Friday, February 3, 2017

Broken Hardys MCW Report

After an amazing January I decided to end the month on something relatively quick and easy. A Hardy family meet and greet. I decided to do this for a few reasons.

  • It wasn't that expensive, would be lots more money at a con
  • I never got both Matt and Jeff in the same photo op
  • I don't have any great shots with Matt Hardy (he has shades in all my shots)
  • I never got Reby Sky, King Maxel, or Senor Benjamin, all of which were advertised 

So I pick up and we head to the MCW arena. To our delight all the participants were fully suited for the photo op. Additionally, they had an awesome background, great equipment, and used flash (they initially said no flash). And unlike other 3 and 4 figured meet and greets, the photographer was actually checking for validity and doing retakes (except for the child, obviously). Me and Joresky got the shot no issue and went back in line for autographs. 

Luckily we were near the front of the line because as the photo ops progressed there came a point where the baby couldn't take it. So both Reby AND Maxel left the photo op! Wow I can see Maxel leaving but Reby? Sure someone needed to stay with the child but they couldn't have a worker do that while Reby stays in people's photo ops? After all 5 people were advertised, not 3. But it wasn't my battle to fight, thankfully. My battle would come later on. 

For now though, it is time for autographs. While waiting in line for them to prepare I notice Senor Benjamin standing around and I get a solo shot with him. We go through the line and I get the Hardys on an attitude era WWF mag. That went smoothly. 

I then wait for the signing to end since I could try for a Reby Sky solo shot. I figured [correctly] that while leaving all security would be on Matt and Jeff leaving Reby for the taking. To boot, since she was pushing the baby on a pram that slowed her down and she traied behind everyone else. So I get a selfie with Reby but sadly it's blurry I then run after her for another. At this point staff is yelling at me telling me "we're not doing that now" but I ignore them and get a second shot with her. Unfortunately in hindsight that effort was for nothing because later on she went to the food stand to buy overpriced food 

Unfortunately at this point I received horrifying news. Apparently the photos are uploaded on FB! WTF! So I found one of the top guys on MCW and explained my situation, he said to email and he would provide me with the jpeg full rez. 

I wait till intermission to try and score some "you never know" names. I avoided those that had a table setup because I didn't want to be charged. But I got those that were standing around doing free photo ops. I then left the place and went clubbing. 

The next morning the photos were uploaded to FB. So now I had to commander the full rez shot. There is where my battle begins. 

I sent an email and FB message to MCW. Got no response. Then I found the photographer, PM'd via FB, explained what I wanted. He said he can't email because the file is "too big". I suggested other methods he said he would do FB PM. But sadly that reduces quality as well. So I suggested a site where you can upload files up to 5GB and implored him to do it that way. After all it's just as quick to select a file via that site as it is via FB PM. He accommodated me but said he wouldn't do it for me in the future. 

I then again send an email to MCW telling them what transpired. This is what I sent: 

Since you didn't respond back I tracked down the photographer and got him to send me the photo in full rez, which he did and I am now satisfied and thankful to him. However he also told me that he would not do that for me in the future. 

Due to this I likely won't buy another pro photo op at MCW since facebook uploads are really low quality. 

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use something else like dropbox, flickr, or any of the other services that don't destroy the photo when uploading. We are after all in 2017. Or even upload to one of these services AND upload to facebook. 

I finally got a reply back: 

I sent him a message and I was waiting to hear back from him. You went and got it done before I could get it done for you. I apologize it took longer then expected. As for anything in the future. That gentlemen works for me and if I tell him I need a photo in hi Rez then I will get it. I own the company. I just sent him a message to let him know not to tell anyone that again. You have my word that you will always get what you need from MCW. I told you that you could get the photo and I would of made sure you got it. We appreciate your business and don't want to see you not support us in the future. If you have any other questions or concerns please let us know. Thank you. 

Then I sent this: 

Thank you Dennis I appreciate both your response and your reassurance. Given that if I see anything I like on MCW's site I will definitely come out and support it in the future. 

Broken Hardy photo op, full rez

Full list of photo ops

Signed Magazine

Friday, January 27, 2017

Presidential Inauguration Week Report Part 2

Note: If you have not already please see my previous post for Part 1

Day 5 and the final day of Inauguration Week. On this day I could have gone to Philly for Richard Petty. But I decided to gamble at a Women's March that had tons of celebrities. 

I arrive there with Vanessa the Jersey Shore Stalker. I somehow find free parking a few blocks away and walk to the event. Also on site were some Masters, a minion who also brought his daughter, and Radioman. Along with thousands of protesters. 

As we arrive we scout. We see some passes being given and Vanessa manages to grab one. They were about to not give me a pass but Vanessa says "he's with me". So now I have a pass. It was a "special guest" pass. 

Would this pass increase our chances for photo ops? No one knew. First we all discover the entry point and it seems impossible. Couldn't get Emma Watson, Julia Roberts, Cher, or even lower names. As one guy put it, "if Cher didn't stop for Radioman she's not stopping for you"

Only thing I managed to score is actress Lea DeLaria. Other hunters managed to mooch other materials. Then we all went to the "pass only" area to scope it out. There were railings which made us think perhaps some celebs are gettable. From there it seemed as if one security guard was letting everyone with a pass backstage, so me and one Master got in. All I did was flash my pass. I then phoned Vanessa and told her what I did. She then did what I did. 

