Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Last report of 2017: The most dreaded days of the year

Approaching were two days a year I dread the most. The two days when I stand all day and night in the cold, fight a crowd, get yelled at by venue staff, praying to the combo Gods that celebs are nice enough to deal with the crowd. Now those 2 days have come and gone, I am dreading them for 2018! As one Master put it, and I quote:

"It feels like knowing we will be detained for two or three days, like a jail sentence we've known about for a year and tried to forget about. But as each day gets closer we get more and more aware and stressed"

Before those days I would actually embark on other things, mostly related to events of those days. One of my main wants was the 95 year old Normal Lear. Due to his age I did not anticipate him accommodating a crowd during those days (spoiler alert, I was right as he did nothing for no one at the venue). So when I found his flight in and out I was ecstatic! He was even arriving earlier than most everyone else. 

Day 1

To the airport for Norman Lear. He is spotted on a wheelchair. He can walk but for the airport he used a wheelchair. I would hit him up two different times. He did one each then said he'd do more downstairs. At baggage claim he racked it out and did multi combos for all. I got a photo op as he sat on the wheelchair plus I also got more autographs.

With that success I decided to try a completely different event as I was already in town. I had most of the names (Beach Boys, Dean Cain) but there were other names I could get such as Wynonna Judd and Kathy Lee Gifford. I arrive at the spot and find the point to wait. Wyonna Judd pulls up and someone tries to stop me, but I ask for a photo op and she is accommodating. I am then joined by two others.

Both Mike and Bruce were spotted on go carts, but I had no reason to chase them as I have them. Wynonna came out and took care of business (I got autos) and eventually Craig Campbell comes out and I got a photo op. After this one combo hunter got in a spat with staff and as a result they let remaining cars in the perimeter where we can't access them. This meant we needed alternative methods. At this point I decided to go and piss, which would be a fatal mistake. Cause I rushed to the next spot and I find out that 5 minutes before I arrived both Dean and Kathy arrived and took care of all! Dammit! Could have had a Dean auto and a Kathy photo op right there and been done. But all is not lost as I see Kathy in the hotel bar. So I wait for her to be done. I also wanted to try for Liam Gallagher of Oasis but since the venue access was bad I figured this is smarter because at least I'm guaranteed to go up to Kathy. Though if I had gotten her when everyone did I could have tried for Liam. 

After she is done and leaving to go to her room I ask for a selfie and she is more than happy to do it. I went to the Liam spot and it was a dead zone. But I would later find out that Liam actually cancelled the show so I didn't miss it. Sucks that the piss I took cost me a Dean Cain auto and some time, but I guess it could have been worse.

Norman Lear

Full list of Day 1 photo ops



Day 2

After a day of rest preparing for the two dreaded days ahead, it was back to the airport. First off a flight for Gloria Estefan. She signs but is mobbed. For some reason she wasn't her usual friendly self as I only managed to get two out of her (and two out of her husband). Still it was good to get the dual 8x10s out of the way before the storm ahead. 

Next up was LL Cool J. Super duper nice, got 4 plus the photo op. While waiting for him I noticed a man and woman that had valid auras about them. I couldn't figure it out but a Master recognized who that was. Turns out it was the woman that is famous, and she is country singer Margo Price. She seemed weirded out to do photo ops at the airport even hesitating but did them no issue.

Now I had to decide if I was going to PA for Tim Allen. The way I thought of it Tim Allen would likely be better than any time I would get in the dreaded two days (spoiler: I was almost right). After some soul searching I decided to risk it, rush hour traffic and all. Because I know that Tim is a nice guy if you can get up to him. Also I missed him at a spot earlier in the year so this was a chance to make that up. I ended up making the spot with about 25 minutes to spare. Of the 15 or so graphers I ran into a surprise, none other than the Thunderbuddies! It was cool seeing them and BSing with them. Finally it's the witching hour and Tim Allen is nice as can be, signing and taking pictures. Coming to PA and losing sleep in preparation for the next day was entirely worthwhile.

Tim Allen

Full list of Day 2 photo ops


Day 3


Get in the morning and wait at my spot starting my "jail sentence". Overall the day was slow for whatever reason. Most of the good names did not show up that day. But one big highlight was upgrading my Lionel Richie photo op. I got a photo op twice before but this time I got a perfect shot and never have to ask him again. Also upgraded my LL Cool J shot from the day before (only hat as opposed to hat and shades).

Even a nobody name like Jean-Baptiste wasn't too accommodating though I managed to snag one of the few ops he did. Normal Lear blanked, as did Gloria Estefan. Luckily I had them both.

A notable incident happened towards the end of the evening when both Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder went inside. Joresky and his ride Troy were debating whether to leave or stay. Joresky scored free tickets to a show with John De Lance from Star Trek and Brian George from Seinfeld. I advised them both to stay, skip the show, and just try for those actors later in the evening. Troy also had the desire to stay and wanted to listen to me. But Joresky apparently worked "too hard" to get those free tickets and had to leave right now in order to claim them. I even suggested Joresky take an uber rather than potentially screw over Troy but he didn't want to pay the money and Troy being the nice guy that he is didn't want to screw Joresky. They both ended up leaving despite my pleas that they should stay. 

