I dont have a pic with her. Figured I might be able to crop this into something half decent. So I bent down next to Becky. Instead of just snapping the photo, over the next minute an argument ensued between myself and WWE’s staff. They wanted me to bend down in the middle of table. Why?! Why is it necessary for me to bend over the table? Clearly I will be visible being next to Becky. The SS logo appears in the bottom right, where Paige is seated. So its no like I will be covered up. Incidentally, I heard some people did just that and were not visible in their photos. I blame WWE for that….not the fan. So instead of just taking the photo and keeping the line moving, they opted to have a debate. No wonder this line was in such shit shape. :pained: I got up and got Becky to sign my poster. I told her she was the last name I needed on it. She noticed my Devitt Club shirt and said she has been long time member of the same club. THAT was a cool moment. I grabbed the unsigned promo for Fink and my poster. I then stepped over to Charlotte and opened up my program. WWE staff came over and closed it up and said I was done and needed to leave. :haeh: How am I done? This ticket entitles me to 1 auto per guest. I got 1 Becky. I am entitled to 1 Charlotte and 1 Paige. They said that they have too many others and I need to leave. I said sure, no sweat. Please issue me a cash refund for the full retail price of the ticket. They refused. I told them I wasnt leaving until I either got what I paid for or they refunded me the money that I was due. The guy grabbed my program and tried to have Charlotte sign the cover. I yanked it away and said no. I reopened the marked page and Charlotte signed it. I stepped down to Paige and went to flip the page. Once again, WWE stepped in. They said there was no time to flip the page and wanted Paige to sign Charlotte’s page. I said sure….and then you will refund me my ticket AND you will refund me the price of this program and all the autographs inside. I totally lost my cool and began to curse at the guy. I told him how silly he was and how this disorganization is a direct result of his own incompetence. Instead of acting like a Nazi with me, he should have spent more time stopping selfies and getting the fans to have their items out. Now because of his own failure of life, he thinks I am gonna be the one to suffer, he was mistaken. Paige signed the right page and I walked away. I walked away from the WORST autograph experience in my entire life. This cracker jack staff clearly had no clue how to run a signing efficiently.

I saw Bob Mulrenin sitting on the couch near the signing and went over to him to express my displeasure. Thats when I noticed that Fink’s unsigned promo was sitting on the table with the divas. I knew that WWE was never going to allow me back over there. Bob has clout. I explained to Bob my dilemma and asked if he could help. Bob jumped into action and asked the WWE staff to grab it for me. They denied him. They told him I already got enough. He explained I left mine on the table. It would take but a second. They refused. Bob was getting irritated. He asked someone else and was finally able to get my unsigned promo. Unreal. Without Bob, I would have been screwed and poor Fink would have been screwed. Bob did his good deed of the day, playing hero to Fink and I.

I was in line for over 3 hours. Poor Dave was outside waiting for me the entire time. I met back up with him and we went to the car to unload a few things and then head back to get some food. After unloading at the car, we decided to eat at Shake Shack. Sounds like Steak N Shake, so it HAS to be good. Besides, I figured I owed them since they printed my ticket earlier. The place was pretty damn busy. I wasnt all that hungry, so I stuck to a simple chicken sandwich, fries and a shake. Dave had the same, minus the shake. Our total….$35!!!!! Yeah….wow. The food was amazing. No doubt. But $35 is a bit much. While the food was better than Steak N Shake….it was more than double the price. Ouch!

We made sure to take our time inside the air conditioned restaurant and it gave us a chance to relax. It also gave me a chance to pull my photos from the WWE site. I was all good in that department. As VIP time inched closer, we headed over to the arena. Dave and I hung out by the box office, trying to sell off the lone single ticket. No luck. Any potential buyers needed 2 tix and refused to be separated. When it was VIP time, I had Dave stay behind to unload the ticket, while I joined the VIP line. Didnt have to wait long before they let us in. Security check was even more lax here. They didnt even go through my backpack no did they wand me. Just had me walk through the metal detector and done. I would not be exiting the building since my ticket was scanned already, so there would be no additional checks. My camera was in. They took us downstairs in a room that was surrounded in glass. Outside the glass, you could see all kinds of signs pointing to the office, gorilla, locker room, etc. They sat us down at the tables and would soon provide instructions. Since this was a big show in Brooklyn, I was expecting a decent lineup. My pick for autograph session would be Balor, Enzo & Cass, Carmella and a lower tiered name like Mojo or Crowe or something. There were only 4 seats at the table, so my guess changed by dropping the lower tier name. I was close…sadly, it wasnt the good close. Enzo & Cass, Carmella and Dana Brooke. WHAT!?!?!?! Yeah….Dana Brooke. Midcarders. I could see them subbing Owens for Balor or something, but damn. This was freaking sad. I needed all 4, so it wasnt a waste. But still.

This was much better organized. They used your camera for the photo, which was 1 photo for the entire group. I was one of the first through, got my program signed and my photo, which once again was taken and looks like the photographer is standing across the street. They took us to the other side of the room to have a seat and wait for the entire VIP session to be over. As we were sitting there, we saw Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley come out of locker room. We waved and Mojo started to put on a show. He was jumping up and down and freaking out. Ryder stood there annoyed. We just kept egging Mojo on, which only irked Ryder more. Tyler Breeze would walk by in his full ring gear. Corey Graves walked by. And then the most hilarious of moments occurred. Out from the bathroom walks a bald Asian man. I look directly at him and we make eye contact. I joked and said, its Jushin Thunder Liger. The Asian man began to look through the glass at all the fans inside. I looked down and saw he was wearing Liger’s wrestling gear. IT WAS LIGER!!! My eyes bugged out. Liger’s eyes bugged out. He immediately grabbed his shirt and started yanking it over his head, spinning around in a circle. He was frantic, asking some girl backstage to help him towards the locker room. I couldnt stop laughing. The expression on his face and his eyes bugging out as we both realized what we were looking at. :Amazed:"

As the VIP session came to a close, we were taken upstairs to head to our seats. They let the rest of the crowd inside, as we were coming up. I stopped to grab 2 bottles of water. The cashier said $11. She must have been confused. I didnt want any food. Just the 2 bottles. But she was serious. $5.50 a bottle?!?!? I can get 72 bottles at Wegmans for that price. Thats insane. I expect to overpay. $3 is harsh. But $5.50?!?!? I was gonna have to take tiny sips.

I found my seat, after having to show my ticket to 8 different ushers. I get it. You dont want people who dont have a ticket for the floor to be on the floor. But seriously?! I found my seat and sat down. I was STOKED. Couldnt wait for the show to get underway. Sadly, that fucking Meep Moop kid was in the row behind me wearing a leopard print jacket and taking selfies every time a wrestler was near him. Clowns, Meep Moop, Sign Guys, Tuxedo wearers, Supermen, etc….go away. Holy fuck!

As I was waiting for the show to start, a guy came over to me and asked to see my ticket. I was like….who the hell is this? The security guard immediately jumped in. He grabbed the guys ticket and his ticket was for the same section, row and seat as mine. I had to show mine again. The guy wasnt rude. He said that he was forced to buy another ticket and asked where I got mine. I told him and he told me he got his at Stubhub and thinks he got sold a fraud ticket. Dont know what happened, but was lucky that I showed up early. Otherwise, my ticket wouldnt have scanned. The only good thing is that my ticket was ticketmaster transferred. So I had already verified with Barclays that I was on the list for the VIP list and I was. The seat was assigned to me. So I know my ticket was the legit ticket anyway.

The show itself was awesome!! The crowd was hot all night. NXT is a revolution. A revolution that pro wrestling has not seen since ECW was hitting hard in the north east. NXT has this same vibe. I find it more infectious though. ECW was crazy. NXT isnt using gimmicks to get over. They are just have a roster of guys who are going out there and busting their asses. They WANT to put on killer matches. Bayley/Sasha was simply amazing. Balor/Owens was just downright brutal. Those two were going a million miles per hour. They beat the hell out of one another. These two matches REALLY pulled out the emotional spectrum. Hats off to all 4.

As the show came to a close, I met up with Fink to get him his promo and then headed outside to meet up with Dave. Sadly, Dave was unable to sell the extra ticket. We headed to the car and immediately joined the crazy traffic. Getting out of Brooklyn would take us some time. So that Dave didnt die of a heart attack behind the wheel, I agreed to get us out of Brooklyn. Using aggressive driving and no turn signals, I weaved, darted, scurried and accelerated my way out of Brooklyn.

The drive home was pretty standard. From NY to NJ, we were fine. We stopped at Wawa for some dinner. We ate and got back on the road. Even after eating, we were both still fine. It wasnt till we hit PA that I started to doze off. I was kind of going in and out. I gave Dave a 5 Hour Energy to make sure he didnt fall off. As we approached Grantville, Dave asked me how far to my house and I said it was about 40 mins. That was the last thing I remember before finding ourselves in the middle of 81 Southbound, stopped in the middle of the highway straddling 2 lanes. Later I would talk to Dave and he said he doesnt he even remember Grantville or asking how far we were. With no recollection of how long we might have been stopped, Dave moved to the left lane and exited off at my exit. Woah! :okIsee:

As we pulled into my driveway, I offered Dave another 5 Hour. He said he was good. In fact, the next day I talked to him and he told me that the first 5 Hour evidently took an hour to kick in. Cuz after he left my place, he was wide awake. He got home, unpacked and couldnt goto sleep. He was up for another 4 hours before being able to goto sleep. He said it completely woke him up to the point he couldnt sleep. Me? I got home and barely made it up the damn stairs. I was down for the count.

The trip itself was pretty damn good. There were definitely some misses. But there are some amazing memories made on this trip. The NXT panel and Takeover will be wrestling moments that I will never forget. Amazing experiences. I am so glad I was able to go and sit front row. Memories I will take with me and cherish….forever.


Fall Out Boy, Wiz Khalifa, Hoodie Allen And Max Schneider Concert – Hershey, PA – 7/3/15

This would be my 3rd adventure in Hershey, PA in 2 weeks. There isnt much that happens in my neck of the woods….so this was definitely an anomaly. In fact, this story is going to serve as a self awareness warning about being prepared….even when you arent out getting celebs. So here goes.

This story starts with me getting a haircut and my cell phone rings. My buddy Jason tells me his girl has bailed on him and he has this extra ticket for the Fall Out Boy/Wiz Khalifa concert. My immediate reaction was….uh, no. But like a good friend, I couldnt let my boy dangle here. So I agreed to give up my Friday night to hit this concert with him. I scrambled to get some things done and get ready for this concert.

We got to Hershey, parked and headed to the doors. Anyone who has ever attended an event at Hershey knows how anal they are about security. They search EVERYTHING. They wand you. They pat you down. Hell, they do everything besides a cavity search. So I knew better than to even bother trying to take my pocket knife inside. Hell, they wont let you have the bottle caps to the sodas you buy because they said you can use those to cut people. :smh: In fact, Hershey wont even allow you the bottle now. They pour the 20oz soda into a clear cup now.

We found our seats, which were pretty decent. First level off the floor and about 12 rows up. We were pretty close to the stage and could see everything very well. I could even see DJ front row near the stage surrounded by 12 year old girls. Total turd in a punch bowl. DJ was standing head and shoulders above everyone else. I had ZERO hopes for this concert. Fall Out Boy has been producing nothing but top 40 pop songs for years now. They “sold out”. And thats not a knock on them. If I was a struggling musician that was being offered a record deal and a chance to be making millions, I would jump on it. More power to them. But these songs just dont do it for me, generally. FOB put on a pretty simple show, nothing exciting at all. It was down right laughable when they said to the crowd that they looked out and saw a bunch of people that dont “fit” just like FOB. The crowd was almost entirely filled with preppies, teeny boppers, main streamers, a few families and DJ. This was mainstream America. :saswhat:

Wiz Khalifa was horrid. Just absolutely awful. The only thing I liked about his set was the end. His encore was “See You Again” from The Fast And Furious 7 soundtrack. I actually really liked that song. It fit very well for the movie and the scene it played in. Wiz left the stage and then the smoke appeared and the song started playing and Wiz appeared. Presentation was very cool.

The other thing that irked me about Wiz’s set was all the weed that was being smoked. I am not anti-marijuana, not by any stretch. I despise Wiz so much, I actually left my seat and walked out of the arena to the halls. This is where the lesson of being prepared and having your camera would ring true. I was walking around, I spotted Max Schneider, who was gonna perform later. He was walking the halls and taking pics with fans. I grabbed my phone and snagged a selfie. The pic didnt turn out very well, as the front face camera has no flash and its a cell phone…..which just doesnt take HQ photos. Something was better than nothing though. I got the pic with Max and a surprise meet was in the books. But as I continued to walk, the smell of weed was just getting more potent. I even went outside for a brief minute and you could smell it out there.

Eventually I returned for about the last 15mins. of Wiz’s set. I sat down and the dude grabbed the mic and announced to the crowd how he was smoking weed right now. The crowd popped and the dozen of Hershey’s Police force seemed unfazed. So you are telling me that I cant take a pocket knife into the concert, but Wiz can smoke weed on stage and in the face of the police and that is acceptable?! :jagwtfb: Me? I quite enjoyed the contact buzz. And the excuse that there were little children here…..doesnt play well with me. The ticket says Fall Out Boy AND Wiz Khalifa. What were you expecting?! For the parents that were complaining….the gripe that weed was being smoked around your kid is 100% YOUR FAULT! Your irresponsibility of bringing a small child to a concert with Wiz Khalifa on it is the reason that your kid got high. You and you alone. My issue with it was only because the cops didnt seem to care about it.

Shockingly, the act of the night was the opener. Hoodie Allen. I knew absolutely NOTHING about him. DJ told me that Woodmo was a BIG fan of Hoodie Allen and that he was a rap act. My original thought was I was gonna have to suffer through more crappy rap. That thought couldnt be further from the truth. As someone who really does not like rap, I was HIGHLY impressed. Not only did Hoodie present the most energy of the night, he had some sick rhymes. He clearly shares some of the same interests as I do like WWE, First Take and Friday Night Lights, by the use of some of his rhymes. I was so impressed that I went out the next day and bought his cd and downloaded an album off iTunes. Now I cant wait for Hoodie to head back east as I will DEFINITELY be attending his concerts.

So remember kids….BE PREPARED! And you wont have to use photoshop to try and lighten an already grainy image. :like:


WWE – Hershey, PA – 7/1/15

Since WWE held Smackdown locally in Hershey, PA….I decided to hit the AP to see what I could score. I can usually get a handful of names. A few small ones like Rotunda, Noble….a few middle of ground like JBL, Kane and Cody Rhodes. And finally main eventer like Seth Rollins. So I headed over early in the morning and was scheduled to meet DJ over there.

When I arrived, I usually find a few other marks hanging out. None this time. It was just me. I figured with a lot of the roster headed to Japan, that others abandoned this spot. I hung out and waited for DJ. After 15mins, I called DJ to see where he was at. No answer. I continued to wait and spotted Mike Rotunda come in and some crew members. Had nothing for him and didnt bother getting up from my seat. 30 minutes later, I sent DJ a text and tried to call again…..no answer and no response. :thinking:

Next person I saw was Joey Mercury come in. If Noble was there, I might have tried for a J & J security op….but no Noble, so this was an easy pass for me. I tried DJ again…..no answer. Now my suspicions of him being asleep were now realized. I continued to wait it out. About an hour later, I saw Brad Maddox….who would sadly be the last of anyone I would see.:deadd:

I spent about 2.5 hrs there and came away with nothing, diddly, naught, nihility, nought, nullity, shutout, voided, zero, zilch, zip, zippo. I was aught, bagatelled, blanked, ciphered and trifled. DJ finally called right before I left. He had slept through his alarm. At least now, after all the countless times of being late, I have NEVER slept through an entire trip. Sadly, thats all I got to take away from this trip.

This reported adventure isnt so adventurous. I decided to write it anyway, because not every single one can be filled with triumphs of glory. A clunker….in this case, a MAJOR clunker comes about as well. No photo ops. No autographs. A little gas spent and $8.80 in parking, not to mention the loss of about 4hrs of added sleep……were all lost. And that concludes one of the worst trips I have ever had. Enjoy the photos! :troll:


Mixtape Festival – Hershey, PA – 6/27/15


Mixtape Festival rolled into Hershey, PA. I kind of wanted to goto the concert, but mostly just for Vanilla Ice. While the concert was headlined by NKOTB with Donnie Wahlberg, who I am a big fan of…..NKOTB, not so much. I like Donnie for his acting….not his music. At the end of the day, I came to the conclusion that going to the concert was a waste of money considering Ice was going to be an opening act. Well, considering the day of the concert, it poured most of the day and it was rain or shine……I think I made the right decision. Worse yet, the day of the show Mixtape announced that Ice was not performing and only hosting the After Party. Eventually, we would learn he would in fact perform for a small bit on stage….but by far was definitely right not to goto the concert. However, thanks to DJ….he forwarded an email for after party tickets. So I went with that, figuring, scoring some autos/photos would be fairly easy. That turned out to not be the case.

