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.

Captain America & Nick Cannon In NYC 3/31/14

Considering my 3/31/14 really started 3/30/14….its hard to say this was a one day adventure. Considering it didnt end til 4/1/14 is not April Fool’s…..unless you count the fool writing this story right now.

As I stated, 3/30/14 was the start date. I got up around 11am and had a fairly relaxing day. Put some last minute research into my planned trip, mapped out my course, put together my game plan. Needed to be up 1am in order to be ready to go by my 2am departure time. So I hit the sack at 10pm, which is beyond early for my bed time. Needless to say for the next 3 hours, it was toss…then turn. Over and over and over. My alarm rang without a wink and I was up. Normally I am lethargic when I awake from my slumber….almost bear like. But not this morning. No, on this morning, I was nearly wide awake. Shit, shave and shower and I was ready to go. Joining me on this escapade would be my now CANCER FREE friend…Dave. His first chance to get out and about since returning from Jacksonville, FL for his 2nd bout with the deadly disease. Proud to say Dave 2….Cancer 0. :hellyeah:

As per the usual, Dave had been sitting outside for the good part of 30 mins, as he always arrives early. Me? I’m famous for always being fashionably late. The 2 mix well….ok, maybe not. Anyway, loaded his car up and off to NYC we went. We made horrible timing. A led foot Dave does not possess and then combine that with the rain and sleet we encountered, we were running a tad behind. But we got there safely and arrived at our first stop JUST in the nick of time. My plan was to be there by 5:30am….we arrived at 6 and a minute later, we wouldnt have been first. Now normally, not being first doesnt hurt too bad. You just take another spot along the rails. But there was just the one rail. And when I arrive, I like to get as wide as possible. The less people in the front, the less chance you miss out. As I arrived, I mega clipped my bag to the rail and it was at that exact moment I spotted a NYC regular. Anyone who knows me, knows just how bad my memory is. So I must have seen this guy enough to actually remember him. He took the last spot along the rail. Within 5 minutes, we were joined by 4 more. A total of 7 now.

Up first for today was Chris Evans…Captain America himself and Nick Cannon, famous for things I guess. I know him as Mr. Mariah Carey and his mention by Dave Chappelle on Chappelle show. So we began the long and arduous wait. During the next 2 hours, we were met with a sprinkle of rain, sleet, hail, snow that began to accumulate, pouring down rain, steady rain, more sleet, a typhoon and a volcanic eruption. Perhaps the last 2 were a bit overkill…but you get the point. As the last boy scout (awesome movie reference), I came prepared. My poster was wrapped in a plastic bag in the poster case, my backpack was put into a garbage bag and then hung and I slipped on a poncho. This should pass by the time anyone arrives….or at least I hoped.

The weather finally began to clear and really just at the perfect time. I put all my supplies away and readied myself. Up first was Nick Cannon. He stopped to wave, but did nothing on the way in. 20 minutes later, Chris Evans arrived and he stayed the same course. That means we have a whole additional hour to await. The total of 7 had grown to 12 at this point. Which all and all wasnt bad, considering Evans.

The weather cooperated and the hour passed. Out first was Nick Cannon. Cannon comes out and begins to pose for the papprazzi. Fans call out to him, but he does nothing. As he finishes his posing, I call out for a photo and Cannon walks over and asks if I have my camera out, which I did and I hit the selfie picture with Nick. Cannon ignores everyone else and gets in his SUV and is gone. No one was to upset. I know a few of the dealers had 8x10s….but they didnt seem to be bothered.

A few minutes later Evans comes out. Doing my homework on his patterns, his publicist will usually hand him a black sharpie on the way out and he comes over to sign. The door opens and that happens. As he walks over, someone out of no where from the street runs up and asks Evans for photo and takes a self blast. Prime position on the rail has now cost me the all important photo op. Evans comes over, hits Dave first and then signs my Captain America 2 poster. I ask for a photo, but even with just 12 people…..the place explodes and the rail begins to teeter over. I get this happening at some spots. But a spot with 12 people…..how can you feel the need to push, shove and attempt to climb over people? He is signing. There are just 12. So the photo doesnt happen. He takes care of everyone before leaving.

As he pulls away, dealers chase after his SUV down the street. He gets the green light and is gone. I gather my things and we have some down time before our next spot. I attempted a couple of spots I had theories that Evans might be at….but none panned out. So we took the down time to get some 8x10s printed and some lunch. In the midst of getting our 8x10s signed, we are told Lady Gaga is at the Roseland and comes out every day to take pictures with fans around 2pm. Really?! This might be something. So we head over, but nothing seems to be happening. I talked to a stage hand and was told she wasnt even there yet and to check back later. Evidently the Roseland is closing down and she is holding a show there for 1 week straight to be the final act. With this spot looking dead, we move to our next stop.

We get there at exactly the right time and begin our wait. Expecting to see Cobie Smulders and Nick Cannon once again. Considering my luck with Cannon earlier, I elect to print an 8×10 and press it. Well….the prime hour goes by and nothing. No one has arrived. The crowd has grown and there must be about 30 or so people. But no celebrities. In fact, we are creeping up on the time that we need to leave for the next spot. Finally some action, as Cannon arrives. Just like before, nothing going in. A few minutes later, Colbie arrives and again…nothing. The publicist does say that Colbie will be out to sign after she is done. I do need Colbie on this Cap poster, as its not the one she signed before. The newer Cap poster is much nicer, so I went with that.

I really dont want to wait this out, but the next spot has less than 50% chance of producing anything. I decide to wait it out. It pays off. Cannon comes out and heads for his SUV. Fans are screaming for him. I scream out for an autograph and Cannon walks over. I am in the middle of the rails. He walks past the autograph seekers to my left, his right and comes right over to me. He asks me what I think of his suit? :thinking: He signs my 8×10. He then moves down to my left and signs for them and back past me to take care of those on the right. I dont think he got everyone, but he got most people. Why exactly did he come over to me directly? And why is he asking me about his suit? Nick’s got style…no doubt. Dressed in his bright white Armani with matching wingtips…..but I wasnt exactly rocking my tailored threads.

It wasnt too long before Colbie came out, looking stunning. She walks over and starts to sign. I ask her how heartbreaking will the night’s How I Met Your Mother Finale be, but she says she cannot reveal anything. She signs my poster and Dave and I gather our stuff to get out of there and onto the next spot. We get there, running a tad behind. I think I am too late until I spot Evans SUV. I couldnt get its attention and attempted to chase it down. I ran with this SUV for 6 blocks and that is no EXAGGERATION! Of course, my ham strings and feet would pay the price later. But this would be the turning point. The moment that a day of triumph would turn to a day of failure. In fact….it wouldnt even last just the day. More on that later.

The only good that came from this chase was it was all in the direction of our next stop. So we headed over. Neil Patrick Harris was our next target. But when we arrived at this spot, we were met by this Nazi Looking Paul Bearer like individual with the attitude of CM Punk after the Royal Rumble. The only info we got was Neil would be out after he was done to sign, but not outside merchandise. He also said NPH had already been there for an hour, which was a bit shocking in my thought process….but not totally when I reconsidered some of the reasons why. Knowing this guy could be full of shit, we decided to wait it out for an hour. At this point, we were comfortable that he was really inside and decided to head out to our next stop.

When we arrived we waited outside for about 45 mins until I was told by DjKnightRida that I was at the wrong door for this spot. Homework, homework, homework. I didnt do it for this spot and now I blew it. I went to the right door, but the place was dead and they were all probably inside. Dinner time then. We wanted something quick and easy, so we hit up Mickie D’s…which I truly do despise. But I didnt want to walk around anymore and the day, lack of sleep was beginning to wear on me. We went inside and sat down at a table closest to the men’s room and a line that wrapped around the Mickies. This line never seem to have an end. And the people using the bathroom must have all had the runs. Constant complaining and people knocking on the door if someone was in there more than 5 mins. And this is a pet peeve of mine. Look….if someone has to take a dump…it might be awhile. They waited their turn and now its their opportunity to use the restroom. They deserve the 5, 10 or 15 mins they need to handle their business. Dont knock on the door, because you have to go. If you cant wait….go find another rest room.:noamusement:

Is there an exception to this rule? Yeah and we would soon meet him. One guy waits and finally gets inside. Its 10 minutes or so with a line with no end. A McD’s manager comes over and knocks on the door and walks away. A minute later the door opens and the man screams obscenities. The man first in line now says he didnt do it. The guy goes back inside the bathroom and locks door. Over the next 5 minutes, lots of screaming and yelling and threats occur between the man in the bathroom and the McD’s manager, before the manager finally threatens to use the key to open the door. He is met with a threat of violence if he does. This was our cue to get the fuck out of here! So we gathered our things and headed out. I wonder if anything happened. :cop:

Back to our angry Nazi friend at the NPH spot. He has set up rails and we go to take a spot. He tells us that if we have dont have a certain item than we cant be standing here. I exit out of his rails and wait on the sidewalk. He tells me I cant do that either. If I dont leave, he will call the cops. I know this isnt illegal and refuse to leave. He continues to give me shit, as I ignore him. I figure I will stand right at the end of the barricades and get my photo op there. By the time NPH is out, there has to be about 500 people waiting. There are people everywhere. They are standing in the street and causing traffic issues. Neil comes out and begins to sign and take photos. He starts on the one side first and spends a good 25 minutes over there. He has security guards with him and they keep insisting he will sign for everyone, so no need for pushing and shoving. NPH does NOT go into the streets and sticks to just the barricades. Considering how long he has been over on this side, I decide to leave my spot and head over to the side he is on. I just cant see him spending an hour out here. I force my way to the front, but as he gets towards the end near me, security says he has to go. So he stops this side and heads to my old side. They now say no more posed photos and no outside merchandise. I head back over to try anyway, but cannot force my way in. So I go back to the other side, where some of people have cleared out. I am now standing by the door of his SUV….so when he turns back I will be right there. He spent no more than 5 mins signing before his security team took him to the suv. I tried to get a picture with, but NPH dashed into the back and the driver got in and they drove away. So much for taking care of everyone. :pauliemad:

Failure was upon us. And sadly, it didnt stop there. But for this day or 2 or 2.5 or whatever….hard to tell anymore….we were finished. We headed back and made the long drive back to Pennsylvania. Drained, exhausted, sore, tired and dejected…..the trip home was no fun. I hit my bed at 3am. I am still unable to compute the math, as I havent captured enough sleep to do it. But lets just say…..it had been a LONG time since I last had gotten sleep.

Like I said….this trip was cloaked in failure. The Captain America 2 Premiere was scheduled for Wed. Stories had come out that it was actually held on Monday, the day we were there. But only 3 of the 6 actors attended that were already in town. Just to be sure, I called the place that was holding it and they did confirm the premiere was Wed. Expecting to see Evans, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L, Mackie, Smulders and Scarlett…..I needed to hit this. I had seen at the other premieres the actors were in fact doing photo ops too. Not only that, but I got info on Colin Donnell, Tommy Merlyn from Arrow. So that was a major need. The premiere, Colin, a spot for Samuel L, a spot for Lady Gaga and another shot at NPH…..all made going back worth it. That is until the day ended.

Not needing to be up anywhere near as early as Monday, we headed back up on Wed. Our first stop was for Colin Donnell. Since my friend Raza is a big Arrow fan as well, he met up with us in the city. We hit the spot and waited and waited. It was a very busy street with hundreds upon hundreds of people just hurrying about. After about an hour, Raza THOUGHT he saw Colin duck inside the building…but wasnt sure. We gave it another half hour and called it. We still had a chance for him at his break and also at his exit. We left here and headed over to the next spot for Lady Gaga. This was absolute CHAOS! There had to be about 300 people out here and it was completely and totally disorganized. Normally I grab the best spot I can at the barriers, but that was not an option. There had to be 100 people piled into that little section LONG before I arrived. The lack of organization almost paid off too. As when she arrived, she got out on the opposite side of the street where I happened to be standing. She took her time with every single fan and autograph. She was just 2 people away from me when a fan from the opposite side pulled out some sort of blanket, stealing her attention and causing her to go in the opposite direction. She looked over the blanket, took a photo and that was it. Pure CHAOS! :dislike:

0-2 so far….with out next spot being one of the easiest. This was for Samuel L Jackson. The question was, do we hit this spot knowing he would be at the premiere? What we had to lose was positioning at the premiere. We played it conservatively, considering the premiere was more important and headed over there. When we arrived, we saw them setting up….cept it didnt look like other premieres I had attended. I decided to ask the lady who seemed to be coordinating and she told me that she wished people would stop using the word “premiere” as it confuses people. This is a screening for Screenvisions Sales department. She said it was not a premiere and that no celebrities were on the guest list….in fact, there was no media either. My heart sank. How bad could this day become? How much worse?

We got some last minute info. that there was another theater that just announced holding the premiere. So we headed over there. When we arrived, it was a total bust. We found tons of fans lined up outside….contest winners. This was DEFINITELY NOT the premiere. Could the first spot be playing games? Considering a lack of any other info. at this point…..we headed back. When we arrived…..it looked less like a premiere than before. They pulled the tents down, no barricades and there were food trucks parked out front. Sparing the misery…..we camped out for about an hour and half, all for not. This was NOT the premiere. Worse yet, one of the guys came from the Jackson spot we foregoed and said there were just 6 people waiting and he did photos and autos for everyone. :dislike:

0-4 now, considering the miss at Jackson spot. We had but 1 last shot to come away with a want…Colin Donnell. We had plenty of time to kill, so we headed over and got some dinner. Went back to Colin’s spot and waited. I wanted to ensure myself the best chance at not missing him, so when I saw someone come outside that looked like they worked inside….I went over. I spoke to him and he said he was an assistant for someone else, but would mention to Colin that there were 2 fans out here waiting for him that traveled 4 hours. He couldnt promise anything….but we kept our fingers crossed. It wasnt but a few minutes later that a doorman propped the door open and asked who we were waiting for. I told him Colin and he said he would be out in about 15 mins and to wait here. Ok…..more good news. 15 mins goes by and no Colin. The door guy comes back and asks if I got him….I explain I did not. He gets on his walkie talkie to make sure we did not miss him and he confirms that Colin is still there and will be out in just a minute. The guy waits with us. A few mins go by and he gets back on and they inform him that Colin is walking out now. Now it should be any second. But nothing. So the doorman says, he will go back inside and talk to Colin himself. I see him walk down the hall, stop, talk on his walkie and walk back. He apologizes….but Colin went out a different door. He apologizes profusely. Said that he was informed he was coming this way. He offers to make it up to us tomorrow. He asks if we can come back and he would bring us inside to meet Colin. Sadly, its not an option. I tell him I will be back….another time. He says he owes us.

0-5. A complete and total failure of a day. It just goes to show…..no matter how prepared you are…..how much mingling you do…..or how easy you think a spot is…..it can all unravel right in front of your eyes. Even the most seasoned of pros, like Raza, can have a bad day. For us……for the 3 of us……it couldnt get much worse. At least for Raza, it was a short trip home. For Dave and I……we had our tears of sorrow to keep us company on the long drive back. Did I mention….a LONG drive back? :killme:

 

Walker Stalker Con – Chicago, IL – 3/14/14-3/16/14

When this con was originally announced, it was something I was interested in…..but definitely not going to attend.  There was but 2 names that I wanted….Stephen Amell and Lauren Cohan.  I had just gotten Stephen in Dallas and Lauren was going to be at Philly Wizard World.  So I couldnt see making the trek to Chicago.

Over the next few weeks, this Walking Dead themed convention started to be over run by Arrow names.  Anyone who knows me, knows that Arrow is my favorite television show.  So from Stephen Amell….they added David Ramsey, who plays Diggle and has also starred in Blue Bloods as the Mayor.  I REALLY wanted to go after Diggle was announced, but it still seemed like quite a bit of an investment to attend for 1 big need.

Then some money freed up.  With Wrestlemania XXX looking like absolute garbage and the WWE itself going down the toilet creatively, I had decided going to WM was going to worthless.  I had always wanted to visit New Orleans and planned this trip back the previous Summer.  But now it just seemed silly to go.  So, I quickly changed my plans.  I cancelled my flight, hotel, etc. and freed up some cash.  But again…..was this where I really wanted to redirect my flight to?

Thew answer came shortly thereafter when Emily Bett Rickards was added, aka Felicity Smoak.  I LOVE Felicity!  No….I mean I LOVE her.  :smirk:  So now….I had to go.  With the extra freed up cash, I made the plan to attend.

Tickets bought, hotel booked all late in the game and for a pretty decent price, all things considering.  I decided to go VIP for Stephen Amell.  I figured, the line cutting would be a huge help since I was getting several names and several photo ops.  Plus, you never know when things can get behind and I dont want to be late for my flight coming home.  I didnt really want to attend the con all 3 days, but I also didnt want to fly in the morning of this con.  Turns out, flying in morning of would have worked out fine……but oh well, attending Friday was by no means a waste.  More on that later.

The shitty part was I had a ridiculously early morning Friday flight and ridiculously late Sunday night flight….really the opposite of what I wanted.  But because the trip was put together less than 2 weeks before the con….I was at the airline’s mercy.  Schedule flight time was 6:45am….airport no more than 30 mins from my house.  I was up at 4:30am and out the door at 5:05am.  I made great timing to the airport and arrived about 1hr and 10 mins early.  They always say you should arrive at least 1 hour early for your flight and being that this is Harrisburg and very small airport AND one I have flown out a multitude of times……an hour would be overboard, but better to be early than late.

Something told me NOT to park in long term parking.  It would cost 70% less to park there, but is also 2 miles from the airport.  Not sure why……but I parked in the short term, expensive parking.  Maybe a guardian angel looking out for me….or maybe me being lazy.  But whatever.  I parked, got out and headed to check my bag.  I walk into the airport and I see a SWARM of people at the security check.  The line is going from the security gate and into the hall that connects to the parking lot.  As I get closer….I find the line is actually snaking.  So….going that far deep and then snaking back.  There had to be 300 people in the security line!  :yikes1:  Evidently, they had several flights leaving at this time and security doesnt open till 6am and the first flight out is at 6:20am…..that makes NO sense.  I motor to United’s check in with my printed boarding pass in hand.  Sadly, I find a line 50 deep.  WTF?!  :distraught: For the first time ever….I think I am gonna miss my flight.  We got angry customers everywhere and the line doesnt seem to be moving.  There are just 3 people working the counter and the line doesnt seem to be moving.  We got people trying to get to DC, Minneapolis and Chicago.  6:20, 6:45 and 6:50.  I talk to this one guy in line and said and asked if he thought they would hold the plane.  He said NO WAY.  :killme:

I am there a good 15 mins and notice the line has not moved at all.  This is when I have discovered that the reason the line is not moving is United’s printer isnt working to print baggage tags or boarding passes.  In fact, their system isnt working….as people cant even get checked in using their automated system and they have to do it manually.  My flight boards at 6:20 and they are already calling the first group.  Its not till 6:30 that I finally get my bag checked and race to security.  I get there and I am 40 people or so deep.  I hear LAST CALL for my flight.  How am I gonna make it?!

I’ve never seen security move so quickly.  They must have violated all kinds of TSA rules.  I got through the security line in less than 10 minutes.  Luckily, my gate was the second gate on the right.  I grabbed my shit, jumped in my shoes, slid half my belt on and raced to the gate.  I got there and handed my boarding pass and finished getting dressed.  I was on the plane.:like:  The closed the plane with the guy behind me.  I found my seat and got settled in.

And then we sat on the runway for the next 20 minutes as there was some issue with the runaway being available for takeoff.  :cmonreally: Seriously?!  All that and we cant even take off?!  I do have to say, I was happily surprised that the plane was actually a full sizer.  Usually out of Harrisburg, I am on a puddle jumper.  But this one had 3 seats in each row on both sides.  It was actually larger than the flight I took to Dallas.  So I was definitely happy about that.  The plane did take off and we made it to Chicago.

It was a short flight and with the hour time difference, I was in at around 7:45am.  I called for the hotel shuttle and then jumped on.  The airport and the hotel were no more than 10 mins away and I made it there very quickly.  When I planned this trip, I worried I would get stuck waiting in the lobby for my room since check in wasnt till 3pm, but they had my room ready for me at 8am.  :yes: This was huge.  I could go, unpack and take a nap before heading over to the con.