Right here we hit the jackpot! From then on it was photo op after photo op. Though not without some misses. 

Got Alia Shawkat, Jackie Cruz, improved my Amy Poehler photo op. Then Vanessa tells me where Scarlett Johansson is. I go to that area flash my badge, then SCORE a perfect shot with one of the hardest modern day actresses. 

I am then alerted to a side tent where Cher is apparently doing photo ops inside. I rush there. As I am there I heard the guy say this is now only open to "media and members of  congress" so I quietly slip through the corner as he is talking. I then ask Cher for a selfie and she agrees. The bodyguards appear to me fighting me and I panic and go "she said yes to a selfie" then they said no selfie we will take it. I of course agreed. After that I thanked her and thanked the guards and promptly slipped out of the tent! WOHOOO! 

A while after more people were getting to the area I was in. Some people who stayed at the initial railings got perfect Katy Perry shots! But while that was happening I got Scarlett which they did not. So it's a matter of can't be everywhere at once. Speaking of Katy I saw her in front of me and asked twice for a selfie and both times she tells me "HIIIiiiii"! 

WTF! I've seen this woman so many times and have failed to get that shot. To boot she did take two selfies just not with me. This is right up there with J-Lo. Someone I just can't seem to get but so many have photo ops with. 

Another PUNCH more major than Katy Perry was Emma Watson. The times I asked she denied but the times she was doing photo ops I was not at the right place right time. First time was when she was leaving stage Vanessa tried calling me but reception was bad due to all the phones around. I was beside myself only for to have a second major PUNCH when a Master told me he just got her (by then I thought she had left). I quickly went to where he said he got her but was 5 minutes too late. Vanessa had tried to call me again to no avail. It seems that had I restarted my phone I probably would have had reception and a perfect Emma Watson shot. I guess this was mymoment so to speak except I fucking had batteries 

I also tried to Julia Roberts (hat and shades) and failed on that front and even got assaulted by her security guard. That guard is damn lucky I was in a prime area for photo ops and did not want to get kicked out, because had we been on a sidewalk I would have punched that guard with all my might and caused the scenes of scenes 

Back to positives, got Bella Thorne, Zendaya, Diane Guerrero, Danielle Brooks, Jeffrey Wright, Halsey, Ani DiFranco, Marisa Tomei (repeat), Fisher Stevens (repeat), and Soccer player Hope Solo

Alicia Keys (who I needed a better shot with) was another moment filled fights. She had two security guards that weren't allowing me to ask saying she had to go on stage. I said she's doing it and they say "she's not doing it now" as she immediately takes a selfie with someone. When they realize their lies are not working they then try to report me to another guard but I slip away before that guard sees me. Much later she was still in the same spot not yet on stage. When she left stage I positioned myself at a spot and asked her then finally got shot (the same guards were still escorting her). 

For shits and giggles I got an invalid Madonna. I didn't bother putting any effort on her because a Master told me he had her one on one and she denied him. 

Rounded the event with another Olivia Wilde shot, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray of Indigo girls, and activist Gloria Steinem.  

Seeing people's Emma Watson shots was pain and suffering. Cause this happened as I was there just not exactly there. But overall got Cher, Scarlett Johansson, plus other fresh meets and upgrades, I'd say epic successful day! 

On a side note, I saw Jeffrey Wright's son that took away my photo op back in November. He didn't recognize me. 


Scarlett Johansson

Amy Poehler

Jeffrey Wright

Candidate for worst photo op of 2017 - Madonna

Full list of final day photo ops part 1

Full list of final day photo ops part 2

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Presidential Inauguration Week Report Part 1

This is a multi day report that took place during the week when President Trump officially became the president and supreme leader of the United States of America. 

Day 1

On this day I had a flight for Lee Greenwood. I also found Jon Voight but sadly he cancelled his flight and flew private. I already have Voight so this was not a major punch but it would have been nice to make my time more worthwhile as both Greenwood and Voight were coming in at almost the same time. But I still needed Greenwood and he's a nice guy so I still embarked on this. 

Arrive and it's time for the meet. He is nice as can be, took a photo op and signed four CDs and a vinyl, even asking me where I got these. 

By a shocking coincidence at baggage claim was none other than Three Doors Down, who I didn't look for but I needed. Of the 5 members 2 are original including the lead singer. The others are barely valid. All were nice and I got photo ops with all of them. Also Dick Gregory was spotted and I got a photo op just because he was there. 

Wow I was happy because I only thought I would get Greenwood but I get him and Three Doors Down. I was on my way home victorious then I get a call from a Master who tells me that singer and actress Sabrina Carpenter is coming in and to look for a flight. Shockingly while in the car I find the flight coming later that evening So I turn back, park for free, chill, and kill time by eating free samples at a supermarket and a mall, scouring the coin star machine for left change (without success), and browsing around randomly. Now it's time to go back to the airport. The witching hour arrives and I was the first to ask her for a photo op and she goes "sure" and I get the photo op! As she signs I also get an autograph. She charges $100 for the m&g and while this photo op isn't as good as the m&g ones I'll happily take it (I should add that the m&g doesn't include the autograph). 