As it turned out Stevie Wonder did photo ops for everyone (I got my third shot) and Quincy Jones did autographs for all (I got one). Thankfully I didn't need the Quincy photo op though one person managed to sneak in the shot as he sat on a wheel chair.

Now granted Joresky and Troy did make up the Stevie Wonder shot the next day, but I do feel bad for Troy because autographs actually do mean something for him. This is a facebook comment he left in response to a comment I made on his Stevie Wonder photo op: I really wanted to stay on *insert day here*. I still missed Quincy Jones' autograph

After this I decided to try for Nicole Richie at the airport. I know she's not very nice so the airport was an extra insurance cause the crowd is minimal. She begrudgingly did combos. I got a hat and shades shot, one really horrible autograph, and one autograph that is basically a delete. She just took the pen, made a crooked line, not even trying to formulate the "N" that she normally gives out. One random at the airport was Michael Bolton. Already got him in NYC but I got a combo here. The photo op is a hat and shades shot. Not sure if I'd consider this an upgrade from the NYC shot as it's better quality and a better pose but he has no hat or shades in the NYC shot. I guess it's an upgrade and downgrade at the same time.

Went to the final spot for the evening. Sadly didn't see most people I hoped to see, but I racked some more autographs from both Normal Lear and Gloria Estefan. Also got another Normal Lear photo op (no hat but sadly there's a hard to remove photobomb, so another upgrade and downgrade shot).

LL Cool J

Lionel Richie

Norman Lear take 2

Full list of Day 3 photo ops


Day 4


My final day combo hunting in 2017. This day was much better than the previous. Rob Reiner showed up and got autos and another photo op. Chaka Khan did nothing going in but shockingly took care of all leaving! She is usually difficult for the autograph and impossible for the photo op so I was floored! Before this happened one Master even said jokingly "we're all gonna get photos with Chaka Khan" and then me and him burst out laughing. It truly goes to show you, that you never know in combo hunting (spoiler alert, yet another astronomical event would happen later in the evening, more on that later).

Got The Roots, MC Lyte upgrade (Got a shades shot the day prior now it's no shades), got Rita Moreno again. Nicole Richie came through and actually took care of all leaving. I upgraded my shot from the airport (shades but no hat) and got her to re sign the photo that she messed up (this time got a much nicer "N" and later removed the old one). Honestly I'm shocked she didn't tell me she took care of me already. JJ Abrams comes through with hat, shades, and beard. Thankfully I had no need for that photo op so I just concentrated on autographs. Eva Longoria did combos but I had no need for a shades shot with her. I got an autograph.

Kenny Rogers did send ins and I got a nice autograph. Sadly did not do photo ops despite my pleading. Here is where my fatal mistake for the week comes into play. When he left I didn't beat him to the next spot like a Master did. As a result I did not get the photo op. Wow that was painful as Kenny Rogers is a want of mine and he is in bad shape.

On to the next stage where I didn't get too much great stuff. Got another Gloria shot aiming for an upgrade but sadly got an annoying photobomb that can't be removed. Got another LL Cool J. Lynda Carter and Cal Ripken came and I got autos (made a little money as someone paid me $25 to get his ball done as Cal doesn't sign for him anymore). Failed on a Luke Bryan photo op as some people did get it.

Next stage, I wait and try to get Queen Latifah as she enters but sadly does nothing for the two of us. On exits she stops but there is more of a crowd. I get my two items done but fail to upgrade my photo op.

Here is where I do my fatal mistake. Kenny Rogers is performing and I go to the spot where Kenny Rogers did photo ops earlier, hoping to see him return there. He does leave after his performance but I never see him indicating that he flew out. Another PUNCH. I will probably never get a chance at him again. And in doing so I missed Bustarymes doing combos for all (he was super nasty throughout) and Lyke Bryan doing a few photo ops yet again. At this point I debated if I should return or call it a night, I chose to return which marked one of if not the best decision I made in 2017.

Tried for Bustarymes but he's his usual asshole self. As that was happening I see Masters go up to Julie Andrews. So I dash there and as she is signing I plead for the photo op. She is stating that I should take it but she doesn't seem to be posing, I plead more and she makes me promise not to post it. She goes "well hurry" and there is was, the money shot! I couldn't believe it. My reaction was this face A foul woman who I've failed on multiple times and astronomically I got the photo op (which in fact completes my combo as I have 2 autos with her). What a great way to round off 2017! Sadly I guess I won't post this until she dies. After upgrading my Leona Lewis shot not much else happened. I was battle damaged, it was 2 am, but the whole ordeal was overall a success, ending with an epic photo op in Julie Andrews.

Chaka Khan

Full list of Day 4 photo ops part 1

Full list of Day 4 photo ops part 2

Now to showcase autographs obtained:

Tim Allen

Norman Lear and Rob Reiner

Gloria and Emelio Estefan

LL Cool J

Misc Autos part 1

Misc Autos part 2

Signed photo paper

(Wynonna Judd, Craig Campbell, Michael Bolton, JJ Abrams, Chaka Khan, Dave Chappelle, Luke Bryan)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Some scattered meets throughout November

Fresh off a WWE haul in early November I target Christopher Nolan. I got a photo op with him in the past so this was an autograph only mission. I heard no one saw him go in the first spot (assuming he snuck in) so I went to the second spot. Then I hear that people did get him leaving the first spot. Wow, PUNCH! 