The original price on this Doubletree room was $295 a night.  Priceline got it for me at $80 a night.  I couldnt be more impressed.  The staff was very friendly, helpful, efficient and they get 4 stars!  The room was awesome.  The bed was comfy, had a couch, fridge and even a bathroom with a separate shower and tub.  Best of all….the convention center was across the street and they have a sky bridge that connects to it.  The only reason I wont go 5 stars though……no free wifi.  $12.95 a day…..but they do give you a full 24 hours of usage.  Still….that cost sucked.

So I got in my room and unpacked and caught that nap.  The con wouldnt open till 11am.  So I got myself a good 2 hour nap.  As I was checking twitter, I found a location for where Chicago Fire was going to be filming.  Its one of my favorite shows.  I check on google maps and find its but a mere 7 miles from the hotel.  I MUST hit this.  Landing some Chicago Fire names would be awesome. :Amazed:"

 

All I want to do at the con is just head over, scope out the lay of the land, pick up my tickets for the event and buy my downloadable jpegs.  I goto Will Call and get my lanyard for my VIP pass and head inside.  The con is all but dead.  Hardly any convention goers are here.  Celebs are not supposed to be here till mid afternoon.  So I head to the photo booth and buy my jpegs.  I take a quick walk through and everything is nicely setup.  All the Arrow names are in the same aisle.  Stephen Amell has the largest line setup.  Vendors and snacks are on the other side of the floor.  Yes, everything is on the exact same floor.  Very easy to navigate and it was VERY well spaced out.  That way….no running into people or lines running into one another.

I got what I needed from the con and headed out.  Its time to mark out for Chicago Fire.  I head back to the hotel and the bellman gets me a cab. I jump in and explain where I want to go.  We pull out of the hotel and get to the traffic light.  Not sure what possessed me to do this…perhaps that guardian angel again, but I asked about how much would this ride cost me. Cab driver pulls out onto the main street and begins to drive.  He tells me about $40.  :pained: YO!!  Its a 7 mile drive.  What do you mean $40?!??!  He tells me its about a 45 minute drive and its 30 miles.  I quickly pull up google maps and show him its 7 miles and he tells me Google is wrong. Wait…Google is wrong?!?!?! :wtfamIreading:  He asks me who am I gonna believe him or Google?  :saswhat: Does this question actually need a response?  TURN THE CAB AROUND!  The driver pulls onto the ramp for the highway.  I ask him what are you doing?  He said…..you want me to turn around?  I ask why not just turn around up the street.  He explains he knows how to do his job.  In other words…..he knows how to rip off an out of towner!  Two minutes later, we are back at my hotel.  The total bill….$14.25 rounded up.  :angry14:  I pull out a 10 and a 5.  He counts out my $.75 and I take my change.  I get out of the cab and do NOT shut the door.  Driver screams at me to close the door…..I cant….Google wont let me.  I walk back into the hotel and the bellman asks me if everything is ok.  I explain what happened.  He tells me you have to watch Chicago cab drivers.  Yeah…clearly.

So no marking out.  Fine.  I need to eat lunch anyway.  There is a nice steak house called Gibson’s connected to the hotel.  I walk over.  I get seated at a table and immediately can tell my jeans and hoodie aint cutting it.  I got suits and ties, Louis Vutton dresses,……just high class and up scale.  You know what that means?  The menu arrives and a steak dinner is $75.  I know I am in trouble.  I ended up getting a Ribeye steak sandwich, which was VERY good.  It came with fries.  I ordered a Coke and they brought me this tiny 8oz bottle, which cost $3!  I drank 2. :sad:  The best part of the food was the free chips that were provided.  Like many restaurants that offer some bread….this place offered some self made chips.  They had some sort of spice on them and were absolute delicious!  I wished I had gotten some to go.  The bill was $25 with tip…..so not awful.  And the quality was there.

When I was finished with lunch, I washed up in my room and headed back to the con.  It was now past 4pm…..so I might as well see if more people were there and see what celebs were there.  Maybe I can pick myself up a deal on a very slow day.

Once inside, I do the once over again and find that there are about 4 to 5 names there….only 3 I cared about.  Daniel Thomas May, Nestor Carbonell and Stephen Amell.  Daniel Thomas May sadly was not at his table.  I didnt bring my poster tube anyway, so it wouldnt really have had helped since I needed him on my Vampire Diaries poster.  Across his aisle was Nestor from Lost/Dark Knight Rises.  In Lost he played Richard and in Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises…he is the Mayor of Gotham.  Lost is one of my favorite shows, but still….he was not a favorite actor in the show.  I didnt want to spend $40 on a photo op…so I thought I would go over and talk to him and see what I might be able to work out.  $10?  Yeah…that sounded fair.  I went to his table.  He was very nice.  Spoke to him for a few minutes and asked how much for a photo op.  He thought about it for a second…..ummm….nothing.  Free today.  So day 1 and photo op 1……FREE!  :winning: What a win.  A free photo op and for someone that I know and actually care about.  NICE!!!  I thanked Nestor and headed over to Stephen Amell’s table.  Stephen had no line, so I walked right up and said hello to Kelsey, his manager and then immediately was greeted by Stephen….”Jay…you made it to Chicago!”  :Amazed:" Stephen Amell knows my name!  He thanked me for all the shirts, mug and hoodie that I gave him in Dallas.  He said it was very thoughtful and he loved the designs.  He was really cool as usual, asked me how life was treating me and if I was having a good time in Chicago.  I was actually kind of star struck or shocked or whatever you wanted to call it that he remembered me.  Security came to get him for his photo ops….so I said goodbye and would see him tomorrow.  WOW!  What a way to start the first day off.  Walker Stalker was beginning to be one of those epic cons.

Day 1 was in the books.  I was back at the hotel and ready to order some dinner.  I asked the front desk about delivery and what they recommended and they suggested Giordano’s.  Said they have this really deep dish Chicago style pizza that is awesome.  Ok….sounds good.  Lets experience Chicago.  So I call up….place an order for a Bacon and extra cheese deep dish, an order of tiramasu and a pepsi.  They tell me its gonna be 1.5hrs…..no biggie, cuz I am riding high.

Hour and a half goes by and there is a knock at my door.  The driver has my food and tells me my total is $31 and change.:likewhatic: FOR SOME PIZZA?!?!?!  Turns out that pizza comes with a $5 delivery charge!!!!  :angry14:  I was still riding high from earlier, so I paid it and sat back down to eat.  I flipped through the menu, but couldnt find any info about the delivery charge.  $5?!  Though.  Here in central Pa…..most places dont charge it.  And when they do…..$2 MAX.

I opened the box to find, not bits of bacon, but slices of it covering the top…but it was a tad bit burnt.  This pizza was so deep, I could put my entire hand into.  It was nuts.  It starts with a layer of crust then a mountain of cheese.  Then a thin layer of crust…..then more cheese.  Then a thin layer of crust then sauce, slight sprinkle of cheese and the bacon.  WHOAH!!!  Even with the tad bit burnt bacon….it was MMMMMMM!!!!  :ohyeah:Highly recommend this place.  Just dont get it delivered.

Day 2 was planned to start early.  VIP entrance opened at 9am.  However, considering what I saw yesterday, I just couldnt see this con really being an all day affair.  With the VIP pass and my photo ops not taking place to late in the afternoon, I think I could blow through the autograph lines fairly quickly.  So instead of getting up….I slept in a tad bit and didnt head to the con till about noon.

Since my buddy Ray needed 2 Walking Dead figures signed, I figured I would hit those 2 people up first.  I noticed that they had a coat check at this con on Friday, which is a big ups to Walker Stalker Con.  I think EVERY con should have an affordable coat check.  $2 to check a coat, hoodie, bag, etc.  So I packed a small bag with Ray’s figures to keep them safe from being damaged.  I walked into the con and headed for target #1 Steven Yeun from Walking Dead.  Not a fan of the show, but I have seen him at other cons.  He had a decent size line.  But I blew right through it with the VIP pass.  Bought the auto.  He signed the figure exactly as Ray wanted and I was done.  Ok…one down.  One more to go for Ray.

Lauren Cohan is #2 on the list.  The thing about Lauren is I need her on my Vampire Diaries poster as well.  But since I have VIP, I’ll get Ray’s figure signed and then come back later for my poster, since that was being signed in paint.  I walk over to her line and attempt to enter VIP, where I am stopped by the volunteer.  He tells me I dont have the right VIP pass to enter her line and that my pass is ONLY good for Stephen Amell.  I explain that isnt true, but he wont budge.  I ask to see a manager and he said there was none around right now and I would have to go track one down, as he cant leave his station.  :saswhat: The guy behind is explained the same thing, as he has the Stephen Amell VIP pass as well.  I notice Lauren isnt even here at this point.  Past 12pm and a major guest hasnt arrived?!   So I go to the front of the con, where they had a table setup for questions about the con.  I explain what happen and the woman is happy to go and correct this.  We walk back over to Lauren’s table, where she explained to the volunteer just how the VIPs work.  The volunteer explains that it is nearing 1pm and Lauren still isnt here and we have people that have been waiting since 9am.  He explains that the line has been moved to the other side of the building because, they cant hold anymore people in her barricaded area.  I am told I can wait here, but it is unlikely she will even get to me considering she has photo ops starting at 1:30pm.  They ask if I can come back tomorrow and since I can, I figure that was the best plan.  Not going perfectly as planned….but not the worst situation either.  Later I would be told by multiple con goers and volunteers that she only did half of her VIP line and NO GA for autographs, as she spent the rest of the con at the photo op center.

With no Lauren, I didnt need the figures anymore so I checked them at coat check.  This freed my hands up and I could go back in and tackle my stuff.  My first stop is David Ramsey.  He had the shortest line of the Arrow names.  I walk over, taking notice that Emily Bett Rickards has a HUGE line…..but she is also not there.  I would later discover that Walker Stalker didnt fly many of these celebs in till the morning of Saturday, causing many delays in arrival.  I walk up to David and purchase my 3 autos.  I wanted to get a photo with him at the table, but he was not taking photos there.  Oh well.  Guess I’ll bite the bullet and buy the professional.  I hand over my 2 posters and my Arrow book that has already been signed by Stephen Amell and Ty Olsen.  As soon as he opens this book, David asks me if Stephen has signed this already.  I told him yes….in Toronto.  He said he knows this book.  He tells me that Stephen told the cast about a fan creating this book with everyone’s photos in it.  He flips to the beginning and begins to look over each page.  He even read the inscription by Ty in the back.  And he said he loved it and really appreciated the support.  He wrote a small message about the book near his photo and signed it.  He said he thought it was just perfect.  He thanked me for taking the time to put something like that together.  He signed both my posters as well.  David was VERY down to earth and seemed to be really enjoying himself and meeting Arrow fans.  I gave him a Hood Up button and explained the origin of how I came about the idea for the shirt/button.  He said it was very cool that something small he said could inspire this.  He thanked me for the button.

With David done and Emily just arriving at her table, I made my way to Manu Bennett.  Manu was a late add, but a VERY welcomed add.  I love him as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke and cant wait for the epic battle between Oliver and Slade in real time.  I walk up and hand him a Hood Up button.  At this point, Manu kind of belittled me and my gift.  He wanted to know what would possess me to give him a Green Arrow button when he is “the bad guy”.  He tells me he would never wear this.  :thatsnasty:Wow…..ok bro.  I can take it back.  Its possible he was joking around and that it was just his personality.  But I certainly did not receive it in that fashion.  I had heard nothing but awesome stories about Manu and how gracious he is.  Even in his Q and A I attended later on, he seemed some personable.  But on this day….this moment, he was anything but.  I was DEFINITELY going to be purchasing a professional photo op for Manu….but because of this experience, my desire to spend $40 on  him evaporated.  I chose instead to put that money towards something else.  I’m sure its no sweat off his back, but I felt shamed by him.  He signed my book and both posters and did inscribe them Slade Wilson/Deathstroke.  I did pay the $10 for the photo op at his table, which I was also shocked he was doing since he does do so many cons.  I figured he would be a pro photo only.  But he wasnt.  The experience still…..soured me on him.  I hope I either misread the situation or maybe he was having an off moment.

Had to move past this experience, as Emily Bett Rickards….aka Felicity Smoak was next.  In case I havent made this clear….I LOVE Felicity.  I mean….I LOVE Felicity.  :pacgrin:She is awesome as character and a part of Team Arrow.  She is an essential piece that helps balance Oliver and the team.  I head over to her table and once again, blow past the 50 or so people waiting.  I get up there and get my 3 autos.  The first thing I do is I present her with a Felicity tshirt and Hood Up button.  She was so touched by the shirt.  She loved it and promised she was going to instagram this later.  She signed my 3 items and thanked me for coming.  She was really awesome and we shared a laugh over her early morning tweet about stopping for a burger at 8am.  She did NOT have the burger and wasnt even sure if it was acceptable to eat that at 8am.  I said it depends on how tasty that burger looked and how hungry you might have been.

All the new Arrow names were done.  All that was left for autographs for Arrow was the star, Stephen Amell.  No….I didnt hit his table next.  Instead, I had 1 more minor Walking Dead/Vampire Diaries name I needed.  Daniel Thomas May aka Thomas Fell from the flashback sequences of the 1800s and a member of the original Founding Families, Founders Council.  He had NO line.  I went up and he was very pleasant to meet.  He signed my poster and inscribed it Thomas Fell.  He even gave me a free photo op, which was nice and my 2nd free photo of the entire weekend. I thanked him for coming and was on my way.

All things considering, you probably are guessing the timeline had taken us to mid day Saturday.  Nope.  It was a but a mere 1:30pm.  I blasted through all those lines in about 35 minutes.  That included packing up all my poster and unpacking each…table to table and waiting for the paint to dry on them too.  With it being so early, I was tempted to grab some food, but figured I might as well finish my autographs with Stephen Amell, grab some food and go back to the hotel.  I could rest up for an hour or so before my photo ops.  I head back over to Stephen’s table, but I find a sign up that says he wont be back till 2:30 due to lunch.  Well….guess, grabbing a bite now makes sense.  I head over to the snack stand.  I figured since I have no one to sit with to eat and I wanted to rest up anyway, I’ll grab a quick bite to go.  I dont notice any tinfoil or bags that I can take my food back to the hotel with.  I figured I would just ask the lunch lady.  Now before, I am accused of racism, stereotyping or the sort……well…..all of the above applied to what was about to occur.  Be warned now.  If you are sensitive to such talk…..skip to the next paragraph.  For my readers who can accept one’s anger…..here goes.  There was a very large black lady wearing a doo rag or hair net…something like that.  I walk up and ask if I may take my food to go.  She says she doesnt understand.  :thinking:Not quite sure how I can elaborate upon this, but here goes.  I explain that I would rather not eat here and would like to take my food with me back to the hotel and was wondering if she had a bag or foil or something.  She says what do you mean?  You aint gonna eat here on the counter.  What else are you gonna do it? :skipWHAT:I explain that by here I mean in the dining area, pointing out the hundred or so people sitting at the tables and eating.  That eating here and taking it to go is taking it away from here.  She gets upset and says something about me calling her stupid.  Look Aunt Jemima….all I wanted to know was if I could get something to wrap my food in so I could eat in my room.  She asks me what do I want?  I said a slice a pizza.  She says….cant you see we aint got none?!  :jagwtfb:  I ask for a cheesburger.  She said she aint got that either.  I tell her I am guessing hot dogs are sold out too.  She said I guessed right.  :smh:  So what exactly is available?  A soft pretzel….well they called soft, but was as hard as a brick and a bag of chips.  I tell her I can clearly see they are out of everything….including her own personality and manners.  I walk off disgusted.  One con artist cabbie and one rude bitch that needs to stick to flipping pancakes.  I hope Uncle Jemima drunk beats her.:rofl:

Now that I got that off my chest, I head back to the hotel.  I stop into the bistro that is connected to the restaurant.  The service was awful, but the food was very good.  I had a standard cheeseburger, but it was good.  Fairly priced.  I went back to the room for a bit, unloading a few items I no longer needed, including my poster tube and Ray’s figures.  I didnt spend too much time as it was already 2:30pm and I wanted to get Stephen’s autos done and then head to photo ops, as my first op was at 4:15pm.

I arrived back at the con and Stephen was still not back.  The time to return was changed from 2:30pm to 3pm.  Ok….20 minutes, no biggie.  I walked around and came back to find the time changed again to 3:30pm.  Hmmmm…..first photo op is 4:15pm and they say you need to be there a min. of 15mins in advance.  With VIP, coming early isnt really gonna be necessary.  So…I should be able to hold out till 4pm.  Good thing too….cuz it was right before 4, when Stephen returned.  I purchased one additional autograph to go along with my VIP pass.  I elected to get my photo from Dallas Comic Con signed, along with the custom Green Arrow comic that was drawn by David Roman.  It features myself and Stephen shooting bows at The League Of Assassins, people on the island or The Putty Patrol.  You get the idea.

I cut the entire line off….a good 60 or so people that had been waiting for quite some time.  Went up and gave Kelsey, a Hood Up button.  Always great to see her.  Then moved over to Stephen.  I showed him my newest Arrow shirt…..Always Be Oliver Queen.  Now available on ebay and my online store.  BUY! BUY! BUY!  Cheap plug.  :like: He thought the new design was funny.  Simple design and really has been done a multitude of times for a multitude of people.  I have seen a Barney Stinson, Batman, etc.  Revamped to meet the needs for Arrow.   I also gave him a onezie for his daughter featuring his favorite Lian Yu Island design.  He was moved that I would bring him something for his daughter.  And I was happy to do so.   I got my photo from Dallas signed and then showed him my custom made comic cover.  He was impressed by the art.  I told him who did the drawing and where it was done.  He happily signed the cover.  A unique one of a kind piece to go on my wall.

With autographs complete, minus the Lauren Cohan needs saved for tomorrow, I headed over to the photo op area…..otherwise known as ground zero! :ehh:  When I arrived, the day after 911 it started to resemble.  There was just people scattered all about.  I couldnt tell if anyone was in line or what.  Evidently, there was 1 photographer and 1 guy printing photos.  But they seem to run out of ink numerous times and it caused more and more delays.  AND this caused the photos to become backlogged from printing, which then caused a chain of horrible events.  People are trying to leave the con and dont have their prints, people are not coming back Sunday or flying out Saturday night, etc.   Compound THAT with Lauren Cohan being late, volunteers not having any clue how to direct people and becoming increasingly frustrated and the photos that had been printed had been placed at a table right by the entrance and exit of the curtained off section for the actual photo…..caused a complete and total clusterfuck!  The con, the photographer, and the volunteers did the best they could.  I think they should have moved that table with the printed photos in the back of that aisle, considering there was nothing back there.  It would keep the crowd away from the entrance and exits.  I think they should have had signs up for which line was for which celebrity, which they did do on Sunday.  And I think the photographer needed to have planned a little better.  All that being said, Walker Stalker Con stepped up to try and make it as right as they possibly could with everyone.  It was 4:15pm and they still hadnt printed the photos that were taken at 1:15.  Walker Stalker, like I said, stepped up and tried to smooth things over the best they could.  They, along with the photographer, offered free downloads to every con attendee.  Being that I bought the code the other day…….they refunded me the money for my purchase, no questions asked.:clap:  They could have easily have screwed me over since they had their money, but did the ethical thing by giving me a refund.  They deserved to be praised for this honest gesture.  I know many con promoters who would have told me to pound sand.

Again, with the issues, the actual photos were delayed.  So my 4:15pm photos with David Ramsey and Emily Bett Rickards were more like 4:45.  At least I met a few people to chat with.  First there was Hannah and her family.  They were big Arrow fans, who had custom made Arrow shirts.  I told them I made designs and handed out a business card.  Very, very nice people….who would later on, help me big time.  But more on that later.  I also met Zack, who is from the Chicago area and I have conveniently been conversing on Facebook already  on a group page about Arrow.  I went in for Rickards with my ticket leap ticket on my smart phone.  And I have to comment on this.  Ticketleap is awesome!  So you download this app to your phone and as you buy tickets for different cons, it will then organize them by cons for you with the bar codes or QR codes.  This way, you no longer have to worry about printing tickets and then possibly losing them.  You dont have to carry pieces of paper with you either.  They are all stored and easily accessible by your smart phone.  Awesome!  Unfortunately, the guy handling the ticket scanning was not given an ipad or any device to actually scan the tickets, so he couldnt do it.  Instead, after each photo, I had to go out to the table where you purchase photo ops and have my photo op scanned.  Ugh!  At least I was smart enough to wait till all my photos were done before I had them scanned.

Back to Rickards….she was super sweet.  I went in and got my photo and was out.  I know the routine and I knew they were behind.  But the photographer never made me feel rushed, so that was cool.