Planned for just Lee Greenwood, got him, two original members of Three Doors Down, AND Sabrina Carpenter. Definitely a good day!

Lee Greenwood

Sabrina Carpenter

Full list of Day 1 photo ops

Day 2

This day was the quickest and easiest. Basically just Pamela Anderson at the airport. This would be my second time ever meeting her. Graphers attacked her but she was accommodating signing most everything in front of her. I got her on a magazine, three 8x10s, and two WWE_E books. Then finally got her on a fold out poster. Also got a photo op.  

Sadly on the first WWE_E I had her sign he signed in big and over the wrong Wrestlemania entry! UGH! On the second one she signed it much nicer right near he photo. 

Pamela Anderson

Day 3

Here I had a choice between Caitlyn Jenner at one airport, and Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter at another airport. I chose option #2 even though I have a Jimmy Carter photo op. Figured I better get another auto since he's 90+ and it gives me a shot at Rosalynn. I also had Christina Hendricks coming in at that same airport. So it decreased the headache of back and forth. Plus I don't think I'd enjoy having a Caitlyn Jenner photo op anyway.

So first stop is the Carters. We see police and secret service out and about. A cop comes out to us and asks what we're waiting for. Someone replies "same person you're waiting for" and the cop goes "who" and he goes "you know who" and the cop goes "tell me" and the reply was "former US president Jimmy Carter". We told him how we got Carter here in the past and the cop goes "it's not going to happen today" to which I reply "you don't know that and I don't know that" 

The witching hour arrives. Jimmy comes over to sign. I try asking Rosalynn for the photo op but she sadly ignores me. I get Jimmy on an 8x10 of him and Rosalynn. 

Next up a Christina Hendricks flight. She is nice amd does 3 per person and also the photo op. Then I remember that her husband is actually an actor and ask him for a photo op. He does it no issue. One Master who was at that flight had other flights coming in that I didn't bother looking for so I tagged along. 

First one of these is Alysia Reiner from Orange is the New Black. She is nice as can be. Then Tim Daly. At this point I am joined by Vanessa the Jersey Shore Stalker. Get more autographs from Tim Daly as well as another photo op. Final flight is former child actress Mae Whitman. She is also nice as can be and I got another shot with her plus some autographs. 

We then wait on a couple of other flights in the hopes of randoms, but we see no one. 

Overall a sub par day but at least I didn't walk away with nothing. 

Full list of Day 3 photo ops

Day 4

This day starts with Jimmy Carter round two (this time with Vanessa tagging along). Again we wait for Carter, we get the speech from secret service. I get Jimmy Carter to sign a baseball. I then step back to try and ask Rosalynn for a photo op then get yelled at by the police. I then showcase my 8x10 signed by Jimmy and say "Miss Carter I got your husband on it" and she looks at the photo and goes "oh my". The cops yell at me again saying "she doesn't do it". I then ask "can I get your autograph" and the cop lashes out again at me saying "she said no, no means no" (which she technically didn't). She was walking to the escalator and I was on the other side so I sadly I had little to no chance for a photo op. I simply stayed put and extended the 8x10 to her and she signed it for me. Vanessa tried getting her to sign but she didn't do anything more than my 8x10. 

After this we both go to Costco and eat. Then it was off to the city. While I managed to park for free it was sadly difficult to get to our spot in the city, even hindered by the parade. Go back to the car and as I'm driving I get a call from a Master. He asks where I'm at and what I'm doing. Then he says he has a flight, won't tell me who, but to come and pick him up. So I go pick him up and we all head to the airport. Turns out it's actress Michelle Rodriguez from The Fast and the Furious. Decent name! She arrives and I manage to get the combo no issue. 

Sadly this was not without a PUNCH in the face. Apparently at the spot where I wanted to go Tim Allen, a huge want of mine, came out of there, did photo ops, and walked away! He wasn't even on the list of people to appear in that spot so no one knew. Wow I was beside myself. 

I did manage to eventually find my way to the spot (parked then walked 20 minutes) where a Master was waiting (and got Tim Allen). He was also waiting for Radioman who is a buddy of his. He points out Hollywood attorney Gloria Allred and I get a photo op. Radioman arrives and curses me out to him. At one point Radioman hands flyers of his documentary. Gives one to his buddy and one to Vanessa. I say "hey none for me, damn that hurts Radioman". Then he gives me one. Then I try to get him to sign it and he signs for me and Vanessa. This completes my combo with Radioman. 

People start to exit the spot and I get a few photo ops but nothing I didn't have sadly. Just upgrades as they were looking nicer. I actually had one big want at the spot. Namely Matthew Modine. But sadly he no showed. So that was another PUNCH.

One notable interaction was with Mae Whitman. She said hi to Radioman and he didn't know who she was. She then proceeded to remind Radioman of when she filmed with him on set and how she was a little girl. She was super excited to see Radioman. Radioman then asked for her swag bag and she goes "sure you can have it". He also proposed that she take any of the inside contents that she wants so he can just have the actual bag. But she tells Radioman that he can have everything. 