He snuck in the second spot so now we had to wait for him to come out the second spot. Thankfully after a couple of hours I manage to get him to sign an over sized Batman display that I mooched from a department store back when Dark Knight Rises was out.

Autograph


Next up was a book signing for Hillary Clinton. I'd never try for her on a chance but since this was a guarantee and the $22 book was going for triple digits on ebay, this event was a must attend for me. They allowed one book per person and no photos. Since I have a perfect shot that was no issue for me. They had police, secret service, and metal detectors. She was signing books and putting them on another table. You picked up a book but not the one you saw get signed. One woman wanted to meet her but didn't care to buy the book. I proposed I buy the book and she goes through the line then give me the book, but she wanted no part of that scheme (It's like talking to a brick wall when dealing with people who don't do this sort of thing often). So I bought another book, went through the line again, and got another book (could have had a total of 3 books if this woman cooperated).

Signed Hillary books


Now to get into some first time photo op meets (my favorite kind). Went to a Diane Keaton book signing. Sadly the book was $70 and would likely be sold at a loss on ebay. So I tried the back of the book store but an employee was getting in my face trying to say that I can't stand here. Since I wanted to go in the signing as a last resort I couldn't go off on him. So I pointed out to a pap filming her then he left me and went in the pap's face. With this failure I went in the book store. Thankfully I found someone buying multiple books and asked to hold a book for him. I went through, got the photo op and two extras! She was nice as can be, even taking multiple shots and she was impressed that I got Pacino. Wow if only every book signing was that smooth I'd travel the country for them! She had a habit of doing invalid shots but I managed to get one where she is looking in. She was also feeling me up from behind, HCIT.

Photo op

Autographs


Next up was actor Denis Leary. In all his book signings he did photo ops, but sadly this one was written that it was not an actual signing. Just pre signed books and speech. Since it was $20 for a ticket to the speech and $30 for both a ticket and a pre signed book, I declared this event to be worthless. I also tried looking for any planes or trains for him but completely struck out. So I was forced to try outside after the event (had it been $30 for a full fledged signing I would have bit). There was a book signing in CT right after RICC that I could have gone to as a backup, but I wanted to avoid this like the plague (mostly due to the cold weather).

So I waited till after the show. There were a handful to people waiting. One guy said he wouldn't bother him if he were in a rush. But I laughed and said I'd bother him regardless. He came out and was nice as can be, signed and took photos. Even removing his glasses for the photo op. In hindsight I'm glad this event was not a signing as that would have been $30 wasted. And of course with that the CT event was completely flushed out of my calendar.

Since I was in town I figured I'd go for an autograph only mission in Hal Linden. He came out later than I expected but I was the only one there and he signed my 8x10s. I had no need for another photo op.

Photo op

Autographs


On a day in late November I got a huge punch as Steve Martin did photo ops at his NYC signing (it was written no photos). Feeling depressed I decided to venture for the band Chicago. I already have the lead singer and the drummer, I figured I'd go and see what else I can get from the band. Unfortunately the current line up features a plethora of scrubs and barely valids. There were 3 original members on tour, and by all reports, one is super nice, one is iffy, and one is super nasty

Wait for exits. There are barricades and fans on two sides. The barely valids and scrubs come out. I get one of them but our side doesn't call over the others because 1) we don't really know their names and 2) we don't want to be busy on one of them while missing our main targets.

First up is Robert Lamm. As expected he snubs everyone off and goes into the bus. Second is Lee Loughnane who is the only known nice guy. He waves at us, goes into the bus. Minutes later he comes out and takes care of everyone on both sides of the barricade. I get him on my vinyl already signed by drummer Danny Seraphine. 

Last one remaining is the iffy one, James Pankow. At that point the other side only has 2 people as most fans had left and of course us hardcore combo hunters remain. James comes out and with my vocal might I scream and plead to James. He comes over to our side and does photo ops for all of us but is so quick we don't even get a chance to ask for autos. He waves to the 2 fans on the other side of the barricade and goes into his bus. I now have photo ops with a total of 4 original members of Chicago including the lead singer. Not too shabby.

Chicago photo ops

Autograph


A couple of days later I decided to go for John de Lancie AKA Q from Star Trek and Brian George AKA Babu from Seinfeld. I chose a day when Modern English was playing. I already have Modern English but I figured why not get autos to make my evening more fruitful. As I later found out both venues are 1 minute apart by foot. When I drove down there and parked in front of one venue I was practically in front of the other venue. They were barely a block a part and I could literally stand across the street and watch both doors. Wow you rarely get luxuries like that in combo hunting. Usually you at least have to run a couple of blocks.