Since DJ really had no interest in the after party, I decided to get a newbie involved. My buddy Jason, who had always wanted to see what marking out was like….here would mark his first experience. We headed over to Hershey around 10 for a 11pm start time. Sadly, we ran into a HUGE cluster fuck of cars. All these people were trying to leave Hershey and we were trying to get into Hershey. Hershey’s setup sucks. Giant Center, Pavillion, Arena, Stadium and the Park all require the same entrance and exit. Its a mess. It took us over an hour just to get parked. We walked to the arena and entered right away. It was NOT what I was expecting. The setup reminded me of fucking prom. Balloons spelling out mixtape, ushers at the door and people taking pictures of you as you entered….weird. Once inside, we headed down to the floor where there was a stage and it was barricaded. This was not good.

We walked around the floor and couldnt find anyone at Hershey that knew what was going on or where Vanilla Ice was, considering he was supposed to be hosting. Instead there was just a DJ playing dance music. We walked to the top of the stairs on the opposite side to try and get a better view of the scene. We found the best spot we were gonna get to try and fight our way to the front of the barricades, right by the speaker. So we headed back down and walked on over. Using the swim effect, I was able to get myself right to the front barricade in front of the speaker. Over the course of the next half hour, Nelly and Salt N Peppa would come out and say hi. None did any photos or autos. They just came out to say hi. This was definitely not looking good. Then out came Vanilla Ice and eventually NKOTB. They hung out for a good 1.5hhrs. It didnt seem like anyone was going to leave the stage though. So I needed to reach into my bag of tricks and give them a reason. I tried to get Ice’s attention by whipping out an old school Vanilla Ice doll from the 90s still MOC. And it WORKED! Ice grabbed the doll and held it up on stage. He started talking about it and showed it to NKOTB. He loved it. I threw him a Sharpie and he was glad to sign it. I reached back in my bag and pulled out a prior photo op and held that out. Ice reached down to hand me back my doll and took the photo. He showed the crowd and said he loved the pic. He signed it for me and handed it back. I tried to get Donnie Wahlberg’s attention the same way….but to no avail.

The only member of NKOTB to come down to the crowd was Danny Wood. He walked around and took selfies. So I scored a selfie with him. Eventually with enough pleading, Ice climbed down. He said he was going to do selfies with the fans. He climbed down the middle of the stage and then said he was gonna start with……and walked right over to me. Scored a selfie with Ice and then he headed back towards the middle. On his way back down, I stopped him again with a Thats My Boy 8×10 with him and Sandler and got him to sign that. Even my buddy Jason scored a selfie with Ice. Like previously, Ice was freaking awesome.

The after party seemed to continue, even with the stars leaving. I was putting my stuff away when this cute chick came over and began bumping her ass into me and making small talk. When I turned towards her, she backed her ass up and started to grind into me. :winning: Who am I deprive this young lady of pure heavenly bliss? I broke out some Step Up shit, the original as only Channing Tatum can do it best, getting my groove on. My wingman Jason….stood there like oak tree rooted into the ground. When this chick’s friends came rolling up on him, he dropped the ball. I needed him to jump on the grenade and he offered excuses of being tired and having to be at work early the next morning. And by early, he meant 10am. :1distraught:

The worst wingman in the history wingmans and I headed out. If he reads this, I hope he has learned from this experience. Everyone deserves a pass one time. His is now used up. The night wasnt a complete failure though. I took home 3 Ice autos, a selfie with Ice and one with Danny Wood……cockblocked and a case of blue balls. :ehh:


Jaleel White – Blarney’s Mechanicsburg, PA – 6/13/15


Hehehheh……did I do that? :likewhatic: That squeaky laugh and infamous 4 words were a cultural icon in the 90s….during ABC’s TGIF lineup. Family Matters, a spinoff of one of my favorite all time shows Perfect Strangers, was the vehicle that ushered in a television icon. Steve Urkel, a character that started as nothing more than a background character as Carl’s nerdy neighbor. But the character and more importantly Jaleel White’s charming portryal, would become a television icon.

So when DJ texted me to let me know that Jaleel White was not only appearing, but would be appearing in my home town of Mechanicsburg, PA….THE MECH. This was an absolute no brainer to attend. I tried to get more information from the club’s FB page and their website….nada. They would not respond. That would not deter me though. If they had responded positively, I would have just paid the $25 charge to get in and handle my business. Instead, they chose to ignore multiple posts on their FB page and in the end, did NOT receive my $25. I mean $25 for a combo with Urkel is a no brainer. I was gonna get him at WW Philly before he cancelled and his auto alone was more than that.

For some reason I had June 20 in my head as his appearance day, but I became aware on June 13 that it was actually on this day. Not sure how I got the 20th in my head. I texted DJ and he had forgotten. We made plans to meet at the club a few minutes before he was appearing. I even called the club to see what they knew and they said he would be there at 8pm. When I arrived, I met up with DJ and we went inside the hotel that was connected to scope it out. It was definitely a possibility he was already here. Unfortunately, there was no signs of any activity. We went outside and decided to hang out in the parking lot, trying to keep an eye on the hotel entrance, the restaurant entrance AND the club entrance. They were all connected.

8pm came and went and there was no sign of Jaleel. We went inside and I spoke to the hostess of the restaurant, who was also the person I spoke to on the phone earlier in the day. She apologized, but said she was informed that he would not be appearing till 9:30pm now. :facepalm2: So DJ and I went to grab a bite to eat before we returned back. As 9:30 started to creep up, there was no sign. Jaleel was scheduled to be introducing a band. One thing is we could hear the club mic. from outside, so we could keep tabs on what was going on inside. DJ kept thinking this was a dead spot. I refused to lose faith. And suddenly, we got a sign. No, Jaleel didnt pull up. Instead one of the restaurant workers came out and couldnt get his car started. He asked DJ for a jump and DJ obliged. As they were jumping his car, the guy mentions to DJ that Steve Urkel is in the restaurant eating right now. We scramble to head inside. There is now someone working the door at the restaurant. They want $7 to enter the restaurant bc the restaurant is having a band as well. Being that the restaurant is connected to the club, I asked about entering the club and she told me I would have full access. Slammed my $7 down and got my stamp to get in. DJ refused to pay to enter. He said he was tired, as he worked all day and didnt want to wait all night for Jaleel as there was no guarantee. :sleeping:

I happily went inside and found the girl I talked to on the phone. She said I just missed him and he went to the club to introduce the band. I hurried over and found him standing by the stage. I was about 5 people back. I decided to give it a few minutes to access the situation before trying to swim my way over. He had 2 security guards around him as well. I did see a few girl crawl on the ground and get selfies with him. Security didnt see to care. He went up on stage and introduced the band. He was a friend of the lead singer. He was in NYC promoting a new Food Network show he was appearing on and came down to see his buddy. After introducing the band, he got off stage and stayed to listen to one song. Once the song was over, he and his security began to head towards the back deck. DJ and I had noticed earlier in the day, there was a back entrance for the deck. Could he be making his exit? I decided to cut him off before he reached the deck and hit perfectly with time. I stopped him and he was quite nice to pose for a photo. He even had me check it to make sure it turned out ok. It did not, so we took another. Then I asked him for an auto and he told me to follow him around back. I figured he was taking off and wanted to sign before he got in his car. Instead there was a gazebo set up in the back that was reserved for him. Security asked if this would suitable. Jaleel asked for a high top table and a high top chair. He said it would be easier for people to come up that way than inside a gazebo with some lounge chairs. He took my 8×10 and signed it for me it. I asked him if he minded doing 2 more and he said sure. He signed 2 Urkel 8x10s and one current one. I told him how I loved Family Matters and that Urkel was a television icon. We also talked Total Blackout, his short lived game show. This show was awesome. My mother and I would watch this and found it to be hilarious. Contestants must perform stunts, feats, etc. in absolute total darkness. Snakes, spiders, cows, teddy bears, egg shells, etc. Anything from the creepy and crawly to the harmless and funny. It was a cool show. Only wished it got more seasons. Jaleel said it was a blast to do that show.

I gathered my stuff and turned around to leave and noticed about 60 people lined up behind me. WOW! I dont know if they announced something earlier about him signing or taking photos, but it looked like a line at Wizard World. I took off and was glad I cut him off at the deck so I didnt have to wait in that line. I exited out and called DJ to let him know that I was done. DJ was shocked at how quickly I was in and out. Total success! Spent a few hours waiting overall, but it was well worth it for a photo and 3 autos. The stories of Jaleel being super fan friendly were indeed true. Awesome guy who is still remembered by many. Certainly remembered by at least 60 people in Mechanicsburg, PA who waited in line to meet him. I’ll have to get a look at his new show on Food Network called Worst Cooks In America: Celebrity Edition. Jaleel appears with Dean Cain, Kendra Wilkinson, JWOW and Barry Williams from The Brady Brunch, among others. Look for it coming this fall!


NXT Pittsburgh, PA 6/11/15


I cant resist NXT. To me, it’s the BEST wrestling show in North America. To be honest, its an indy mark’s wet dream. For years, WWE shunned away from the smart mark’s whims. Now, in 2015, WWE is embracing it and seeing just how talented these guys are. The future of pro wrestling looks like it might be leaving it in better shape than it found it.

With NXT coming to Pittsburgh, PA…..an old stomping ground of mine, it was an easy decision to head west to see what kind of gets I could get. So the plan was to tag team with Cancer Free Dave and head into the Burgh. With Pittsburgh being a little closer to Dave, I was gonna head his way. Up at 4am, leave by 5am and meet Dave at 6am. The night before I packed my bag, a light load and set the alarm. I headed to bed for a couple of hours of shut eye before starting the early morning adventure. Well….things just dont ever seem to go as planned, especially with me and being on time. The morning came and my eyes began to flicker. I felt a little too refreshed for only getting 3 hours of sleep. I turned over and looked at the clock….it was 6:10am. :angry14: What happened to my alarm?! Oh no! Pittsburgh is a 3 hour drive from Dave’s and I am an hour from him. We would NEVER make it in time. I quickly called Dave and told him somehow the alarm never went off. We quickly regrouped and Dave headed my way. This would allow me time to get showered and ready. I checked the alarm clock….I accidentally set it for 4pm and not am.

Showered and cleaned, I got the dog out and looked at the clock. We were really gambling. If all went well, we would arrive about a half hour after when we needed to be there. Should I call it? 3.5hrs is a long time to travel for something you already know you will be too late for. What might you get? Maybe a couple of stragglers leaving? I just knew that if I called the trip off that the flight would be delayed and we would have made it. And if we tried, we could possibly miss them. Fact is, you miss 100% of the shots you DO NOT take. I would rather take the shot and miss then live with the regret of not trying at all. I called Dave and we met in Carlisle, PA, which should cut about 20 minutes off. We hit the turnpike and it was balls to the wall. Dave drove like a NASCAR driver straight down the turnpike. And by a stroke of luck…..a DELAY! They caught about a 30 min. delay, which would put us arriving at the same time. Not sure how we lucked into it, but this was a good sign.

When we arrived, we parked and headed inside. The board was showing the plane had just landed. We got to the spot and found Samoa Joe sitting at baggage. I took a seat a few down from him. He looked over at me and I said whats up. Joe nodded. I congratulated him on landing with NXT. He gave me the nod of thanks. I asked him if he was here to get autos as well. Joe gave me the “not sure if serious” look. I smiled back.

Our first form of bad luck struck when the bags started to come up but none of the NXT stars were down here yet. Bags started coming up and spinning around. This could present a problem. Within a few minutes we had our first arrivals. We spotted Tyler Breeze and Murphy from Blake & Murphy and Aiden English. I scored all 3 in my NXT program. Then I saw Alexa Bliss and made sure to get her in my program as well as a photo with her. I love Alexa! She is by far my favorite NXT Diva. She is super sexy.

The next I look up and there is a crowd of people. We see Kevin Owens, Carmella, Big Cass, Blake, Sasha Banks, Baron Corbin, Bull Dempsey, Mojo, Simon Gotch, Regal and Terry Taylor. Carmella came walking near me, so I opted to get her on my NXT poster. Problem was since bags were up, people were grabbing them and just walking off. It became chaotic. There were some other marks there too, but they were having just as many problems trying to get to people. I saw Sasha start to leave. I needed Sasha and she was joined by a top want in Becky Lynch and also Dana Brooke. I grabbed my NXT poster and started heading over to them, but the NXT stars were having a huddle with Regal and Taylor and Sasha and Lynch were in the center with no good way to get in there. Besides, I didnt want to bother them while they were working. It was clear that Taylor was giving instructions of some sort to everyone. He was also taking a roll call. Speaking of roll call, I assessed that missing was top want Finn Balor. Emma was standing at baggage, so I walked over and got her in the NXT program. She hadnt seen it before and thought it was pretty cool. Charlotte came racing over and you could tell she was in a hurry. But she was happy to stop and sign my NXT program as well before she joined the group.

Still the glaring problem was no Balor. As the group began heading outside, Balor finally came down. He walked over to baggage and I headed over. We exchanged hellos, but he was panicked as he didnt see his bag on carousel. He began too look through bags on the side that were there before his plane landed. I explained that those were here before his and told him there were more bags on the other side. Once he located his missing luggage, he was happy to sign 3 for me. Terry Taylor came over to get him, as their ride was gonna leave. There wasnt much time to talk, as he was running behind. I guess its another thing we share in common. :troll:

As we started packing up, Kevin Owens came back. For what reason? Not sure. But I stopped him and he was nice enough to sign 2 for me. Owens was gone and we got our stuff and headed out. Overall, it was no more than ok. I scored some good ones. I added 2 more names to my NXT poster, leaving 3 names to finish it. I got a few in the program and I got 3 done by Balor. It definitely could have been better, but it could have been much worse.

We headed out to the arena to scout it out and opted to grab some lunch when we discovered marking out here was worthless. We decided to eat at a place called Burgatory. I highly recommend this place for nothing more than this amazing “Build Your Own Burger” they are known for. I looked up the address and found a few locations. Dave opted to hit the closest, which I thought might be a bad idea since we were near the stadium and Consol Energy Center. We drove over and yup….inside the Consol Energy Center. :smh: We drove to the next closest and went inside. Food was pretty good. I had extremely high hopes by the reviews, pictures and the menu. It was VERY good, but I was thinking it might be epic quality. Like I said, I still recommend eating there. They have some interesting topics to put on your burger…..like this stuff called Bacon Jam. Its a sweet jame with some salty bacon mixed in. It was pretty interesting tasting…both salty and sweet. But I just wouldnt get it on a burger, but I did get to sample a little cup of it. They were reasonably priced and high quality.

The trip home was rather uneventful. We made good timing home and there was no need to race down the turnpike. We spent about 20 mins inside the AP and 7 hours travelling there. Ouch! That sounds harsh, but it was still cool. I cant wait till NXT is in the area again. And if you are one of the very few who aint watching NXT….then you are truly missing out. Professional wrestling is indeed still alive and well. Its just based out of Orlando with the yellow ropes. Until next time…..


EDIT: Sadly, this would also be known as the day Dusty Rhodes died.  It would be announced just a few hours after I left the Pittsburgh airport that The American Dream had passed away.  So ironic, considering how much of a role Dusty played in creating, teaching and molding the stars of NXT.  My heart goes out to the Rhodes family and to every single “student” of the Dream’s.


Awesome Con – Washington DC – 5/29/15


I was originally fairly hesitant to goto Awesome Con, considering the multiple reports of issues from the year before…at least at the DC Awesome Con. The guest list was sort of lackluster and the high priced admission certainly turned me off as well. This year, the lineup wasnt that much better. But I couldnt resist an opportunity to get a pro photo op with Seth Rollins, one of my favorite WWE superstars and my heated Words With Friends rival. Speaking of WWF, pun intended, Mr. Rollins has been on a very lucky streak as of late….thanks to some lousy letters like all consonant or all vowels for several turns. Anyway, I fully expected Rollins to have the WWE Championship and I had a replica MITB briefcase that I thought would make for an awesome photo chance.
In addition, other names like Arthur Darvill, who I missed at Ups, Karen Gillian, Brian Tee and Judith Hoag were all scheduled as well. Well, Gillian cancelled a couple of weeks before the con. Darvill was moved to Saturday only. Which left just the 2 additional minor wants.

DC isnt all that far for me, so this still seemed to be a con that would be worth going to. I had a few things to attend to in the morning, including getting a hair cut. All these errands resulted in me running severely behind time. I got on the road and headed to Cancer Free Dave, who would be attending his first comic/pop culture con. We headed for the closest DC Metro stop. When we arrived at the Metro station to buy our pass, we instantly became confused on exactly what we needed. In NYC, you buy a card and it costs just under $3 a ride no matter where you were going. In DC….it seems there are different prices for different stops. Also, there is a peak charge or non peak charge. Yet….no explanation that designates when peak times are. Dave said he thought $10 would do it. I put a $20 bill in and bought $10 for the pass. I ended up getting 10 gold coins back in change. :saswhat:

We got on the Metro and were on our way. Once we arrived at the con stop, it was super convenient, as the stop let out right at the doors to the con. All we had to do was walk down the side and enter through the opposite side of the street. Once inside though, it would be a long walk to where the con was actually taking place in this building. We were definitely cutting it close. Rollins photo op time was 4:30pm and we still needed to buy our Rollins photo tickets. We quickly redeemed out admission tickets. There was zero line and we were inside. The photo ops were clear to the other side, but we found them. There was no line for photo ops, so we were able to secure them right away. I used the gold coins to pay for them, but ran into a little resistance from Awesome Con. They werent sure what they were. :thinking:

We immediately joined the line. The line was decent. I did spot some of NYC guys I saw from just a couple of weeks ago and even saw the big black guy that freaked over Undertaker’s loss at Mania. I got my briefcase out for the photo op and immediately became a hit with the line. Several people asked to take pictures with the briefcase. I obliged them, since everyone was very polite. The line moved very quickly. Once inside, Rollins immediately greeted me saying it had been awhile since last we met. He also made it a point of taking shots at me concerning WWF. I got my photo and exited. As I walked out, my photo was printed and was handed to me within 30 seconds of my exit. Very efficient and it turned out awesome. I was very happy with the results. Unlike Wizard World, they scan your ticket and your photo op before you can leave. This was like Fan Expo’s setup.