We did try one other party to see what was there, but sadly it was a dud. 

Aside from one Michelle Rodriguez, this day was sadly a bust. If I got Tim Allen that would have been huge. 

Michelle Rodriguez

Christina Hendricks

Mae Whitman

Full list of Day 4 photo ops

Stay tuned for Presidential Inauguration Week Report Part 2 for the final day of combo hunting during that week. In the meantime, let's showcase autographs obtained the past four days: 

Lee Greenwood

Michelle Rodriguez and Sabrina Carpenter

Pamela Anderson

Pamela Anderson fold out

Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter

Signed 8x10s

Radioman flyer

Monday, January 9, 2017

First report of 2017: The A list and the freezing cold

The months of December, January, and February I normally hibernate and limit myself to indoor combo hunting. But here there was an event where a good number of A listers were slated to show up and of course there's always a chance of randoms above and beyond who was on the list. Sadly, the spot isn't known to have the best access and has multiple points of entry and exit. Furthermore, historically many bigger names get driven in and out. But as they say, gotta play to win. After all, how devastated would I be if I stayed in a nice warm place and then hear that people did well. I had internal tears as I decided to avoid the worst case scenario (ie me staying home and the event going well). 

I had a few flights but most of them got cancelled as the celebs found other methods of travel. That was a bummer. The only flight I had that was still valid was Jordin Sparks which arrived the day prior to the event. I was doing non-combo related stuff and figured I'd check out that flight because 1) I had some 8x10s printed years ago that never got signed and 2) perhaps other people I don't know about are on the flight. 

When I got there turns out there were Masters that had the same idea I did (ie to check for randoms). 
When the witching hour arrived I was told that Cheryl Hines walked by me. But since I got photo ops with her I didn't make the effort to scramble to baggage and look for her. 

Then it was time for Jordin. After talking to TMZ she was nice as can be. Asked if I have another color pen so I gave her black instead of blue. One picture she signed was a photo op from when I last met her and she remembered the event it was from. I told her she had a good memory. After she was done signing she goes "let's take another picture for your collection". I had no intention of asking her as it would be a downgrade from what I have but since she asked I of course did it. After the first shot she goes "I messed it up let's do another" and we take another shot. Wow why can't all celebs be that nice. With this I got my first combo of 2017. 

The next day was the main event. And boy was it a day I was dreading like no other as I knew I would be in for a long and cold evening, possibly for nothing. I put on 3 layers of socks, 2 layers of pants, 3 layers of tops, plus my coat. 

First I go to a spot for Samuel L Jackson. He does one per and I get my Mace Windu figure signed. Next spot for George Lucas. Wait and he shows up but ignores us all. 

Next up I go wait for the main spot and where I begrudgingly planned to spend the next 10 hours or so. A little bit ago I had received a call from a Master who told me that both Tom Hanks and Stephen Speilberg are slated to show up. Luckily I always keep my random stash of stuff in the trunk of my car and was able to pull out my items for both and have them ready. 

Looks like some activity is brewing up and I leave the warm car to stand there. The spot isn't even open and George Lucas arrives as he realizes he is early. I get an autograph and I get a selfie with Mellody Hobson (already have a great photo op with Lucas so didn't bother). I saw someone else get a second auto and I try for a second but to no avail. 

Saw Meryl Streep stand in line to go into the event. We were three asking for stuff and she goes "sorry I'm not doing it, I'm not working". At one point she even backs up and bumps into me and I apologized. That was a pretty crushing defeat as she was right here next to me, even ran into me, and I had nothing to show for it. 

Next up I get photo ops with Lena Dunham (first fresh actor/actress photo op of 2017), get Charles Barkley (upgrade), and producer Jeffrey Katzenberg. Then David Letterman shows up and just because it's easy and a novelty I get a photo op with santa bearded Letterman (I had seen him with the beard in the past but didn't bother cause it was chaotic and not worth fighting for). 

At this point they began to set up barricades and with barricades more people started joining. Dammit! This went from being "decent" to absolutely garbage! Additionally we were not very close to them. 

Some of the names that showed up 

George Clooney
Don Cheadle
Tom Hanks
Gloria and Emilio Estefan
John Legend
Jordin Sparks
Stephen Speilberg
Paul McCartney
Brad Paisley
Jon Hamm
Nick Jonas
Steve Harvey
Sarah Jessica Parker
Matthew Broderick 
Bradley Cooper
James Taylor
Harvey Weinstein

I'm sure I'm forgetting more. All I got was actor Wendell Pierce and an update with Gloria Estefan. Also Harvey Weinstein blew me off for a photo op after signing (he was one that I was able to get up to). Wow 2017 just started and not only punches but multiple BIG BLOWS to face all through!  

So we all go since we don't anticipate any activity for at least a little bit. I go to the car as I have to move it from one free spot to another. Grab a bite to eat, park, and head back to the spot.

Some positive things happened:

1) The wretched barricades have taken down.