They were giving out parking tickets 10 minutes before free parking was in effect. So I quickly jumped in the driver's seat of my car as I waited for those 10 minutes to come and go. Also noticed that Haaz Sleiman was in the same event as Brian/John and he has both a wiki and an imdb with a slew of credits. Remembering my Kate Upton and Felicity Jones blunder I put him on the "to get" list. The John/George event let out first. They had a post show discussion. I mooched my way inside and didn't see any of the actors in the discussion. So I quickly went outside and almost immediately saw Haaz who was more than happy to do photo ops. John de Lancie then came out and seemed to begrudgingly and nastily do photo ops, even asking if we saw the play. Also he was clean shaven which judging by most photos I've seen on google images is not normally the case, including in con pictures that people pay for. Wow so I got a better product for free! Finally Brian George is out and is super nice. Sadly I didn't have anything to get signed by either one because I could find not find proper photos for either. Though good thing in the case of John as I firmly doubt he would have signed. He just wanted to get away from us.

While this couldn't have gone better, reports I heard after that were not so good. John was blowing off photo ops saying that he's "not here for that" and Brian was doing invalid shots.

Anyhow, after this success the Modern English venue let out. I tried to mooch inside but this was both impossible (guards on both entry and exit doors) and unnecessary (it was a bar and at that point they gave wristbands to anyone that entered). We found out that they were doing a m&g upstairs. Go upstairs and wait a few minutes and everyone starts coming through. I get two photos signed by everyone. I didn't need photo ops with any of the band members but I noticed that the lead singer was clean shaven so I upgraded my shot.

Overall a very rare successful and stress free evening combo hunting.

Photo ops

Autographs

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Rhode Island Comic Con with a dash of NYC

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how one looks at things, RICC has become a yearly tradition for me. Since 2013 and they always seem to suck me in. This year was no exception. Despite what is probably a record amount of cancellations any con has ever experienced, it was a monster line up for me. I was fortunate enough where the majority of cancellations had no affect on me. Beverly D'Angelo was the only major cancellation for me, and there were also 2 or 3 lesser names I would have gotten that did cancel. My top want of the show was action star Dolph Lundgren from Rocky IV, Universal Soldier, and of course He-Man himself in the Masters of the Universe movie. Since I got Cam Clarke this would make my second actor who portrayed He-Man.

Photo ops aside, it was also awesome seeing and hanging out with board members Greg, Lanza, Mike (Overthetop), and Dan (DJ) and NYC combo hunters Jimmy, James, Suzanne, Kush, Ling, and Leslie. Even got to see Asian Dave.

Sadly I had a tough time finding splits for this con. So paying for a hotel was not an option. However, due to sub zero temperatures I set the goal to minimize my time sleeping in the car. I left on the crack of dawn Friday to avoid rush hour traffic and arrive in Providence shortly after the con opens. 

My first photo op is a split with RF, namely Paul Rubens AKA Pee Wee Herman. Personally I never understood the Pee Wee craze. But he is not Pokemon as he has been in stuff I watched such as Batman Returns, Gotham, Mystery Men, among others. Plus the "iconic" aspect of him was another factor. I don't like the face he made, but what can you do. Not ideal for me but valid regardless. RF paid me what he owed for this op and went back to man Bret Hart's line.

From this point on I figured I'd try to see what I can mooch rather than immediately dive in. I saw Robert Carradine all clean shaven and wanted an upgrade. I showed him my photo op from Monstermania and told him I got him already but he had facial hair and I would like a clean shaven shot. He agreed no issue and I got the shot for free! I finally have a perfect Robert Carradine shot (took long enough).

For the rest of the Nerds cast that I needed I lucked out! Saw a guy that had like 3-4 things for each! And they were free photo op with each auto. The guy also remembered me from NJ Horror Con. So I helped the guy out with his posters and I got free photo ops with everyone I needed plus an update with Brian Tochi. Score! Donald Gibb actually said he knew my face and I confirmed to him that I met him at Monstermania. He said he is bad with names but never forgets faces.

Managed to also get a free Joey Fatone. Then off to the hotel to see what could be had. Sadly everyone I saw I either had already, were not stopping, or both. Some I had did do photo ops but I was not planning to fight for something I had. I did manage to score David Della Rocco who was on my list. So that's at least something.

Friday night I sadly slept in the car on the street. But I had 3 layers of socks, 2 layers of pants, 3 layers of tops, plus my coat, plus 2 layers of bed sheets. So it was manageable. I could have slept in the parking garage but they had an RICC special which was $15 from 7am to midnight. If I stayed more I would have paid more in parking.

Paul Reubens

Joey Fatone

Full list of RICC Friday photo ops



On to Saturday. Thankfully I manage to commandeer four splits. I split Dolph Lundgren with RF, Paul Bettany and Jerome Flynn with and Brittany Daniel with 

The last one is very significant and historic as it's the first time we ever split a photo op. 

Start with table ops. Get the new Chewbacca, Frank Whaley, Sadie Sink, some Star Trek actors, Elizabeth McGlynn from Star Wars Rebels, and Robert Hays. I also got Sam Keith (artist and creator of The Maxx), and John Aston. 

I knock out both pro ops in Dolph Lundgren with RF and Paul Bettany with Lanza (Bettany being my second biggest want at the con). RF successfully used his status as a vendor to pull a switcharoo! RF then paid me the rest of what he owed me and went off to this table. I joined DJ to split Brittany Daniel and switcharoo'd Jerome Flynn with Lanza. 