The next item on the agenda was to get Rollins autograph. The line was fairly long. I waited to the side of it, as Dave needed to get another photo op. His line was a mere 10 people….so he should be done long before I was. We couldnt have been more wrong. As I waited for Dave to help me with my items, the Rollins line was trucking. Not sure how it was moving so quickly, but it was. It got to the point, that Awesome Con staff suggested I get in line because once its done Rollins will be leaving. Dave still had not returned and I had no choice but to get into line. Awesome Con staff though was really nice and joined me in line in order to hold my 16×20 photo file that was signed in paint, so it wouldnt smear. I got my briefcase signed and also my photo with the champ signed. Since no one was behind me, I was able to chat with Rollins a bit. He thanked me for coming out and said he would see me soon. I told him, it would pretty damn soon as Smackdown was in Hershey in late June. He said cool. And that he would see me at the AP at 6am. :pacgrin:

I took my stuff off to the side and waited for Dave, who joined me about 10 minutes later. Instead of joining me in line, Dave was waiting for his photo op. He said that there were tons of Shattner photo ops that were holding back on his photo op. With Rollins done, all I needed was Brian Tee and Judith Hoag. I headed over to Tee next. He had one person and was very personable. I got a table op for $20. He was very cool. Sat around and talked about Teeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. He talked about whatever he could, including Rocksteady and Bebop and their origin stories being told. He also talked about the action in the movie and said it was gonna be a lot better than the previous. And thats a good thing, cuz the first Bay creation was pretty bad. I told Brian about being on set a couple weeks back and Brian invited me back. He said to come find him if I make it back, which I plan to do.

With Tee done, I headed over to Judith Hoag, who also had just 1 person in line. I talked to her about the upcoming movie as well. She was more hush about it. She couldnt reveal her character at all. But she said she was really excited about it. She was supposed to be in the first Bay film, but she had another movie she was working on and couldnt happen. She also told me that Elias Kosteas, original Casey Jones, was also approached on the first one but was unable to do it due to other filming commitments. She didnt know if he was approached about this one though. We took the picture and I was done.

All autos and photos were done. We walked around the con to check out the vendors. I found the Arrow pop vinyls for $10, so I snagged both the masked/hooded version and the unmasked/unhooded version. There was also a Marvel booth that had a memory game you could play in order to win a Marvel poster. The last Avengers poster went as we approached, but they had Ant Man posters still. I got a look at the 2 pieces I was attempting to match. I picked the first one right, but somehow screwed up the 2nd. I made Dave play and he just picked 2 random pieces and got a match. I won the Ant Man poster! :victory:

The con was done and we headed out. We had a bit of a wait for the Metro to return and there was a lot of people waiting for it. When it finally arrived, we got on and took it back to where we originally got on. Once we got back, we swiped our card, but it kept saying it was invalid. The Metro worker opened an emergency exit door and allowed us to pass. Not sure why $10 wouldnt cover it, but I suspect THAT was the issue. But Metro was nice to let us pass. :like:

We hopped in the car and were on our way back to my car. My personal impressions were Awesome Con reports from last year were either greatly exaggerated or they really found an amazing way to resolve the issues they were having. The lines were very well managed and moved very quickly. Admission tickets were $10 cheaper this year and adding WWE names was a good move. Having several stars doing table ops was also a plus. It allowed you to get more photo ops without having to pay big dollars for some minor wants. I will definitely return to Awesome Con, lineup pending, next time they are in the area. Hats off to their organization.


NYC UpFronts 5/12-5/15/15


It happens once a year and its considered the biggest week in television. This mega event brings some of the biggest names of network television into NYC. There are so many actors and actresses…..you gotta keep your head on a swivel with your eyes open. Blink….and you just might miss your favorite tv star. If that doesnt get you excited to read this tale…..may God have mercy on your soul…..if you have one of those.

Last year, if you remember reading my adventure, reaped major rewards. Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, Colin Donnell, Emilly Bett Rickards, Paul Blackthorne and Colton Haynes from Arrow, Joseph Morgan, Phoebe Tonkin, Daniel Gillies from The Originals, Grant Gustin, Jesse L. Martin, Danielle Panabaker and Carlos Valdes from The Flash, Paul Constanzo and Mark Feurstein from Royal Pains, Christopher Gorham, Peter Gallagher, Kari Matchett and Piper Perabo from Covert Affairs, Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries and some random celebs like Rebecca Romijin, CeeLo Green, Christian Kane, Marlon Wayans, Rashida Jones and Gina Rodriguez. Now THAT was a mouthful. To top it off….that was all within a day and a half. This year….this year was gonna be different. I expected to pull in 3 times as many celebs, by spending 4 days and 3 nights in NYC. With more time and better info, this year should prove a tad bit more fruitful.

Up at 2 am on Tuesday morning and running late per the usual, we got on the road. DJ, Cancer Free Dave and myself were on our way. Sometimes I think subconsciously I run late because DJ is always planning to arrive way to early. Being 30 mins behind, we hit the first spot and spent a good 45 minutes before seeing our first celebrity. A spot that usually only brings just a few people was SWARMING this morning. No one really big was expected, so not quite sure what drew this crowd. Saw a lot of NY regulars here….one in particular is REALLY starting to drive up a wall. Her constant fucking belly aching, embellishments, lies and just pure annoyance is beyond irritating. One of these days….she’s gonna find that cane shoved right up her ass, if she doesnt watch where she is swinging it. Worse yet, she will do anything and everything for the celebs she wants and will flip out if you get in her way with her tale of woe. Ive seen you run like an olympic triathlete down the street. Ive seen you chase cars like a hungry dog off the chain. Lose the gimmick.

Had to get that rant over, but sadly it would not be the last time I would have to deal with her. Anyway, after the long wait we finally spotted our first celeb and it was Jeremy Piven. Piven refused to do it and said he would do it on the way out. Ok, no sweat. We also spotted Rebel Wilson arrive, she of course refused to do it. There was one fan there was very interested in getting her, but she refused both photo and auto. She stated in a recent interview that she doesnt refuse REAL fans….just the dealers. Guess she’s a fucking liar. Perhaps if the guy brought an all you can buffet or rolled up in an ice cream truck, she would have taken a photo with him. Me? I couldnt have cared less. Of course the irritating bitch went off on Rebel, ONLY after she had gone inside.

The next celeb was my top want for this spot, Jon Seda from Chicago PD. He arrived and was super cool. He signed and took photos with everyone. I got him on my Chicago PD cast photo and got a pic. Great score to open the week. And after that came DJ’s big want Megan Boone. Megan looked super sexy. She is an example of someone who looks better in real life than she does on the tv show she is on, The Blacklist. She was very nice and signed for everyone. She made sure to give DJ extra special attention. I got an auto on an 8×10 and a great photo with her.

Sadly, in the cluster mess around Megan Boone, we lost track of the SUV that dropped Piven off. It must have pulled away. We could only guess that he opted to exit on the other side, where no one was waiting. Way to honor your word, Mr. Piven. I was gonna purchase his book at his book signing later that evening, but his little stunt this morning soured me on him and I opted to spend my money elsewhere.

Rebel Wilson exited and once again blew everyone off. There wasnt much left for this spot and we opted to hit our next spots up. DJ and I would split up and pretty much remained split up the rest of the trip. We took the subway to the same stop and went in an opposite direction. Cancer Free Dave elected to join me, while DJ headed for a spot he hoped to get some Empire names at. I took the walk down and got to the spot, hoping to land Chicago PD cast, Mark Paul Gosselaar, Craig T. Nelson, Chicago Fire cast especially Taylor Kinney and Peter Facinelli.

When we arrived, there was no one there. We took a spot at the barricade, assessed the position and optioned to cross to the other side. It just look like more people would be using the door further from us and closer to the other barricade. So we headed and boy was I right. It was a long wait before we spotted our first name. The sun was out and it was HOT and HUMID. We eventually sat down, since we were the only two there. After about an hour and half we spotted a top want, Craig T. Nelson from Coach fame. I leaped up and called out to him, as he stood by the door. I asked him for a photo and was directly and promptly turned down. :1distraught: VWHAT!??!!? Craig T. Nelson turned me down. Coach turned a long time fan down for a simple photo. I couldnt believe it. I actually turned away, as to not let him see the almost tears run down my cheek or the looks of total horror. I think I was having trouble breathing. How could Craig T. Nelson turn me down, when there was but 2 of us here?

After my breathing returned to normal and but a minute went by, I hear a man ask me wheres my camera. I look over to my right and its Craig T. Nelson!!!!! :clap: I quickly pull out my camera and I snap the selfie. I thank him for the photo and tell him how excited I am for Coach to be returning. I cant wait and have been a long time fan. From horror to victory, all in a minute. A top want is checked off the list for the week. I tell Dave how happy I am, especially after how I shocked I was he turned me down. I asked Dave what he thought might have prompted his change of heart. Dave responded; “he finished his smoke.” Huh? Evidently, beyond my scope of vision, Dave spotted him smoking by the door. He didnt want to smoke around us to take a photo or didnt want to be photographed with a cig in hand. He wasnt turning me down….he was simply finishing his smoke.

We are off to great start. 1 Chicago PD name and Coach. Who would be next? Well, it would be some time before we would find out who would be next…..at least it would for me. Dave and I sat back down and continued to wait it out. A person walked by the rails and down the street to the restaurant that was just a tad bit down from us. When the person went inside, Dave says to me…..”that was Mark Paul Gosselaar.” Get the fuck out of here. Dave is certain. He says it was definitely him. I ask him why he didnt say anything before he went into the restaurant. Dave said he didnt want Mark Paul to hear it. :killme: KILL ME! KILL ME NOW!!!! Are you kidding me!??!?! After I thoroughly berate poor Dave like a 5 year old child who just bit his baby sister’s finger, I stand up to get a better view. Mark Paul seriously just walked by me, but I had my back turned and missed him. I wont let THAT happen again.

Almost an hour later and Dave spotted him exiting the restaurant. This time I would not miss out. I grabbed my Saved By The Bell cast photo and waited till he walked by. I politely asked him for an autograph and photo and he said he would, but it had to be quick as he wasnt feeling well. He looked pretty hung over. Ball cap and dark shades. He was quiet but definitely obliged. He even had a big smile on his face for my photo. So I was super stoked. WOW! 3 big wants down and we are mere hours into this trip.

It wouldnt be too long and I would see Sophia Bush dart out and head for a waiting car. I called out to her, but she said she would be back. She jumped in the car and was gone. Ugh. Ok….well, I’ll keep an eye out for her. Jason Beghe star of Chicago PD as Hank Voight came out next. I called out to him, but you could tell he was in a frantic hurry. He went to get into a car, but found out it wasnt his. He asked the doorman to get him a cab, but I think the doorman didnt hear his raspy voice. Jason walked over and signed my cast photo. He looked over as a cab pulled him and the doorman let someone else in. Jason became annoyed at this. He started to walk down the street a bit trying to hail his own cab. He wasnt having luck. I walked over and tried to get a photo, I didnt want to miss him. He took the photo, but you could tell he was getting more and more annoyed. Other fans had arrived at this point and he was getting bombarded left and right. He was having no luck with the cab and the doorman wasnt helping either. He finally went over to the doorman and went face to face with the guy so they were on the same page. He got a cab and he was off. But the combo was secured and I added another name to the cast photo.

There must have been a run on Chicago PD cast cuz next I see Jon Ceda come out and he stopped for a few fans and then jumped into his SUV. Jesse Lee Soffer came out and started to head in a different direction. I called out to him and he said to give him 1 minute. He went for a walk and I figured I could get him on the way back. So now I have to keep my eye out for Jesse and Sophia. My friend Monica joined us at the spot and now there was probably 8 people waiting, one of which was the crazy lady from before. It was now mid afternoon and I had already spent a good 6 hours at this spot. Definitely well worth it, but my feet were hurting. My body was sweating. My back was aching. I’m too old for this shit.

As we are standing there, Danielle Panabaker all of the sudden walks up the street and is standing next to me. WTF?! I quickly grab my Flash 11×14. She says she is going inside and will be right out. True to her word, she comes out and signs a couple and does a couple of photos. She said she was only here to pickup her Grandfather and they are going out to dinner. Crazy!

An SUV pulls up and Peter Facinelli gets out. He is on his phone, but gets off it pretty quickly and turns into a machine. He is signing. He is taking photos. He is having conversations. Dude is a machine. Definitely one of the most personable celebs I have ever met. And why not? He went from Jennie Garth to Jamie Alexander. One of the guys asks where Jamie is and Peter said she was doing photo shoot and would be back soon. Just wait here and she will take care of everyone. Peter currently stars on a show called American Odyssey. I havent seen it yet, but I am intrigued. What I know and love him from is a show from Fox that was cancelled after 1 season called Fast Lane. I loved Fast Lane! Too bad it never got a renewal.

Out next was Craig Robinson. At this point, there must be 20 fans waiting. Robinson is in a hurry, but poses for a photo or 2 before taking off. I get the photo and Robinson is gone. I spot Sophia Bush returning and call out to her again. She races in through the doors and is gone! DAMN!!!! Another SUV pulls up and its Ellen Pompeo from Grey’s Anatomy. She walks up and everyone thinks they know her, but no one knows her name. After a group research via google, we determine it really was Ellen. We will be ready when she comes out.

I spot Jesse Lee Soffer coming back. I call him to him again and he once again gives me the 1 second and heads inside. WTF?! What is going on? It sucks cuz Jesse and Sophia are 2 of my favorites of the show with Voight. This sucks. Sophia Bush comes back out. I try again, figuring its gonna be a no. She comes over this time. She stops to take a picture with Monica. I have my cast photo out and ready to go. Then Monica drops her phone on my photo and asks me to take the photo!?!?!?!? NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I hesitate. If I take the photo, Sophia could be gone by the time I am able to ditch the phone. They are awkwardly posing and I decide to take the pic, as its gonna hurt my chances and screw a friend over if I dont. I take the pic and ditch the phone as soon as I can. I ask Sophia for the autograph and she is gone before I can finish the sentence. :horrorhart: Unreal. She did the 1 photo and left. A few minutes later and I cant make this shit up, but literally a bird of some sort flies over head and its bowels just explode on Monica’s arm and her cell phone. It is so bad, she is forced to throw her phone case away….as we only had so much to work with on a hot sidewalk of NYC. Obviously, she could have gone to get napkins, but it would be jeopardizing potential meets. I offer her some hand sanitizer and she does her best to clean up. Was it karma? Its hard to say. I dont want to be cruel, but not taking the selfie I feel caused the loss. It certainly can be argued that if she really wanted to sign, she would have. Who knows? All I know is that I dont have the auto I needed and that bird must have had some bad Mexican based on the amount of crap that landed.

The next SUV that pulls up brings Charles Barkley. Barkley refuses to sign or do photos. At one point, one of the dealers ran to him and some heated exchange takes place. It ends with security chasing the dealer away and Barkley with his fist clinched and in the air talking about beating this guy’s ass. Someone walks up for photo and Barkley does it. I try to make my way over, but to no avail. Barkley goes inside and Shaq arrives. I politely ask Shaq for a photo and I am promptly turned down. As he is walking inside he does a couple of photos before going in. WTF? Ok. Moments later he comes out again and does a photo right in front of me. I ask him again and Shaq THREATENS me. He tells me if I ask one more time, he and I are gonna have a problem. :saswhat: I knew this guy was a fucking douche bag, but let me tell you something Shaquille O’Neal is a bigger piece of shit. Men and women asking, some rudely, and he obliges….yet turns me down. My friend Monica runs over and asks, promptly gets cut off by the old lady with the cane. Monica looks like she is ready to throw down, but asks Shaq anyway and she too gets turned down. Shaq is headed for his SUV as I spot DJ. DJ spots Shaq and takes off running for him. Shaq goes to get inside the SUV and DJ goes and gets a photo op. A a behind the back ambush and success. I guess Shaq doesnt understand politeness. The words please and sir evidently are offensive to him. While words like yo man and give me will land you a photo. Screws over fans at the signing in NJ and turns polite fan down for a photo. Class act.

The last ball player that arrives is Kenny The Jet Smith. Kenny comes out and I ask him for a photo and he says he will take care of me in a minute and he needs to run in to get checked in. He returns a few minutes later and lives up to his promise. He heads right over and takes the photo. Shaq might want to take a page out of Kenny’s book on how to treat fans. My issue with Shaq isnt that I got turned down…..its that he threatened me, when I politely asked for a photo op and obliged guys who were rude about it.