2) All the guards that were working earlier are now gone (probably their shift ended)

3) All the non combo hunters are gone (leaving 5-7 combo hunters throughout the night)

Thanks to the combination of the cold and not being in NYC, this was a refreshingly low number ESPECIALLY for the caliber and quantity of potential names. 

As I head back to prepare for exits George Lucas, James Taylor, and Harvey Weinstein leave. I get another Lucas auto, James Taylor auto, and blown off again by Harvey Weinstein. 

Shortly after other combo hunters arrive. Stephen Speilberg, someone I still need a photo op with, is spotted leaving. One guy tells us he has no time and has to catch a plane to which a combo hunter replies "these planes won't leave without him". As he arrives we plead he says he will do it. Sadly, he rejects photo ops. He signs one per and as I get him on my ET poster he asks who else signed it. This was pretty crushing as I've seen this guy so many times but have yet to get a photo op. I do however get his wife Kate Capshaw who was in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. So that's a consolation prize at least. 

This would not be the only crushing defeat as Paul McCartney comes out and says he's not signing and I try asking for photo ops he says he's not taking pictures. One Master even begged and pleaded all the way to his car to no avail. As he left he rolled down the window and wished us all a Happy New Year. 

Now comes a huge entourage. Robert Deniro, Meryl Streep, Magic Johnson, and Charles Barkley. I tried begging Meryl as a Master breaks her down for an auto. I beg more and she agrees to the shot! I couldn't believe it! I then score that near impossible A list photo op HOLY CRAP! Didn't bother fighting for a Deniro shot as he had a full beard and it would have been a downgrade. After this I was on my knees thanking the combo Gods for my first A list photo op of 2017 and knowing that my entire ordeal was officially not for nothing! 

Besides this I see Jon Hamm but already have photos with him so I don't bother going after him. I see Common come out but don't bother with him. Other photo ops I got include Rachael Ray (update), Patti LaBelle (update), and basketball player Grant Hill.

After our last photo op an hour passes and nothing happens. Then we see cars pull up to another exit so we run there. Seems exits shifts and we probably missed more names waiting at what was now the wrong exit.

Some things that happened at this stage of the evening.

Saw Steve Harvey and had to break him down for a selfie. He goes "ok c'mon quick" and he cuts it off after like 2 people.

Saw Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus walk but didn't bother going after them as I had them both. Saw Kerri Washington but also had no need to go after her. Sam Jackson again didn't fight for a photo op because he had a beanie on. Got an auto sadly it got smudged.

Got Connie Britton update. Jon Bon Jovi did nothing for no one. Tom Hanks actually signed one per and I got him on my Apollo 13 laserdisc completing my project, finally! I also stood there and did photo ops. I of course took one but the photo op is essentially garbage compared to my older shot as he has a full beard, a beanie, and spectacles.

A Master spots a car with Bruce Springsteen in it. He runs to the car naturally me and others follow. We plead for Bruce for a roll down and he rolls. The driver starts to move but stops. When it's my turn as he is signing my item the car is moving again and I scream "HEEEYYY" luckily the car stops and my autograph looks fine. Thankfully I already have a photo op so had no huge need to fight for a car shot.

Kelly Rowland didn't stop my shot didn't turn out sadly. I got her before but needed another shot. Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis are spotted. I have Jason so many times but upgraded my Olivia to no shades.

Eddie Vedder is spotted he says he will do one per but no photo ops because he "looks like shit" as he put it. I have someone else help me with an item so I got my Peal Jam vinyl already signed by two other members and a CD.

At this point Eddie, Jason, and Olivia are just hanging waiting for their rides. I plead with Eddie for a photo op he laughingly goes "I'm pissed off but let's do it" as he goofs off and does a few photo ops!

Saw Don Cheadle but had no need to bother him. Got up and coming actress Cody Horn. Also basketball player Alonzo Mourning.

Snow beings to pick up. At this point we all decided this was done.

Despite the hardships and the cold, the ups and downs, the punches, the big blows, the pain and suffering a photo op with the near impossible Meryl Streep, combo with Eddie Vedder (who himself is pretty tough), plus many more bonus autographs and photo ops, I'd say my first endeavor of 2017 was a sweeping success

I left my home at 2pm, I returned it was 6am. That was 14 horus well spent.

Some other notes:

This evening was truly a prime example of "gotta play to win". Success was not even close to guaranteed as lots of people usually drive in and out of that spot. This time almost nobody drove in (Springsteen, Jay Z, Beyonce did).

To show you that there are no rules when it comes to what could bring success and failure in combo hunting, who would have thought that between Meryl Streep, Stephen Speilberg, and Paul McCartney, Streep would be the only one of those 3 to actually do full combos! Wow just wow.

Meryl Streep

Olivia Wilde

Eddie Vedder

Kate Capshaw

Full list of photo ops part 1

Full list of photo ops part 2

Now to showcase some autographs

Star Wars items

ET poster

Music autographs

Apollo 13 laserdisc

Jordin Sparks 8x10s

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Final report of 2016: Two days of pain and agony

This is the time of year I dread the most. I dress 3 layers from feet to neck, wait outside, tackle a horrid crowd, and get blown off by so many celebs. 