Now I had a pro op for Michael Dorn but did not want to stay till 5pm as I wanted to head out to NYC. So I managed to convince him to accept my pro op ticket for a table op. After doing that I went to ask for a refund for my jpeg and got that. $10 back in my pocket and leaving RICC sooner. That's a win/win!

With that, I said my goodbyes, sold my 3 day pass via craigslist (along with that of Leslie's plus her extra sunday pass) then headed out to NYC!

Paul Bettany

Dolph Lundgren

Sadie Sink

Full list of RICC Saturday photo ops

Autograph


With another RICC in the books I drove to NYC and made good time avoiding both tolls and traffic. My primary target was actor Stephen Lang who I passed on at a con long ago (and regretted it). I arrive at the spot, see his photos via google images, and wait for him to enter. I never see him. The event lets out, I mooch my way inside and I see a man taking photo ops. No idea who it is, but it's NYC so I get the op, not knowing if I even got someone valid. I am then joined by friend of Vanessa the Jersey shore stalker David and show him the op but he can't ID him either. 

So we both wait for Lang, never see him. But we are told he is in the bar. We never see him. I then pull up the man's twitter, something I don't normally bother doing for older actors. Then I found out on Halloween he actually shaved all his facial hair! WTF? I then looked at the op I got earlier turns out it is indeed Stephen Lang himself! I was looking for someone with facial hair so I probably even missed him going in. This marks the first time in history I ever get someone I'm targeting and don't realize it's him till after the fact. We then see him take group ops at the bar and David gets a photo op. Hindsight is 20/20 I'm glad I didn't pay for that pro op way back when.

Move on to the next spot where we hope to see Taylor Swift and others but no luck. Saw Jack McBrayer AKA Fix It Felix walking up the street. Followed him and upgraded my shot. I could have stayed to try for Taylor Swift and other names late at night but given the cold and the fact that she is not known to be nice I chose to simply get some $1 pizza slices and leave NYC. In hindsight that was a good decision because nothing happened that was worth being out at 2am in the freezing cold.

I still could not finish my drive, so I stopped at a rest stop I usually park and sleep at when I'm tiered. This time it was sadly not feasible to sleep in the lot like I normally do. But inside the rest stop was a chair where one puts in bills for massages. I didn't put in any bills but I took my pillow and slept on said chair for about 5 hours. Good thing I had my ear muffs cause there would be people chatting throughout the night. Eventually someone woke me up and I screamed in terror. I then filled with gas and left. So I managed to do RICC, save on hotel costs, and sleep in the car for just one night. Not too shabby.

Stephen Lang

Jack McBrayer

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Kicking off November with a WWE haul!

With RAW and Smackdown on European tours, they were both slated to fly out en mass. Sadly I didn't locate the RAW flight (need Elias Samson) but I managed to locate the Smackdown flight. As the combo Gods would have it, they were the EXACT same flight, but a day part (which I found out after the fact).

The fresh names I needed on the Smackdown tour were the Singh brothers. But I needed a slew of upgrades. Jinder Mahal I needed with a beard. After all, clean shaven Jinder is a jobber, bearded Jinder is a main eventer. I also needed Bobby Roode with a beard since that's what he had during his "glorious" WWE run (last I got him was during his TNA days). In my Aiden English shot he has a beanie and Santa level beard, so that was another badly needed upgrade. And of course I needed to upgrade my sunhat/shades Lana shot.

Get to the airport. Usually I have my free parking spot, but they were doing some asphalting on the lot, which meant there were employees directing traffic. I parked and tried to quickly sneak out on foot but sadly I was caught and said I had to move the car if leaving. Since this is a place I frequent for free parking, I quickly complied. Short term airport parking was $6/hour. Since I anticipated going over the 2h mark (thus amounting to a minimum of $18 in parking) I chose the economy lot which is capped at $10 then shuttled to the airport.

As I arrived I already see the Usos, Dolph Ziggler, Naomi, and James Ellsworth checking in.

Got another shot with Ellsworth. Dolph I have more combos than I know what to do with so I didn't ask. Usos are known assholes so didn't even ask as I have them. I got Naomi sign and asked for another photo since it's been years since my last shot with her. Also see Finlay and get him to sign.

I get a Konnor (who made an awesome face) and bearded Bobby Roode. I see a hooded AJ Styles with a cap but don't have a need for him.

I see Tyler Breeze, Fandango, Nakamura, and Baron Corbin. Shook Tyler's hand and told him that I didn't need to bother him today as I got him before. Baron looked miserable, didn't speak to him since I had no need for him. But I got a combo with Fandango (again, been ages since I got a shot) and then I upgrade my Nakamura shot! He has a cap but both his eyes are wide open! When he signed his WWE_E V3 entry he jokingly goes "I am tarrer than 6'1" (referring to the height stated on there).

Get a Viktor combo. New Day arrives. I get them all on the WWE_E V3 New Day entry. I tell each of them I won't need to bother them for the photo op as I have them.