As the day began to turn to evening, the old body was really starting to tire out. Dave and I both needed to get a break and the names were starting to really come sporadically. Jesse Lee Soffer came out again, once again agreed to take care of me when he came back and it never happened. Not sure what this was all about. Ernie Johnson came out right after him and I had a brain fart, calling him Rich Eisen. The worst part was I knew it was Ernie Johnson. I just tweeted about Ernie Johnson a day or 2 before and yet said Rich Eisen. Ernie was cool. He walked over and introduced himself and even agreed to pose for the photo. Cool guy and a total class act for what he did for Stuart Scott. Some people called it a publicity stunt, but if you had seen the video, you would know it was as genuine and genuine could be. This was a small awards show that was not televised. He didnt have to do it….he did it because he wanted to. Bravo Ernie Johnson.

The next person that arrived was Amber Stevens from 22 Jump Street. She played Maya, Ice Cube’s daughter. She was happy to pose and I got a photo. Gorgeous lady too. The last two photos I got at this spot were Freddy Rodriguez from Night Shift and Ugly Betty and musician James Taylor. In between these 2 meets, Sophia Bush came back and once again….she ran back inside. No Bush. No Soffer. Its definitely hard to complain for as many great meets that I got. I scored 3 top wants for the week right away on day 1. But now I needed a moment. So we packed up, grabbed an Uber and headed to the hotel.

When we got to the hotel, we got checked in and got the bags brought upstairs. Our room wasnt exactly in a hall, it was more like some narrow corridor off the main hall way. When we got inside, we thought we were in some children’s room. The room was TINY. There were 2 beds with a small night stand between them. There was a desk along the wall with a chair, thats seat was almost touching the floor. The bathroom was small and there was a tiny cut out of the wall that was considered a closet. How we were gonna get 4 people in here was beyond me. The beds….oh my God! The beds were smaller than the ones I had when I was a little kid. When I layed down, it was barely long enough to cover my knees. Most of my calves, ankles and feet would dangle over the edge. There was no room in the bathroom to put your toiletries. I pretty much had to keep everything in my little corner in my bags. There was a fridge, but it too was very small. It beats sleeping in your car and beats having to be up even earlier to catch a train into the city….but wow, small.

We opted to get some food, as DJ was still out and about. By the time we were done and relaxed for a bit, DJ came back. Dave, DJ and I decided to hit a few night spots up. I needed Amanda Seyfried, Jim Parsons and Mark Linn Baker from Perfect Strangers fame. Seyfried was first. We waited a bit and then a stage hand came out and said there was an after party. Dave really wanted Parsons, so I went with Dave to make sure he got to Parsons, as he wouldnt go without 1 of us. DJ stayed behind to try and wait it out for Seyfried. She came out about 10 minutes after we left. Dave and I had just arrived at Parsons. Sucks, but I’ll take another shot at her. We were first to arrive at Parsons. I had nothing for him, but Dave had an 8×10. The next person that joined us was a nice guy. We got to talking and I gave him a tale of woe and was able to score one of his 8x10s so I had an item for Parsons. DJ even made it to the spot in time, but he was way, way in the back. Parsons came out and was a machine. He signed everything and anything. He just wouldnt do photos. A video op might be the best thing to try if anyone ever goes for him at this spot. If you can get him to look up, you can screen cap it. He would really briefly look up for people, but as soon as the flash went off….he was already gone.

Dave and I ventured to Mark Linn Baker, while DJ headed back to the hotel. The shit part about this spot was that it was the same spot I played that nonsense game the previous summer trying to get Colin Donnell. And once again…..I played it for Mark Linn Baker and I picked the wrong door. Hell, the staff was telling me that the other names were going out the back, but the smaller names like Mark Linn used the front. Well….we never saw him. We saw several small names come out and sign….just not Mark Linn. Another failure for this spot. We called the Uber and we were on the way back to the hotel.

Day 1 was in the books. It was off to bed and ready for what Day 2 would bring us. The week was starting off strong with the main event in coming in 2 days. I was excited, but still beat. My pillow was calling my name and I couldnt wait to answer it.

Day 2 got started early for Dave and DJ. I decided to sleep in and skip the first spot. The names to get were very minor wants. It ended up being a blessing, as this spot unlike last year, turned into a nightmare. DJ ended up getting a few names, but opted to leave Dave there and head out on his own for a bit. I went to the spot to grab Dave and take him to another spot. As we arrived, DJ was leaving this spot and headed elsewhere again. Like 2 ships passing in the night.

This spot didnt yield much, but we were hoping it would bring some wants. Sadly, I never saw any of the Agents Of Shield…which is what I was looking for. Instead I was able to secure photos with Justin Chambers from Grey’s Anatomy, Liza Weil from Scandal and Bellamy Young from Scandal. We didnt spend much time here and opted to bail as the results were slow and nothing good seem to be coming.

We took the subway back to our hotel, where we met Monica for lunch. We ate at the hotel before getting info. on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 set. Still had a few things for Stephen Amell who is casted as Casey Jones and would love a picture with Megan Fox. It was a long subway ride out, but Dave, Monica and myself headed out. We found the set location fairly quickly and got to watch some of the filming. It was a VERY cool experience. I quite enjoyed seeing the actors roaming about and running the same scene over and over.

DJ called and decided to head over to us to check out the filming. I gave him the spot location and he took the subway over. We thought we had spotted Stephen, but it turned out to be his stunt double. Since we werent close enough to him, I was only seeing it from a distance. Not 100% sure, Monica ended up just walking across the set to get confirmation. She came walking back a minute later and it was a negative. Hmmm…..

We talked to one of the set workers who gave us an estimated time for wrapping. Turned out his info. was damn good. We spotted Stephen walking down the street just a few minutes before he said. A dealer was chasing him, as we werent prepared and had to get our stuff out. Stephen turned the corner and we were in pursuit. As we were behind Stephen, we spot DJ walking towards Stephen. All of the sudden it dawned on him that Stephen Amell was walking towards him. He ran up to him and got a selfie. Stephen got into his trailer and we waited outside. One of the set workers told us Stephen wasnt feeling well, so there was a good chance he wouldnt stop. Clearly, he did not know who he was talking too. LOL!

The set worker was cool though. He actually engaged with us in conversation about the movie, Casey Jones and celebrities in general. He talked about his disdain for the dealers and the paparazzi. Stephen came out of his trailer a few minutes later and was happy to take care of us. I got 3 more items signed, along with another photo. How many photos and autos could I get with Stephen Amell in a week’s time? After he was done signing, he turned to me and said to enjoy the events this week and he would see me tomorrow. HA! He knows me too well.

Once Stephen left, we spotted Will Arnett who plays Vernon taking off. We raced over. He said he was in a hurry and would not stop for a photo, but if we wanted we could take one while we walked. So I snapped the best motion selfie I could. Not too bad for what it was.

Megan Fox was next. There was only 6 of us at this point and only 1 dealer. Megan said she would take care of us after she got changed. We waited. Sadly, 6 turned into 12 with 6 dealers showing up. The size now doubled but wasnt too bad. Dealers were armed with tons of 8x10s. I began to worry.

We then spotted all 4 Turtles walking down the street in gimmick. Could we have scored an in gimmick group shot? Possibly. They were having a conversation. Next time, as the dealers took off running. We turned around to see Megan Fox pulling away. Evidently they snuck her out a back door and she was gone. The dealers pounded on the window, but nothing. DJ flipped out. I honestly think she would have been happy to take care of the 6 of us. But when the crowd doubled and all you could see was dozens of 8x10s rubber banned to cardboard….she aint stupid. She got herself out of there.

The Turtles started coming out of their trailers. First one out was Jeremy Howard, who plays Donatello. He was cool. He refused to sign anything though. He cited that they had gotten into trouble as the studio was finding way too many pieces on ebay. Interesting tidbit. Noel Fisher was next. He plays Michaelangelo. Peter Ploszek was next, Leonardo. He too refused to sign for the same reason. Last was Alan Ritchson aka Raphael aka Aquaman from Smallville. All 4 were very cool. The dealers took off, as all refused to sign. But they were cool. They hung out for a bit to discuss what they could about the movie. They told me Casey Jones will be telling an origin story, there will be more Turtles and a better story. All 4 were very excited about the movie. They had high praise for Stephen and what he brings to the movie.

We did really well here. But it was getting late and we hadnt eaten dinner. Now by late, I mean early evening. However, I would need to get to sleep as early as possible because tomorrow was the main event and tomorrow would require us to be up……AT 1AM!!!!! Thats right….1 fucking AM. So we headed back to the hotel, got some food and got ready for bed. But before sleep, a small problem occurred. I had purchased these new Charmin wipes that are supposed to be flushable. Let me attest to the fact that they are indeed NOT flushable. For all you judgie people out there…..yes, I use baby wipes. I wanna be sure. Toilet paper just doesnt get the job done. Wipes let me know that I have a fresh clean asshole for the day. Judge all you want….but I know my asshole isnt shitty. Anyway, I let my room mates know of the issue and that we will need to alert maintenance in the morning. The lid was closed till morning. Until then….no bathroom.

Day 2 was in the books and 1 am came way to quickly. Dave and I were both sluggish. I got up first and headed for the bathroom to get ready. A day full of excitement and intrigue awaited. My top want for the week Joseph Morgan was what was most important. As I am brushing my teeth, suddenly my stomach alerted me that we were going to need to defecate. We were Guarded on the terror level. I figured I would finish brushing my teeth, grab a room key, head to the lobby and take care of business. Instead, the alert went to SEVERE immediately on the terror level. WTF?! The toilet wasnt working. No way would I make it to the lobby. I took a glance at the shower before having to make a choice. I chose toilet. I sat down and what proceeded to take place was something awful. Something that only Hollywood could dream up. Remember that scene from Van Wilder when Richard had the laxative shake made my Tara Reid’s character and was forced to grab a trash can to sit on since he wasnt going to make it? I made THAT look normal.

When I was done, I didnt know what to do. Now the small problem just became a BIG problem….and a smelly one. The toilet was not filled with shit from the night before backed up because Charmin’s flushables are NOT flushable. Now we have shit from today, if thats what you can even call it and no plunger or anything to resolve the issue ourselves. Well….there was one way to try and resolve it. Could I? Should I? I could reach in there and attempt to pull some wipes out in order to get the toilet to flush. I mustered up the courage and reaches into the abyss. With vomit reaching up the back of my throat, I was able to grab a handful of wipes, dumping them into the trash. I quickly scrubbed my hand and arm with soap. Still not feeling like I had myself clean. Here we go. Moment of truth. Did I make the right play? I push down on the handle and toilet made what I can only describe as a small belch. In turn, the water level began to rise and some of the kids were looking to escape the pool. OH NO!!!! :1distraught: Luckily, no one got out. I put the lid back down and heard a tiny splash. This was SO not good. I got showered and made sure to spend extra time my hand and arm. Just reliving this moment brings about a gagging reflex. I wish I could say this story with the toilet would end……but I cant. More on that later.

I told Dave what happened and grabbed a piece of paper and a Sharpie. I wrote a nice detailed note about the toilet. DO NOT OPEN THE LID!!! Big bold print. Didnt want anyone to faint or vomit uncontrollably. Dave got showered and we got packed to get out of here. I grabbed all my stuff and called for the Uber. DJ was gonna grab a few extra winks of shut eye, as was Monica. We took bets on who would join us first.

We got to the spot and they were just starting to setup. We grabbed the ideal spot from last year feeling like we got here at the right time. After an hour, a few more people joined and within 2 hours, there had to be a dozen people here now. We opted for tshirts and shorts because of the weather report. Sadly, it was no where near these temps and it became freezing cold. Hoodie and jeans would have been more sufficient. DJ finally joined us several hours later and I won the bet. The setup here was different than last year’s and we began to worry we selected poorly. The side we were on last year seemed to be the better spot. But there was no room on the rails for us now.

Spots like this can be a bit chaotic. And as I have stated before, I am not here to make friends. NO…I will not make room on the rail to let you in. YOU should have been here earlier. Dont bitch at me cuz you missed a photo because I wouldnt let you in. Im not a bad guy….not completely. If there is just that person out, I will gladly slide over to let you in. But if there are multiple people hovering on that rail, not till I get mine will I slide over. Sorry, if you think that makes me a dick. Just a tiny rant for those out there that got pissy with me. I’m here for the same reason you are.

Now back to our story. We quickly realized we were on the wrong side, we needed to be on the opposite side. Whats really weird, is they really changed up the barricades this year. Last year they had 1 on each side of the entrance and this year they added 2 more. I think it was a poor decision. Caused more chaos and more people who refused to stay in the barricades. The order of people of who came out first and who came out next is a little fuzzy. It was pretty chaotic. Not to mention that I didnt get everyone either. I do know the first photo op I got was with Willa Holland. Willa was happy to sign and take photos. She even brought her own Sharpie out. There were several people who refused to sign and would only do selfies like Paul Wesley, Ian Somerhalder and Brandon Routh. Only Routh was a major disappointment, as I had a few pieces for him.

Some of the more memorable encounters were Stephen Amell, of course. He came right to us. I honestly had nothing for him to sign. DJ got his figure signed, which turned out awesome. He looked at me, almost waiting for something. There was this brief awkward moment. I told him I had nothing right at this moment for him, but would restock for the future. He smiled. I said we can always do a selfie since you are here…..so thats what we did. He didnt do much and DJ got the only autograph.

David Ramsay was awesome. DJ and I started chanting “Diggle, Diggle, Diggle” which prompted David to skip a lot of people and come right to us. I got him to sign my Arrow book and got a selfie with him as well. Love Diggle. He rocks. And since the chanting worked, we opted to continue for other bigger wants. For example, Carlos Valdes who plays Cisco on The Flash. A chant for him got him to come over to us. Carlos was awesome. He was happy to sign my Flash 11×14, along with taking a “Canary Photo Op” pose selfie. Must see this episode of The Flash to know what I speak of. Our chanting also got Charles Michael Davis from The Originals to come over. This was a big need for me, as I missed him last year and I needed him on my Originals poster. Charles was happy to sign. Only issue, I asked him to sign off to the side, which he balked at. He wanted to sign over Joseph Morgan’s face. C’mon! Why? I know you think its funny, but its gonna ruin my shit. I asked him to please not do that. He said he wouldnt, but wanted to sign nice and big so his signature was prominent. He then signed over Claire and Joseph….kind of ruining the prime spot I had set aside for Joseph. I got a pic with him and he was a cool guy, just kind of upset me. What more upset me was the news that Joseph Morgan was not here this year. My top want…..not even in NYC. This was about the worst news I could have gotten. Out of all the people to not have in town, the star of The Originals?! :deadd:

In addition to the names I already mentioned, I scored photos with Paul Wesley, Brandon Routh, Brett Dier and Justin Baldoni from Jane The Virgin, Adelaide Kane from Reign, Ian Somerhalder who was by far absolutely mobbed and sent the crowd into a head splitting insane rage. I swear I heard panties LITERALLY dropping to the floor for Ian. I also got photos with Kristin Gutoskie who was Trish from The Originals and will be premiering on a new CW show called Containment. Sadly, I didnt recognize her as Trish and missed on the auto for my poster and Marie Avgeropoulos from The 100. We also chanted for Caity Lotz aka Sara Lance from Arrow. She was awesome. She signed my book and also took a selfie. I had plenty for her. Wished I could have gotten more.

I got Gina Rodriguez from Jane The Virgin, a retake with Brandon Routh and Chris Wood aka Kai from Vampire Diaries. As far as autographs I had gotten; Katie Cassidy in my Arrow book which I missed out on at Wizard World Philly….so that helped, Paul Blackthorne on my Arrow book, Jesse L. Martin aka Detective West from Flash on my 11×14, Tom Cavanaugh aka Reverse Flash on my 11×14, Phoebe Tonkin on my Originals poster and Dominic Purcell aka Heatwave on my Flash 11×14.

The last auto I got at this spot was from Ian Somerhalder. I know I told you he did not sign at this spot and it was true. BUT, he did sign 1 for me. Ian denied everyone’s requests and his handlers would push things away, including a photo op I took with him from Creation last year. But Ian spotted it and told his handlers he NEEDED to sign this because it was a photo of he and I and he paid for it…so he deserves the autograph. VERY COOL moment. Hats off to Ian.

The only person who was bitchy and flat out refused….Kristin Kreuk. And that sucked. I am a big fan of hers and loved her in Smallville and now Beauty and The Beast. She refused to do anything. I have heard horrible things about her too, but cant stop crushing on her. She is so amazing on the eyes.