Once I was out, I immediately jumped into the David Ramsey line.  His line already started moving by the time I got there.  So they ended up taking half in and holding my half out just to keep the photo area relatively clear.  The volunteer said they would be back to get us in just a few minutes.  Well….a few minutes turned into a half hour.  When she finally reappeared, she called for Manu Bennett’s photo line.  Whoah!  Hold up. :kanye:What happened to David Ramsey?  She tells me David is done and has left.  :huh:  She takes us back and we join Manu’s line.  Manu finished his line and they bring David back.  Not sure why David would leave, considering the cast photos were next.  But they get him back and he finishes out his line.  He once again comments me on my Arrow back.  He says its just awesome.  Like I said….ultra cool guy.  Very humble and appreciative.  Very charismatic too, which I am not used to in his roles on Blue Bloods and on Arrow.  You can definitely see some Diggle in Ramsey though.

With my singles done with Emily and David, I didnt have my next photo op till Stephen Amell, which was after the cast photo.  Hindsight being 20/20, probably should have done my cast photo on Saturday.  But wanted to space the photos out a bit since I was gonna be there all 3 days.  Just would have been easier and more practical.  It was a bit of a wait till the cast photos were done and Stephen’s singles began.  I was starting to get worried that these photos would intrude with the meet n greet with Stephen Amell that came with my VIP.  Here we are at 6pm….still running 45mins behind.  Stephen starts his singles and I am back in action.  I notice Stephen is wearing the Hood Up button and Kelsey makes sure to point out how much free publicity I am getting…LOL!  :tongue:  Snap that photo and I am back out the curtain and into the Amell duo line.  The last of my photo ops for the day.  Stephen does finish his line up pretty quickly and the duos are on.  And this is good, cuz its getting closer to 7pm.  Once its my turn, Stephen introduces me to Robbie.  He tells Robbie to read my shirt, which Robbie laughs at.  Snap the pic and I am done.  Stephen thanks me for coming out and I am done.

Before heading to the meet n greet, I get my tickets scanned and my refund for the downloads.  None of my photo ops have been printed and I am told they will have them tomorrow morning for me.  So I have to wait.  No biggie.  I walk over to the meet n greet ball room and stand in line.  I see there are about 12 people in front of me.  So, I must be one of the last few in line.  Except…..I wasnt.  A few minutes later Hannah and her family join me in line and we start talking about Arrow and the meet n greet.  Hannah tells me that someone told her that Stephen wasnt going to be at the meet n greet and that this is a big event and not something private.  In fact, there is no guarantee that any celebrity will be here.  I am in complete denial.  I mean….how could Walker Stalker advertise a $300 VIP ticket that includes a meet n greet in 3 different variations, if you arent even gonna meet that person?!  About 70 more people later……now I am concerned.  Once inside, my concern goes to full on worry, which then turn to full on anger followed by the proverbial……RAGE!!!!  :Mad: Once I got inside, we took a seat at a table and asked a volunteer.  The volunteer reiterates what Hannah told me.  We are all VERY ticked off.  Hannah and her family bought 5 Amell VIPs for this meet n greet.  I bought one….as this is where the value was for the extra money.  We stayed 45 minutes of the hour, when it became painfully obvious that Stephen would not be here.  Not 1 Arrow name was there.  Instead we got Iron E. Singleton, Daniel Thomas May and 1 other person I wasnt sure who it was.  And the no autograph/no photo op rule I guess wasnt being enforced, as I saw numerous people getting them.:bs:

So we left.  We agreed to meet up tomorrow and find James or Eric, the 2 guys who Walker Stalker together and see how they could make this right.  We genuinely felt taken advantage of and ripped off.  Would JUSTICE be served……the answer is coming.

With the late return to the hotel and debacle of the meet n greet, I decided I was definitely just ordering some food.  That deep dish from last night was so good, I ended up NOT taking my own advice and got it delivered.  Once again, 1.5 hrs to deliver.  Only thing was, I left the bacon off this time and went with plain extra cheese.  I think I liked it better this way.  LOL!

Sunday morning came quickly.  The con opened at 9am, but I definitely did not need to get there too early.  I was up at 10, packed my bags for the con and for going home.  I checked out of the hotel, checked my bags with the bell man and headed over around 11:30am.  I still needed Lauren Cohan and the Arrow Q and A at 1pm.  I got there and immediately hit Lauren’s table.  She was there.  And the same volunteer was there.  But this time, he let me in the VIP line.  I did hear him tell people that were not taking anymore people in GA line though.  Interesting.  She had photo ops starting soon and would not be back at her table.  So I blew right through the VIP line and got to her.  She signed Ray’s figure and then signed my poster.  She really loved the Vampire Diaries poster and inscribed her character Rose on there.  She also loved the blue paint marker and commented it looked so pretty on the poster.  I thanked her for coming and grabbed my stuff and exited.

My first stop was will call, which had SOME…not all of the photo ops from Saturday printed out.  I located just one.  I asked a volunteer and he looked for me as well and couldnt find any additional.  So I went over to photo ops and they were out of ink.  They said that ink was coming and they would start reprinting again.  The guy asked me if I could wait till 4pm and come back.  He could print my photos right then and send me on my way.  I figured I might as well do that…..might be able to get him to print my cast photo that I was taking at that time as well.

ALL autographs were finished….sort of.  Hannah texted me that she was finishing checking out and packing up her car and would be over in a bit.  I went over to the Arrow Q and A and grabbed myself a front row seat.  I plan was to video record the Q and A, as I did for Dallas.  Sadly, the memory I card I used in Dallas wouldnt record this time.  It kept giving me some error message and this was AFTER I had formatted the card.  I used it to take photos no problem.  But for some reason…..video would not work.  Time for a new card.  I took a few photos during the Q and A instead.  These sessions are generally a skip for me.  BUT….since Stephen generally has a habit of revealing spoilers…..I like to attend his.  The miss portion usually comes with questions from the audience.  I REALLY wish we could get these questions pre screened.  They can be of utter annoyance.  In Dallas, some dude asked Stephen to take his shirt off and in Chicago, some dude asked if anyone wanted to appear on Power Rangers?  Really?  Really?!:exasperated:We get some standard questions like favorite this or favorite that.  Which while boring…..are better than the weirdo questions.  Another one that really grinds my gear is boxer or briefs?  I never hear a guy ask a woman guest if they are wearing granny panties or a thong?  Why do women feel that is appropriate to ask a male guest this?  And….there is the “whats on your ipod”?  Who cares?!?!?!  Seriously?!  Stop already.

I digress.  The Q and A was mostly good.  Again, David Ramsey really showed off his humor.  Extremely funny.  He even stole my line when a fan asked him his worse injury on the show.  I screamed out “Diggle dont get injured.”  Which David acknowledged as the correct answer.  Seeing David like this only has made more excited for the Suicide Squad episode.  Conveniently, brings about a possible spoiler.  A fan inquired to Stephen about the possibility of Harley Quinn being on Arrow.  Stephen said this must be a direct reference to the teaser image of someone that looked VERY much like Harley.  He said he could not confirm that Harley would be on.  But that DC was loosening the reigns with some of the characters and that he also could NOT DENY that it was Harley either.  He smiled slyly and has only increased my hopes.

When the Q and A finished, I met up with Hannah and her family.  Our pleasantries were quickly interrupted by a phone call from her Grandmother who was also in attendance.   We headed over to her Grandmother who had found someone in charge.  Brad JUSTICE….see what I mean by Justice….acknowledge the mistake and wanted to make it right.  He asked who we wanted to meet and we explained that we just wanted what we paid for.  He took us to Stephen’s table and got us free autographs.  Once again….Walker Stalker steps up to correct a wrong….making it right.  And Brad Justice couldnt be more apologetic.  These actions are rarity at cons.  Refunding money, admitting wrong…..finding a way to make up for it.  Hats off to Walker Stalker and specifically Brad Justice for his exceptional customer service.

While it wasnt exactly what we paid for, it was something to make up for it.  I hope that Walker Stalker will in fact be more specific in what the meet n greet entails.  Meeting and greeting fellow convention goers is :bs:.  Some people said that Stephen was supposed to attend and did not, while the majority said he was never going to be there.  It seemed a lot of misinformation was being leaked out there and thats not cool either.  I cant imagine that all 3 VIPs were contractually obligated to be there and then all 3 didnt show.  I have to believe that they were never going to be there in the first place.  Anyway, got a few minutes with Stephen and I had my photo op from the day before signed.  And since Stephen is an admitted WWE fan and WWE Network subscriber, I chit chatted with him about wrestling.  He admitted his favorite to watch right now is Daniel Bryan and his favorite to rewatch over and over is Shawn Michaels.  He is a big HBK fan.  Will have to keep that in mind next time HBK is around.

Brad then escorted us over to photo ops, stopping first to introduce us to another Arrow name……can anyone guess?  Oh yeah…..Manu Bennett.  He was ultra friendly with all the ladies.  He shook my hand, but barely said a word to me.  Perhaps….I remind him of someone he dislikes or maybe he sat on my button?  :werd:Its cool.  Not everyone loves me.  So we went to photo ops and I had a bit of a wait for my cast photo.  But Hannah got her Emily Bett Rickards photo and then she had herself a big break.  Since now our schedules were very much apart, we said our goodbyes.  I waited for my cast photo.  Without anyone to keep me company, time seem to tick by very slowly.  At least today they were more organized.  Each line had a sign, so you knew where to go.  I used my VIP pass and was one of the first people through.  Once it was my turn, I walked up and Stephen and David cleared a path for me.  However, I was looking to stand next to Emily.  :lol:  No offense David.  David said….”none taken….DICK!”  Of course this response caused me to burst into laughter which is evident in the photo itself.  David Ramsey…you sir are a funny man!

I was done.  Photo ops.  Autographs.  Done and done.  Just needed to grab my prints and I was gone.  I went over to the guy and he explained to me that there were about 10 photos ahead of me and it was gonna be 45 minutes before he could have my Ramsey photo printed, which at this point was the only one missing…as throughout the day I found my other prints on the table.  I asked if he could print my cast photo too, but he said he couldnt.  Well…not gonna wait for just the 1.  I doubt my cast photo was even gonna be printed by the time the con closed, let alone by the time I had to leave.  So I figured I would get an early start on the road home.

Goodbye Walker Stalker….you had your highs and your lows.  But your customer service was outstanding and you deserved to be commended for how you handled it.  As a first time Walker Stalker attendee…..I was VERY pleased with my results.  :hellyeah:

Back to the hotel I went, repacked my bags with my con stuff and waited for the shuttle.  Made it to the hotel in plenty of time.  Checked my bag and hit security.  And as always….something has to happen at the airport.  This time though….not something bad.  As I am standing in the security line, a TSA employee comes up to me and asks if I can step out of line.  Not this again? :distraught:I am escorted to this machine, where my hands are swabbed for explosives.  Of course it turns up negative.  I am then taken to a shorter line at security.  I am told I do not have to take my shoes, belt or metal objects off.  I do not have to take my lap top out of the bag either.  I also did not go through the X ray machine, just the metal detector.  I BREEZED through security.  Maybe 5 minutes from the moment I hit the line, swabbed, metal detector and retrieved my bag!  This was awesome!:yes:

I made my way to my concourse, grabbed a bite to eat, charged my phone and waited a good 2 hrs before my flight was boarding.  I made it home safely, even though there was a moment that was a bit frightening.  As they were serving drinks, the plane began to shake and we seem to be losing altitude.  The pilot radioed to the stewardesses to put the cart away and that drinks were now over.  All crew needed to take their seats and buckle in. :EEEEEEK: I dont like the sound of this.  The plane really started to shake and we didnt quite nose dive, but we were definitely moving quickly in a downward motion.  No other information was given, but about 20 minutes later we landed safely.  And just for kicks….there was one more slight scare.  Bags came up at baggage claim and people grabbed them.  Didnt seem like much.  Then the conveyor stopped and a United employee came over and announced that was it and that some of the bags did not make it here.  :smh: My bag is not here???!!  :skipWHAT:  I hear the belt start up back up and few more bags come out and THANK GOD….I see mine come out.  I race over to it like it was a 2 for 1 coupon at the Bunny Ranch.  I snag it and left.

Trips like these arent always gonna be perfect.  The ups come with the downs.  But to really know the overall consensus is to measure them.  Did my positives, whether it be many or few outweigh my negatives, whether they be many or few.  If you can answer yes…..then you are a success.  You got value.  I had fun.  I got value.  I met some cool people.  My trip was a success.  And I was so very blessed that it truly was. :tebowing:

 

 

 

Tom Arnold Harrisburg, PA 2/22/14

I’ll spare you the details, but lets just say my tag team partner DJKnightRida is NOT the best person to take on an espionage mission. Guerrilla warfare? No….not good for that either. I love ya brother….but covert was key for this little adventure.

What started out as a quick pop in and pop out, quickly turned into a mission gone bad….but could have been worse. In fact the last time we are at this spot, the mission went off without a hitch. We came. We parked. We met Chris Kattan. We left. We pooped…..just not together. This aint Sochi. :werd: We conquered. This time….it hit a hitch before entrance. When we first arrived, we thought we were hitting it at the perfect time based on previous experiences. We would soon learn that Tom Arnold was behind by at least 30 mins.

Once we got inside, getting passed the hitch in our step, we made our way to the meet n greet area. There was barely anyone here, as most people were still upstairs enjoying the show. We waited maybe about 10 mins and then Tom came down and immediately started doing photos and autos. He was very frantic. Drug induced? Quite possibly. He couldnt stand still and was bouncing about, proclaiming everyone was gonna get to meet him. He was here for the long haul. Unfortunately, a little disorganization may have been the main cause for his behavior. There were people coming from both sides of him. There are 2 exits from the top level to the middle and he was being surrounded.

DJ and I got through fairly quickly. Tom was ADD ing hardcore, but still managed to sign my SOA poster and two 8x10s. I got a photo op with him as well. With several SOA names added to Chiller, I thought it was a good time to start an SOA poster. Though, I am going against my normal grain as I normally get the main guys first and work my way backwards. But since I dont know when I will have a chance at Jax and there are too many names between Chiller and Monster Mania, I decided it was best to work backwards. So the first name on my SOA poster was a memorable character in Georgie Caruso….p*rn producer and rival of Luann Delaney. Certainly not a big role, but he was a memorable one.

I gathered my stuff and we left the building. We spent more time outside waiting for the show to be over than we spent inside waiting for Tom Arnold. :haeh2: But hey….whatever. The mission was complete and we were victorious. :like:

 

How I Met Your Mother & Gary Clark Jr NYC 2/17/14

Early last week, we had gotten word that there was a possibility of the entire cast for How I Met Your Mother to be up in New York City. Our high of excitement calmed to a mellow gust when we realized that the odds were gonna be slim based on the research we had done. With hopes dashed, we still werent willing to call it dead. DJKnightRida still ensured himself the ability to go….just in case things would change. Well, things changed by mid day Sunday. A little birdie came and whispered in our ear that the 5 main characters of Marshall Erickson played by Jason Segal, Lily Aldrin played by Alyson Hannigan, Ted Mosby played by Josh Radnor, Robin Scherbatsky played by Cobie Smulders and Barney Stinson played by the GREAT Neil Patrick Harris were all in town. This equated into a last minute NYC trip. The challenge now rested in completing my How I Met Your Mother poster in 1 trip. Challenge…..ACCEPTED!

Considering it was President’s Day and the idea that all 5 members would be at the same spot at the same time……we figured on a bigger crowd. So we decided to arrive 2 hours earlier than we would normally for this spot. We got up there and all there wasnt a peep…..not even by a mouse. A few mins later, we got our first peep when were joined by our good friend Lucas! Just goes to show just how beloved this show is by the masses. We were instructed that we would have to wait on a mountain of ice if we wanted autographs. At this point there was a mere 5 of us and unfortunately it wouldnt stay this way.

We definitely made the right choice in arriving early, but the ice mountain wasnt helping. It was slippery. It was high. It was incredibly cold. And worse yet…..we feared HIMYM cast might not want to step up on it considering the dangerous conditions. We did the best to keep the security rail positioned so it would fall over. By the end of the event…..there would be only 1 casualty, but more on that later.

More and more people began to arrive. There was never a major increase at once, but slowly but surely the 5 turned into 25 into 55. 55 might be a bit of an exaggeration. But it was close to 50 people. The fact that we arrived so early and got a prime position would prove to be an extremely wise choice, as the ice hill declined behind our feet and the police were there for crowd control, preventing people to be in the streets. While we waited, we talked about a variety of subjects which included me joking about seeing one of the cast to come walking down the street instead of arriving via limo. :lol: Like that would happen.

Within 2 hours, we had our first guest and it was Jason Segal. We did discuss the possibility of them arrive all at the same time, but thought better of it and were correct. So Segal arrives and starts to head over towards us. The crowd is excited and is screaming for Segal. At this point I look over and across the street….I SPOT NEIL PATRICK HARRIS!!!!!! :likewhatic:AND HE IS WALKING DOWN THE STREET!!!!!! Say what?!?!?! The great NPH is walking down the street. He walks inside the building and is gone before many spot him. A few of us started screaming for him, but he was gone. I turned my attention back to Segal who kindly signed my How I Met Your Mother poster. 2 of the 5 main cast were now on it, as I got Cobie on it back a few months ago. I figured I would worry about autos going in and turn my attention to photos when they came out. But after DJ successfully pulled off a self blast and autos, I reconsidered from there on out.

With Segal inside and NPH inside, we awaited Alyson, Cobie and Radnor. It wasnt long till Radnor arrived and he came right over and started to sign. I got him on my poster, making him 3 of 5 and scored a photo op with a class Smosby pose by Radnor. It was my first real self blast using a camera with no front viewfinder. I think it turned out pretty well….but still despise self blasts especially with a rail in the way. Oh well. cumbo with Radnor complete.

It was at this point that the darnedest thing occurred. I once again spotted Neil Patrick Harris WALKING DOWN THE STREET!!! The same exact street he was on before. I would not be denied. If I had to surrender my rail spot, I was not gonna miss a chance at NPH. Luckily, the crowd began to call for him and he immediately turned his head and smiled and started heading over. He came over and insisted on a strict 1 per person and even personalized it. Well good ol DJ must not have been apart of rules as he became the exception getting 2 DVD covers signed with no personalization. I got my cast poster signed, but not my Dallas Comic Con art print. Neil did see it and said he thought it was cool. But when I asked him to sign it, he said he was doing a strict 1 per. He was kind of enough to pose for a photo…..so I at least scored the cumbo. We joked that it looked like our head belonged with a heart around them like we were 2 love birds!:tongue:

So NPH was inside…for a 2nd time. There was a bit of a wait for our next arrival. It wasnt exactly who we expected nor did anyone actually recognize him at first. Let me explain. So as we are waiting for Cobie and Alyson to arrive, I spot this smoking hot chick wearing a dress that barely covered her ass and some thigh high hooker boots. I comment to Lucas at how hot this chick was. After a few lewd and highly inappropriate comments that got the crowd laughing, I realize that she is actually walking with Gary Clark Jr. I scream out for Gary and he stops to look over. The crowd then begins to call out to him to come over and I ask that he bring the hooker with him. This went over as well as you can expect and Clark ignored the pleas to head inside.

Finally Cobie Smulders arrived. Security wanted her inside, but she promised the crowd she would take care of us after she was done. Ok…not the end of the world. It wasnt too long after her going in that Gary Clark Jr came back out and started walking towards his tour bus. He once again ignored the pleas of fans…..that were not his fans…..and just kept on walking. Most of the crowd left and chased after Gary Clark Jr. I couldnt believe how many people ran after him with blank pieces of photo paper. He refused them all and went onto his bus for what we expect was…..well you know…..reading the bible. Heads out of the gutter. This is a PG report. Who I am kidding? This an R rated motherfucking report! :smirk:

Alyson Hannigan arrived, but since Cobie was ushered in, we expected the same and it was. She also indicated she would come back. So all was not lost. A few minutes later Kevin Spacey arrived, but refused and ignored us all. Amber Heard was last and she took went right inside. Not looking good for the last 2. In addition because of the size of the crowd and people failing to achieve a photo and or auto due to being too far back, some of the fans began retrieving security rails from other parts of the street and setting them up next to the two already there. They didnt want to be shut out and thats what was happening because the police would stop the celebs from going to anyone not behind the rail.