Got Erik Rowan on the Wyatt Family WWE_E V3 entry. Luke Harper was a total asshole. Wow I remember when after indy shows when he used to walk around looking for people who wanted combos from him. Damn how things can change. I didn't even get him back then as this was before my Kate Upton blunder (but he himself isn't another Kate Upton as I've gotten a photo op with him since he signed with WWE).

My top wants arrive, namely Jinder Mahal and the Singh brothers. I shake the hand of each brother and tell each I would like a photo with both of them after they are done checking in. They were gracious about it. 

Jinder begins to leave and I get the much needed beard upgrade with the modern day Maharajah. Good to see that he is still his friendly self despite his success. I actually regretted not going to his NYC signing during Summerslam where he did bearded shots (I arrived in NYC after the signing that day) but in hindsight I'm glad I didn't as I got him here and didn't have to stand in line.

Then Samir Singh comes out. I hesitate for the op as he is on his own, he says his brother is gonna take long and he has to go. So I settle for the selfie. I then get Sunil Singh not long after. Always a nice feeling to get fresh wrestling names as those are few and far between for me.

Divas! Becky, Charlotte, Tamina, Carmella. Been years since my last Tamina shot (like FCW years). I got the combo from her but sadly she put on a stupid cap meaning I don't consider this an upgrade. Becky was looking at me expecting me to ask but I had no need. Charlotte I got an auto which she was happy to do. Carmella goes "sorry I don't sign" then when I asked for a photo op with the MITB briefcase she said no. Since I have her didn't pursue it further. She used to be so nice.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. I get a combo with Kevin, but Sami shoots me down for an auto as he himself is now an asshole. Then I finally see Rusev and Lana. I wait for them to be done and ask Lana for a shot she goes "sorry I have to go". My single significant failure for the day. I did get Rusev to sign for me but since he had a beanie on there was no sense in getting a short haired Rusev shot.

I see Nayalya. As she leaves I tell her to have a good flight. She thanks me then stops and goes "you want a picture?" I tell her that I've gotten her before and didn't want to bother her but since she suggested I would. For some reason she put her shades on for the photo. No problem as I have her no shades.

Now there was one more I needed that I didn't see, namely Aiden English. I'm guessing he arrived before I did. Luckily I had the good sense to setup a fail safe the evening prior. Enacting that fail safe I went to the area where they are all waiting. I see Aiden English sitting in a corner by himself listening to music on his phone. PERFECT! 

I go up to him and ask him for a photo op which he happily agrees to, getting my upgrade. He basically looks like how he does on most of his TV time. I told him how I was waiting for check ins and didn't see him so I came all the way back here just for him. He laughed and said that he "appreciates" it. With that I left and shuttled back to my car. The only other thing I could have tried was asking Lana again but she has never told me yes for a photo op at an airport.

Jinder Mahal

Aiden English

Full list of photo ops

Autographs added to the WWE_E V3 in no particular order: 

Chalotte
Fandango
Finlay
Kevin Owens
Xavier Woods (New Day entry)
Big E (New Day Entry)
Kofi Kingston (New Day entry)
Viktor (Ascension entry)
Rusev
Shinsuke Nakamura
Tamina
Erik Rowan (Wyatt Family entry)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Chiller Theater Halloween 2017

This Chiller was a little lackluster. But it did have one big name for me, Lou Diamond Phillips. Plus actors from Charles in Charge, Little Ricky from I Love Lucy, and lots of other names. So this was definitely a Chiller worth going to.

In terms of money, I paid for some, got some free at the tables, split some at the tables, and hung out in the lobby. So I did a good balance.

I got there Friday and started with a Butterbean upgrade. Got Jerry Mathers (Beaver), Lou Diamond, Charles in Charge actors I didn't have, Little Ricky, and many others.

Vinny Appice may not a huge music name but a name I like as he played in the second Dio Sabbath album Mob Rules. The promoter who brought him is a combo hunter I know and was cool enough to offer me a free photo op, which I appreciated. From what I heard he did well with Vinny and had already made his investment back on Friday. Good for him. With the addition of Vinny I now have photo ops with all Sabbath members under both Ozzy and Dio except of course Dio.

Hung out in the lobby Friday night and got more photos. Fake Jan was being mooched but I didn't care to do that first off because I have a perfect shot from Chiller in 2008 and second she knows me from both cons and social media. I did however ask her boyfriend Mason Reese for a photo op and he was happy to oblige. Ended my Friday evening with a Scott Schwartz upgrade.

Lou Diamond Phillips

Keith Thibodeaux

Alexander Polinsky

Willie Aames

Jennifer Runyon

Cara Buono

Full list of Chiller Weekend Day 1 Photos Part 1

Full list of Chiller Weekend Day 1 Photos Part 2


Next day I start with names I didn't have a chance for on Friday (either due to time or they didn't show up). Finally met markedout board member Capman in person for the first time. Being such a huge Goldust/Marlena fan I picked up a Marlena suited Terri Runnels. She remembered me from previous shows and said that she hasn't seen me for a while. HCIT!

Now I wanted to get Daniel Roebuck (who I know best from the awesome Harrison Ford movie The Fugitive) who was apparently FREE for a combo (unheard of at Chiller). But he wasn't at his table. I also had to go to a Valerie Bertinelli book signing at the Women's Expo. I dashed there. Not 10 minutes later I get word Daniel is at his table. In hindsight I could have gotten him and gone to the Valerie event as her signing didn't even start on time. 