With this spot coming to a close, we opted to head back to the hotel. Dave and I were completely beat. And this was where the story turns shitty….pardon the pun. I ask DJ about calling maintenance to have them take care of the toilet before he left. He said he did not. Monica was still sleeping and he didnt want maintenance in the room while we are gone. DJ has a phobia with hotel staff being in the room while we are not in the room. Anyway, as I begin to chastise him for leaving this heap of shit in the toilet all damn day and some from the night before…..he tells me there is a bigger issue. He begins to tell the tale of how his morning got started. He went to the bathroom and read my note. Shaking his head in utter contempt….he began to get ready for the day. And then it hit him. Yup. In what can only be described as a parallel life event, DJ’s stomach started grumbling. He knew he wouldnt make it, so he contemplated the shower. He couldnt bring himself to do it and had no choice. Yes sir…..he did indeed sit on the backed up toilet that was filled to capacity. Remember how I said how high the water levels were? Yeah…. :wtfmad:

So now we needed to head back to the room and deal with this. My plan was to catch a quick 30 minute power nap and venture back out. We grabbed some food and got back. When we walked back into the room, the room WREAKED! It must have smelled like Class and Joretsky’s car after their week long, non showering, dumpster diving week in a parked car. No offense guys….but you guys even admitted to how bad the stench was. Anyway…the door was opened to the bathroom, which evidently Monica left open. WHY?!?!?! I called maintenance and the guy came up right away. When he arrived, I explained….in little detail, what had happened. The guy came in with a plunger and said it happens all the time. I dont think he quite knew what he was in for. He came inside, lifted to the toilet lid up and we literally heard him utter….”Oh God.” At which time he left the room and said he would come back. Where was he headed? Perhaps a Hazmat suit was needed. Perhaps, this wasnt a one man operation and backup was needed. Maybe this area would have to be quarantined. When he returned, he came back with some plastic drop cloths and he layed them throughout the bathroom. He did his thing and sure enough the toilet was working in no time. Im sure he went home and burned his clothes that night and I can only imagine how this tale has been told over and over throughout the hotels maintenance horror stories.

With the toilet finally fixed, all of us passed out. No….I mean we went into hibernation. Evidently this week had finally caught up with us and we were wrecked. Class even texted me about the afternoon spot, with which I denied our arrival. No way was any of us getting up to go. A brief discussion was had, but no one wanted to move. We pretty much slept away the entire day. Nothing seemed to motivate us to venture back out and we didnt, at least I didnt. Monica had some other plans, so she left. Dave and DJ decided to go to a night spot for someone….I cant even remember who now. I stayed in the room and pretty much died. We have always talked about not falling asleep when everyone else is awake. Ask Nate what happens when you fall asleep…..balls on a forehead, penis drawings, etc. Well, for the first time…..I fell victim. Evidently, I was out, out too. DJ told me when they came back, they knocked on the door and I didnt answer. They tried knocking a few more times and still nothing. So they came inside and found me passed out. DJ began to doodle a penis and balls on my arm and I still did not wake. They would get ready for bed, giggling like school girls. At some point, I awoke and they were back. They couldnt wait to let me know how I had been had. I was too fucking tired to even go and wash it off and left this painted on penis and ball sack remain for the evening. Good thing there wasnt a fire that caused an evacuation.

The next morning was our last morning in town. We got all our stuff packed up and headed downstairs to check our bags with the hotel and checked out. We hit up our last spot for some more CW names. I got photo ops with Ciara Renee aka Hawkgirl from Legends Of Tomorrow, Wentworth Miller aka Captain Cold, Phoebe Tonkin, Dominic Purcell, some chick from Telelmundo who only took pictures from one side and not the other. Grant Gustin was the biggest name I saw and was able to get him on my Flash 11×14. I really did well on Flash names for the week. And finally I got Daniel Gillies. Daniel was super cool. He signed my Vampire Diaries poster as I already had him on my Originals. He asked why no Originals poster and I explained I already had him on it. He then asked me which show I liked better and I explained it was Originals because Joseph Morgan is the BEST actor on tv. Daniel went back inside for a moment before coming back out and picking up our conversation. I asked him if he had heard about Eyecon’s convention in Atlanta in October and how Joseph was scheduled to be there. Daniel said he had heard about it and was hoping someone from Eyecon would contact him about it, as he believes his schedule is free that weekend. I told him I would love to get a Mikaelson brothers photo and he said it would definitely be a neat idea and he would be up for it. Now its in Eyecon’s court to make it happen. As cool as that would be, I would still rather see Claire Holt aka Rebekah Mikaelson if they could only land one. But all 3 would be even better. Before he left, I got a quick selfie with him and was done.

DJ had gone to another spot to score a name and he did. He returned and him and Dave took off, while I stayed back trying to get a couple of other names. The only thing I got was Chris Wood who came out and I got him on my Vampire Diaries poster. Very nice guy like most have said. But I still cant stand Kai. And thats not the good heat like Joseph Morgan got from his portrayal of Klaus in season 3 of VD….this is the Xpac heat of no one cares…just go away heat. He’s gone and I’m glad. But I do look forward to checking out Containment that Chris Wood will star in.

It was a long walk back to the hotel. I was going to Uber it back, but rates were running 2.5X and wasnt worth it. So I started walking. I figured at some point I could call for the Uber, but by the time rates went down….I was almost back to the hotel. When I returned, DJ got the car and I got the bags. We got the car loaded and hit the road for home. The events that would unfold next were down right frightening to borderline psychotic. Be forewarned…..this is NOT for the weak of heart.

Anyone who has driven in NYC or been in a car in NYC can tell you how bad the traffic can be. Well at 2pm on a Friday near the Lincoln Tunnel, it can be REALLY bad. So we are travelling on 10th Ave. and traffic is bad. At one point, we get cut off by a guy in an SUV who begins to come from the far right to lane and goes 4 lanes across to be in the far left lane eventually. After he cuts us off, his large SUV is blocking the view. DJ is in a rage over what has happened and is flipping the guy off. Eventually he swerves to the left and we finally see signs for our exit for the LT coming up. Only problem is the left lanes are now coned off a good half mile from the exit. Why? I have no idea….but we need to be in that lane. DJ decides to squeeze through the cones to get into the lane. All of the sudden a female NYC police officer walks over in front of DJ’s car and screams for him to get out. She tells him the cones are there so no one comes into the lane. DJ tries to explain that we are from out of town and we need this lane. She screams at him that she doesnt care and wants him out. A slow fit of rage began to brew. It was like DJ was Dr. Banner and someone had made him angry. His eyes began to puff out of his head. A snarl growled and his breath huffed. An angry voice erupted and DJ roared back, as he pulled out of the lane, drove a few feet up and knocked over several cones to return to the lane the NYC police officer asked him to depart. Dave is sweating bullets in the back, as the NYC police officer comes back to the front of DJ’s car with a cone. She places the cone in front of the car and tells DJ he needs to get out and she isnt going to tell him again. DJ snarls back. Traffic begins to move a bit and DJ hits the gas, grazing the police officer and she stumbles back. Dave and I mortified. I begin to wonder how much bail is gonna be set at and whether DJ’s car will be impounded or can I drive it back. DJ whips the car around the cones again and drives back in. Traffic really starts to open up now. The NYC police officer takes off running towards DJ’s car. Another police officer is alerted as we begin to exit for the tunnel. He is standing right next to me, points to DJ’s car and asks if this is the car she wants stopped. DJ hits the gas and we are off and exited. Both police officers can be seen in the rearview giving chase…..but to no avail. We are too far from them for them to catch us on foot and we are right in the middle of HEAVY LT traffic. I am shocked at what has taken place. Dave, I am sure has wet himself in the back. DJ has reached ultimate rage….like Miami during Wrestlemania week….cept worse. Dr. Banner is no more….meet the purple pants wearing green guy.

The ride home was no picnic. It took most of the trip before DJ returned back to his normal self. When we finally got back to my place, all 3 of us were completely wrecked. Never seen so little enthusiasm displayed by the Wolfpack….yet it was here this day. DJ of course wants to do 1 extra day next year, while I am thinking of doing 1 less day. Dont get me wrong, this is my favorite week of the year for marking out….but it destroyed us. That night I got a good night’s sleep and felt a lot better in the morning than I did any day during the week. Home cooking and my bed goes a long way. The week itself started on a high note, it had some lows and ended decently. No Joseph Morgan really put a damper on the week. AND it was crazy that I got about the same number of photo ops as I did the year before, when the year before was half the time of this year. I did get significantly more autographs this year than the year before, but still. I really thought I would return with 150+ photos this year and it just didnt happen. I definitely made a few mistakes and some times I erred on the side of caution in order to secure a bigger want than getting several needs. Oh well. I look forward to next year and doing this all over again. Its like the Christmas of marking out and it lasts for an entire week. So Merry Christmas to my fellow celebrity hunters! I hope Santa brought you everything you asked for. Ho! Ho! Ho!


Wizard World Philly – Philadelphia, PA 5/9/15


You say Stephen Amell and I say….tickets bought! Man crush? Most definitely. He’s not just an amazing super hero, but hes an even more amazing human being. Always looking for ways on how to improve the world…thats what he does. So whats not to like, right?

Stephen Amell wasnt the only name added that required my presence to this con. Child hood hero, Sting in full face paint would also be attending….fresh off his Wrestlemania debut. In addition, Katie Cassidy from Arrow and Summer Glau from Arrow were big needs of mine for some Arrow pieces. A solid list of wants and needs made this trip a must, even if Wizard World Philly is one of the more taxing cons. Joining me for this weekend would be my good friend DJKnightRida. We made a last minute decision to turn this trip into a overnight, as I was able to score a few incoming rides into Philly. We made our way to the AP and arrived in a decent amount of time. We sat down and awaited our first guests….Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy. As the the time approached, I saw Stephen’s agent and we said hello. She introduced me to Katie’s agent. The time came and out came Stephen and Katie. Katie opted to pass on any autos or photos. That hurt, as I needed 3 items done. Stephen was kind of enough to do 1 each and I opted to get my Arrow box set signed to avoid having to drag that into a convention. Since it was his birthday, I handed him a birthday card that I had picked out. It was a musical card that had the song “Kung Fu Fighting” playing, as I thought it would be appropriate with his new movie.

Once Stephen was gone, it wouldnt be long for our last name….Sting to arrive. Sting has always been really good to me throughout the years, I expected nothing less this time around and he did not disappoint. Sting spent a good 15 minutes signing for everyone and there were quite a number of people here for him. I got 3 items done, 2 photos and my Sting WCW plate. I got to ask him about his WM match as well. He took a photo with me and was gone. Another fantastic experience with the Stinger!

The night had concluded and we headed to the hotel. Outside the hotel was a Denny’s and we opted to eat there and then to bed for an early morning wake. The service here was HORRENDOUS. The restaurant was not busy, the bathroom smelled like a sewage plant and at one point instead of refilling DJ’s glass….the waitress confiscated it and left him with no drink, as he was still eating. Her tip….$1…total. And that was all DJ. I had no interest in giving her a single dime.

From a miserable dinner experience to the check in from hell, we headed to the hotel. Whats that? You are wondering what the check in from hell is. I shall explain. Our original reservation was booked for a non smoking room with 2 beds. When we arrived, it took 15mins to get checked in as the dude in front of me was freaking out about no vacancies at any of these hotels. I finally got my room key and drove over. When we opened the door and went inside, there was but the 1 bed. WTF?! Ok…no biggie. Everyone makes mistakes. We drive back to the office, as the phone doesnt work in the room and I explain to the guy what happened and he starts to look for the correct room. He tells me that unfortunately there are no vacancies and the reason the phone doesnt work is that the phones were all shut off due to non payment by the hotel. I said thats fine, but I ordered a room with 2 beds, the phone wasnt the end of the world. Clearly not everyone has checked in, as its almost 1am and half the lot is empty. I want the correct room. If you have to screw someone else over….too bad. He agrees to switch me to someone else’s room. He gives me the key and we drive over there. When we arrive, there seems to be some nasty odor in the air. It was almost like that Denny’s bathroom was polluting the air here. We walk up to the door and enter the room. We turn on the light and immediately we are met with pungent smell. There are 2 beds, but this room smells like a carton of cigarettes had just been smoked in here. To add to the horror, there was a bath towel sitting in the middle of the room. Curiosity got the better of me and I ventured forward. As I peered down to this towel, I saw it was soaked in what clearly could be identified as feces. :okIsee: You MUST be kidding me. We ran screaming from the room and got back in the car. I slammed it into reverse, cursing and looking for the closest all night hardware store. I was going to need some shovels and couple of bags of lime stone. We went back to the office, where I needed to take several breaths before entering for a third time.

For the third and sadly, NOT final time, I attempt to get the correct room. My patience have worn and now I am ticked. I throw the key through the night slot and demand to get the right room….right the fuck now. I told the guy what was going on and he promptly finds me another room and hands me a new card. I once again drive over and attempt to open the door. But the key doesnt work. It doesnt light up green or red….it just doesnt light up. So here we go again. Back again to the office and get a new key. Back in the car and back to the door. The door opens and the room wreaks of smoke. :angry14: Cmon!!! Back to the car. Back to the office. Back to the freak out. I go inside freaking again. A minute later a woman comes inside and she is upset as well. She needed a single bed room non smoking and she was given a double where someone smoked. Dont they check these rooms. All the rooms are supposed to be non smoking. Instead of remedying my issue, he gives her my first room key and says this one should be good. Hey buddy…..I’m still here. He tries to tell me there are no more rooms. Thats it. I told him I know that is BS and that hotels always have at least 1 room they dont rent out just in case or for this place….probably a booty call room. He says he needs to check to see if its clean. He runs over and I wait. It takes him 15 minutes to verify the room and he returns. He says the room is all good cept that the desk is partially burnt and there is an abandoned car parked in front of the room. He gives me the key and we drive back over. DJ has been on his phone trying to find us another place to stay, but to no avail. We get to the room and scan the key. The door lights green but it wont open. DJ The door is stuck. I begin to kick the door over and over and over. DJ is able to come over and get the door open and we go inside. No smoke and shit covered towel anywhere. In fact, there is but 1 towel. Not 1 bath, 1 hand and 1 wash….no just 1 bath towel. It has now taken us a little over an hour to get checked in. A little over and hour passed before we could put our bags in a room and sit down. NEVER have I seen anything like this before. Absolutely unreal. We quickly get ready for the morning and turn in. Its not more than 20 mins. after lying down that there is a knock at the door. I assume its the front desk checking in, but its not. I open the door and its 2 black guys. The first guy says he is here to sign in. Huh?! He says again he needs to sign and needs a room. I told him, we were full. He tells me he has a reservation. I explain this isnt the office and he questions me on where the office is. I tell him and he leaves. What is going on here?! At this point, I cant sleep and I keep tossing and turning all night. Eventually I drifted off, but I dont think I got more than 2 hours.

When morning comes, we scurry to get out of this hell hole. As we are pulling out, we notice there are several people in the parking lot just washing their cars. They have buckets of soapy water, sponges and they are washing their cars at 8am. We just want to get far away from this place and check out. Calling the hotel on Monday morning is a priority. This is ridiculous.

With the hotel behind us, we were on our way to the convention center. We get to the garage, park and walk down the street to enter. DJ goes to pick up his VIP pass, but I have to wait for another friend in order to get my vendor pass. DJ heads upstairs and joins the VIP line. I opted to wait with him before my friend texted me to come back down. Once I got my vendor pass, I went upstairs and the VIP line was starting to enter the main floor. I scurried by them and got inside and immediately ran to ticket redemption. DJ was right by me and we redeemed our tickets and I purchased the auto tickets I would need for Katie Cassidy and Summer Glau. Let the convention start!

After hunting down DJ’s Arrow Pop which he paid nearly 3 times its retail value in order to have it then and there, we headed to the first photo op of the day….Carey Elwes. We couldnt start the convention any worse than a 45 minute plus delay. Sting, who was starting 30 mins after Carey, had put a serious dent into his line by the time Carey’s line started to move. DJ warned me of Carey’s weird obsession with being dressed like he just climbed off his hog. And he was right! Dressed in dark shades and a black leather jacket, the man who once uttered “As You Wish” to his love Buttercup…..was now one of THOSE celebs. We finally got through the line and when we came out, as promised…..Celeb Photo Ops stepped their game up and my photo op was ready. By the time the curtain opened and I had turned towards the printers….I could already see a rep standing there waving my photo op in hand. WOW!! Lightning fast. Very happy.

My next stop was Sting. DJ had other things to attend to, as I hit the Sting line. It moved pretty quickly. When I got inside the curtained area, I was very happy to see Sting all painted up. I got my picture and out I went. Again, as I am walking back, the Celeb Photo ops guy is already waving my pic in his hand. These guys were on point this year.

DJ texted me that Amell’s auto line wasnt too bad at the moment. So I hurried over and got in it. The line moved very quickly and I was in front of him in minutes. When we first arrived, his line was enormous. This was a big break not to be in a huge line. I got an 11×17 poster signed, along with my newly acquired and just released statue base for the 2nd Arrow statue. Stephen thanked me for this birthday card and said he thought it was very funny. I collected my stuff and DJ and I headed for the Katie Cassidy line. We opted to split Cassidy. It was a decent sized line, but once it started moving…it moved fairly quickly. As soon as we were done, we grabbed our photo and immediately headed for the Amell VIP photo line. DJ opted to get a stare down pose, while I couldnt come up with anything decent with some props…..just call me Carrot Top…..and just did a regular pose. Out we went and once again, Celeb Photo Ops comes through with our photos ready for us.