To boot, normally I have the full list of attendees. This year I sadly only had a partial list. So my autograph scores would be limited. This added to the already pain ridden weekend.

Day 1 starts off slow. I get Darius Rucker from Hootie & the Blowfish, Vince Gill who I had, Lee Sklar. Elle King did nothing going in but leaving she did 2 or 3 photo ops. I got one of them. This would be all she did for the entire weekend. 

Eagles did nothing for no one a expected. The exception is leaving where Joe Walsh signed a few on each side and I managed to get one of those. He would do nothing else the entire weekend. Joresky and some others showed him an Eagles item which didn't help matters as this is exactly how you get Joe to stop doing anything. We were expecting Al Pacino but he didn't show up as he flew in later that day.

Martha Argerich is essentially a modern day Beethoven. Not a name I truly care for but got one of the few photo ops she did. It's pretty solid for get if there as it's a nice score for a well rounded collection. Saw James Taylor again and got him on two items (he was doing two per). Mavis Staples signs a few autos but does little else the entire weekend. Sean Penn arrives and as expected doesn't even look at anyone. 

Bob Seger did nothing for no one and would do nothing the entire weekend. Didn't bother with Garth Brooks as I have shots with him. Other scores include legendary guitarist Steve Vai and Jaunes. 

Sheryl Crow went in and did nothing but she promised she would take care of people on the way out. When she did come out most people were gone so she did combos with the few people left, and I got a combo! Wow so much nicer with a smaller crowd.

With this over it was time for evening events. After some nice pizza at Costco I went to a spot which was completely new to me. Over there I would score a Gabrielle Anwar combo, Chris O Donnell photo (could not get him to sign for me though he signed for others) and two members of the band Kings of Leon (one of which is the lead singer). People got Al Pacino at his hotel but I didn't bother to rush there since I have two shots (albeit shades shots) and his autograph is so bad I don't see it as worth the effort. 

Sheryl Crow

Full list of Saturday photo ops

On to day 2 of pain and suffering. Starts off with music. Get drummer Russ Kunkel, also upgrade my Darius Rucker. He goes "how many photos do you need" I say "this is an upgrade you have no cap on" which he scoffs at. Garth Brooks is well dressed so I get a photo op just because. Yo Yo Ma does nothing entering but shockingly takes care of everyone leaving. I upgrade my photo op with him. 

Kevin Spacey showed up and only signed for me on my side as he went to the other side. Already got a picture with him in the past. 

Get photo op with actor Brian Stokes Mitchell and autographs from actor Bobby Cannavale (had a photo op already so concentrated on autographs). 

Ringo Starr did nothing for no one as expected. I Virgilized Chris O Donnell getting another shot and also got another shot with Gabrielle Anwar. 

Don Cheadle who I got a bad photo in the past took care of everyone leaving. Thankfully I scored a perfect shot with him this time! Andra Day was super nice to everyone leaving. Don't know who she is but won't refuse a photo op if there. Also got a great music score in Domingo of the Three Tenors. I'm honestly not a fan of his type of music but I know who he is and know what a great name that is so was happy to get that. Then got the remaining two members of Kings of Leon that I didn't get last night as I took my spot for the actual event. 

Now this is where I go into crisis mode. I go to get something from the car and my car isn't there. I couldn't not believe it! While the meters on the street had a paper saying you couldn't park there at those hours, I was parked in front of the entrance of an embassy that had NO meters and NO papers! All the meters were to the left and to the right of the signs where I was parked in between. Hours on those signs were restricted Monday through Saturday but I was parked on a Sunday. 

I rushed back to my spot but I panicked! I called a million numbers and none said my license plate was on record as towed. Could it be that I had my license plate wrong since after all I was going by memory? Could it be that it wasn't in the system? Or could it be that my car was stolen! And my house key was in the car! I called a million numbers none which gave me any results. It seemed like best case scenario I'd have to pay 3 figures for the tow and as someone else explained to me you get a parking ticket in addition to the tow! To boot, celebrities were coming and I couldn't be very aggressive. I failed to get anything from Kevin Spacey (either auto or photo op upgrade). I only got one auto from Sam Moore, one from Lynda Carter, one from Cal Ripken Jr. Luckily I had photo ops with them all. Most people however did not stop so I didn't miss too much even in crisis mode. But had I been more aggressive could have had something from Kevin Spacey and more autos from Sam Moore. I also picked up repeat photo ops with Lilly Rabe and Trisha Yearwood and a couple of other shots. 

After this I ran to find a police officer. Luckily lots were around. I went to a cop car, explained my situation, and gave my driver's licence. She called the guy with the crane truck and said he is coming and we can ask him if he took my car. He came, I described my car and where it was parked, even showed the photo how I didn't break any laws. He told me to make a right and go up the street my car is there. I replied "and I can go get it?" and he goes "yes unless you want me to get it". I say "bless you kind sir" I run to my car and there it was! WOW crisis averted! Sadly I had a $50 parking ticket on it, but at that point it was getting off easy. The reason for the ticket was cited as what was on the signs stuck to the parking meters, but I have every single intention to contest this parking ticket with full photographic evidence on how there were NO signs where I parked it and how I was 110% legally parked for the entire day. To boot, after my car was towed other cars parked right where I was. 

