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.
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.
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. 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…. 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. 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.
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!!!! 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. 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. 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?!?!? 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. 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.