As I completed what I expected to be the worst line I would encounter, I opted to head to Summer Glau to see how her line was. I only had 2 autograph lines I needed to hit and 4 photo op lines left. Should be manageable, right? Glau had a huge line. DJ was concerned he might miss out on an auto or photo op, so I opted to help out. Carey Elwes had no line, as he headed to lunch. He was expected back soon, so I waited in line while DJ headed for another photo op. By the time Carey made it back, DJ was done with his photo op. I headed back to Summer Glau to see what her line condition was again….a mess. She was about 5 rows deep, not including the line in front of her table. I figured I had to get this done and was hoping in the hour I had before my next photo op, I could do so. As I was standing in line, I saw someone with a very cool Sting 8×10 that she got signed. She told me its the photo they are handing out at the table. Hmmmmm…..should I? I had never seen this photo….so I opted to speak to a WW volunteer. She was very nice and said she understood and would be happy to help. She told me to leave Summer’s line and get Sting. When I returned, she would move me up towards the front. Awesome. I headed over to ticketing, bought a Sting auto ticket and got in line. Sting’s line moved very quickly, as he was almost done. I got the 8×10 signed in blue paint. The WWE rep asked Sting to sign it in my blue paint and Sting replied how he knew how I was particular in my markers and my colors. He told the WWE rep he has been signing for me for years on years. Very cool moment. We also talked about WM and how I would really like to see Sting/UT. Sting said he was hoping for it, as its the only match he is interested in doing. I found Sting/HHH this year to be very entertaining. It was awesome to see Sting turn back the clock and have his own WM moment. But there was very little excitement leading up to this match and was poorly built. Sting seemed to be in a storyline of trying to come and extinguish the power the Authority had, to defeat the evil. HHH however acted like this was a WWE vs. WCW feud. Both men seemed to be having separate stories, yet were in the same match. As I left the line Sting must have splattered some paint on the promo that I didnt notice till I left the line. This cant be. The photo isnt glossy. It wont come out. I went back to the line and explained to the WWE rep what happened and he was happy to hand me another promo to be signed. I gave him the splattered one, but he told me to just hang onto it. Sting signed another for me and I was gone. I went back to the Summer Glau line, however DJ found me and said we needed to get to Katie Cassidy’s photo line. The line was almost done. I explained this to the volunteer and she told me to go and she would hold me a spot.

I cant quite remember the name of the WW employee/volunteer…..but all I can say is she was a big help to me in navigating this con and making sure I got everything I needed. DJ and I got to Katie’s line and were to the front in minutes. In and out and grabbed our photo op. NOW…..I am back to Summer Glau’s line. I get with the same volunteer and she puts me right at the table. I have to scurry to get my items out. Arrow poster and Arrow book for Summer Glau. She signs the poster and inscribes it Isabel Rochev and then looks at the book. She is also very intrigued and begins to flip through it. She likes the layout and asks if Stephen has seen it. I explained he liked it so much, he signed it twice. :lol: She signs the book and that leaves me with 1 last auto line.

At this point, Stephen Amell’s panel is gonna start. I hurry to the main ball room, which is a bit away from the main floor. When I get inside, they have already started lining up for questions. I immediately find the shortest line and get in it. This panel went right to questions, after a short intro and Stephen marking out on stage because he just came from getting his picture with Sting, which was a very cool story. For anyone who wants to see the full Q and A…..you can check it out here:

http://www.contv.com/detail-movie/CEG10 … AmellBlast

Someone did record it, but the youtube vid has been removed. They were very stern about not recording this because it was airing on ConTV. Seems like ConTV is going to be putting a little damper on these things, as they want you to pay for the site. The above line is a free version….not sure how long it will be up.

Anyway, I, as I am sure Stephen was too, was thankful no one asked for the proverbial free photo op. Most were solid questions, a couple of kids had some humerous moments and me……the questions were cut off…..as I was the next in line to ask. :dead: The moderator said he had time for 1 more question, as they went to the other mic. I stood up and hoped Stephen might intervene and in true super hero fashion…..he did just that. He looked right at me and told the moderator….2 more questions. So I was the last to ask and the dozen or so people behind me were very disappointed. Another awesome moment.

From this awesome moment to a NOT so awesome moment. While the q and a was going on, so was my Hayley Atwell photo that I was splitting with DJ. DJ was hanging back waiting towards the end of the line. The plan was for him to text me and let me know when I needed to head back. Sadly, he texted Nate, who immediately responded and was quite confused….as was DJ. The texts I got were all filled with panic….ones I could never have made it from. So when I got back, it was too late. DJ got the photo without me, as WW wouldnt let him wait any longer. By the time I returned, she must have been done for at least 10 minutes.

The missed photo op sucked, but it wasnt the end of the world. I headed over to Katie Cassidy’s auto line and she was getting ready to do the dual photo ops. This was not good. My last photo op was with Burt Reynolds and it wasnt for a little bit of time. But I needed to get Katie’s auto. Katie was supposed to be done signing autos when she left for her dual, but agreed to return to sign more since her line was quite far from done. I joined DJ in line for the dual op and her agent came walking by. I explained my predictament with my Burt photo op and he gave me his card and said use this. Sweet! After DJ was done with his op, I headed over to Katie’s line. DJ headed to the Burt photo op line. I figured since Burt had such a huge line for autos, his photo op line should be equally as bad.

When I got to Katie’s auto line, I was put right towards the front. I got my stuff ready and awaited her return. Once she came back and the line started to move, I was able to get my 2 items done. I elected to save my Arrow book for Upfronts, as I figured it would be a lot easier to do that than my photo op I wanted done in paint or my SDCC poster, which were the 2 items chose to get done. As soon as I was done, I quickly scurried over to the Burt Reynolds photo op line, but saw DJ coming towards me. He informed me it was too late. :saswhat: Burt was done. I ran towards his booth anyway, but WW staff said I missed him and he was on his way back to his booth. DJ said his line wasnt too bad and it move very quickly. I had missed my 2nd photo op of the day. This time, since there was no split….and the photo wasnt taken, they gave me a refund for my photo. Not the end of the world, but it certainly was a photo op I would have liked to have had.

Our convention had come to an end. It was time to head home. We took one last look around the con, before heading out. We were tired and hungry. When in Philly, you must sample the cheese steak. But if you want a delicious, juicy and meaty cheese steak on a nice fresh baked roll….you goto South Street and you see Jim’s. Pat’s and Geno’s are fucking disgusting. I swear the meat they use tastes like a dried up shoe. Tony Luke’s is also good, but I find it a little different than a traditional cheese steak.

It took us quite some time to even get to Jim’s and THEN parking was a major issue. Nothing was available except a parking lot that charged $22.00. We drove around a bit and finally found some street parking a few blocks away. DJ hotfooted it to Jim’s and brought the food back to eat in the car. Mine was awesome. Meat was tender and juicy. The roll was freshly baked and wasnt all soggy. Jim’s…..do it!

After dinner, we headed back home. Belly’s were full and another convention was in the books. Philly WW is growing. Its no where near NYCC bad, but every year its bringing more and more people. Its getting harder to navigate and harder to get everything you want in a single day. Its starting to become a con you need at least 2 days to do due to the line sizes. Lines I thought wouldnt be as bad…..were bad. If it wasnt for Katie’s agent and the WW volunteer who helped out, I fear I would have missed a lot more than I did. At least I got the most important pieces done. Next year’s Philly WW is moved back to June, which I am quite happy about. Having it days before Upfronts is HORRID! Cant wait to see what they bring in next year.


Captain America Chris Evans NYC 4/24/15


Originally I was planning to spend Thursday April 23 in NYC on the hunt for some Avengers names. Unfortunately, due to a major flare up of my plantar fasciitis, I ended up passing on the trip. I was hoping that my feet would feel better, but I didnt want to take a chance of making it even worse with several big events coming up in the month of May. However, while sitting at home in the late evening, I receive a call with a tip of a lifetime. Chris Evans, Captain America, would be doing a meet n greet for FREE in NYC April 24, the next day. Could it be true? Could this be really real? A quick google search indeed produced an advertisement. I sprung into action. I would need to make last minute plans. I called Cancer Free Dave and told him to meet me at 3:30am. I attempted to call the store that was hosting the event, but they have no telephone number. Trust me. Google search, 411, calling a corporate line….nada. It doesnt exist. I would later confirm the non existent phone line.

A tip, 1 google hit and no way to confirm the true legitamacy of this meet n greet and with a big name like Chris Evans. I continued to do some research and while never coming up with a confirmation, there were several signs pointing to the authenticity. Fuck it. Lets go! I packed my bag, very light too. There was really no need to be in full force. This was pretty much going to be my lone spot. My feet were feeling better, but still sore. I didnt want to push it and for minor things I would have shots at later.

Once I hit the sheets, I couldnt fall asleep. Captain America had me stoked. I had met Evans once before, my lone time going for him. I scored an auto on my Cap 2 poster, but no photo op. I have, as I am sure many of you have, heard he can be a bit hard to obtain, to say the least. I was 1 for 1. But this wasnt just a chance to score the photo op that had eluded me….it was, from what I could see a poses professional op….much like what you would find a convention. I never did fall into my deep sleep, more like a brief cap nap. I was up at 2:30, showered, changed and ready to rock. Dave was early, as usual and I was late….the usual 10. But we were on the road now.

The drive up was uneventful, minus Dave telling me had surgery the day before on his foot. :jawdrop: He said when I called him he had just come out and was still under medication. He just knew I said something about Captain America and be at my place at 3:30am….so here he is. We made great time into NYC. Originally, I planned to Uber the ride over and take the subway back. The subway still remains somewhat confusing to me. When I reached the corner of 33rd at Penn Station, I went to summon the Uber. It said rates were 1.5X normal fair and had an option to click to be notified when rates came down. I checked to see the estimated fare would be $22-29. I passed and clicked for the notification. Within a minute, I was notified that rates went down. I punched in the address and tried again…..$35-42. Hmmmmm……Uber seems to misunderstand what it means for rates to come down. Screw it. Lets chance the subway.

I knew I needed to take either a C or E train. I found the subway and saw a sign. A train on left, C/E on right. Sweet. I walked up onto the platform and waited. When I turned around to look at the sign again, it showed the A train on the right and C/E on left. WTF?! On either side of me was only A trains. 2 tracks over on either side was C/E trains. What the hell is going on?! We left the platform after watching several trains come by and walked to the other platform. In seconds an E train pulled up and we were on our way. I think I understand what the issue is. I think the middle platform is for A trains only and the outer platforms are C/E.

We got off at the stop and walked topside. I pulled out my Maps app and punched in the address. It was about 5 blocks away from the subway stop. I turned the corner to the street of the spot and closed my eyes for a brief second. I was 4 hours early for the meet n greet. How many people would be waiting? 50, 100, 200, 500?! I was guessing I would be between 50 and 100 back. I took a breath, opened my eyes and…..3. :praise: There were 3 people in line, including Raza. Not 50. Not 100. Not 500. No….3 people. I knew this was pretty low key info, but really?!

After about 30 minutes of waiting, this guy walks up and starts asking us questions about how long we have been waiting here, how excited we were, where we came from, how we found out about this signing? Everytime you are at a spot….there are always these people. Most people ignore them, I usually engage with them providing them with off the wall answers. Then I noticed this guy was wearing the businesses lanyard and badge. He worked for them. I asked him about the phone number and he explained that they indeed have no phone there. The store is supposed to be closed as they are building a new one, but they are behind on construction. He told us the event was by invite only, but we were ok, if we were not invited though. They keep these low key. No advertising. He found out that morning he needed to be here for the PR team to cover the event. He also these events usually draw about 200-300 people. He assured us its really smooth and we will have no issue getting through. Now we just had to survive the 4 hour wait.

While waiting, Raza introduced me to his friend. We chatted a bit until she tells me that Donnie Wahlberg just walked by walking his dog. Really?! No way. I have my Wahlberg 8×10 with me. We immediately dash out of line and take off running. MY FEET!!!! Fuck it….Wahlberg and he has a dog, how far can he possibly get? 8 blocks later….we had our answer. I couldnt believe this guy. Im praying this dog needs to take a dump and yet it never seems to even have to piss. We finally catch up to him in an intersection he had to wait to cross. He turns his head and…………..ITS NOT HIM!!!! Its not Donnie Wahlberg. From behind….it looks like him. The dog is almost an exact match for Wahlberg’s dog. But this man was NOT Donnie. Aw man. We needed to turn around and yet we werent 100% sure where we were anymore. My new friend decided to catch a cab. She sees one with a light pull up. It has people in it. I told her, but she explains the light means its available. She grabs the door and opens it up. No one is moving. Im pretty sure this cab aint available. We end up running away.

Eventually we found our way back to the line. The long wait would continue. The PR rep. kept coming out and we would ask him questions about the meet n greet. Do we get autos? Is the pic on our camera, do they have their own photographer, etc? He really didnt know. He said it varies, event by event, but he would try and find out for us. He never did. He tried. I applaud him for that, but he was completely left in the dark on it.

Evans arrived a tad early and pulled up right at the door. He waved and went inside. We were then let in and they had the Avengers backdrop up, a stool in front for Chris and ropes sectioned off for the line. It was but another 15 minutes before it began. We had monitored the line throughout our wait. It just never really got big. We were shocked. At 11am, there was probably but 50 people in line. And by the time it started, it might have hit 70. Chris came out and grabbed the stool and got it out of there. All the other pics I have seen from previous photo sessions the celebrity sits in the stool. Not this time. Standing photo ops. Sadly there was a pro photographer there, but the pic we would have emailed to us was coming off a cell phone. :smh: The pro photographer was there to cover the event and provide images for the store to use. I again asked about the autograph and was told they were not sure, followed by no…definitely not. Some of the other people running the event came over to us and told everyone to put their stuff away as he was not signing anything. I put my 8×10 away, as the photo was most important anyway. It was now my turn and I walked up and posed. They took my photo on the cell phone and then the pro photographer took 2 on his camera. I was done. They said the photo should be emailed immediately, however they had some internet issue and couldnt do it. I wasnt leaving till I had my photo. I sat down on a couch and proceeded to wait. While I was waiting, I saw the line had grown and then I saw why. People were looping. Raza told me that people were getting stuff signed when they were going up and Chris was signing it. Then they got back in line and did it again. I attempted to jump back in line, but it was cut off and was denied.

Evans was getting ready to wrap up. Some of us thought he might walk over a few steps to sign for the people waiting, but he didnt. The PR rep said they were taking him out the back door and not through the front, like he had entered. The store emptied out and everyone went to the front door to wait for Chris to exit. Dave and I headed to go around back to discover there was NO back door. What we did find was his Chris’ SUV. We waited at the corner and then the SUV drove to the front door. Like a runaway freight train, I charged towards the crowd. I pushed, moved, slid, bulled my way to the front. I now had a prime position for Chris. It took about 30 minutes , but he exited. He immediately grabbed a sharpie and started signing. He signed 4 pieces before me and then signed my 8×10. He immediately took off and hopped in his SUV and was gone. I got the last auto and the crowd dispersed. :hellyeah:

I went back inside, where Raza was talking to management. They agreed to email our photos right away now that the internet was working and we punched our email address into the phone that had the pics. Dave and I needed to use the restroom, so we walked to the closest one while we waited. When we got to the bathroom, Dave’s phone rang and he got his. My tablet went off and I got….SPAM. WTF?! No photo for me. I gave it a few more minutes and nothing. We walked back to the store and I went inside. I explained how far I traveled and said there has to be something they can do. They agreed to send it again, but it could take an hour. I understand that it might take a little longer, but an hour? No way. We sat down again to wait. Nothing. Raza texted me, he got his too. I went back up. I asked that they try a different email address. They agreed. Nada. They asked me what kind of device I had and I showed them I had a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 and they said they could just S beam it for me. In seconds I had my image and it looked amazing! Wow….a cell phone produced this great photo? I was stoked. Dave said his image wasnt all that great. Our images are definitely different. His has Evans sign super imposed at the bottom and has a frame around it with the Avengers logo. Mine is just the image. His dimensions are very small. No way he can print an 8×10. My dimensions are like 32×45. I could print a full size poster.

It was done. I now had possession of my awesome photo and a signed 8×10. What more could I ask for? Since I had some prints ordered, I ventured over to Adoramapix to pick them up before heading home. By the time we left Adoramapix, which by the way was selling brand new Cannon photo printers for $10 and I picked one up for emergencies, my feet were killing me. Instead of walking back to the subway, I summoned the Uber and paid $12 to get back to Penn Station.

Tired and sore, we got on our train back to NJ to make the long trip back. Honestly, I was riding so high…..time passed so quickly. Yes, I was tired. Yes, I was hurting. Yes, I was popping pain killers……but I had slayed the dragon. I had a fantastic photo with Chris Evans….Captain America. I felt like I was gonna pay for this the next day, but it was gonna be well worth it. Turns out….my feet didnt feel any worse. In fact, as I sit here and type up this adventure…..my feet feel a hell of a lot better. Perhaps, instead of resting them , they needed to put some work in to make them feel better. May is coming. Big things ahead. I cant wait. Until next time America! :victory:


NXT Cleveland and Columbus, OH 3/6/15-3/9/15


The future is now. Seeing it live, only reinforced that feeling. Professional wrestling, for me, has been extremely stale. Over the past several years, I have never felt so sullied by this business. Never have I felt so disinterested. Yes, its had some moments. Even as recent as a year ago, we saw The Shield really step up and start stealing the show. We had the rise of Daniel Bryan. WWE looked to be picking up steam. But it only seemed to be short lived. Daniel Bryan got injured and was forced to relinquish the title. The main event scene reintroduced us to John Cena/Randy Orton….two of the most boring and stale characters in wrestling. Yes, we still had some moments…..but they were few and far between. And even that, especially in the case of Roman Reigns, would soon be tarnished by WWE trying to turn him into another Cena. Obnoxious childish jokes mixed in to an unbeatable force spells disaster. And Reigns and WWE paid for it at the Royal Rumble. Yes, they are trying to right that ship…..but still.