After going to bathroom, I go back in position. This time we are only FOUR people as everyone went to rest up. Lo and behold the nasty Sean Penn is out for a smoke break. Says he will come over to sign but NO cameras and NO pictures! He signs one per. Goes to show you the difference between a few people and a crowd! Sean Penn stopped! 

After this the event breaks and no one really comes over. They were even blocking combo hunters from even waiting at one of the doors. A couple of people broke the rules and went inside and got photo ops with Bob Seger, Don Henley, and Timothy B. Schmit. While people that followed the rules ended up being booted off the property. At this point most combo hunters rushed to Al Pacino's hotel but I elected not to as it was raining and miserable. This is a decision I regret cause even getting Picino's horrid scribble would have been better than getting nothing at that point. 

Chris O'Donnell

Gabrielle Anwar

Don Cheadle


Full list of Sunday photo ops part 1

Full list of Sunday photo ops part 2

Here's the showcase of autographs

Autographs part 1

Autographs part 2

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Some scattered meets in late November and Early December

In November was an event where some A list names were expected. Robert Redford, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Deniro, Bill Gates among others. 

I arrive and had to run to a nearby hotel in order to take a badly needed crap. When done I am greeted with the first punch. Everyone is in! While it wasn't that huge a punch as the only ones that stopped were Denrio and Redford, and Redford (who I didn't have) did no photo ops (in fact one Master only managed to get a completely invalid shot), starting the day with multiple Deniro and Redford autographs would have been a damn decent start. 

At this point we are just waiting to see what randoms show up. First photo op is Ashlee Simpson. Then Tyler Perry comes in and I get a shot. Would have been a nice pick up but I had him already. 

I then go to Costco to get some food, and come back to wait for exits. We see Robert Redford, and plead, but sadly he does nothing for no one. 

We wait and it comes to a point where it is apparent people are leaving from another door. 

Rush there and apparently just missed Bill Gates and Bruce Springsteen. Gates signed one auto total (no photo ops) and Bruce did a couple. Additionally at the gate there's a whole bunch of random people gawking. Thankfully there was a huge walkway and the graphers are going to chase people all through as gawkers do nothing but still. 

Sadly things didn't get too much better for me. Deniro did nothing then we all ran after him right up to his car. He signed in the car and I got a horrid auto (signed in a dark spot and only the "robert" part). I see Tom Hanks and he refuses to sign. So I try for a photo op upgrade and get invalid shots. I am next to him, talking, begging, he goes "sorry I don't take requests". Since at this point I'm in drunk and salvage mode I got a photo op with architect Frank Gehry and H Bomb inventor Richard Garwin. When getting Frank I get yelled at by a secret service guy telling me "let him walk" but I simply ignore that demand (and got a photo bomb from Frank's wife). After this is done I go to the hotel of Ellen Degeneres in order to try and get something decent out of this day but sadly she is gone. I consider my day a bust. 

Full list of photos

Robert Deniro autograph

Tom Hanks

Behind the scenes:

Begging Tom Hanks

Redford doing nothing for no one

People Gawking

About a week later after thanksgiving I go to the airport at the crack of dawn. My main objective is Ed Helms who I know best from the Hangover trilogy. Wait and he arrives with his girl. He is grumpy about it but stops no problem! Success! 

Next up was Peter Noone, the original lead singer of Herman's Hermits (and their singer during all of their hits). He arrives and is super duper nice, signs, takes photo ops, gives full autographs. 

After a successful morning I go mooch a celebratory breakfast. 

Ed Helms photo op

Ed Helms autographs

Peter Noone photo op

Peter Noone autographs

It is December and I have a flight for Joe Walsh, a big want of mine who I have failed on in the past. Arrive and there's two other graphers. We have our Joe Walsh solo items ready. One thing about him, if you show him Eagles items he will not only refuse to stop for you but not even stop if you go "ok, well here's a solo item instead"

The witching hour arrives and it is chaos. We unfortunately have two strikes against us. First off Ringo Starr happened to be on the same flight as Joe, and second there were two people I've never seen before who were stationed behind the gate and waved Eagles items at Joe 

The two other graphers begged Ringo for a photo op but he shot them down. As everyone was walking to the vans and Joe shoots down autograph requests I beg Joe for a photo op and he goes "if you can get it" and I sadly get a valid but blurry shot while walking along with himWhile I wouldn't say it's the delete button, it's perhaps a step above that. I try for a second shot but came out invalid. Then his handler gets physical with me and stops me.

After this failure I go to a spot for Art Garfunkel. Wait for the event to end and he finally comes out. Not being in NYC we are only 3 people. He politely says he doesn't want his picture taken. Otherwise he is nice as can be, signs, changes pens, makes conversation. After all is done I try one last ditch effort to beg for a photo op even explaining that I want a photo op standing next to him but he still says he doesn't want pictures. 

Joe Walsh

Art Garfunkel autographs

Sucks that this is the sad state of combo hunting. It is becoming harder and harder, pulling teeth for mediocrity. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rhode Island Comic Con 2016

Since Froggys took their time to send jpegs I had to wait to make this report. 

After my fight and subsequent success with Richard Dreyfuss, me and head out to Providence for RICC. I drop Joresky at the air b&b he's crashing at then go to the convention center parking garage and collapse. 

Though I had little reason to do RICC for two days (given that Gal Godot was now my only day exclusive want) doing it two days did allow me to relax at a con and go through it stress free. This in itself was a nice change of pace. 

Also thanks to Joresky's vendor buddies we were able to possess vendor passes which were worth their weight in gold and they allowed us easy entry and exit and we didn't even have to go through searches. 

The day begins and I start with voice actor Michael Bell who was in GI Joe, Transformers, The Smurfs, and many other things. Then to Shannon Faron who voiced Wonder Woman in Super Friends. Off to the American Pie folks where I add Thomas Ian Nicholas and Mena Suvari to my near complete American Pie collection. 

Video game voice actor Nolan North had quite the line but I stood in it and got him. Then I got a FREE photo op with John Brennan (Mort Goldman from Family Guy) and other stuff. Robin Shelby (who wore the Slimer suit in Ghostbusters II) was free to all VIPs and vendors. First they said free auto and $10 photo op with the vendor pass. I asked if I could just get a free photo op instead of a free autograph. Then the guy went ahead and said free combo 

Then I went to the Legends of Tomorrow actors and got Casper Crump (Vandal Savage) who was nice as be. And then Falk Hentschel (Hawkman). 

Go to the Froggys area and split Frank Grillo with then back to the main area and go for Deadpool actors. Got Stefan Kapicic AKA Colossus and split Brianna Hildebrand with Greg. Then split 90210's Ian Ziering with Greg. 

After helping Greg out by standing in line for Jeffery Dean Morgan autographs, I looked up what artists might be worth getting and got free photo ops with Joe Sinnott, Steve Lavigne, Roy Thomas, and Allen Bellman. The first 3 were actually shocked I wanted a photo op with them and were more than happy to oblige. Tried for a photo op with Jim Steranko but he said he only takes pictures with hot girls. WTF? If I bought an autograph from him I would have been so pissed had I been denied a photo op.

RICC concluded and it was time for the markedout dinner. It was good to hang out and BS with everyone in a relaxing and stress free setting. I bought a $4 appetizer (a plate of sweet potato fries). Met overthetop for the first time. Joining us was Asian Dave, Joresky, Woodmo, Lanza, wewantflair, Greg2600. Asian Dave said AJLe would also attend was disappointing that he didn't. 

After the dinner we head over to the hotel for some mooching. I mooch Michael Cudlitz, Mark Boone Jr, Theo Rossi, and Travis Aaron Wade. All but Theo are first time shots. Get an update with Melina and an upgrade with Kelly Kelly. I have several Kelly Kelly shots but they are all airport and hotel shots so they're not the best. This shot is night and day compared to what I have I'm glad I never paid for an upgrade all the times I saw her at cons. Then got an upgrade with co creator of Deadpool Rob Liefeld and finally get Arthur Darvill no shades shot (although he has a beanie).

It was painful seeing some people I got at the con walking around that I could have had for free. After this head to the Motel 6 where I split it with Asian Dave and Overthetop. 

Frank Grillo

Thomas Ian Nicholas

Mena Suvari

Casper Crump

Falk Hentschel

Stefan Kapicic

Brianna Hildebrand

Full list of Saturday photo ops part 1

Full list of Saturday photo ops part 2

Full list of Saturday photo ops part 3

Next day I wake up relatively early in order to get a free parking spot. Went to try for some mooching but only got Ming Chen and chatted with NYC combo hunter Leslie while her boyfriend was in the Gal Godot autograph line since he had a Gal Godot VIP ticket. 

Go inside the con and today it would see the presence of NYC Masters (mainly there for the nasty Gal Godot). 

First I go to the table of Guy Gilchrist who claims to be co creator of Muppet Babies and an animator for the original TMNT cartoon. Got a $10 combo with him but I am hard pressed to find online evidence of his claims so I hope I didn't waste my money. 

The table of Michael Koske advertised free photo ops. Though upon further research he seems barely valid I just saw the word "free" and "photo op" then acted upon that. 

Now it was pro op time. I split John Ratzenberger (Cheers, Toy Story) with and both Gal Godot (Wonder Woman) and Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) with 50 Shades of Rey. Sadly we got screwed on Millie Bobby Brown as she made a funny face (she didn't do that for other shots). Wow how unlucky. Gal Godot was actually being super friendly and greeting everyone. I guess she was being fake nice. Millie Bobby Brown, age 12, is both the youngest pro op I ever obtained and the youngest photo op I ever paid for. 

The time at RICC was coming to an end. I picked up a photo op with Kevin Grevioux (co creator of Underworld). I asked him to remove the cap for the photo op and he goes "oh sure, sure!". 

My last get at RICC was Expose member Gioia Bruno. She looks at me and said I look too young to be around in the 80s. HCIT. After the photo ops she goes "hugs are free" and hugs me. 

Gal Godot

John Ratzenberger

Millie Bobby Brown

Full list of Sunday photo ops

RICC autographs