The wait was much longer than we had anticipated. I expected HIMYM crew to come out within an hour, but it was not to be. In fact Gary Clark Jr actually came off the bus and headed back inside with fans chasing after him again and him brushing them off like lint off his leather. I begged the cumbo gods to send me Segal, NPH, Hannigan…anyone right now. Because at this point there couldnt be more than 10 of us waiting at the rail. The prayer was not answered and the crowd returned. Soon thereafter, we had our first exit and it was Jason Segal. He didnt come back over, just waved at the crowd. Soon after that Josh Radnor came out. He too did not come back over, but got in the back of his limo and rolled the window down. He was just a few feet from me and said “bye guys”. The crowd then, in unison, “bye Josh!”. It was a very funny moment!!! Radnor rolled up his window and was off. I was expecting NPH to come out and start walking down the street. I was hoping Hannigan would come out before that so I could complete my cast poster before abandoning my post. Instead Cobie Smulders came out and true to her word came over to sign. She initially was headed for the fake security rail, but was directed towards us first. She hit DJ up first. I had my Captain America 2 poster for her and got her on that, as I didnt have it the last time she was here and I already had her on my cast poster. She went down the line, but somehow skipped Lucas! Lucas failed in his attempt of trying to secure the auto down the opposite side while I held his spot.

NPH? Nope….it was Hannigan. Thank God! She ignored the paparazzi and came right over as promised. She started signing and she completed my poster! She refused to do photo ops, as she was sliding on the ice. As she went down the line, she ended up doing a few photos. I guess the ice wasnt as bad as it was where we were. No photo with….but still had got the all important autograph! Challenge…..COMPLETED!

With Hannigan complete, I could abandon my post when NPH came out and score my other auto I needed. Instead Kevin Spacey came out next and actually came over to sign. He signed for DJ first and then started going away from me. He made his way back and every time he went to sign my photo, someone from over the top of me layed something on top of my photo. It happened 3 times and Spacey was gone. He refused to do photos, but was a signing machine. No reason for people to do that.

NPH? Once again….no. Amber Heard. She looked gorgeous. Thought for sure it wasnt going to happen, but she actually came right over. She came right over to me and grabbed my photo. But I put my Sharpie away as everyone had a Sharpie that was being supplied to them and was using just that. For literally 30 seconds she stood there with people shoving photos at her and not signing cuz she had nothing to sign with. I couldnt even get a photo as it was worse for her than it was for Spacey. Suddenly, like the earth opened up and swallowed her whole, she slid off the ice and literally went face first into the ground, cracking the heel off her shoe. In taking the face bump, she still had my photo in hand, ripping it out of my hand and destroying it. They helped her up and wanted her to leave, but she refused. She wanted to keep signing. What a trooper. A sharpie was handed to her and she began to sign, but my photo was wrecked. I had no item. I tried to get a photo with her, but could never get close to the rail to obtain it. Oh well…it happens. Sucks it had to be Amber Heard though. Felt really bad that she took a damn headed into the ice. Perhaps this will get someone to do something about this damn ice. GET IT OUT OF THERE! Its just a lawsuit ready to happen.

With no NPH in site and Heard’s SUV stopped at the red light, many of us raced down after her. She wouldnt roll the window down though sadly. NPH had not come out, but since I knew where he was staying, I figured I would head over there and try to score there. I arrived and there were about 6 others waiting for him, a few from where we just had come from. Most of them departed with DJ to try for Will Smith, while I stayed behind for NPH. After about 2 hours of waiting….nothing. He must have gone for dinner, as I was able to confirm that he had not returned and had no checked out. The cold, the lack of food and the aching body for standing for the past 7 hours straight did not provide for any power to push on. We called it and decided to grab some delicious Steak N Shake, our regular NYC stop , before heading home. This would also provide us one last opportunity at a score. As we sat and ate the oh so deliciousness of Steak N Shake……..Gary Clark Jr. walked in and made an order. I told DJ and we got up and headed over towards him. At Steak N Shake, you order and then have to wait for your food because its all made fresh. We asked for a photo and Gary was kind of enough to pose for both of us. He asked us about Steak N Shake and said he never had it and what we recommended. It was cool to get this elusive score, considering how many people chased him today. We sat back down and ate and he headed out. Why couldnt it be NPH, I bellowed?

The trip was still a major success. Ups and downs, like they usually are. But the positives far outweighed the negatives…..something Amber Heard cant say. Well…..then again, Amber Heard is going home with Amber Heard. And I guess even with breaking a heel and taking a header off the ice……being Amber Heard outweighs the negatives, the positives, the cumbos and being Neil Patrick Harris. HA! Nothing outweighs being Neil Patrick Harris! :like:

Until my next artic polar vortex adventure, today was nothing short of :victory:

 

Dallas Comic Con – Dallas, Texas – 2/8/14-2/9/14

I really wanted the BIG D….Dallas on my travel schedule this year. C’mon….what else do you think I meant? :cop:

While not exactly last minute, it certainly was not planned all that far in advance either. With a little more than a month in the con, I decided this would be one that I would hit up. My friend Jason, who I met at Toronto’s Fan Expo last year, decided to join me. I got a fantastic deal on a round trip ticket for just a tad bit over $200. The Wingate we booked was also VERY cheap and VERY close to the convention center. So with the travel costs at a min., this trip made a lot of sense.

We originally purchased GA tickets, but when reading more and more about Dallas Comic Con, we learned that VIP was a much better value. $35 GA for Sat and $25 for Sunday was $60 total value and the Funko Pop Exclusive was $15, totalling $75. The VIP pass was a mere $20 more and included 4 autograph line jumps and early admission to the con, ahead of the GA AND priority guaranteed seating in the Q and As. Unfortunately, these tickets sold out almost instantly and we could not buy them. I did spend time trying to find a pair and was very fortunate that the Dallas Comic Con promoters were so over the top friendly with trying to answer questions as quick as possible….even going as far as helping us locate VIP tickets. With a week before the con, Dallas Comic Con contacted me and put me in touch with a con regular who was unable to attend and wanted to sell his VIP tickets. We paid face value for the tickets and we’re very happy to obtain these. These would most definitely be a HUGE help come con time, but more on that later. We figured we would be forced to eat the GA tickets, but once again the promoters for Dallas Comic Con helped us sell off out GA tickets for just under face. So we recovered most of the money we spent on the GA tickets.

With our tickets in place, we flew out the Friday before the Con. We arrived to the BWI in plenty of time. When it came time to board the plane, they scanned my ticket and it beeped and I was asked to step to the side. What the hell was this about? They wouldnt tell me anything, but a minute later reprinted me a boarding pass and told me that the airline moved me. They moved us again, so we could sit together and now we were in the very last row on the plane. We got on the plane and sat down. We could see our old seats were empty, but some chick was sitting in the window seat of the row now. Our seats kind of sucked since the engine was right there and we could barely hear one another. A few minutes later they moved a man to my seat to make some room in his row. So now I was moved from my original seat with no explanation, so that some chick could have the row to herself to have some other guy sit in my seat. :thinking:

Three and half hours later we arrived in Dallas. I went directly to baggage claim, which was a mistake. In Dallas, once you go through the doors to get your bags, you cant get back into the AP….so no getting dinner. I grabbed my bag and it was time to call for the shuttle. One of the reasons we chose this Wingate was because they were providing free shuttle service to and from the hotel, the con and into the city of Dallas. We called the hippo and was informed the shuttle service ended at 8pm. WTF?! Friday and Saturday shuttle service ends at 8pm but Sunday through Thursday it ends at 10:30pm. It was completely ass backwards. In addition, when we booked the h0tel, we explained when we were flying in and out to ensure we would have the shuttle.They confirmed it would not be an issue. Yet….no shuttle. The service at this h0tel was fairly poor. The woman on the phone asked me what I wanted her to do. In the end, we were forced to get a cab and pay for it out of our pockets to get to the hippo. Once we arrived, I asked about places that would deliver and was told only Domino’s would. Ugh. So I passed and went straight to the room. Didnt make it to bed till around 2:30am after unpacking and getting my stuff packed for the con.

With only 2.5hrs of sleep, we were up. First stop was the breakfast buffet downstairs. After no dinner, I was starving. Our shuttle to the con was scheduled to leave at 7am, so we finished quickly and saw the shuttle pull up. We went upstairs to grab our bags and with about 5mins to spare, we came downstairs…….only to find the shuttle was gone. We were told the shuttle took people to the AP. WTF?! We had the shuttle reserved for the convention center. They said it would be about 40 mins before it returned. Again?! Are you serious? So we went back to our rooms and waited for the shuttle. Once the shuttle returned, we headed out to the con. We got there and wasnt too bad. They had 3 lines…VIP, GA and people who needed tickets. Our VIP line had about 50 people in it. Normally Texas was in the 70s, but they just got hammered with snow and it was still cold. They were expecting 60 on that day, but the morning was still pretty cold. Being from PA though….the high 30s wasnt all that bad. But the Texans were freezing their asses off. Some brought giant blankets, kerosene heaters, etc. We waited about an hour and a half before the doors opened for VIP and we got inside. Most VIPers hit the Funko Pop stand to get their Funkos first….we did not. We didnt want to carry them around the con, so we opted to skip it and in doing so, I became the very first person through the doors of the con. I figured there might be a prize as they were giving away free prizes via twitter….but alas, I got nothing. We were taken to the auditorium, as eventhough we were allowed inside, we couldnt get into the con portion until 10am. But at least we got out of the cold. We sat around and 10 came around very quickly. Our first stop was Froggy’s table on the 3rd floor. One of the guests we both purchased photo ops for was Alice Eve. She had cancelled about 2 weeks before the con and we were instructed to stop at their table to get refunds or exchanges. We got to the table and there had to be 200 people in line. I was not gonna stand in this line….I figured I could come back and get a refund later. So we headed to the 4th floor to the autograph section. My first stop was going to be Stephen Amell’s table. He was by FAR the most in demand celebrity at Dallas Comic Con. He was in the main autograph room at the very far end. Only Stephen had a separate table setup before you got to his table that sold autograph tickets. Every other guest, you would just pay at the table they were seated at. The line to purchase autos extended out of the main room, down the hall and into the other autograph room. And to think…..GA still had not been let in. I got into line and the line moved fairly quickly. Took me about 20 minutes till I got to the autograph ticket table. I started with just 2. I wanted to get things signed in paint and figured it would be easier to just get certain items done at certain times to avoid paint blotches. There was no need to use the VIP ticket, as we were all VIPS at this point. I got into line and was immediately met with Dallas Comic Con staff saying no pictures and no video of the celebrity. This is something new I have been running into as of late and its incredibly annoying. Why cant I take pictures of the celeb while I wait in line to get my stuff done? Anyway, I stopped shooting photos and waited till my turn. Since Stephen was a big fan of my Lian Yu Vigilante Training Camp shirt and I promised I would bring him one of his own the next time I saw him….I decided to live up to that promise and do so. In addition, I brought him my best selling design “Hood Up” in both tshirt and hoodie form, as well as a new favorite of mine….Keep Calm And Hood Up, as well as his own personal Hood Up coffee mug for his new line of Nocking Point coffee which is delicious by the way. So if you see him wearing a Hood Up shirt or hoodie, Keep Calm or a Lian Yu shirt or see him drinking coffee from a Hood Up mug…you will know where it came from. :hellyeah:

Stephen was very appreciative of the gift, but didnt have the time to look at it all as his line was ginormous! He did like my original inked drawing by Juan Castro, who did the ink in the Arrow Comic Season 1 series. I was done and Jason and I headed over to the next table. A late add was Jesse Rath, the star of Defiance. He wasnt originally scheduled to be there, but showed up. Jason wanted a photo and went to his table and got one. It didnt turn out well on his cell phone, so I took it on my camera. I was amazed at the number of people who were doing photos at their tables in addition to the Froggy professional photos. I believe the only names who did not do at their table shots were Stephen Amell, Karl Urban and Peter Weller. Eddie McClintock was next. He is best known for his work on a show called Warehouse 13 that I never watched. But I DO know him from the most recent episode of Modern Family, where he played the guy who proposed to his girlfriend at dinner, with Cam and Mitchell at the table next to them. It was a hilarious scene. His photo was only $10 and he was a really nice guy….so I went ahead and got one. After Eddie, it was getting close to my Karl Urban photo op time. I left the main autograph room to head to the escalators to go down 1 floor to photo ops. However, there was a long line blocking the escalators…….we found out that was GA people that had come in and joined the Stephen Amell line. :jawdrop:

I got down to the 3rd floor and found a line that was wrapping all around that floor. I wonder what that was. I asked someone and they told me it was the Karl Urban line. WHAT!?!?!? I get into the end of the line and begin my wait. About 30 mins later, a DCC volunteer walks up and asks if anyone has a Karl Urban photo op ticket. I said I do and they said come with me, that they were on last call. Wait…. :skipWHAT: What line was I in? The volunteer told me it was the line to PURCHASE a Karl Urban photo op. The line had to be 300 or so deep. They would never make it. One guy was so desperate, he asked me as I was walking by with ticket in hand if I wanted to sell it. I paid $45 for it….he asked me how much would I take…..$200. He didnt seem interested, so I marched on. Turns out, he was smart not too…..as Urban agreed to stay longer at the con and they added another photo op session in the evening for him to accomadate the people who would not get him at this session.

So I got into the photo op room and was about 25 back. When it was my turn, I greeted him as Detective Kennex, we snapped the picture and off I went. I asked Froggys how long for the jpeg, because I hear nightmares for turnaround times. They told me no more than 24-48hrs. I’ll believe it when I see it.

I went out and found the Stephen Amell photo op line which was starting in about 15 mins. It was VERY LONG! It was so long….that they started snaking people in a room in order to keep that line away from the line to purchase Amell photo op tickets. For whatever reason, the majority of people did NOT pre order anything and this would spell impending doom in some cases. This line moved at a snail pace though and it took a good 35 mins to get to my turn. While I waited though I spotted a gentlemen who happen to purchase one of my Lian Yu shirts. I went up to him and thank him for the business. I also got a picture with him, as he loved the shirt. He said Stephen even commented to him that he just got one as a present. :celebrate: I was giddy like a school girl. One of the guys standing a few down from us over heard my conversation concerning other items for sale and new designs and asked me for a card. I gave it to him and told him where he could purchase items. He said he loved the designs and was a big Arrow fan. Before the day was out, I gave out all 5 of the cards I had in my wallet to people who wanted to know where they could get the Lian Yu shirt or the Hood Up shirt I was sporting. It was very cool. I got in…got my pic., told Stephen I would be back at his table and left.

Now my photo ops were done and Jason’s werent going to start for another hour. So we hit the artists room on that floor. We kept hearing announcements for free swag in a room, but that stuff is usually junk….so forget it. I got enough junk. We headed into the artists room and started walking around. Some very cool items for sale, but there were 2 tables that caught my eye. First was this guy who was selling all these creative drawn and inked 11×17 mini posters of comic book characters, television shows, anime, and video games. I spotted this fantastic Arrow piece he did with Deathstroke’s head looming in the background and had to have it. He was so reasonably priced too. The place was called Mustap art studio and their work was fantastic! I flipped through and just saw some amazing pieces. They sold for $10 for 1, 2 for $15 or 4 for $20. Jason wanted 2 and I wanted…a lot. But, I figured 2 was good to start and we split the cumbo…paying just $5 a piece for them. I got the Arrow one and a “I Am Legen-Wait For It-Dary” Barney Stinson one. It was so cool!

The next table I was amazed by wasnt as cheap. This was an artist that took blank comic covers and hand drew different super heroes on them. So for instance he had a lot of Walking Dead blanks and drew Walking Dead characters on them. His work was amazing. I asked him if he could do Arrow and he said he could. Oh and for those who dont know what a blank is…..a blank is a white cover with the logos of whatever title that book is on it, but no actual cover art. Its a variant edition of a real comic issue that is specifically used at comic cons for artists to draw whatever they like, creating a unique cover for that book. What really caught my eye was that the artist was willing to add ME to the cover. He could put me and Stephen Amell on the cover shooting arrows or whatever. Now he had me. What a fantastic idea. What a 1 of a kind piece of art I could own. I had to have it. We made the deal. I should have it in 2 weeks.

The time had come for Jason’s photo ops, so I stayed with him as long as I could till I had to head up for Stephen Amell’s Q and A. I wanted to be there extra early to get a front row seat, dead center. I headed up and decided to hit the Stephen Amell autograph line, which was still very large. I went up and decided to use my VIP jump and get my 24×36 poster signed. I would get nothing else done at this point, as it was being signed in paint. He even inscribed it Oliver Queen.

Rolled my poster up and headed to the main ball room. At this point Richard Dreyfus was getting ready to begin his Q and A. I asked the guy outside where the Amell line was and he pointed to a line that was 100 people deep. But the volunteer suggested I just take my VIP pass and attend the Dreyfuss con. He said to get a seat and wait till it was done and when those folks got up to leave, I would be the first person to get a seat. That made a lot of sense. So I went inside and sat and listened. Loved listening to Dreyfus’ stories about his career, but not so much into his political agenda push it turned into. Dreyfuss is very into politics and knows his stuff. Just dont think this was the time nor the place for that. So I tuned him out and waited patiently for Stephen Amell.

Once Dreyfus was done and people were getting up to exit, I immediately headed over, found my seat and sat down. The hall filled quickly and got to the point it was standing room only and people were turned away at the door for his Q and A. Stephen was introduced and the moderator asked if the VIPs minded if the people turned away could come in and sit in the VIP rows, as there were a few empty seats in the VIP section. The crowd said no….but they let them in anyway. I feel bad people were turned away, but at the same point this is what my $20 is paying for. What would happen if a VIPer that was running late wanted to come into the Q and A and was now being told no cuz now there are no seats available due to a GA person sitting in it. But whatever. I had my seat. I videoed the Q and A and it was actually one of the better Q and As I have ever done. Normally these are filled with nonsense questions like boxers or briefs, whats on your ipod, favorite food….etc. But the people who asked questions had some decent questions. I wanted to ask a question, but that line was ridiculous too and people were turned away from questions as well, as they ran out of time. During the Q And A, it was mentioned that Stephen’s photo op line was cut off earlier in the day and about 100 people were turned away with no photo, having to settle for a refund. Ouch! Stephen was even nice enough to take a picture with a little boy who happened to be in that cut off portion of the line. It was also announced that due to the overwhelming demand, Stephen agreed to stay till 7pm so he could finish out his autograph line.

When the Q and A was over, I exited and headed down stairs to see how Jason was coming along. I first decided to stop at the first floor to get Peter Weller and James O’Barr. Got Weller to sign my Robcop 2 Laserdisc which was sadly partially damaged in travel. Then I stopped over at James O’Barr’s table, who has eluded me. Every comic con I goto, he is scheduled and is never there. FINALLY he was there and I got a photo with the creator of my all time favorite movie…The Crow. When I got back to the 3rd floor, I was met with the most hysterical moment of the weekend. During Jason’s photo with Eddie McClintock, some weirdo wandered into the photo op and posed with Jason. Jason had this WTF look on his face, while this other guy had a huge smile. The op was over, the weirdo exited and Jason wanted to know who that guy was and why he was in the photo? He eventually got a retake and grabbed the weirdo’s photo, which was so funny to see. Still dont know who this guy was. Since we were here and the line was dead for photo ops, we decided to get our refunds for the Alice Eve cancellation.

Once we gathered his photos together and I picked up my Urban and Amell ops from earlier, we went back upstairs. I still needed to get Karl Urban and Stephen Amell autos and he wanted to get a few too. He went to do his thing and I went to Urban. I used my 2nd VIP jump and got through the line and got to Karl. Got his auto and he even inscribed it Detective Kennex. When I was done here, I moved to Stephen Amell’s line which had finally shriveled down to nothing. I decided to finish off 2 8x10s and call it a day. I went over and was his last auto. Got 2 items done.

We exited the con and called for the shuttle. It arrived in decent time and we headed back to the ho tel. We hadnt eaten all day, so I bribed the driver to stop at Wendy’s to get us some food. I scored him a Frosty and the dude was happy. We went to the room, ate dinner and got ready for Sunday. Sunday was gonna be a much more casual day. We didnt plan to stay on the con all day…but sometimes plans change.