Anyway, enough with the mini rant. This story instead starts a couple of months ago. NXT announced they were coming to Ohio for an event plus an NXT Axxess at the Arnold Classic. NXT, was the only show in North America, that top to bottom kept my love for pro wrestling still alive. With them coming to Ohio, this was a no brainer that it was a must attend. When tickets went on sale, I made sure I was right there….ready to place my order. I got on ticketmaster and did my search. My initial search came back with 2nd row. Unhappy with my row selection and uninformed at the true popularity to NXT, I let them go. I tried again. Unfortunately, I pulled 2nd row again. But this time the seats were much further away. I figured I better not release these and go with the 2nd row seats. I went to checkout and Ticketmaster froze on me. I had to reload and when I returned, my tickets were gone. Ticketmaster hosed me! I searched again and found 4th row. Now I was pissed. I searched again…..5th row. The tickets were going and going quickly. Since, I didnt have a VIP seat anymore, I released them and kept searching. Eventually I searched my way to a sold out show. No tickets for me. I figured I would take my chances with ebay and Stubhub. Once again, I underestimated the drawing power of NXT and the very few seats I would find…..were all priced $700 to $1500. This show was selling higher than Mania tickets!

With the success of Columbus, WWE added a 2nd show to Cleveland. I would not underestimate NXT this time. I was determined to get them. I was locked and loaded and at 10am on the dot, I was searching for tickets. I loaded up Price Level 1 and was immediately met with the news that there were not tickets in that section. Then level 2 and got the same wrath. Keep in mind, this building only holds 1800 people. For shits, I tried GA and 2 tickets went to my cart. So the site was working, it just sold out of tickets minus GA. Evidently ticket web could give you real time updates on how many tickets remained for sections, as it allowed me to choose up to 10 tickets the first time I searched and only 6 the 2nd time I searched for GA. I decided to keep hitting refresh a few times. Of course the website crashed a few times. At 10:16am, I hit the refresh button one last time for a miracle. And then it happened…..

You’re probably thinking that one of the other price levels showed available, but it did not. EVEN BETTER! I caught out of the corner of my eye that there were now 4 tickets in my cart. I assumed this was just the GA tickets I searched for, but I clicked anyway on my cart. When the cart loaded, there were 2 GA tickets and 2 PRICE LEVEL 1 TICKETS!!!!!!! I promptly checked out and the tickets were emailed to me. I was now going to NXT. Ok…me and Cancer Free Dave were going to NXT!!!

The week leading up to the trip was met with tons of personal life drama. I was distracted and off my game. My work suffered and I needed to get away. NXT would now not only serve as a chance to see a revolution of pro wrestling, but a chance to take fresh breath of air….escaping the drama, even if it would only be for a few days. The plan was to leave early Thursday morning to catch the NXT flights. But mother nature was less than cooperative. Cancer Free Dave couldnt get into PA, as the snow and ice wreaked havoc on the roads. We were stuck. Unable to get to Columbus, the trip I needed so badly would be delayed a day.

Losing a day and the opportunity to clean up at the AP….we finally hit the road early Friday morning. NXT Axxess should provide a great opportunity, but it was clearly advertised that NO PHOTOs would be allowed at the event. I felt they were just saying it and it wouldnt be enforced, but you never know. Once we were on the road, the GPS told us we had just under a 6 hour drive to Cleveland. Instead of taking us across the turnpike, it directed us north west to State College. We literally drove right by the Bryce Jordan Center. Cant see how this was quicker, but the time was good and there was no tolls.

Once we reached State College, GPS started to take us in a weird direction. We were driving through town of all places. How this could be on the way to Cleveland was making little to no sense. It wasnt until the GPS instructed us to turn onto a bike path that we realized something, in fact, was desperately wrong. Looking at the GPS instruction, it now said we would be in Cleveland in 18hours. :yikes1: I looked over the turn by turn and discovered we were now coded as a bicycle and it was having us take a bike path over some mountain into Ohio. Using Dave’s phone, we punched in the address and tried to get ourselves back on course.

We got turned around and proceeded to Cleveland. That would only be the first of many GPS foul ups for this trip. One thing I wanted to do was to call the hotel to let them know we wouldnt be checking in till the wee hours of the morning, to ensure they didnt sell our hotel room. Almost all the rooms in Columbus were sold out. Didnt want to take a chance. When I tried calling, I got a weird message saying my call could not be connected because it was outside my calling area. I tried Dave’s phone and got the same message. I tried the 800 number and was connected to a voice mail. I left a message and asked for a return call to confirm. We made it into Ohio and were approaching our destination. We seemed to have made ok time, all things considering and we were WAY early for the 6:30pm doors, as it was 10:30am. We definitely wanted to be early, as it was general admission sort of and we wanted to ensure ourselves getting front row seats. But as we took the turn towards what was supposed to be the theater, it didnt look right. I looked at this place on google maps and this looked nothing like it. Google Maps showed the Agora Theater being in urban Cleveland. I was now in the suburbs. When we turned onto the last street and the GPS said we had arrived, we were at some dude’s house in suburban Cleveland.:bs: I dont understand. What is going on?!?! I quickly grabbed my phone and using the same app as Dave’s phone, it instructed us into the city which was still another 25mins away. Strike 2 on the GPS. And strike 2 on the hotel. I once again called to see what was going on and met the same fate.

Once we finally found the theater, we decided to scope the place out….and also find a restroom. 7hrs in the car and a 2 Egg McMuffins later…..nature was calling….LOUDLY. We parked in the back of the theater and went inside. We found a little restaurant inside and hit the restroom. Once we were done, we noticed that the restaurant had several tables reserved. Perhaps this was for NXT? Not sure. We decided to sit down and see what might transpire. We had plenty of time….it was only noon. We would soon discover that the guy at the table next to us was also here for NXT and had the same plans to wait it out to get a front row seat. We then saw 4 more people show up. We partnered up with the 1 solo guy and found out where the line was starting and headed outside. This gave us plenty of opportunity to watch the restaurant just in case.

The weather was FREEZING outside. How we were gonna make it the next 6 hours, I just dont know. We would venture in and out of the restaurant in order to warm up before finally deciding to step into the vestibule of the theater. There was only 3 of us and we could just try and remain out of sight. Sadly, it didnt last long as 6 more people came inside and decided they wanted to get out of the cold as well. This caught the eye of security and got us ejected out of the theater and back outside.

The cold was unbearable. We tried to keep entertained through all the shivering and teeth chattering. I tried a third time for the hotel and again, same thing. I asked our new friend if I could borrow his phone, since he said he was from Columbus and got the same message. I jokingly said Dave, maybe the hotel closed up shop over night and was gone. And then the realization of saying it out loud started to haunt me. I googled and in fact there was 1 article concerning the hotel going out of business mysteriously 5 days ago. Evidently they were open and the next day, people found chains and pad locks on the doors. They just went out of business. :1distraught:

A moment of panic overcame me before I got my wits about me and went inside to sit down and find another hotel. Of course almost all of Columbus was sold out and the only remaining rooms were $800 or more a night. This was really gonna put a damper on the weekend. I found one hotel that was about 6 miles from the convention center for$200 a night. I went to book it, but the total it showed was almost $550!!! How can this be?! The taxes and fees are that much?! No way. So I had no choice but to book a motel 6 that was 25 miles away from the convention center. What was worse, it was south of the convention center in Columbus, which meant that we would now add another 30 minutes to our trip after NXT.

Back to the cold I went. A lot of the people worried that the venue would find a way to screw us out of being let in first. And they were right. When the time finally came to let us in, there was mass confusion as in the same venue there was this lame wannabee juggalo concert. When will call opened, people were going in and getting the tickets and then being let inside to head to the seats while those who were waiting were forced to remain outside. To make a long story short, once we were inside, we went from first in line to about 15th in line. People were outrage and deservingly so. After being 15 back, they then let about 8 handicapped kids through AND their entire parties. If I didnt get a front row seat, I was gonna flip.

Well, it didnt come to that. Once we were inside, we were able to grab a front row seat. We didnt get the ones we wanted, but still….got a good seat. The show was great. Not one single bad match on the card. Saw some shocking finishes, as I didnt expect Corbin and Balor to lose and they did. I was stoked at the idea of Balor and Cesaro. I said before the show that if I can get one match on this card, thats what I wanted to see. We got it. And Cesaro put on a clinic, while Balor valiantly fought back before he was cheated out of the victory.

When the show was over, we headed outside and to the stage door to wait for the stars to come out. There were others who had the same idea…..almost 20 by the time it was all said and done. The parking lot itself was a solid sheet of ice, perfect for ice skating. They did setup barricades around the bus that was transporting them. WWE security saw how many people were there and decided to come out and build this contraption to hang a curtain to keep us from seeing them and them from seeing us. This chased over half the crowd away including Dave. Me? I refused to accept defeat….not till all hope was lost. The curtain remained up all of 10 seconds, as the wind blew it down and it struck a handicap kid. They pulled it down and turned to us and said….you guys win.

What we won was about another hours wait till they finally started to come out. Corey Graves was first and he was super cool. Glad to pose and sign. He thanked everyone for coming out. We even chatted about PA, as he is from Pittsburgh. I wished I had my NXT program with me, as it was still in the car. Barron Corbin was next. He looks like a dick, but that couldnt be further from the truth. He was super cool. He posed for a photo and then said he thought he walked away too soon and asked that we retake it to ensure it turned out right. Class act right there. Big Cass and Enzo were next. Most NXT fans love these guys. Me? I fucking cant stand them. I HATE this Jersey shore gimmick. Robbie E does it and its a joke. At times, I even find myself chuckling. Enzo and Cass aint joking. This gimmick is a serious to them and I DESPISE it and Enzo is terrible in the ring. He is gifted as hell on the mic., but cant work. In fact, after this weekend….I now hate this gimmick even more. Its soft. S-O-F-T. :smh: And you cant teach THAT! :yawn1:

Nonetheless, both guys were very cool to stop. Carmella was out next. She was also happy to stop. Aiden English and Simon Gotch were next. I got a pic. with Gotch, but missed English as Gotch was going off about how I had a Finn Balor hat, but no Vaudvellians shirt. This would not be the last time Gotch would go off on me.

Next out was Charlotte. As she was coming over to me, she started to slip and came tumbling into me. I caught her and got her upright. She apologized for crashing into me and I thanked her for it. Secretly, I wished it was Alexa Bliss….but hey. She was super nice and took care of everyone. It was starting to get late and we still hadnt seen Balor. Adrian Neville was next. He too stopped and was happy to do so. Kevin Owens was next. He waved, but refused to stop. I THINK he was playing the gimmick up more so than being a jerk. I’ve met him before and he is usually really chill. But who knows. Sami Zayn was next and he stopped as well. Hideo came out next, but he didnt stop. Im not sure he understood what I was saying. He walked over, smiled and waved. When I asked him for a photo, his eyebrows went up in a questioning manner and he got on the bus. Strange. The last person out was Finn Balor. He came right over to me hit me with the Too Sweet. I asked for a photo, but he said the bus was leaving and asked me if I would be at the Arnold tomorrow, which I said yes. He promised to get me there.

Definitely missed a few people. They either got on the bus and were unrecognizable or were travelling via car like Regal and Bloom did. Definitely missed Alexa Bliss, Blake and Murphy, Rhino, Kidd and Cesaro. Still got a great haul. Skated to the car and was ready to take the now almost 3hour drive to just outside of Columbus.

I honestly wish I could say this trip was uneventful, sadly….it wasnt. It was nearly midnight by the time we left. Estimated arrival time had us right around 2:15am. We hit the road and about an hour into the trip, our 3rd strike with the GPS would occur. This time the GPS didnt lead us astray, but instead it seemed to just add an additional hour to the trip. Was this the bad? Once again…I wish. No. Instead, what went terribly wrong was about 2 hours into the trip, I had dozed off and Dave’s glasses broken. The lens popped out and the tiny screw fell out. Dave couldnt find it and woke me up as he his blind as a bat without them. I was completely out of it. We had no tape anywhere, so there was really nothing we could do to fix his glasses even temporarily. He had no backup pair or contacts with him either. I couldnt even hold my eyes open, so I was no help to drive. Like a pirate with a patch, Dave pushed on using his one and only good eye to get us to the hotel. A struggle would put it mildly. I had to help navigate while Dave attempted to drive. Safety was not the priority.

We finally made it to the hotel and was able to secure some duct tape for a temp fix for Dave. We got inside, quickly unpacked and passed out…..for a mere 2 hours, as we needed to be up and out the door. In the past 48 hours, I had gotten a grand total of 3 hours of sleep, not including my nap in the car. We grabbed our stuff and went out the door. We set the course for the Columbus Convention Center and we were on our way. But the GPS would wreak havoc again for strike 4. We passed signs for the Arnold Expo parking and continued down the road another 10 minutes. We got off the exit and arrived at a nursing home. We backtracked and got off the exit for the Arnold parking and found a lot right next to the Convention center. We parked and headed inside.

Once inside, the place was freaking packed. NXT was in Hall C, so we headed down to the other end of the building. 2 hours before doors were to open the line had to be damn near a 1000 deep. It was going up the stairs and down the hall, after it already snaked around several corners. No way was I gonna wait in this mob scene. I found an unsuspecting person that seemed to be hanging out by himself and went over to talk to him. I made it perfectly clear what our intentions were and what role I needed him to play. He complied and had no issue….and neither did the rest of the line. Instead of being over a 1000 deep….we were in the first 200. One problem solved. The next issue was it was getting REALLY warm inside. I had packed fairly light, but not light enough to stuff my jacket in my bag. We opted to load all our stuff into Dave’s bag, while my bag had my jacket, camera, markers and worn Devitt trunks.

At 9am, they finally let us in. NXT was to our immediate right. We found where the tables were setup and got into line. Not too bad. Only about 50 people back. We would later discover that this hall was very popular because many people who attend come to meet the body builders and this is the hall they would do the autographing at as well. A WWE staff member came out and said this was the Finn Balor line that we were in and that Kevin Owens line was on the other side. If anyone wants Kevin Owens, they need to head over there. Not a single soul walked over. Everyone refused to leave. Is Balor really that much over, especially against Owens?

The advertisement stated that you would receive 1 autograph and no photos. Going through the first line, this was STRICTLY enforced. A few people attempted to get photos and were quickly shunned away and told no photos. They even had security walk up and down the lines saying it over and over. The signing started about 15 minutes late, but moved fairly decently. They were handing out NXT posters 16 X 20 in size. Way better than those mats they usually have. Dylan Miley, who somewhat resembles Andre The Giant, was also at Balor’s table. I got him on the poster and then got to Balor. I got him to sign his ring worn trunks for me. I asked him if this was a good time for the photo or should I wait. He said, it was a perfect time. He stood up and I walked around the table. WWE’s rep. went crazy, but Balor told her it was cool. She argued, but he took the photo anyway. She then made it a point to once again tell people that there was no photos allowed. I thanked Finn and handed him a tshirt I had made taking his face logo from his current WWE shirt and adding my Balor Club logo to it and it also happened to be the shirt I was wearing. He thanked me for the shirt, but said to be careful WWE is always hunting down people who are bootlegging merchandise and they are relentless. I shall heed your advice good sir.

Once we were done with Balor, we headed for Kevin Owens line. We saw a ridiculous size line formed and went to join in. We were stopped by WWE, asking if we were looking for Kevin Owens. They pointed to us, saying we could go right up. Owens and Carmella had no line. Balor’s line was a 100 deep. This is weird. I got Owens and Carmella on my new NXT poster. Owens commented about my shirt saying shirts like this take money out wrestler’s pockets. :smh: I get it. But I’m a fan and I want to support Finn. I OWN Finn’s WWE shirt. In fact, I own several Prince Devitt shirts. I bought 4 from Suplex Wrestling from England that had a deal with him before his WWE days and paid $60 for each to have them shipped to the states. He wasnt a jerk about it….but it just kind of seemed like he was a tiny bit irked. In fact, this would not be the last time this shirt would raise issue.

Once we were done with them, we rejoined the Balor line since there wasnt that many people in it. Turns out, most of the people waiting out the doors to get in were doing so for the body builders and free supplements and not NXT. We blew through the Balor line and got to the front pretty quickly. Dave helped out and got 1 done for me and I got another. That now put my Balor count to 3 autos and 1 photo.