Get to the venue and enter. Buy the book, wait in line. It was one of the easiest and least stressful book signings ever. Only gripe is there was no competent photographer so I did a selfie (which turned out fine). I put an extra which she signed no issue.

Back to Chiller and Daniel Roebuck is away from his table, but eventually returns and I score my first ever free combo at Chiller that would not be considered a mooch. Waited at the lobby after the show, hung out at the Chiller concert, even saw Radioman! Ended my evening with Santa suited Santa update. I then sleep in the hotel parking as I left the next morning.

Valerie Bertinelli

Marlena suited Terri Runnels

Santa suited Santa Clause

Full list of Chiller Weekend Day 2 Photos

Autographs

Thursday, November 16, 2017

I faced the FIFTH ELEMENT and had to DIE HARD

On a day in mid November I decided to venture for a big want of mine that I've failed on in the past: Bruce Willis. I was not optimistic as he is not known to be the nicest, especially photo op wise.

There were other names there, but most of the non-scrubs there I already had. Names such as Gloria Estefan, Tony Bennett, and Vanessa Williams. Josh Groban was the only significant fresh name I stood to gain (besides Bruce) but he is pokemon for me.

The day starts it's just me and one other combo hunter. Get Michael Feinstein and Savion Glover. Josh Groban comes in and I get a combo completely ignoring security's demand for no photos. Sadly the photo op is invalid as his eyes are closed. Gloria is her usual friendly self and I get autos. Then Michael Bublé hat and shades shot, then Chris Botti photo.

Still 2 people, the witching hour is upon us as Bruce Willis pulls up. He comes over and is signing. I get one and as the other grapher is getting three I am pleading for the op. 

Bruce goes "well take it" but he doesn't pose. He continues "take it". Then when he's about to leave he goes "you're not quick enough" I respond "but you're not posing" and he goes "well quick, I gotta go to work". I then take the selfie, I not only score a valid shot but he is smiling! I was in such a state of euphoria after this success the staff on hand couldn't believe what they were seeing. I then ran down the street away from the venue and yelled and screamed with joy! Sucks the shot has a slim beard, but in NYC when he did $150 American Express black card exclusive m&g at his shows he had both facial hair and a cap. So I got the better deal here, full combo and no cap without paying $150! From this point forth I am in bonus mode.

Back in position, Josh Groban is leaving and I explain to him the invalidity of my first shot and ask for another. The security guard goes "you already got one" but he comes over and takes a valid shot with me. This is where my lucky Bruce shot seems even luckier. Not 5 minutes after Bruce is inside 3 more combo hunters arrive! Had those 3 arrived any earlier we would have been 5 and ZERO CHANCE he would have done any photo ops (though most likely he would have still signed).

Vanessa Williams comes in. I needed a better shot and got the full combo. Got Gloria auto on exit and Brian Stokes Mitchell photo as well.

When Bruce left the car pulled in which meant no access to him. All the other graphers went to his hotel and got 2 each but no photos. One grapher apparently pleaded for the photo op to no avail, cementing my theory that had we been more than 2 people no way I would have had the photo op. Wow how the combo Gods shined upon me. Wow just wow! Lucky Bill and Bruce shots within a 30 day time frame! On a side note also saw Stevie Wonder pull in the spot no access to him either. But I already have two ops with him and his autographs aren't even valid as they are his handler's auto.

After some dead time Tony Bennett drives in. When he drives out I hold up my photo and he rolls down, we are 2 people and get 1 each. More time passes. Bruce comes and does nothing saying he can't right now. I get Wé McDonald and upgrade my Michael Bublé to no hat/shades. Also got another Vanessa autograph.

Grab some taco bell as there is some dead time. Then come back as the evening ends. Bruce racks it out and I manage to get two items done including my Fifth Element blu ray! He actually took my items and signed them then handed them back to me! Vanessa was all dressed up so I went for an upgrade though I prefer my earlier shot due to the weird pose she gave. Tony Bennett left, ran after the car, he did a roll down and got another item signed. 

After this rushed to another spot for John de Lancie from Star Trek but he had already left. I hope to try that spot again in the future.

Bruce Willis

Josh Groban

Full list of photo ops

Bruce Willis autographs

non-Bruce Willis autographs

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I was able to JAM with a GHOSTBUSTER

With a weekend in October came yet another chance at two big wants of mine that I have been unable to attain photo op wise, namely Bill Murray and Steve Martin. Sadly I was not optimistic. But the day before the event I ventured out to see what I could possibly get. 

Day 1

I go to the first spot and I was the only one there. I also needed to be at this spot to find the info for the evening spot.

As I wait I see someone and don't recognize him at first. But then I look at some photos and realize "holy crap it's Eddie Vedder". I ask him for autos and he is nice as can be, even gives me a free guitar pick. I asked for a photo op he said he was smoking. Wanted the upgrade but no biggie I got him earlier in the year. I saw David Letterman and asked him for autos but he denies. I had no reason to ask for a second Santa bearded Letterman photo.

I thankfully manage to find the info for the evening spot then head there. Entries were a disaster as no one stopped. We wait and eventually Eddie Vedder comes out to smoke. He ends up doing one autograph per person. When I got up to him I say "Eddie, can I have a photo op INSTEAD of an autograph" and he responds "yes I got you earlier" obviously remembering me from earlier in the day. I consider this an upgrade over my shot in January.

Besides that I needed a Jimmie Walker upgrade sadly he didn't do photos and signed my picture in a horrid spot, on a dark spot using blue.

Got Jimmy Kimmel auto, Paul Shaffer upgrade, a fresh Norm Macdonald, and failed to get Martin Short (I have perfect Martin shots so this was an autograph failure).

Now it was the witching hour. We see Bill Murray and Steve Martin at a distance. Bill actually does come over as someone offers him Peurto Rico money while Steve runs away. Bill takes his money and signs. I tell him I have $100 for a photo op to which he replies "you don't get to make the rules". I didn't know it at the time but Bill rejecting my $100 for the op was one of if not the greatest favor anyone has ever done for me.

I am then driving home halfway there in total defeat (at least Bill/Steve wise) in preparation for the next day where I expected to fail again. Figured I could at least get a good night's sleep. As I'm halfway home I get a call from a Master who told me about Jimmy Kimmel talking about going to a club. He passed by said club and said he saw cars. He said both Steve and Bill might be there but it might also be a wild goose chase. Said parking was bad and that he's just going home as he is satisfied with his haul for the day (plus remember he has multiple shots with both Bill and Steve so possible autographs weren't enough motivation to stay). 

I thought hard but didn't think long about what to do. A minute later I turn back and arrive in the area, spending perhaps the next 30 minutes trying to find a legal parking spot (he wasn't kidding about parking). As I'm doing that I talk to another combo hunter who told me he actually pursued both Bill and Steve. He said Steve went back to the hotel, and he had Steve one on one with hotel employees lashing out on him. Steve denied him one on one. 

But Bill and Jimmy apparently got dropped off on the same street where the said club was located! I figured if I got the name of a club from one person and physical confirmation of Bill being in the vicinity of the club from a second person, this must indeed be a good lead. I finally park legally, go into the club, and search all the club except the one area I couldn't enter due to being over capacity. 

I wait outside and find out from people within the club that Bill and Jimmy are in fact in there and in the area I couldn't enter. So I wait outside, enduring things cigarette smoke, pot smoke, and spats that almost lead to violence till the police got involved. In asking people what they saw inside (ie are they still in, are they doing photo ops) some drunk people start yelling at me screaming "paparazzi! paparazzi!" and proceed to record me and take my picture. One person even tried to tell me "let him live his life". 


It is over 3 AM and finally a drunk Bill Murray is out! He is walking to his car as I plead for the picture and he ignores my request as he has in the past. Then I offer him $31 for his Puerto Rico charity. He STOPS and agrees to the shot! After multiple failures in multiple cities, here it is, finally! 


After the fact I was jumping up and down on the street praising the combo Gods, as if I got high on a photo op, even proposing sex to random girls on the street. I showed the photo op to the folks yelling paparazzi and said "paparazzi! paparazzi!" myself! I continued to scream and jump on the street as I took a picture of a picture and uploaded to IG/Twitter/Facebook 

I then went to the 24h CVS and made a 4x6 print for less than 50 cents (expensive by Costco standards which is 15 cents for a 4x6). Since it was already late and I had to be at a spot in the morning, it made no logistical or economical sense to pay gas money to get minimal sleep at home. So I secured prime parking next to the spot I need to be at, displayed my Bill Murray 4x6 in front of me, and as I fell asleep in my car. Last year when I failed at Bill I had tears of sorrow as I drove home. This evening I had tears again, but they were different. I had tears in my eyes as I dedicated my Bill Murray score to so that the bliss I feel may be transferred to him in the after life.



Full list of day of Day 1 photo ops

Bill Murray

Eddie Vedder



Day 2

It was a wonderful day as I started this spot fresh off a Bill Murray photo op! I was showing off my 4x6 print to all and even kept it next to my merch all day.

The day's highlights was more donations to Puerto Rico on two occasions where I got two Bill autos for $20 each. Chris Elliott from Groundhog day was an unannounced name but I got him at a past NYCC with a cap on (here he had a more intrusive hat). Grabbed some scrubs from the Letterman show as well as a couple of barely valids from another event at the spot (remember, Kate Upton and Felicity Jones!)

Eddie Vedder, David Letterman, Steve Martin, and Amy Schumer snuck in and out most of the time so we never saw them.

On exits I get an upgrade with Chris Elliott (no hat or cap), I upgrade my Jimmy Kimmel op as he goes in a spat with a combo hunter. The spat was rather humerus as the combo hunter basically slammed him for doing only one per as he is not a huge name. Jimmy told him to suck his dick.

The evening did end on a sour note as Bill Murray came out, took my $15, signed for others, but did not sign my cubs cap.

Chris Elliott

Jimmy Kimmel

Full list of day of Day 2 photo ops

Bill Murray autographs

Signed 8x10s