Sunday came, I didnt feel like getting up early. Skipped breakfast and headed to the con. Doors didnt open till 11am and we arrived around 10. This time we were a good 100 people deep in the VIP line, but it was a little warmer than the day before. We got inside and immediately hit the vendors on the first floor. Checked out all the cool action figures, Funkos, etc. Nothing really jumped out at me, cept the prices were higher than ebay. But, I did come across 2 Stephen Amell Vampire Diaries official Promos. Crazy! Never seen them before and never even saw a high quality image of Stephen as Brady from VD. I grabbed both…my only purchase there. BUT…there was a vendor selling tons of bootleg DVDs. One of those was the elusive Viper television series that I watched. I loved that show! I have never been able to get the entire series. I have tried and tried and no one seems to be able to help. This guy had it…..$100!!!! His highest priced DVD set. :pass: They’re bootlegs. I would have done $50….but not $100.

Jason had a couple of photo ops to do with Froggy’s, so I went to wait in line with him, as he did with me. Unfortunately, today they were not allowing this…so I went and took a seat on the bench. The only thing I was really interested in today was to get that photo with Richard Dreyfuss, if he was doing them at his table. While I waited, I saw people coming out of this room with full size movie posters. Thought maybe they were for sale. What really caught my eye was the new Robocop poster. I found out that was the free swag room. YES! The free swag is actually GOOD STUFF!!!! I stood in this ridiculous line that took forever, but got inside and they allowed you one of each poster. They had some small posters of Wolf Of Wall Street, Robocop, Anchorman 2. I grabbed them. Then they had 2 different Robocop versions, Thor 2, Ride Along, The Furnace, Monsters Inc, Nonstop, Neighbors, Lone Survior, Machete Kills, Delivery Man and more. I couldnt even grab one of each as I couldnt physically hold them all. Worse yet, I had no tube that I could put them. They were selling this nice tube….but it was too big for my suitcase and wouldnt be able to bring them home with me in it. So I rolled them up and was forced to carry them around.

When Jason was done, we headed back to the 4th floor for the autograph rooms. They moved some of the celebs around. I hit up Richard Dreyfus, using my last line jump and got my photo with him. At first he was eating a hot dog and wanted to take a picture with him eating it. I laughed and he tried to swallow it fast before the flash. The first take was him choking on his hot dog. So we retook it and got a better picture. Funny though. I thanked him and was very happy to get a pic with him for a measly $20. Its Richard Dreyfus.

We were done. We called for the shuttle to take us back to the ho tel. They said about 10 mins. No shuttle. We called back. They said any minute. We waited 15. No shuttle. We called again and they said he was already there and picked up and they would send him out again. :distraught: Nearly an hour later…the shuttle finally got us. We got in and got back to the ho tel. All we needed to do was grab our bags, put some of our con stuff in them and we were gone. Well the shuttle driver wanted to leave right then and there for the AP. I explained that we reserved the shuttle for 5pm and he said he had to take other people now. But it was 5pm…this is OUR shuttle. I had had enough BS from this ho tel and the shuttle service and had a minor meltdown. I told the driver that he was nearly an hour late picking us up, which he denied…saying he came and picked people up and we were not there. I told him our hippo was leaving at 6, when it was 7….just to pressure him into staying. He just flat out told us we werent gonna make it in time. I told him thats fine….he can pay for a new ticket to get us home. He finally agreed to give us 10mins to get repacked and in the shuttle. We did and got inside. Got to the AP and figured the worse was behind us.

It wasnt. So I get us checked in and my bag checked. We head for security. I have to take off my belt, shoes….everyone knows the routine. So I discard everything and get into the xray machine. I get out and I am asked to step to the side. Police officers surround me. They show me a picture of my xray that shows a yellow box around my ass. They tell me there is an obstruction in my ass and ask if I have anything on there….like a deformity or growth, etc. :haeh: I explain that I do not. They then ask if I would like to goto a private room or am I ok here? For what?!?!? Oh….. :horrorhart: So I unbutton my pants and begin to drop my drawers when the officer explains that he just needs to pat my buttox down and that I didnt need to take my pants off. So I button my jeans back up. He tells me that he will feel my ass with his hand…..I asked him why cant the female officer do it? He explains that females do females and males do males. I explain this would be less awkward if she did me. Sadly…no luck. Once I had my ass felt up, I was escorted to another station where they swabbed my hands for explosives. They processed the sample and it came back negative. They let me through. But they held up the entire checkpoint during this ordeal.

We grabbed some food at Chillis before getting on board the plane. I wanted to say this was the last hassle….sadly it was not. Once we got on, we found someone sitting in our seats. They announced that this fl ight was COMPLETELY filled and no seats would be available. We then find out that the stewardesses put her in my seat because somehow her ticket was double booked and now they had more people than seats. Dont know how it was resolved, but it took us about 20 minutes and holding up several other people to play musical chairs and get in our seats and to sit down. Even though we didnt have the annoying engine to listen to, this hippo was less enjoyable because the guys in front of us leaned their seats all the way back and I was already having trouble getting my knees in. I couldnt move at all and the in hippo wifi absolutely sucked.

Due to the seat ordeal, the flight took off 30minutes late. We made up some time in the air…but not a whole lot. When we landed, we headed right to the garage and got out of Charm City. I made great time home and couldnt wait to hit the sheets. Sadly for Jason, his drive home was just to begin. 6 hours all the way back to Buffalo he went. But it was worth it. Great trip. LOTS of success. Good memories to take back…even if I didnt get to goto Cowboys stadium and take a leak on Jerry’s World. I’m sure DJ is glad about that!

Jayson Werth DC Auto Show 1/26/14

Thanks to DJKnightRida, I got wind of Jayson Werth being added to the DC Auto Show. This was a NO BRAINER. Werth is my favorite ball player, so making the 2 hour trip to DC was on the agenda. Signings like this can quickly turn from a 1 per to a free for all. I packed accordingly. I printed some of the pictures I took of Werth from 2 years ago at a Nats game, a Nats program and my foul bowl I caught while at the Nats game. All prepared just in case the crowd is light and I can get a few extras done. I also had a couple of extra 8x10s printed of Jayson that I took that I was hoping to grease the wheel for success in obtaining extras, photos, etc.

Well the morning started off slow. I got up late. My navigation system was malfunctioning and my Sirius Satellite subscription’s trial run had ended and now the entire Sirius needed to be reactivated. Bottom line….I was now an hour behind. Unexpected hiccups and the need for gas had put me behind the 8 ball. I wasnt worried though. I still believed the line wouldnt be crazy. I felt like with Werth not being an overly popular player….this might hold some of the crowd off. Being a weekend though….you just never know.

I made it in just under 2 hours. I got valet parking at a local hippo for $9.00 from a website called Parking Panda that allowed me to prepay, save money and guarantee myself a spot. $9 for valet and being just 2 blocks from the Convention Center?! NO BRAINER! I pulled into the hippo, gave my keys to the attendant and walked the 2 blocks to the convention center. LOTS of people were entering at this point. Still undeterred, I pressed on. Went through bag check VERY quickly and then headed for the ticket counter. Oh wait….wait just a second. I saw a sign for the L Street Bridge. Thats where Werth was signing in the convention center. It was straight up the escalators. But I dont see anyone taking a ticket or verifying a bracelet or anything. Could it be? Could Werth really be signing in a spot of the center that is accessible by the entire public without need for admission?! :Amazed:"

I looked at the very long line at ticketing and decided to get in line for a ticket. It was already getting close to 11:30am and I didnt want to be any further back than need be. Moved through this line very quickly, paid for my admission and rode the escalator to the top….where I discovered there was no need to pay for admission. :killme: The good news was that I was 5th in line. Things were looking up. Got my extras. Got my email from a State Farm rep. GUARANTEEING me a photo op with a call to the VP of Marketing, explaining the parameters of the signing….all is good. Dont count chickens….they might all get fried up and served on an english muffin.

I sat around waiting for the signing to start. By 12:30, 1 hr before the signing…..there was but 4 or 5 people behind me. By the time 1:30 is gonna arrive….what? Maybe 50 total. This will be cake. Lots of people brought outside merchandise like I did, but there was a sign posted saying he would only be signing State Farm Trading Cards they supplied. This was not disclosed on the website, however….it was mentioned to me by the State Farm rep I contacted…..hence another reason I brought some photos as a gift for Jayson.

By 1pm…..I dont think there was even 50 in line. This was great. No need to rush the line. However, it wouldnt remain that way. At some point between 1 and 1:30….the line must have tripled. I lost count after 100 and couldnt see how far the line went back. This was now insane. WTF?!?!!? Where did all the people come from? Why would you show up so late to a signing?! Well, just as Werth was announced to have arrived in the building, we were notified that he would sign 1 item for each person…whatever item they would like. :clap: But NO POSED PHOTOS!:distraught:

I explained to the rep about my email and he got his manager. His manager came over and explained the policy. I told him I travelled 3 hours and did my homework to avoid this exact scenario. I contacted State Farm and received a written response that says he would be doing posed photo ops. The manager told me he didnt care who the email was from, it wasnt going to happen and not to even try it. I told him he made everyone in line fill out information to be contacted for an insurance quote to get an autograph. How can I, in good faith, purchase State Farm insurance and believe they will take care of my claims when they cant even make good on their written word concerning a simple photo…..a picture that will take 10 seconds. He explained to me that if he let me, he would have to let everyone. I asked why. Does everyone have an email stating they would get a photo op? No. This world isnt made of equality. There are the privledged and not. He wouldnt budge.

My melt down was beginning. It takes a lot in situations like this to have me melt down, but we were headed this way. I find diplomacy usually can get me better results. I have always been great with sales. But I tried that. I made the pitch and this guy aint buying. Plan B….make a scene. In a loud and clear voice….thanks Uncle Zeb….I made it perfectly clear I was gonna Discount Double Check his ass if I didnt get my photo op. I instructed him a phone call to security would probably be a wise move right now, because I no longer was going to be diplomatic about this. He asked me to calm down. I spoke louder. I told him State Farm as company is NOT WILLING to back their own written word. It was at this point that the manager told me that he needed to get through this line. He asked me to just get my auto now and then go right around to the back of the line to get my photo op. If I made it through…he would take it. Knowing he would be here for 1.5hrs, I figured I could make it through or at least be close enough. In addition, I knew I wasnt gonna get a better resolution right now…..better to save a major melt down for later on. In reality…..I would have bitched, moaned, complained, kick some dirt and might even jump up and down. But its still just a photo op. :shrug:

After the first 2 people went through, I noticed a professional photographer taking people’s pictures and they were now instructing people to turn to the left when they first got there if they wanted a picture with Werth. :jagwtfb: I mean….we are talking no more than 5 minutes from my mini meltdown. Now photos are allowed?! The same manager was standing next to Werth and said he hoped this would be acceptable. Maybe….but not really.

It was my turn and I came right in, put my item on the table, looked up and so did Werth and waited. No picture was being taken. She told me she got it….but I never saw a flash nor did I see her push the button. WTF is going on here?!??!?!? Werth signed my photo and I handed him a packet of 8x10s, telling him I brought him a few shots as a gift that he might like. At this point, 2 security guards surrounded me and told me it was 1 per and that I needed to leave. I told them I only got 1 signed. Werth jumped in and said it was a gift and showed the photos as unsigned. They backed away. :shocked: You’d think I just grabbed the guy’s junk or something! As I was leaving, a man in a suit that I assume was the head of the security detail apologized for the confusion. I let it go and moved quickly to the end of the line.

Well, I wouldnt be at the end for long. The 3 people in front me were all loopers and the people behind me were people looping. EVERYONE was looping. Normally at the WWE signings you get some loopers….not that many though. Some get through and some get kicked out. But this looked like the original first 20 people! I wonder how this would play out.

It only took about 30 minutes to make it back to the front. I got to the front and explained to the manager that I did everything he asked and would like my photo. He said that he still needed to get all these other folks through first. I explained to him that they were all loopers and they all had been through already. He said he couldnt do it and apologized. There wasnt going to be a posed photo. So Plan C. Put the good will I earned earlier with the small token to Werth to my advantage. Jayson, I came 3 hours and you are my favorite ball player. All I really wanted was a photo with you, would you mind. He said no problem. I handed the camera off to the manager and got my photo op. While I am here, might as well get another item done. Reached into my bag and pulled out the foul ball I caught. I handed it to Werth and got him to sign it….on the sweet spot too. I told him the story of how I caught it and he laughed. I had heard others in line complain that he wasnt signing on the sweet spot, so I was very happy to get mine there. 2 autos, 1 photo and I was done.

Very disappointed in State Farm for their bad business practice here. Its a photo graph. The athlete has no issue with it and I cleared it before I came. I could understand if I was just expecting something or if I talked to Bob the insurance guy who has no authorization. But I spoke to the guy in charge of the booth at the auto show, who spoke to the VP of marketing and relayed all the info. He was clear that the only autograph was on the trading card, which was an 8×10 they supplied that was pretty nice by the way, but photo ops would be allowed. Honor your word State Farm. I would NEVER do business with a company like State Farm and yes, because of something like this. Something so small and so simple and you stiffed me….or did your damndest to. Why do I want you for my home and auto insurance carrier? State Farm should be ashamed of themselves.

The major catastrophe was over. I headed out the door and back to the hippo to retrieve my truck and hit the road. I was tired and mentally kind of fried. The day still goes down as a win. Happy with my takes for the day and it was awesome to meet Jayson Werth finally. Actually got me excited for baseball. :smirk:

 

Chris Kattan 2nd St. Comedy Club 1/25/14

Technically this story begins on 1/24/14. What we expected would be a quick 5 minute drive, park, mark out, 5 minute drive back, eat some Denny’s for the “Last Chance For Romance” and goto sleep didnt exactly work out that way. Instead this is the story of high stakes espionage amongst a dangerous cloud of poisonous fumes in the bitter cold of the polar vortex. This is the story of….Mr. Peepers! APPLES!!!! Oh and for those of you reading this and think I’m lying….I promise, high stakes….espionage….dangerous cloud of poisonous fumes and the bitter cold of the polar vortex. Read it now. Believe me later.

So Chris Kattan was doing a double shot at the 2nd St. Comedy Club in Harrisburg, PA. Conveniently this is about 5 minutes from the house. After I finished with my WWE trip, DJKnightRida decided to join me for what we perceived as an easy score on Chris Kattan. We headed over about 20 minutes before his show was scheduled to end. All his shows did sell out ahead of time, so we knew we might be waiting a lil longer than normal. Unfortunately, we were not really expecting temperatures nearing ZERO and certainly with the wind chill taking it below zero (bitter cold of the polar vortex).

We got to the club and waited outside. About 20 minutes later, the club began to let out and we could see people leaving. We started to see people coming out with signed 8x10s. Kattan must be inside signing, unlike Dave Coulier who did not the last time a major comedian was there. So now we would have to wait even longer. More and more folks were coming out, yet no Kattan. What could be taking so long? Never saw a driver or anything that could be anything resembling one come by. It seemed like he might have disappeared into the bitter cold. Or maybe the polar vortex actually swept him up. Whats that dude weigh? 90lbs?

Finally, I decided to stop someone and ask if he was inside still signing. The lady acknowledged he was, but was almost done. Well….almost turned into another 30 minutes before a man came out from the bar underneath the club. The man was on his cell phone yapping at someone on the other end that Chris Kattan was at his table and they were drinking. :smh: DAMN IT!! Kattan must have finished signing, come down to enjoy a brew and probably wasnt going to leave for another or so. Normally, this would be an easy wait….but I wasnt expecting to be out here this long and the cold had already caused my hands to go completely numb. Yes, I had a long winter coat on with gloves. But no hat, face mask, layers, etc. I just figured we would be long gone by this point.

DJ agreed we should pack it in and we decided to head home. No autograph. No photo op. No Denny’s. No romance. It was going home….alone with nothing but inoperable half mast flags due to the cold. :cop: Thats not a cop’s finger.

The next day, I decided to do some intel. I needed to get a name of a manger, so we could sneak into the club and have a backup if caught. Once I had it, I told DJ and we planned to try again. This time, he came to get me at 11:30pm and we made our way over. Parked and headed to the club’s front door. The door opened and a patron walked out. We grabbed the door and went inside (high stakes espionage). Once inside, we located Kattan’s spot on the 2nd floor.

Unfortunately, as we made our way over we encountered clouds of cigarette smoke that burned our lungs (poisonous fumes). Our eyes began to water like Knowshon Moreno in a contract year:sad: . We needed to make quick work of this auto signing. No more than 20 people in front of us, but the line moved incredibly slow. The smoke was making it almost impossible to breath. The only comfort I could find was some drunk slut sitting on the couch with her skirt riding up and pulling a drag off her cig like she was sucking the last drop of cum from my ripe penis. :like:

I mentioned my astute observation to DJ. Unfortunately due to the loud music, I needed to speak up a little louder…which I did. This prompted the man in front of me to leave the line and go sit with the girl, readjusting her skirt and pulling her close to him. :shrug: Whatever….one less in the line now.

Another 10 minutes and we reached the front, after Kattan wrote his number of some chicks hand. I couldnt believe I was standing in front of the real life Jed Mosely from How I Met Your Mother. I asked him if he minded signing a few and he said, just a few. He didnt have time for a stack. No sweat. I pulled out my HIMYM poster and asked him to sign it. He wanted to know who Joe Manganiello was. I guess Corky Romano really did fall of planet earth for a bit. He signed it and then I pulled out 2 8x10s. He said he would only sign 1 and asked me for which one. Before I could answer him, he said he liked the head shot 8×10 and wanted to sign it. I promptly asked him to sign my Mr. Peepers photo that also sported Will Ferrell and The Rock. He signed it and then said he really liked the other and signed that one too. I got a quick photo and I was done. DJ came in, got his item done and a photo and we were quick to exit mini Chernobyl.

We were back in the car and on our way home. No time for Denny’s tonight. I needed to get fast asleep. Needed to be up early Sunday morning to head to DC to meet my favorite baseball player Edg…..err Jayson Werth.

 

WWE Harrisburg, PA 1/24/14

I headed out to the AP all by my lonesome to catch some WWE superstars. My compadre didnt have any pressing needs and decided to take the day off. So I was on my own. I hit the AP in plenty of time. It wasnt too far, easy drive and the place was empty. Looked like I was gonna have free run on my own. That can sometimes backfire, as that means superstars could be walking out while you are worth someone else. More chances to miss people. But it also greatly increases at your chance at getting something and/or enjoying a nice conversation. For today, it wouldnt matter, as 2 other marks joined me not too long after I arrived.

The first person we spotted was Cameron. She was on her own. She came down and we went to approach, but she ended up surprisingly leaving and going outside. She walked across the street to the rental car station. The other 2 marks followed. Cameron went through the glass spinning door and then the other 2 marks. I decided to jump into the spinning glass door, but as the other 2 marks exited and I couldnt get out. The door was motorized and evidently you are not to jump into it mid spin, as you will not come out the other side. I spent at least a whole minute trying to figure out how to escape. I tried pushing both ends, but nothing. I tried banging on the glass, but this place was empty. Cameron was across the street with the 2 marks and I was trapped! :yikes1:

It was not more than a minute when I discovered a button near the top of the door. Seeing no one around and not knowing what to do, I figured I would press the button. It would either spin the door or call security. But either way….I should be able to get out. So I pressed it and indeed, the door spun and I was released from the glass prison. PHEW!!! How embarassing that could have been if Cameron returned and I was trapped in the door. I waited for Cameron to return, but didnt spot her till she was going back out the door. Her car was waiting for her, so I darted out a regular door this time. Got her just in time before she left. Wouldnt have invested so much effort if it wasnt for needing her in the WM 29 program.

There was a lil lull at this point. It was gonna be a good 1.5hrs before the next arrival. So we just hung around for a bit. The 1.5 hr passed so fast, I didnt even realize round 2 and the real kickoff was about to begin. First we spotted Dean Malenko and Jamie Noble. I knew I had nothing for Dean, but I double checked my Noble and indeed I was complete on him. Knowing my luck with Noble and Dean’s history of turning people down, I stayed behind as the other 2 hit them up. Both got cumbos and I was fairly surprised. Good for them. It pays to ask and be turned down vs. sit on the sidelines based on historical assumption. Then Antonio Cesaro came down followed by Naomi. Was headed for Naomi, but at some point she either teleported to our seats or she walked right passed us and sat down back where we were sitting. Cesaro got on his phone and we turned around to find Naomi literally sitting next to my backpack.

I decided to take this opportunity to B line it back to Naomi, but then saw Aksana come down and she started talking to Naomi. I watched and then saw Justin Gabriel, Cody Rhodes, Alexander Rusev, Epico and finally Summer Rae. Since Cody was just standing around, I hit him up first. Needed him in WM 29, so it was important I nail down Cody. Cody was as cool as usual and signed my program. I turned to find Cesaro off the phone but was engaged in coversation with Rusev and Summer Rae, who by the way…..I was under the impression it was Emma.

I neglected to mention when she came down she had a big knit hat, scarf and winter coat. I could see a beautiful blonde, but it looked like Emma and not Summer. More on this later. Anyway…..since Cesaro, Rusev and Fake Emma were all engaged in conversation, I decided to head towards Naomi and Aksana. Both were up and Naomi looked like she was leaving. I picked up the pace, blowing by Aksana and called out Namoi. No response. I picked up the pace again and got right next to her. I called her name out. She stopped and I asked for an autogr…..OH MY GOD!!! :EEEEEEK: She shrieked. I thought I did it this time. I just upset Naomi. Instead she finished her “oh my God” with “DAMN you smell deliscious. MMMMM!” :ohyeah: She signed my program, all the while taking faint sniffs in the air. I told her it was Ed Hardy “Skull N Bones”. She approved and I thanked her. She took off. Sadly, she signed part of her signature on my tab that was used to keep the page open. Oh well. I have a half Naomi auto on the page and half on tab. No biggie.

I decided to make my way back to Cesaro, Rusev and fake Emma. They were still talking. I started to fear that when their bags appeared they would all get up and jet. I turned and saw Justin Gabriel and decided to get a picture with him, as I cant even remember the last time I did get a photo with him….if ever. So might as well make good on the opportunity. I also noticed that Epico had his hoodie pulled up and was standing far away from everyone else. Either he was incognito or was busy. So I left him be.

Still waiting on Rusev, Cesaro and fake Emma. Cesaro was up first. He grabbed his bag, but continued to talk. Still not the right time. But I stood waiting, as I figured he was going out the door any second. Instead, he sat back down. Oh no. They are all gonna jet at the same. But I caught a break. Rusev got up, got his bag, said goodbye and went right up to him. Had my NXT program with me and got him to sign it. Strange auto. Dont think he is going by Alexander Rusev anymore. Looked like the auto read Rock Key. :thinking:

Fake Emma was up next and got her bag. I went up to her and she was super nice. I asked her for her auto in my NXT program, but dropped it and it hit the floor. She bent down to get it. This would be a sign from God to help avoid me making the identity blunder. She opened it up and went right to her page and said, she already signed it. I looked down and saw the Summer Rae page and said “No thats Sum…….something. I’m stupid. Sorry.” It clicked. This is Summer Rae and not Emma. I avoided the embarassment, but still. I felt like Jim Ross. Maybe not exactly like Ross, as Ross would blame Summer Rae for having the same hair color as Emma….passing the buck onto someone else.

Anyway, Summer loved my Fandango shirt and told me that he was on the next incoming. She said to mention the shirt, he’ll love that I wore it. Cool! Fandango was my top want for today. So this was good news. I love when wrestlers help me mark out!!! :clap: Cesaro was just sitting there now, as everyone else was leaving. He must be waiting for someone. I went over and got my WWE program signed. I got to chit chat with him, which was cool. We talked about Hero’s release, but he was really happy for Chris saying that Chris is happy touring the world again. As I write this, I am now remembering I had a more PRESSING need for him. I have Kings of Wrestling 8×10, I needed him on. DAMN!!!! :angry14: I am legit ticked at myself. So fucking stupid.

After I finished with Cesaro, I moved over to Aksana. She wouldnt do photos, but was happy to sign. I had nothing for her, so I moved on. Cesaro was still sitting and waiting, Epico was hiding and the next crop came down. Heath Slater, Kofi Kingston, Primo. Now I got what Epico was doing. Hit Slater up first and then moved to Kofi. Wanted a group photo with Primo and Epico, so had to wait till they were together. Went up to Kofi and he was with a man who flew in from Ghana. The man was practically crying and thanking Kofi for representing Ghana. He asked when was the last time Kofi was there and Kofi said over 20 years ago. The man wanted Kofi to go home. We waited patiently as the man and his wife fumbled over their iPhone. After the 5th photo attempt, Kofi came over and signed for me and took a picture with me. The man from Ghana followed Kofi and got a 6 photo with Kofi. Kofi took it all in stride.

Epico and Primo were getting ready to leave, so we hit them up and I got a dual photo op with them. Came out a tad weird, but whatever. I momentarily became concerned as there was no Fandango and this was the one that Summer Rae said he would be on. Hmmmm….worries were quickly put to rest as he made his way down. He hit the can first and we waited till he came out. As of late, I have heard that Fandango hasnt been as nice as he once was. I even heard last week he teed off on a fan that most know. The other 2 marks heard the same and didnt want to approach. Well…we know how I am. So I’ll be the one to ask. I needed him in WM 29 and I am a big Fandango fan. I love how he took such a shitty gimmick and made it awesome. I have to applaud this. He may be stuck in mid card hell, but he is still getting pops for a heel. I wish him nothing but the best in his WWE career.

Ok, so back on topic. I started walking towards him. He quickly turned around. We expected a tongue lashing, but instead he turned and told me “nice shirt”. SWEET! I asked him for an autograph and photo and cumbo was achieved! :yes: Unfortunately, the photo taken looked like we were “men who did not want their identity revealed” on an episode of Dateline. So we retook it and the same and again and the same. Finally, Fandango and I danced over to the left and got a good shot. See what I did there? :shrug:

The last person to arrive was Jack Swagger. He went over to Fandango. We guessed he was who Cesaro was waiting for, but Cesaro was gone so….perhaps not. Swagger went to the head and returned 15mins later. Went right up to him and he was cool. I got a photo with him….but no auto was needed. I couldnt believe I had nothing for Swagger, as there was a time I had 6 or 7 for him. Crazy how times change.

That was it by my calculations. I packed my stuff up and decided to call it a day. Well valued trip. Got some autos. Got some photos. Met Fandango for the first time and had a chat with Cesaro. Not much time or money invested and got strong value out of it. Its a win and I’ll take it. Great way to get 2014 started!

 

NYC Anchorman 2 Premiere & Ethan Hawke

The band is back! And sadly, this was probably about the most exciting part of this report. Alright, alright. Thats an exaggeration….but not a giant one. DJKnightRida is a big Anchorman and especially Steve Carrell fan. So he has been planning on a NYC trip during this week to hit Anchorman cast up. Numerous media events should provide for ample opportunities. Me? Not a fan of Anchorman. Find the movie to be OBNOXIOUS! I find Ferrell to be OBNOXIOUS. I felt he was the lone reason that The Other Guys sucked. The only movie I found him remotely funny in was Old School….simply for the fact that his role was smaller and his scenes didnt take up too much screen time. Outside the 40 Year Old Virgin….dont care for Steve Carrell all that much. David Kochner was funny in Waiting and I do find Paul Rudd to be pretty damn hilarious in numerous roles like I Love You Man, Role Models, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and of course is stint on Friends. But the name I was most interested in…..James Marsden. Oh yes….Cyclops aka Scott Summers, one of my all time favorite X-Men next to Gambit. Hell you could call him 1A in X-Men lore. My fandom for Cyclops has only expounded following AVX and into Uncanny X-Men. Love where the direction this character has taken.

Anyway, the story begins following the big snow fall from Saturday. Sunday was looking pretty clear, just a bitter wind to contend with. I like the cold, so I figured a long sleeve tshirt, parka jacket, gloves and hand warmers would be sufficient. I was wrong. :cmonreally: But more on that later. We headed to NYC and made really good time. But this trip doesnt start with a happy tale and doesnt end in one either. When we reached Secaucus Junction, I realized that my stomach was a curdling. And what did Coach always tell me….”make sure you take a pre game dump.” Coach was right. So I hit the restroom before we boarded the train. With the Giants game, the bathroom was fairly crowded. A stall opened and jumped at the chance to squat. Took my coat off, hung my backpack and sat down. Ho hum, ho hum….I’ll spare you the details. Then I went to reach for the TP and realized I was in a predicament. THERE WAS NONE!!!!! :EEEEEEK: Ok…dont panic. Lets improvise. I’ll just use those toilet seat protectors. I reached up and it was empty. No seat protectors. I was in the stall from hell!!!! So I decided to knock on the stall next to me. Surely the man next to me could spare a few sheets, right? I looked under the stall and realized it was empty. Cold, dark and afraid…..I was alone. I had but one last shot….call DJ. Sitting on the throne, I reached out and touched someone. I dropped the 911 in my text so he would know this is no joke. DJ came to my rescue, securing a few squares from an empty stall. Disaster….sort of avoided.

Now that my ass was wiped and my cold sweat subsiding…..we got onto the train. Our first stop was the spot for Ethan Hawke, John Glover and Jeff Goldblum. Because of the incident from above, we lost some time and sadly arrived a bit late to capture a whole lot. Instead, I ran into a rent a cop on a fucking power trip. I decided to charge my phone in an open outlet and the rent a cop decided to have a shit fit. He told me I couldnt do that and I quickly unplugged it and put it away. Instead of that being it, he decided to go off on some tangent that I couldnt understand. First because he was standing so far away from me and second because his English sounded like he had a dick in his mouth. He then decided to eject us and make us stand on the street. No biggie. We waited outside and we were about to call it a failure but then Ethan Hawke came up. He was with some woman and a kid, but I decided to approach anyway. Ethan said he would be right back and would take care of us. A few minutes later, true to his word, Ethan returned and signed 2 photos for me and took another picture with me. Two meets and two great experiences with him. Nice guy.

After Hawke, we gave it just a few more minutes before calling it and heading out to get some food. Once lunch was done, we were on our way to spot #2 for the Anchorman Premiere. We were plenty early, but in this case it wouldnt make any difference. This place was a clusterfuck! No barricades setup and no one knew where fans could wait. Found the paparazzi were all single file across the street which I found odd. It was a good hour before we found another mark. The single file line was actually used to lead the photogs into the tent for the red carpet. We decided to wait there, as it seemed to be good as any other place. This event just turned into a mad house. What started as 2 and became 3 became 10 became 20 became 30 people. We all stayed across the street and as an SUV arrived….everyone went into the street blocking traffic trying to find out who arrived, followed by getting an auto or just going back. It was a constant race across the street. Clearly Paramount, security, etc had no clue how to handle this or were not even expecting anyone to show up seeking autos.

The first major name to arrive was Will Ferrell. Ferrell got out and ignored everyone and started to head inside. DJ and I ran to the corner, near the door with our items out. Ferrell stopped and signed for both of us and 3 others were able to get their items done before Will went inside. Ferrell said nothing and made no eye contact. The next major name to arrive was James Marsden. This was my #1 want. I raced across the street and got right by the door of his SUV. He climbed out, followed by his wife and 2 young children. I think traffic held most of the crowd back, as they werent near me. It was me, another guy and Dan. I asked James for a quick autograph. He first didnt acknowledge me and seemed to be moving along. He then turned and saw my Cyclops photo and grabbed me Sharpie and signed it. He looked at the guy next to me and his Anchorman photo, skipped him and went to DJ, signing his X-Men DVD sleeve. He walked back over to me, handed me my Sharpie and went inside as the rest of the crowd finally made their way and was shut out. Interesting turn of events. Obviously, I was stoked to at least get the autograph….no way was a photo happening here. Paul Rudd arrived next, but no one could get near him and he was inside before anyone could get an item anywhere near him. He didnt look like he was gonna be signing anyway. David Kochenner was next. Kochnener got out on the wrong side of the SUV and thus got mobbed. He signed my Anchorman 2 photo and signed a few more. I saw some folks were getting some shitty self blasts. He wasnt stopping and just kept moving. Cant imagine anything turned out decently. Christina Applegate arrived, but because of traffic and another SUV that had pulled up….no one got anywhere near her and she went right inside. Finally, Steve Carrell arrived. He got out and immediately ran inside. He wanted no part of this crowd and wouldnt even wave his hand or anything.

Almost everyone was in, so we decided to try and figure out our exit strategy. While walking around, the wind got colder and the chills got stronger, DJ insisted he saw the kid from Six Sense. Maybe he did, maybe he didnt. I couldnt tell nor would did I even know what he looks like now. He seemed to be headed for the premiere dressed in a tux. We ended up waiting outside for a good number of hours, constantly debating on our strategy before we locked down the exit location. It was all for not though. From what I could tell this was gonna be a complete disaster the way it was setup and it was. Not a single person signed or took a picture for the 5 fans waiting. And only Paul Rudd even acknowledged us by waving.

Our night had come to an end….at least the marking out portion. We decided to close out at the Steak N Shake, which was delicious, even if I did get hosed out of a pattie of beef. My double pattie of beef was missing a pattie. At the time I didnt realize it, but would confirm my suspicions the next day. And we also ran into this guy :mooch: While our marking out portion had ended, our night was only beginning…..

We took the train back to Secaucus and went to check into my favorite Red Roof. Anyone who has read my reports in past, knows why I love this Red Roof. I made our reservation using booking.com to secure a lower rate. We headed over and I went inside to check us in with the night manager. I got there and they couldnt find my reservation. So I showed him my confirmation via email. He used the confirmation code, but insisted it wasnt showing up. I asked since Red Roof doesnt charge till after you check out, if he could just get me a room and we could sort it out in the morning. He said he couldnt do that. I asked him to just match the rate and he couldnt do that either. I asked him what his rate was and it was like $40 more.:facepalm2: In peculiar fashion, he then asked if I had a can of food with me. Huh? He said if I had a can of soup with me, he would take 20% off my bill. :wtfamIreading: I told him I didnt and he asked if I had any food with me. I said no but I could fetch something out of the vending machine. He said that wasnt enough and instructed me to drive to a convenience store a half a mile down the road to get some. If I come back with a can of soup, I would get 20% off. If I came back with a pizza…..30% off. Ok…the latter aint true. So I walked out and went to tell DJ what the situation was. He looked at me like I was on crack and thought I was fucking with him since we were both beat tired. The night manager then ran out the door and screamed….”Chicken Soup, if you can.”. :thinking:

Off to the convenience store we went. We got there, grabbed a can of chicken soup and headed back. Went back inside with the can and finally got checked in. The final rate ended up being about $4 cheaper than booking…but still. I handed over the can of soup and the night manager said “he was so hungry…..errr it was going to feed the hungry.” :saswhat: After I grabbed a shower, I was half contemplating going back down to the front desk but was afraid I would find a dirty bowl and spoon sitting there. :rofl:

On day 2 of this trip….our success rate fell. We stopped off at a spot in hopes of getting James Spader. Sadly, after about an hour or so….we found out Spader wasnt there today. Not to mention that the cold from last night had gotten significantly worse. It had gotten so bad, my face was starting to hurt. Like I said…I like cold weather. But it seriously had to be below 20 degrees and with the wind, perhaps below zero. We marched off to the next spot for Will Ferrell and Jameis Winston. Ferrell arrived SUPER early and with only 3 marks outside….he ignored them and went inside. Yeah…them. I couldnt take the cold and decided to go and get some lunch and figured I would wait only during prime hours with DJ holding my spot. When I returned, DJ had gotten a photo with Joy Williams. Soon thereafter, Chris Cornell arrived and ignored all 10 of us. A few minutes later he actually came back out and started to sign. He refused to sign any blank paper and only did photos or cd sleeves. DJ scored a photo op, but when it was my turn Cornell was done and walked off. :sleeping: No biggie. My last hope was Jameis Winston. With the whole college football autograph scandal , I kind of felt autos might not happen. But there is but 10 of us here….a photo shouldnt be too much to ask for from a kid who is riding high from his Heisman win. Well…I guess it was too much to ask for. Because he didnt even wave hi to acknowledge us at all. He just marched his sexual assaulting ass right inside.:killme:

I was done. I went back to the restaurant to get warm. Between the failures and the cold, my day was done. DJ wanted to return, so he did while I stayed in the warmth of the restarurant awaiting his return. When DJ returned, he had icicles hanging from his beard and his teeth chattered like an epileptic seizure. He was either cold or he contracted Parkinson’s. He returned with nothing more than he left with. Ferrell, Winston, etc….all ignored the few people and left.

We originally planned to hit 1 other spot but decided against it due to the weather. It was just too cold and we were too tired. We headed back to Secaucus so we could begin our trek home. A few successes met with several failures, made this trip less than stellar. Compound it with the incident in the bathroom, the bitter, bitter cold, power tripping security guards and a night manager who was desperate for some mmmmm…..good.

 

Evolution Book Signing W/Joe Manganiello Philadelphia, PA 12/9/13

With my tag team partner sidelined again due to the holiday season, I was riding solo to Philadelphia, PA for my 2nd Evolution book signing for Evolution. For those of you who read my previous report, I was able to get a wonderful photo op with Joe Manganiello, in part b/c I promise to attend the Philly signing to get it signed. I was looking forward to getting this photo signed since I got it, but with a pending snow storm brewing I definitely had a small hint of worry. Of course that small hint because a lil larger when it was announced that the book signing after my NYC one was cancelled due to weather with no makeup date. :thatsnasty:

I hoped the weather would stay clear, but anyone watching the Detroit Lions battle the Philadelphia Eagles game, which BTW was fun to watch on tv, saw just how bad the weather was. My level of worry once again….increased. When Monday morning came, the worse end of the storm was gone and it seemed fairly clear. I decided to call the bookstore in the morning to confirm it was still on. Uh oh! No answer. I called again….no answer. No answer and no answering machine. This was not good. A Barnes & Noble that isnt picking up their phone? I decided to do a little more googling and came across another number that was supposed to be a direct line to a manager or something. I called that instead and got an answer right away and confirmed the signing was a go! :like: The lady on the other end was even nice enough to put aside a copy for me b/c I was driving 2 hrs to get there and wanted to ensure myself a spot in line.

I got down to Philly in great time. However, I also got in during rush hour traffic. I will spare the details of this horrendous experience, but lets just say I sat at a light for so long and traffic was so bad….it changed 3 times and not 1 car advanced through. :angry14: I truly, truly, TRULY hate city traffic. In addition, I made a mistake in not getting my photo printed before hitting the city. For some reason, I thought it was best to hit the Walgreens that was a few blocks from the signing. Sadly, I left the address at home and thought I could just use the POI function on my navigation system to get me there. I tried the first Walgreens and when I got to the address…..no Walgreens. I tried a second and met the same fate. Then as I gave up on Walgreens and opted to hit the Rite Aide near by, I drove past a Walgreens. No parking lot and no garage in site…..I skipped it and hit the Rite Aide. I have had just 1 Rite Aide print me a decent photo. And after this one….I still have just the one. The photo could have been printed worse. But you can clearly see an over saturation of color and printer heads are definitely a little off alignment. Definitely could have been worse. But I am picky about my pics and having them printed.

I got the garage near the book store, parked and walked over. I grabbed 2 copies of Evolution, as I had several extras I wanted done. Two were must haves and 2 were “not gonna buy another book” to get done. The signing was scheduled to start at 6pm, but Joe arrived about 20mins early. Interesting setup, as they did the signing right in the main aisle of the book store near the front door. There were no more than 100 people there. While standing in line, a few people were impressed with my photo op with Joe and it led into a conversation about his book. They didnt know they needed to buy a book in order to get an autograph/photo. Once I said something, about 5 people just left the line and went home. :smh:

The line moved VERY quickly. I am gonna estimate a total of 110 people and tonight he was scheduled for 2 hours of signing. I guess he was signing longer since he was not doing the Q and A like he did in NYC. The book store staff was very friendly and easy going. They allowed over the table photos and extras to be done. They never rushed anyone and they even allowed someone who didnt buy a book to get their True Blood DVD signed. This kind of sucked, since I bought 2 books…but oh well.

I got to the front of the line and it was but 6:10. I took my time this time, as there was almost no one behind me and I was not in a personal pressure cooker to obtain a photo op in the previous Nazi enviroment. Joe was glad I made it out again, signed both my books and then signed all my 8x10s and my How I Met Your Mother poster. I also got 2 photos with him, as the book store staff member said to do one more. Hmmm :thinking: These over the table werent bad, as the table was very slim and he wasnt elevated on a stage or anything. We chatted about the Pittsburgh game from the day before, as well as all the crazy 1pm games that went down. He asked me what games I watched and what I thought of each, which was very cool. We then moved the conversation to HIMYM. I asked him about his return last season and he told me how much fun it was and how much he loved that show. You can tell he is very thankful for that opportunity. He even recited the “slow burner” line from Season 8. We then talked about True Blood. Joe was very cool and honest about his thoughts on last season and the upcoming season. I love when a celebrity is willing to be open and honest, even if its not all “sunshine and puppy dogs.” I was also VERY impressed with his knowledge about the show, his character, other characters, etc. You could really tell he knows his True Blood history. In addition, it was cool to listen to some ideas he had for his character and just how much he loves playing Alcide and how much he is gonna miss everyone after next season. We talked about characters we like and dislike and even talked about the shocking end last season when Northman goes up in flames. His eyes lit up at it…showing he was as shocked as I was. Finally, I mentioned to him I had been a fan of his a long time and that the first time I met him was in Philly at the Behind Enemy Lines DVD signing with Mr. Anderson. He thanked me for all the support and was just a super cool guy. Very nice of the book store to not rush anyone through as there was really no need. That and the fact that no one in front of me really wanted anything but a picture with him and their book signed. Smooth, easy going signing….great guest!

Loaded the truck back up and headed home after another successful meet. 2 hours back home and the Bears/Cowpokes game to keep me company on the radio and the comforting thought of another December collapse by the Cowpokes. :sad: :winning:

 

NYC Lone Survivor Premiere & Joe Manganiello Book Signing Union Square

With my normal tag team partner unable to join me due to work obligations, I ventured out into the Big Apple on my own. I even did something, I swore I would never do….but more on that later. My original plan for this trip was the Joe Manganiello book signing for his new workout book, Evolution. At the time I made this plan, there was but 2 signings announced with this Union Square one being the closest. A week or so later, other signings began popping up like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, both either same distance or closer to me. But, I decided to continue with the Union Square signing, as I was desperate for a photo op. That photo op to be coupled with the Philly signing gave me a whole new plan….to get said photo op signed. But then by a stroke a luck just a week before the signing, I got wind that I would have opportunities at Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch, Peter Berg and….TAYLOR KITSCH! Anyone who knows me that Taylor Kitsch has been one that has eluded me for quite some time. It started with the Wizard World disaster some years ago, where he was added as a guest along with William DaFoe and by the time the con came, all the big names had been removed including Kitsch and DaFoe. This spot was expected to gather quite the large crowd, so I opted to pass on bringing my Kitsch poster and my Star Trek poster thats already been signed by Quinto and Urban with this spot presenting a possible opportunity at Eric Bana who played Nero. So I convinced myself…no posters. I would later regret that decision…but more on that later.

Now where was I? Oh yeah…..my stroke of luck. So yes, a 2nd spot had come about with an opportunity of a lifetime. Not to mention that Kitsch, Manganiello, Wahlberg….they would be numbers 1, 4 and 5 of my “Want To Meet But Never Have Before” list. So this was truly an opportunity I needed to take full advantage of. I said to myself, if I come away with nothing more than a photo with Kitsch…I’m happy. If I come away with nothing more than a photo with Manganiello…..I’m happy. If I come away with nothing more than a photo with Wahlberg….I’m…..meh. Alright, I’m not gonna be happy, but it will still be a decent day. And we all know I dont consider over the table shots as acceptable photo ops. I am talking STANDING photo op, or at the very least sitting next to in Manganiello’s case.

I’ve begun to set the table. I got the glasses out, the plates, a nice floral arrangement, candles and music….but no utensils. And by utensils, I am metaphorically speaking of 8x10s. Once I had ruled out getting my Kitsch poster signed, I decided to get the same image printed as an 8×10. I placed my order through adoramapix. It said that I would receive my photos by Dec. 2. Great! The day before I need them…no sweat. Well come Dec. 2, I had no photos. I went online to check the tracking number and it told me that it was not scheduled for delivery till end of business Dec. 3. :angry14: This just wasnt gonna work. The other strange thing was there was no details on where my package was. I called UPS and was told that my package was never scanned and more than likely that the photos had a shipping label purchased but never got into UPS hands. Now I’m steaming! Adoramapix was closed at this point and I am leaving the next morning. I decided to reroute my package to my local Hub. Just in case it wasnt scanned by UPS, I could check in the morning and see if it arrived and if it did….I could grab it at the hub. They also let me know that I would be charged $6 if they happen to reroute it. More good news? :smh:

Utensils. I loaded photos on a flashdrive JUST IN CASE UPS fails. Packed the black beast and double checked ups.com. PEACE AND LOVE!!!! The hub has my package. I scurried over and got my package AND they forgot to charge me the $6 for the reroute, which I thought was a scam anyway. $6 for me to come get the package from you, instead of YOU doing what you were already paid to do and deliver to me?!?!?! :dislike:

So now the plates, candles, music, glasses, placemats and UTENSILS were all there and the table was set! Off to New York City!!! Made good time and decided to hit Barnes & Noble first to ensure I got my book. Cant be getting shut out at both spots. Since I take the NJ Transit, I came up street level at Penn Station. I decided to walk to Union Square. I definitely miscalculated the number of blocks or just how far away Penn Station is to Union Square, so it ended up being a little more of a hike than I expected. But the weather was good. I got there and got all the details on the signing, start times, end times, etc. I purchased my book and left. I decided to scope out the place in case photo ops became a problem. I was warned the night before that the Union Square Barnes & Noble has a STRICT no photos policy. I scouted out the landscape and started putting Plan B together…just in case.

My next stop was spot 2. This was NOT gonna be walkable. And anyone that knows me, knows I dont know the subway system in NYC and I dont want to try and learn it. I’m good with the cab. I flagged down a cab and told the driver where I wanted to go. He told me no and drove away. WTF?!?!!? :skipWHAT: This has happened before. I assume certain drivers like to stay in certain quadrants and dont want to venture out or they know some areas have heavy traffic at that time and dont want to go. But still. C’mon! A few mins later another cab came by and I got my ride. We definitely hit some traffic, but it wasnt too, too bad. $20 later and I had arrived. I was hoping I could get myself a relatively good spot cuz I arrived a little later that I had wanted. What I found was I was the first person to arrive. Now before I throw up the YES! YES! YES! …..that sometimes can equal something bad. But in this case, it just meant I arrived early….WAY too early. After about 20 mins though, someone else joined me. A fellow grapher/collector. We started chatting and found out we are both huge Friday Night Lights fans and he even brought a replica Panthers helmet for Peter Berg to sign. This dude knew his stuff and had gotten just about every big name from the show. Riggins, 6, Landry, Saracen, Julie, Coach, Tammy, Tyra, Lyla, etc. Nice guy. It would be a good hour before a 3rd person would join us. This was kind of weird. I was expecting a crowd of 100+, especially considering the high quality names. By the time the first name appeared, there was 13 of us. By the time the first BIG name appeared, there was 10. Crazy! I had done my research. Looked up youtube videos from this spot before and saw hundreds and for smaller names. This time….13. I could have EASILY gotten my poster done. :facepalm:

The first decent name to arrive was Emile Hirsch. I had nothing for him, so I just got a photo op with him. Really nice guy and gave out some decent autographs. So we were off to a decent start. The next name we see is Eric Bana. Eric gets out of his car and goes right inside, ignoring the small crowd. Next was Larry David, creator of Seinfeld. He also ignored us and went inside. :pained: Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20….also ignored us and went inside. A pattern is brewing. There are only 10 of us left…..c’mon! Out of no where, we spot Mark Wahlberg just walking down the street…with his little kid. We call out to him. He stops, apologizes and says he owes us 1 and to remind him next time we see him and he will take care of us. He said his wife wasnt with him on this trip and he had the lil one. Nice guy. Didnt owe an apology…but still, another loss.

And then….Taylor Kitsch arrived. This was it. Please dont fail me now! We called out and Kitsch came right over. He was signing and taking photos and really taking his time with everyone. I got my 8×10 signed and photo op and told him I was a big fan. It was awesome! Bagged #1!! :yes: At this point, I was noticing the time was getting late. My book signing started at 7pm and its now 7:10pm. I wanted to be at the end of line anyway, but I dont want to miss it altogether. They expected 1 hour is how long it would last. I decided to give this spot 5 more minutes for hopes of getting Peter Berg, director of Friday Night Lights and Battleship. And sure enough, a minute later, Berg arrived. He gets out and I call out to him for a photo op. He said sure and comes right over. I have my camera, but my friend from earlier has his Panthers helmet and now has caught the attention of Peter Berg. Berg loves the helmet and signs it for the guy, who is standing next to me. I ask him for the photo op and he goes the other way and poses for the guy on the other end of the helmet guy. And then….HE WALKS AWAY!! I’m left stranded. I call back out, but its useless….he goes inside. :smh:

With no time to dwell, I pack up and head out. Now while shooting the shit during the downtime, I had asked about the best street to catch a cab to go back to the book store. I’m told its a bad idea cuz I’ll never make it due to other events in the city and traffic being bad. I’m told to take the subway. I explain my concern and the guy shows me an app on my phone that makes it as simple as a pimple. I am amazed! SO here I go! I’m gonna ride the subway…by myself using the map app/public transportation. I walk over to the subway, buy my toll and get on the subway. And sure enough…..I pop up across the street from the book store in about 20mins. Its now 7:45pm and I have made it. I head inside and to the 4th floor. Here I find only about half the people have gotten their book signed and it looks like I am VERY early. I take my spot at the end of the line. My single focus is getting my photo op. I’ve got my Alcide shirt on, got my sob story of my 4hr drive, growing up in the same area he did and this is my birthday trip, which was actually 3 days before this trip…but still close enough. It took about a half hour to get to the last row. Then we got into line, with me being last….sort of.

Evidently, as I got into line, 2 people came up and got behind me. Hmmm…..this isnt gonna work. I want to be last to best ensure my chances at a photo op. I exit the line and get behind them. At this point, about 8 people get behind me. What is going on?! The people behind me all begin to argue who is going to be last and its getting heated. Oh no….they all must have the same idea as me. I’m screwed. This will never work now. Ok…emergency plan C. I will ask for the photo op after the signing and I already saw his SUV waiting out front, so that will be plan C.

Finally, its my turn and Joe is super cool. I saw him spend several minutes with different fans and I also saw him do 1 or 2 over the table photos. Sadly, I also saw the Barnes & Noble employee stopping photos and even so much as placing her hand over the lens to stop a photo from happening. I can understand if they are trying to rush you through like caddle….but how about you stop the 5minute conversations and let the photos happen?! That makes no sense. If the celeb is cool, why be bitchy about photos?! Anyway….I get up there and say hello. He loved my shirt. I told him I had it custom made for this event in hopes of getting a photo with him. He signed my book and my 8×10. I told him I grew up in Mars, PA and he said he knew where that was and that I came 4hrs….etc, etc. He was amazed I would travel so far to meet him. I then asked him if there way any possible way I could get a photo with him cuz thats really wall I wanted since this was my birthday trip. He looked up to the Barnes employee and said….”can we add him?” She said they really need to get going and cant. Joe explained I came from a far distance, had the shirt, birthday…he was selling her. She agreed and told me to have a seat in the front row. :ohyeah: He finished signing the books and there were 6 of us in the front row. We were called up for photo ops. I dont know exactly what was going on. Was this a Barnes thing? Did Joe ask them to do this at the end? Was this something made up on the fly? No idea. Didnt matter….I was not gonna be Peter Berged! And this time I was last. LOL!

When I got up there, I noticed all the shots were over the table. No, no. This was not gonna fly. I ask Joe for the standing photo op. I explain I wanted a really nice photo so I could get it printed, come to his Philly book signing and get it signed. He asked if I was definitely coming to Philly and I said I would if I get this photo. He said ok…he was gonna be looking for me. So I get this kick ass photo with Joe and he said he would see me in Philly.

Done! Taylor Kitsch, Joe Manganiello and even Emile Hirsch. Things worked out so well and big props to Joe Manganiello on how gracious he was, going above and beyond to make this fan happy. After the signing, I rode the subway back to Penn Station and made the long drive home. But hey….I had this amazing day to keep me company and the deliciousness of a WaWa Gobbler to keep me company. If you dont know what the Gobbler is…you need to. Its SOOOOOO GOOD! :Amazed:"

Pro Wrestling Syndicate 11/16/13 Rahway, NJ

Chris Is Awesome….and so is Pro Wrestling Syndicate. I will elaborate a little later. This road trip was not an original planned event. I have never been to a PWS show. I knew of them. I would take a look at their cards and see how who would be there and have even come close to attending in past, especially when they had Muta. But for whatever reason, whether it be distance, quality of names, or in Muta’s case….unable to attend, I never made it up to PWS. Then came one week ago. Then came the shocking news of Chris Hero’s release from WWE. A guy who has busted his ass all around the world, honing his craft and considered one of the best in the world……released. :dislike: And maybe we shouldnt be shocked. WWE no longer cares about in ring talent, on the mic talent, etc. Entertaining? Not necessary. Get over? Not unless WWE wants you too. Move merchandise? Cool….but we still wont use you. WWE wants what they want and does not care what the fans want. They dont care about passing on opportunities to make money. And here is Chris Hero. Chris Hero….who isnt a jacked up 300lb ripped monster. He doesnt look like he is chisled out of stone. BUT, he certainly could work circles around those stone chisled ripped monsters. He sure could pickup a microphone and do more than moan and groan or tell horrid Barney the dinosaur jokes. He could go out there, entertain, work, get over and give the fans their money’s worth.

I digress though. I could sit here and rant all day, but then this would be less about my trip to PWS and more about whats wrong with pro wrestling today. So as I was saying, Hero was released and his return to the independents was to start November 18 in Rahway, NJ. I took a look at the card and saw that not only Hero would be there, but so would Takaaki Watanabe and Vader, 2 additional names I needed, Watanabe for my NJPW Wrestle Kingdom Program and Vader on 2 WCW Programs and the WCW Halloween Havoc poster. So there was some decent quality….enough to get me to take the 3hour drive to Rahway.

I posted on FB to PWS to confirm that Watanabe and Hero would indeeed be a part of the meet n greet and they confirmed, both would along with the already announced Vader. Hero was later added to their website with prices, so I was happy to know I would get my 3 names. Meet n greet was scheduled to start at 6pm. I figured I could be out by 7pm and back in plenty of time to hit my next spot, which was Dave Coulier in Harrisburg, PA…..right in my backyard. :like:

I was running about 40mins behind, but made fantastic time up. What my nav system said would take 2hrs40 mins took about 2hrsd 10mins and only reason it took that long was once I got into Rahway, I missed those millions of traffic lights that you encounter and there was a lot of traffic. I got to the building at 5:30pm, so I was very happy with my arrival. I then spent the next 15mins. trying to figure out how and where to park. I drove around and around. I then saw some cars park, so I parked there. Then I saw some of the wrestlers carrying their gear in and figured this wasnt the right spot to park at. I could see the front door and the line, but couldnt seem to figure out how to park over there. I drove out of the parking lot and saw another entrance. This time, I saw some spots and the line. As I continued to drive around the side of the building, I found their iPPV truck was there and was blocking the lot. I had to perform a 3 point turn, which was more like a 33 point turn and turn back around. :angry14: Finally, I parked and got into line. I was probably about 25 deep and it wasnt cold.

6pm finally arrived and the doors didnt open. In traditional indy ways, the show was running behind. It was only a few mins before they at least let us in through the front doors right outside the main room. I took this opportunity to go ahead and hit the head before heading inside. When I returned I found Mrs. Lucas roaming about. I think she may have been scoping out line cutters. LOL! A few minutes later, the doors opened and we slowly creeped inside. I purchased my GA ticket, since I was unable to stay for the show. Most people were going to the ICP line, which left the other wrestlers prettywide open. This was great. I could be out even quicker. The first table I spot is Vader’s. I walked over and was 1st in line. I I got my 3 autos. Vader was cool. He was very intrigued at my WCW Programs. He was admiring his moonsault which was pictured. We talked about him and Sting and I mentioned to him how the last time I saw Sting, he was inquiring about Vader. Vader seemed very happy to hear that. He said he hadnt seen Sting in awhile and missed him. He always enjoyed working Sting in his career and that Sting was such a nice guy to him. He asked me if I would like to see another Sting/Vader match? Which of course I said yes too. Not sure what Vader still has in the tank…but hey, nostalgia can be fun too. When I was done with Vader, I started walking down that side looking for Hero and Watanabe. Neither were on that side. I did spot Curt Hawkins, who frequents the PWS shows. He was in what appeared to be a penalty box with his girl friend. I waved hi to him and he waved back and smiled. I was gonna bring my Hawkins stuff, but unfortunately when running behind I forgot it. :facepalm: Stupid! Instead, I headed over to the other side and saw Bob Mulrenin :mulrenin: …but no Hero or Watanabe. Bob came over to me to say hello. He told me that Hero was filming a shoot interview for RF and was running late. Evidently they had been at it for 6hrs already. Oh great! Bob also informed me that he saw Watanabe, but wasnt sure if he was out here signing or not. As I kept a watchful eye, I enjoyed a nice conversation with Bob. Bob knows his wrestling and he also knows his autographs. I was fairly impressed, as I have never really had a chance to sit and talk with Bob. It was nearing 7pm and Hero finally arrived. I headed over to his table. I had 1 program, 7 photos and 1 photo op I wanted. I headed over and worked a decent deal out for myself with the promoter that brought Hero in. That was another thing I noticed. All the major talents were not there gimmicking on their own. They had someone there collecting their money and I assume paying them to do the autos/photos. Never seen that at an indy show.

Anyway, had a nice chat with Hero. He recognized some of the photos and the event that they were taken at. We even got to chuckle about Jervis Cottonbelly, a Mr. Peanut look a like, who worked a few Chikara shows back in the day and now was scheduled for Dragon Gate. I also inquired about Hero Hoodies to no avail. But hopefully soon. Got all my stuff signed and a pic and was done with Hero. That just left Watanabe. I saw Lucas and Mrs. Lucas and they too were looking for Watanabe. Lucas saw the owner of PWS, so he went over to the guy and expressed our desire to meet Watanabe. He said he didnt speak any English, but he would go in the back and see if he would be willing to come out to meet us.

A few minutes later he returned but no Watanabe. However, he did inform us that Watanabe was coming out. Seconds later Watanabe came out and was very gracious.:yes: I opened up my NJPW program and he marked out. He signed his picture and then I got a photo with him. Lucas and I both tipped him for his time. Very appreciative of PWS for helping out and to Watanabe for coming out to meet a couple of fans. In this day in age where promoter’s dont give 2 shits what fans want, it was highly appreciated that PWS would go the extra mile to help 2 fans out. I will definitely be headed back to a PWS show again and will be following this fed a little closer. :tebowing: The 3hr or so drive was well worth it.

I said my goodbyes to Lucas, Mrs. Lucas and Bob. I needed to get on the road and back home for Dave Coulier. Racing back and now being a good half hour behind, I got a call from DjKnightRida who informed me that posts on FB indicated that Coulier did NOT sign or do photos after the previous 3 shows at this venue. :distraught: Cut it out! I figured I could still have a shot to mark out after he was done. But then I started to make up time as I was appraoching Harrisburg. I was gonna have an hour plus wait before I had any chance at him coming out. I was tired and decided to head home. I could always come back out. Unfortunately, once I arrived home I didnt feel like going back out and passed on the chance at Coulier. Luckily, DJ at least caught him after the show was done outside. Win some….lose some….hindsight is always 20/20.

At the end of the day, I got a few key autos, a NJPW name and one of my favorites in Chris Hero. I hope PWS decides to bring Hero back and ASAP. Would definitely like to have stayed to seen him vs. Hurricane. It was a fun match with a Hurricane throw back to his 3 Count Days. :likewhatic:

 

The Big Event – Flushing, NY 11/9/13

They call it The Big Event. This year it should have been called The BIGGEST Event. It was absolutely UNREAL the sheer number of people that attended this event. I expected a nice turnout, but this was unreal the number of people that came out.

DJ had to work, so I was meeting my friend Won at his place before heading to Big Event. I made excellent time to his place and then we headed to Big Event. NYC traffic was bad, so we got held up and arrived about 20mins late. The new location was chosen to help resolve the parking issues from the previous location that many complained about. Once we got there we discovered there was PLENTY of parking available. Sadly the people doing the parking couldnt park worth a damn. Double and some times triple parked. Crazy!

We headed inside, but it took a few minutes for us to even get into the damn lobby. Once inside, we saw 2 lines. One was for the Hogan VIP room and one was for the GA to get into the con. Over 20 mins and we finally got through. We walked in and headed into the first room with the first target in Devon. DJ asked me to get his 8×10 signed. I went up to his table and saw his menu price. It stated $20 for an autographed 8×10 of theirs and the last option was $10 for each additional auto. When I tried to get my 8×10 signed, the promoter told me it was $15. I explained his menu said $10. He wouldnt allow it. Said thats if I buy the $20 deal first. :angry14: I gave up and didnt buy it. DJ wanted to pay no more than $10 and this promoter wouldnt honor his own prices. Not off to a good start. We moved to the next room, the center room, where we found Foley, Jericho, DDP, Jackass People, Hennan and more. I saw Meng, but didnt see Barbarian, whom I needed. Also saw Sid, one of the top 2 needs for this con and he had no line. I headed over and got Sid in both the WWE E and my WCW US Title. Leaving 4 names needed on that belt, one of which was Scott Hall who was also there. Got a picture with Sid and moved on.

The lines for Foley and Jericho were unreal, so I decided to come back to them. We moved to the next room to where the Wolfpac was. Since Scott Hall was my 2nd top need, we got into line. This was a complete and total clusterfuck. I think Lucky 13 did the best they could with managing the line, but all the circular rooms and how small they were compared to the number of fans attending just provided for a confusing and dysfunctional enviroment. It took 1 hour and 18 mins of line standing. With Rich and Mrs. Lucas behind me, we chit chatted to kill the time. Mrs. Lucas was great, as she was laying the Smackdown on all the people who were cutting people off and just being a nuisance. Over 4 people who were behind us somehow got in front of us. Thats how dysfunctional it was. :dislike: Finally got up to Hall and got my US Title signed and the rest of my stuff. Was very happy to get both these names, leaving me 3 remaining names now for the belt…Kensuske Sasaki, David Flair and Mongo. Hall was cool. Good to see him doing so much better. I hope it keeps up. I needed Bruno and Nash as well, but was so frustrated by the craziness and how it was nearing 1pm at this point, we needed to move on. I couldnt believe the con had an hour left with Hogan, Jericho, Foley, Barbarian and Reby Sky I still needed to get. How was this gonna work? Won hit the long Jericho line and I went to get Foley. Was informed Foley was moving to the Hogan room for his VIP session. Brian said I could go with him there and I could get my stuff done. I got there, but Foley wanted to tell his stories first. So I left my stuff with Brian and went back to the center room. When I arrived back, the line for Jericho hadnt moved….literally. Found out Jericho wasnt even there and took a break or something.

At this point I found Barbarian finally and quickly headed over to get my Halloween Havoc poster signed. Since Won was holding down the fort for Jericho, I went over to Matt Hardy and Reby Sky. Got a picture with Reby and had her sign my The Hardy Show DVD cover. I wished I had more time to chat with them, but had to keep moving. The Jericho line started to move and we waited it out. I got to Jericho and he was nice. Its always 50/50 with him. I told him how I thought it was BS about what HHH said and Jericho snickered and said its WWE. No doubt. One thing you can appreciate from Jericho is he aint afraid to call people on their shit.

An announcement was made that Hogan was headed to the main room to continue signing, eventhough it was past 2pm. I headed back to Foley and found him starting to sign now, finishing his VIP. Got through it pretty fast. He signed my Halloween Havoc poster, which he told me about the Cobra and Jake The Snake. I commented on how crazy it was that they used a cobra and then it escaped Jake’s hands and started to head into the crowd. Mick said the snake had been de-venomised. But it bit Jake and Jake was gushing blood at the end of the PPV. Mick said yeah but at least it wouldnt have killed anyone. :thinking: WTF?! LMAO!!

Back to the center room where Lanza and Won were holding down the fort for me for the Hogan line. Had A LOT of Hogan items, so I was lucky that both Won and Lanza were willing to help me out. Paint markers switches and even Sharpie switches were gonna cause all kinds of chaos. But with 2 good friends, it helped make things A LOT easier. Hogan was very cool and Hogan’s team was nice enough to also help moving items like an assembly line. I got my picture with Hogan and told Hogan I hope to see him at WM 30. He said he hopes to see me there.
It was nearing 3pm at this point, so it was very classy of Hogan to stay and keep signing. Unfortunately, vendors like the Jackass people had already left. So I missed out on several names. There just wasnt enough time to get to everyone. I heard there were many people who missed the Wolfpac b/c of how crazy the lines were. :smh:

The bottom line is The Big Event was BIG. The lineup could only be compared to Wrestlecon last year for how stacked this lineup was. Incredible! At the same time, I hope the Big Event NEVER returns to this hippo. It wasnt in the best of neighborhoods and the rooms used were WAY too small. All of them were circular and that only made things worse causing A LOT of confusion and A LOT of dysfuction. I think the staff, vendors and even the wrestlers all attempted to make the best of a bad situation. I think everyone could tell how upset the fans were over the hippo and tried to make the best of it. A lot of credit goes to them for that.

We headed out and into the parking lot where we Lanza, Won and I sat around and shoot the shit about the con, wrestling, etc. It was a good time and I truly enjoyed the company.
The Big Event kicked my ass…BIG TIME. Lots of stress, but A LOT more autographs and photographs and some big names that came off the checklist. I am very thankful for Sports Fans and Lucky 13 for bringing guests like Foley, Jericho, Hogan, Sid and Scott Hall….names I had major needs for. Also very thankful to both Won and Lanza for helping me out with my mess, especially my Hogan stuff. Thanks guys! It would be a long drive home, but I had these memories to keep me company.

 

NYC Cobie Smulders, Sebastian Stan, Ethan Hawke And More 11/7/13

Some trips you dont always get what you expect. Some trips you miss out and some trips you get someone you didnt expect. This trip was all of the above.
Going to NYC this time was planned very last second. DJKnightRida had the day off and asked if I wanted to go with him to NYC. Cobie Smulders would be up there to promote How I Met Your Mother, one of my all time favorite shows. I did recently have a HIMYM poster printed just for the opportunity to get the cast to sign it. Obviously Cobie is big piece of the cast, so it made sense. However, there really wasnt much else that I was really jonesing for. In the end, Cobie Smulders and hanging with my bud trumped any reason not to go.
The night before I checked the weather forecast and discovered a 71% chance of rain being called for. :godwhy: This would not be good. We already had the bitter cold to deal to contend with and now the eminent threat of rain? Ugh. Lets hope for the best.

When I awoke in the morning it was pouring down rain. DJ came to pick me up and it was off to the big bad city we went. Our first stop was to be the set of Law & Order SVU. But as we arrived at the train station, DJ discovered that LO had finished their on location filming and would not be at the spot. Now we were a few hours early for anything. We decided to use this time in order to grab a bite to eat and get some 8x10s printed.

We hit the first spot a lil early, but figured we would wait it out. Unfortunately the cloudy skys began to open up and God washed his earth with a strong rain shower. The rain would last a good half hour and then clear up. Then it would start again and stop. We were getting closer and closer to the prime hours for Cobie’s arrival and was hoping the weather would stay clear enough for her to stop. From previous trips, I knew the dangers of rain and packed appropriately. Hefty trash bags and ponchos were available to keep my backpack dry, so my photos, etc were not being rained on.
The rain had let up and the first person arrived and it was not Cobie Smulders, but Kelly Ripa. Kelly stepped out and took some pics with the papparazzi, but would not come over to the fans. I was willing to give her a pass as a truck was actually blocking any view of us at this point. It wasnt too much longer and Cobie finally arrived. She got out, she posed for the papparazzi as well and came running over to sign autos and take pics. There was only about 6 of us waiting. I reached into my poster tube to pull my poster out and DJ’s poster slid out and began to roll down the street. OH NO!!! :horrorhart: I quickly fetched it, but it put me out of position and did not recover quick enough. DJ asked me to take a photo, but Cobie passed by him and came over to me to sign my poster. I unrolled it and she signed it. DJ requested the photo again and she posed. I snapped the picture, but again was still not with my wits and the photo blurred. I told DJ the photo blurred, but he didnt hear me. She finished and I was able to get her attention so I could try for a pic. DJ took it and it turned out decently.

Now that she was gone, DJ finally became aware his photo was blurred. We really had no where else to go for awhile and decided to stay for another try. After about an hour, Kelly Ripa came back out. She once again posed for the papparazzi and this time had no excuse. No rain. No truck, nothing. I even called out to her and she waved. But refused to come over to us, where there were but 3 fans standing. Unreal. 3 fans and you cannot be bothered. But you have plenty of time to stand in pose for people who taking your photos and selling them off. So your excuse of helping ebayers goes out the doors honey. :cop:

Finally, Cobie Smulders came out again. She came right over and retook the photo with DJ and I even got another, just to improve upon my previous effort. All was corrected and we were ready to head to the next spot.

Murtaw’s Law…..”I’m Too Old For This Shit.” My feet were killing me and cold. I trudged along to the next spot and with this one, at least were able to get out of the cold. I sat down on the ground, leaned against the wall and took a load off. We were not expecting our 2 targets for a good hour or so. I pulled out my 8x10s for both Jeff Goldblum and Ethan Hawke.
The first person we spotted was Hawke. He approached the doors and saw DJ and I. He stopped, turned around with his cell phone to his ear. DJ thought he was trying to escape us. DJ went out the door and saw him outside still on his phone. A few mins later he came inside and came right up to me, explaning to the person on the phone he had to go as he needed to sign some autographs. Ethan was extremely nice. He signed photos for me. Sadly, for some reason my gold didnt turn out well. I checked the gold before and after the photo was signed and it worked. Not sure what happened in this situation. We both got cumbos and Hawke stayed for a second to chat about a movie he just finished from the producers of Daybreakers.
It wasnt too long till Jeff Goldblum came in. Goldblum was cool. He did cumbos for both of us. DJ was way more interested in him than I was. I know him from The Fly and I dont like that movie. Independence Day was hokie to me and Jurassic Park, I NEVER cared for. I always thought the idea for that movie was stupid. I was more intrigued to hear from DJ that he was in Law & Order.
We stayed a little longer in hopes for Laurie Metcalf and John Glover, but to no avail. I would really like to have gotten Glover. I will have to try again. DJ swore he spotted Daniel Sunjata leaving. We waited a lil longer and he did return with some food. DJ knows him from Law & Order and we waited got photos with him. Nice guy. We packed up and headed to our next spot. Here we were in hopes of Bill Pullman and Ed Harris. DJ was way more into Pullman and I was more interested in Ed Harris. When the time came for us to expect them to come out, they did not. Instead we spotted Sebastian Stan from Captain America. :bowdown: DAMN! Wished I had something for him, but was stilly happy to grab a photo with him. Shortly thereafter, it was Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones. DJ grabbed a photo of him….not I. Probably should have, but didnt care to even bother with it. Didnt want to miss Ed Harris. Sadly, that could not be avoided. Never saw him. It was quite a wait, but DJ’s big want of Bill Pullman was spotted. DJ thought he saw him….I thought DJ saw Elvis. But it actually was Pullman. He looked ridiculous and acted worse. I dont normally chastise someone for actually signing, but this guy deserves it. He signed for both DJ and I. BUT when DJ asked him for a photo, he couldnt just reply with a simple no or explain he was busy. Instead, he had to act like some big shot shouting this was opening night and he had to go and party. Chill out Elvis! :kanye: Its funny how someone like Cobie Smulders or Jeff Goldblum or Ethan Hawke dont act like the princess you did. DJ will want to try again, I could care less. I didnt care for him before this and now I think he is an egomanical has been Elivs lookalike. I would be fine if he had turned me down for a photo, but since DJ is such a fan….I wished he had at least gotten the photo op.

With the apparent no Ed Harris, we were WAY behind for our next spot for David Hyde Pierce, from Frasier and Paul Anthony Stewart. Just another reason to be ticked at Pullman, because he would ultimately cost me PAS. We got there just as David Hyde Pierce was jumping in a cab. I was able to get a cumbo from him at least, but the bigger want of PAS was gone.

Murtaw’s Law was in full effect now. DJ really wanted to goto another spot, but I was beat. Since this was a top Law & Order want, I begrudgingly agreed. It was getting close to 11pm at this point. We headed over and waited. It wasnt too long till people were coming out but DJ’s top want of Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. He had tried before, but it didnt happen. Roger Rees was there too. Roger Rees of Cheers fame, was the only one I had minor interest and once again I was shut out. Never saw him. It took awhile, but Mary finally came out. DJ got to her first and got her to sign his dvd cover. He asked her for a photo, but 2 ladies jumped in and cut him off, asking for autographs. She signed for them and then they wanted photos. First they cut DJ off and THEN they had the audacity to ask DJ to take their photos. WTF?! They got their photos and then her manager said…thats it, she has to go. :jagwtfb: DJ was to be shut out for helping others?! DJ asked anyway and got the pic. And just b/c of the way shit was going down, I asked for a pic as well. I hate when other fans are rude and cut others off. I also hate when you just hand your camera off to a stranger and expect them to take your picture. Make these arrangements beforehand. Be forewarned, if you are out with me and hand me your camera like that, I am gonna put it on the ground. You are there for autos/photos and so am I. If you cut me off and then expect me to help you…..you are sadly mistaken.

 

 

The Shield Signing Steiner Sports Long Island, NY 9/8/13

DJ and I carefully mapped out our weekend and found it wise to get a hippo for Saturday night, considering the 11am start time for The Shield signing and how late we were out for the TNA house show. We booked a cheap Motel 6 in Piscataway, NJ. Try saying that 4 times fast. Hell….just try saying it period. Anyway, it was about half way to The Roosevelt Field Mall and The Shield. So we left the TNA house show in Bethlehem and motored to Piscataway. We hadnt eaten any dinner, so we hit the iHop that was right next door to Motel 6. We figured they would leave the light on. :hah:

When we arrived at iHop, place looked like a damn ghost town. Not a soul inside, the workers were sitting around doing nothing. Now here we come in to mess up the rabid game of tiddly winks and paper football. We sat down and were ready to eat. We must have started a trend cuz another couple arrived. :huh: I mean…..this old dude and some crack whore arrived. White as a ghost and rail thin…..they mentioned to the waitress they wanted nothing to eat and wanted to be alone. So the waitress took them over to a booth on the far side of the restaurant. We barely paid attention to them until she went to the bathroom and evidently the hostess discovered something had happened. She came running out, grabbed the old guy’s attention and he ran into the women’s room. A few mins later, he exited….followed by a few more mins and she exited. Weird.

Once we were finishing eating, we went to check out. Our crack fiend friends also were checking out. She continually made cracks (see what I did there?) that she needed to go and ended up walking out before he paid the bill for their 2 waters and ketchup packets. We finished up and scurried into the truck ASAP. No need to watch her OD in the parking lot or for her pimp to cut the non paying John.

We checked into Motel 6. I saw they had a vending machine that had Tropicana Twister Soda. I like this orange flavored brand, which is not always readily available in my area. So I headed over and swiped my credit card. Love the machines that take plastic, by the way. I pushed for Twister and got a Fanta Orange instead. :whatever: If I wanted Fanta Orange, I wouldnt have pushed Twister. Why in the hell would you leave the Twister label up when clearly you are packing Fanta in there?!?!? Meh….I’m tired and we have to be up early. Not worth the dispute. So we headed for the room. I have to say the overall room was pretty nice for a $60 a night Motel 6. All hard wood floors, modern furniture and beds. Its not fancy…..dont get me wrong. We had 2 beds, a desk with 2 chairs, AC, a small bathroom, flatscreen on the wall with a remote that didnt change channels. But for $60….we had luxury. Immediately, I hit the head and found the toilet wasnt exactly up to snuff. I flushed and it wouldnt even zip the piss away. Whats gonna happen tomorrow morning when I need to blow this potty sky high and DJ has Montazuma’s Revenge courtesy of Checkers Bacon Chili Cheese hot dog and bacon cheese ranch smothered fries?! I was too tired to worry about all that now. So we headed for bed.

Morning came and DJ was up first, traditionally. When he was done, I was next. He let me know that the revenge was but a minor bout and was successfully flushed away. Congrats! I went inside and took my morning piss. Hit the flusher and watched the water rise to the top and start to spill over. Oh sure. For DJ and his chili cheese dogs, you are fine but for me…..we have to have spillage. I finished cleaning up and decided to hit the flush before hitting the shower. Bad move. Now instead of a little piss on the floor, it was gushing over. I grabbed all our towels and started to lay them on the bathroom floor. Only problem now was my Checkers was a knocking. Long story short….as I am sure the detailed dealings of our bowels is starting to either causing massive vomiting, disturbing mental images or one guy saying “How Cool is That? CM DNA!”…..there was a little gift to be left for maintenance. :ohyeah:

We headed down to the truck and I stopped in the lobby to let the main desk know of the issues we had. Psss…..I blamed everything on DJ. :lol: It took us about an hour and a half to reach the mall. The drive up was a bit complicated….nothing too major. I swear I never have more issue than driving in NY. But we made it and headed inside a little before 11am. As we were heading in, we saw The Shield arrive. We noticed immediately they were in fact in full gimmick!!!! :jawdrop: Certainly was not a 100% chance they wouldnt be. But I was thinking this was HIGHLY unlikely. Never so happy to be wrong. So we went inside and hit Steiner’s store up. I had prearrangements, so I knew I wouldnt be shut out. When I went inside the store looking for my contact and was instead greeted inside by an employee noticing my shirt and promptly telling me that Shield autos and photos were all sold out. Nothing left. WOW! A few more people came in and were met with the same greeting. The line was long…no doubt. The Shield is huge…definitely. But sold out before they arrived?! Good for Steiner! It was still cool as I had never been to a Steiner signing before and it was cool to look around. We headed back to the signing and met up with Eric. He let us know to chill out and he would be taken care of at the end. I fully expected that and was happy that he could be so accomadating. We hit the food court for a bite to eat. We monitored the line, even spotting Lanza, Woodmo and Ira. It didnt seemed rushed at all, which was nice. And they werent doing the over the table ops, but behind the table which was also nice.

As it was getting closer to 1, we noticed there was still a bit of a line left. We waited till it was just about done and joined in. The guy in front of me insisted that I go ahead of him, but I explained I couldnt. He was desperate to be last for some reason. Line started moving nicely and then it was our turns. DJ only needed Dean Ambrose, who ironically was 1 part of The Shield I didnt need. I had a self made promo for Rollins I designed and was missing Roman Reigns on my Shield vest, leaving Ambrose odd man out. With DJ’s item, I had complete the trifecta. I also had my Shield home made promo and WM 29 program. I got my pic with The Shield and was pretty happy with the day.

Once we were done, we saw The Shield exit not too soon thereafter. About 50 people chased after outside. Didnt see if they signed or posed, but there was a big crowd going with them. Then we were done and it was time for home. Normally, the trip home can be pretty uneventful, but this one was not. As we were pulled over by NY State Police. I was about to miss my exit and decided to try and move over from the center to the right lane. Unfortunately, there was merging traffic from an on ramp that had run out of the road and started to merge in. When I attempted to move back to the center lane, I found a speeding SUV there and now was squeezed in. I missed the exit, caused the merger to slam on his break and the center lane SUV to honk his horn wildly. All the while, a state trooper looked on. At first, all seemed well, until the trooper passed me, slammed on his breaks, got right behind me and his sirens went on. Now when they flash you….they aint friends. I pulled over to the side of the road by the next exit and the cop started making all kinds of hand gestures. I couldnt hear anything he was saying, but DJ noticed he was instructing me to get off the exit. So I started to back up and get off the exit. Once off, I pulled over to the side of the exit which still did not please the cop. He was on his bullhorn telling me to get in the grass. Once I did that, he wanted me to keep coming over, far away from the exit ramp. Now I was parked in all kinds of bushes and on the side of a hill. I got my DL, insurance card and registration all set. I rolled my window down and waited for him. He came over and walked over to the front of my vehicle and then back to my window. He asked me to explain what happened out there. I did. He then asked why I had both a NJ and PA license plate. :skipWHAT: Ohhhhhh…….now I know what his issue was. In PA we dont use front license plates. You can put funny plastic plates on the front if you like, but you cannot put a legal plate of any sort there. I had purchased one of those Wrestlemania The Rock plates from WWEShop and this guy thought it was a REAL NJ plate. In all honesty, I can understand why. But I thought the NJ portion was well covered to avoid the confusion. Guess not. He asked us a bunch of questions like why we were in NY, where we had come from, where were we going, what is The Shield. We answered them all and caught a break when he let us go. He even showed us how to get back to that exit we missed. All was good and several hundred dollar donation to the great state of NY was avoided.

It took us a little longer to get back home than we had anticipated, but it could have been worse. We had completed this multiple stop, adventure within an adventure and all was well. Sure we had a broken iPhone charger, over flowing toilet and a run in with the law. But we got to strike The Naked Man, watch Ira get shot down my Tim White for a photo op, bear witness to a crack whore ODing and have a little photobomb fun. Aint that right, Ira? :pacgrin:

 

 

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