Once we were done with Balor, we repacked our bags and I took notice that my silver paint marker must have somehow leaked at some point, as I had silver all on my hands and my NXT poster had smudges of silver on it as well. I opted to pitch the poster, as it had just 3 signatures on it and would just start it over. Once we got regrouped, we headed to the bathroom for me to washup and then ventured to the other side of the building to see what the Hogan line looked like. When we got there, which took forever to navigate the sea of people, it was nothing but a total cluster fuck. There was a line going down the right side of the table, left side, in front and around back. They made an announcement about purchasing a $100 box of candy bars that Hogan was promoting and you would be guaranteed to meet Hogan. After seeing how many people were here, we ended up bailing. Just want worth the wait and risk that we wouldnt actually get him. Not to mention, I had no need for the man.

We pushed our way back to NXT to catch the next session with Hideo and Braun Stowman/Enzo and Colin Cassidy. Got both Hideo and Braun on my NXT poster and got a pic with Hideo. We walked over to the Enzo line and once again, this side was bare. Went right up and got Enzo and Colin and for the 2nd time, I got hammered by someone concerning my shirt. Enzo gave me grief about it. Really?!

Our next stop was the EAS booth, where NFL players Demarco Murray aka Spray Tan, Larry Fitzgerald and Eric Ebron were appearing. Sadly, Demarco left early and Ebron was a no show. It left just Fitzgerald. The line for Larry wasnt bad. Moved pretty quickly too. He was up on stage signing EAS 8x10s. When I got up there, I was able to get a photo op. The EAS lady said she didnt like how the first one came out and took a 2nd. Very nice that she was checking photos to ensure they turned out well. I got a signed 8×10 and was off. Fitz was very cool to meet and a humble guy. Yes, he signed outside merch for free as well, but I brought nothing. EAS also gave you a swag bag at the end, which was nice. I reviewed my photos with Fitz and both turned out perfectly fine. After posting to facebook, Larry Fitzgerald actually commented on my photo and liked it. THAT was pretty cool. And it was during this time that I found out Jon “Bones” Jones was indeed signing and taking photos. One of the guys in line had an autographed photo from him, but couldnt remember where he was. A quick google search of the supplement company produced a hit and now I knew where Bones was. So that would be our next stop.

After EAS, we REALLY had to fight the crowd to get back to the NXT area. We encountered Arnold and his entourage, which made safe passage almost unreachable. But when we finally got back to NXT, we had some time before the next session was going to start and I wanted Bones bad. Luckily, Bones was in the same section, so we went over and got into line. Unfortunately, Bones was at lunch and wouldnt be returning for another 20 minutes. The line was long, one of the longest lines inside the Arnold that we would wait in. Since Kaityln’s table was across from Bones’ line, Dave and I went over 1 at a time to get Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn was cool. She remembered me from my picture with DJ from the Poconos casino appearance and our tshirts. She even asked where DJ was. I of course sold him down the river, explaining DJ is more into Alicia Fox and Kaitlyn just wasnt his style. 1 auto and 1 photo and I was back to Bones line.

Bones finally arrived and line started moving fairly quickly. He even came back about 10 minutes early, which worked well cuz the NXT session was going to start. While waiting in the Bones line, we also missed Balor vs. Owens. It sucked we missed the match, but we would never have been able to get up close anyway due to the crowd size. As we approached the front of the line, they were announcing that Bones would sign 2 each and do 1 photo. WOW! Now I really wished I had stuff with me for him. Damn. The photo was most important to me anyway, so I was happy with that. When it was my turn, Bones was super cool. He actually stood and had a conversation with me and they never tried to rush us. Very relaxed situation. I told him he was my favorite fighter currently and my favorite fight of his was him vs. the purse snatcher. His eyes popped and he smiled. He told me that was his favorite fight too and that it was the best day of his life. He went on to talk about how the feeling he had when he caught this dude was surreal and that when he fights in the Octagon, its a lot different. Very cool moment. He signed one of his promos for me and I got my photo op, which I was very happy about.

Dave and I rushed back to NXT to join the line. This session included The Vaudvelians, Sasha Banks and Kalisto. The line was one of the smallest of all the sessions and now they got rid of the 2 different lines and had all the stars at the same station. We were about 10 people back when we got into line and session wasnt even half over. First up was Gotch and English and here came the biggest incident with the shirt that I have touched on already. So Gotch is seated first and sees my shirt and starts going off about bootlegging. He says what I have done is illegal and that he is going to report me to Vince and Vince will have me in jail. I laughed it off, thinking he was heeling. Instead, he tells me not to laugh, that my crime is not funny. So I explain to him that I am a fan, etc, etc. He starts to lecture me and then goes on about how his first call after he is done here will be to Vince and Vince is gonna get me, etc. Now I’m annoyed and the idea of respect for these guys is out the door. So I ask him, who the hell is Vince? He tells me MISTER McMahon. I laugh at him. I explain that Vince has no clue who Simon Gotch is. If someone mentioned the name Simon Gotch to Vince, he would think it was some new STD. :distraught: Sorry pal…nice try. I moved onto Aiden, annoyed as shit now. Gotch took it too far. Aiden signed and then I got to Sasha. I think Sasha could tell how annoyed I was. She told me she loved the shirt and asked if I would make a shirt for her. She said I did nice work and she would be proud to wear one I made. Now THATS class. She didnt have to say anything, let alone go the extra mile. This shirt was never intended to upset anyone. I wore because I am a huge Balor fan and I like that logo WWE was using. I combined it with my Balor Club logo and bam….I had a shirt that I liked a lot. And yes, I own the WWEshop version as well…..of course I do. And the last person at the table was Kalisto, who I also got on my NXT poster.

Soured by this experience with Gotch, I tried to put it out of my head. We now had some time to kill until the next session, but no where to go and certainly NO desire to fight the crowd. So we opted to just rest where the line was for NXT Axxess and wait for the next session. Dave needed to hit the ATM anyway, which would prove to be the longest line he would be in all day. Evidently, 1 ATM already had been closed as it ran out of money, which left this other one with a line a mile long. Since we had 2.5hrs before the next session, it made sense to just do the ATM now. While sitting and waiting, I spotted a familiar face in THE MOOCH! Thats right, the kid had grown up and was 2 months away from graduating with a BS in Business. We sat and talked about numerous topics including his plans for the future. While he doesnt know what he wants to do for a career, he plans to pursue his masters degree next and he just came back from Australia where he spent several months studying abroad. Crazy how time flies.

After nearly 2 hours, Dave finally rejoined me. The ATM line was insane. He was afraid it was going to run out of money at the rate people were pulling it out. The last session was beginning and it was gonna be a good one and definitely one of the more popular ones. We had Sami Zayn, Bayley, Dana Brooke and Alexa Bliss. I love Alexa Bliss. She is awesome. She might be a little green, but she is very athletic, has a great look and I think she will be a great fit in WWE someday. I also like Bayley a lot. She has a fantastic gimmick and is really good in the ring. And of course Sami Zayn….always known for being a great worker. He really sold me on his ability to translate to main stream television with his promo in Columbus the night before. He talked about a revolution in pro wrestling that NXT is. He compared it to the days of when ECW was starting out. And I really feel that way about NXT. NXT, eventhough its a WWE product, has this underground feeling to it. The guys there are a mix of fantastic workers, greenhorns, athletes, etc. And right now we are seeing the best workers getting showcased, while those who need work are getting an opportunity to do just that. I just read that NXT will have its own show at Wrestlemania and that it sold out 4100 seats in 2 hours. NXT is where its at.

Anyway, this was definitely a very busy session and line moved very slowly. When we finally reached the table, Zayn was first and I was able to get 2 done from him…..one on my poster and one on a prior photo op. Zayn liked the photo and wanted to know where it was taken. I told him and he nodded. Bayley looked at it and said “You Look Very Handsome.” We simultaneously thanked her. :shrug: Zayn complimented my tshirt, saying it was cool. Onto Bayley next, I got her on my NXT poster and then got a pic with her, as I missed her at Columbus. Alexa Bliss was next. She looked amazing. She signed my poster and was happy to pose for a photo. And finally Dana Brooke, who is pretty ripped and definitely good looking too. She was also competing at the Arnold in a body building category. Got her on my poster and a pic with.

Saturday was in the books. And it was good. After just 3 hours sleep combined over the past 2 days, I was beat. This day had consumed all the energy I had. And we were both hungry, considering we hadnt eaten all day. We walked out and back to the car. First stop was to hit Walgreens so we could get some photos printed out for Sunday. Wanted to get a few photo ops signed for Sunday. Once we were done there, it was off to Steak N Shake for a bite to eat and then back to the hotel. However, Dave turned a quick bite into a meal for 3. 1 double cheeseburger and 2 footlong hot dogs. Dave had his heart set on raising the stock prices for Steak N Shake single handedly.

With dinner done, we drove back to the hotel. The good definitely gave me a small burst of energy that would definitely die out about an hour after we got back. I got my bag packed and was in bed. I put the Duke/North Carolina game on and was planning on watching that. As far as I remember, I watched the entire game, turned off the tv and went to sleep. I remember Coach K and Roy shaking hands and Duke emerging victorious. However, Dave’s account is a bit different. He claims I fell asleep with the remote in hand with 3 minutes left. He snuck the remote out of my hand, finished watching the game and then put SNL on for a few minutes before he turned off the tv and went to sleep. I wonder which version is true.

The morning came, we elected to sleep in a bit since Sunday would not be as packed as Saturday. We headed back over, but yet again ran into a travel issue. The GPS didnt screw us, but the exit for the convention center was now closed and we were re routed. This put a major damper, as now we couldnt get to the parking lot that we had parked in next to the convention center. We spent at least another 20-25 mins. trying to find parking. When we finally got to a lot, we pulled in and were told to turn around, as the car in front of us was the last one they could accomadate. We finally found a parking garage and pulled in. By a stroke of luck, this garage had a skywalk to the convention center. We could leave our jackets behind without having to take a long walk in the cold.

Once inside, day 2 was well underway. We headed right into Hall C for NXT. Today, I was determined to get a good spot on the rails to take photos and watch some wrestling, while still trying to get more autographs. Now since we were running late, we headed right to the Axxess line for the first session which had Barron Corbin, Kalisto, Murphy and Blake. I got Corbin, Murphy and Blake on my NXT poster along with Corbin, who I also got to sign my photo op. Once I was done, I found a decent spot right on the rail by the ramp and decided to hit that up. I would be able to secure some great shots of the stage and still be able to shoot the ring too. So I stayed here to shoot some photos, while Dave went to see how the traffic was for the rest of the con. He returned shortly and said it was still pretty bad and it was tough to move about.

The NXT divas were finishing a Q and A and were getting ready for the first match, which included my girl Alexa Bliss. She was not signing today, but I still had hopes to get my photo op with her signed. After she was done, she came walking up the aisle and I pulled out my photo op. She saw it and came right over. She signed it and the NXT film crew ran over and started filming her signing it. She left, while I celebrated my victory. NXT film crew kept filming me, so I started to markout for the camera, including kissing my photo op, which the camera guy gave me the thumbs up too.

Since we were late for session 1, session 2 was starting very soon. Regal came out and announced that in 20 minutes the main event was happening and it would be Balor/Neville vs. Owens/Breeze. I really wanted to shoot this match and was determined to stay regardless who was signing. And the next signing had Mark Henry, Bayley, Sami Zayn and Charlotte. I had a small need for Henry and 3 for Charlotte. My plan was to not give up my spot, as I had already moved down 2 more people to get even closer to the ring and really didnt want to lose my spot. Dave wanted to hit the line, so he went for it while I stayed back to continue to shoot. I was hoping since the session was 2 hours, I would be able to shoot the tag match and then hit the line. Of course, the 20 minutes might have been nothing more than a tv cue, as it was an hour before the match started.

Flair came out for a Q and A. I opted to participate in the Q and A and ask Ric about his impressions of Finn Balor and his future. Flair said Finn was very humble and has an extremely bright future in WWE. He expects big things from him. After the Q and A, Flair came walking by me and a guy had a Pro Wrestling Illustrated and waved it at Flair. I figured he would ignore it, but instead Flair reached over and signed it. I was shocked. You just never know.

Finally the tag match was starting and Dave had returned from the session. He said the line was absurd and people were continually looping back. I was starting to figure I was gonna miss out, as the bell rang. The tag match was pretty good. As soon as it was done, I grabbed my stuff for the session and hurried over. Dave kept the spot, as I hit one of the longest lines for NXT with only 30 minutes before the session was over. I was definitely worried I wouldnt get through. But I did make it with just a minute or 2 to spare. There had to be at least another 50 people still behind me, mostly loopers. I got Henry on my program, said hello to Zayn and got Charlotte to do all 3. I was a little worried about Charlotte, as Dave had said they were starting to get strict about the autos. But Tim White was at the end and he was really cool with me. He saw my photo op with Charlotte and said it turned out really nice and handed it back to Charlotte to sign. All 3 were done and I got through the line. I thanked Tim and headed back over to Dave. When I got to Dave, he asked me how Henry was and I said he was fine. Dave said he had a less than favorable experience. He said Henry took issue with the promo he asked to be signed and started to complain. He told Dave he wasnt signing anymore autographs and hates this part of the job. The promo Dave asked to have signed was one with Henry and Rodney Mack. He said Henry stared at it for a minute before he finally signed it. I just dont get some people. Why? If you have issue with Mack or whatever, who cares? How is it relevant to the fan who is trying to get the promo signed?

The NXT tryouts were next. Nothing spectacular to report, outside of Corey Graves just owning this with his mic. work. At one point he asked for audience participation. He said he wanted the crowd around ringside to cheer and the fans in the stands to boo. The cheers were decent, but no one was booing. Graves asked again and his request went ignored. So Graves asked the ringside crowd to now boo all the fans in the bleachers. BWAHAHAAH!!

They were getting ready for another Q and A followed by more tryouts. The Q and A was the NXT Champions Q and A, so I opted to stay for a minute. Kevin Owens was doing a fantastic job heeling in the ring. Some kid asked him why he thought he could beat Cena and Owens said he know he can, because he is motivated by how much sadness will be in that little boy’s eyes when he does. Classic. I also asked a markish question….how was it going to feel when he loses the NXT Title to Finn Balor on March 25. When JoJo was previewing the questions and I asked her mine, she said I should be ready for a tongue lashing and I got just that. Owens went off on me and some kid who painted his face like Balor. He told me it was retarded to paint your face, but I should do it as it would be an improvement. I did get to banter with him a bit. Owens asked if I was being serious, at which I grabbed JoJo’s mic and responded to him…deadly. Owens wanted to know if I could pass a drug test. I wanted to say something smart ass like….I could pass the same ones Randy Orton does, but figured that would probably get my question edited from filming. Overall it was a ton of fun and Owens was great staying in character. I gave up my spot for the last session with Balor, Miley, Neville and Breeze. Had a few for Balor and needed Neville and Breeze. The line was ridiculously long. It moved fairly decently. Dave wanted a photo with Balor, so I promised to take care of that for him. Breeze was first and I got 2 from him, my poster and on the Mike Dalton entry of my NXT program. He said he didnt know who Dalton was, but was willing to sign that page if I would like. Got to Neville and had him sign my poster and then to Balor. For Balor, I was attempting to get 3 done, since Tim White was there again. I got my photo op from the previous day printed out as an 11×14, an 8×10 and my NXT poster. He signed my poster first and then took my blue paint to sign the 11×14 and 8×10. He asked me if I was headed back today or if I was staying another night and I told him as soon as I was done here, I was back on the road. He said to let him know if I decide to make the trek to Orlando this year and I told him I would. Dave came through and I took his photo while he got my NJPW program signed for me.

As were leaving, Graves cut another hilarious line. One of the guys for the tryouts was cutting his promo and reached for the mic from Graves hands. Graves told him not to touch his mic as he doesnt even work here. Great stuff. While we continued to listen to Graves, we got our stuff packed up to get out of here. Out the door we went and we headed for the car. It was gonna be a long drive back and we wanted to hit the road ASAP. Sadly, our travel troubles would only continue.

As we got on the road and home was 5 hrs 49mins away, the GPS instructed that we exit. It wasnt really an exit, but more of the highway splitting. We needed to goto the right where the exits were, but Dave ignored the GPS and just went straight and now we were unable to cross over to exit. As we drove by, we could see our exit and it was CLOSED!!!! The exit we needed was closed. Now what?! We got rerouted, but the GPS now said it was gonna take 9hrs to get home. NO WAY! We got off the next exit and quickly circled back. We took a different exit and got on the right path. As we were making good time, we opted to finally stop for some food. We were close to haflway home with about 3 hours left according to the GPS. We stopped at Quiznos to get some food and then swung in for some gas at the gas station. We spent no more than 30 mins for both, but when we got into the car the GPS said were now 5hrs away.:1distraught: C’mon!!! 5 hrs?!?!? As we continued, I thought for sure that the GPS would update and get back to closer to our original time, but it never did. 5 hrs later we were finally back at my place. I was exhausted. This weekend was a ton of fun, but it kicked my ass. I would totally do it again, but I could do without all the GPS issues. The show, the matches, Axxess and all the great meets made the trip WELL worth it. I am so happy I opted to goto NXT. I cant wait to see them live again. As the final chapter in the NXT story draws to a close, I shall leave with my photos from this trip. Enjoy!

© 2012-2015 Star Marked Memoirs All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright