Monday, August 25, 2014

Former US president photo op here

Jimmy Carter has been someone I have been cursed with photo op wise. Let us recap some of my misses

1) Book signing where I got 3 books signed. He didn't do photo ops and despite my attempts after the signing I failed to get a photo op. 

2) At one function he was doing, it was a choice between that and Steven Tyler's outgoing. Since it was raining and cold and the Carter spot had a garage, I chose to go for what seemed like more of a guarantee. Indoor, a nice guy, spot where I historically have had success, and no secret service. While I was successful with Steven Tyler, Turns out Jimmy Carter didn't use the garage and actually did photo ops 

3) And another spot he was supposed to appear at. Got up in the crack of dawn to make this one. Arrived and there was NO secret service at the spot! Turns out he CALLED IN rather than appear! I ended up attending a Mario Andretti signing that day. 

4) There was yet another book signing he did, but I couldn't make that one. While he still didn't do photo ops, it was still a chance to try, and I feared it would basically be it for Jimmy Carter. After all he is born in 1924. 

5) Then I got a tip for a flight on him. YES! There is HOPE! I went to the airport, and turns out they exited him right off the plane and drove him from the runway! Wasted time and money 

Then one random night in early August, I was relaxing at home and I get a call to find his outgoing. 15 minutes later I hit the jackpot! 

Sadly it was early in the morning. But as the saying goes, you gotta play to win. 0% chance the combo Gods would provide a Jimmy Carter photo op if I stayed home sleeping. 

So I got up early and arrived. We are a total of five people. Carter arrives and signs for two people! I try to go up and a secret service agent goes STAY BACK STAY BACK while a cop tells me to stay back as well and they physically block me from approaching. I go "ok, ok"

Then Carter walks towards the stairs and as he passes by me I politely ask for a photo op and he speaks in a very soft and reluctant tone saying "I guess so". I quickly go next to him and blast that selfie  

FINALLY I HAD THAT JIMMY CARTER PHOTO OP. My reaction was this face 

After I get my photo op he signs for another grapher! 

Completing my Jimmy Carter combo, I went home victorious! Given his age who knows how many more chances of Carter I'll have. 

Now some may ask, "how could you do all this, weren't you afraid of secret service"? 

Well, there were other things I was afraid of more than secret service or cops. Namely 1) putting all that time, money, and effort for nothing (yet again) and 2) losing what may be the very last chance I ever have to get that photo op. 

Jimmy Carter signing, with me in the background behind the cop and secret service agent who yelled at me

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Some scattered meets throughout July

Early July I start out trying to meet Frankie Valli. I already got him before  but wanted a better photo op and some autographs. I arrive at the spot and sadly never saw Frankie Valli. I did get photo ops with Michael McDonald of the Dobbie Brothers, country singer Sara Evans, and actress Kelli O'Hara. But sadly a bust cause I failed in my main objective. 

Photo ops obtained

Next up in mid July, I set out to meet the surviving members of the girl group TLC, best known for their mid 90s hit Waterfalls (which was also parodied by Weird Al as Phony Calls). 

This starts early in the morning at the airport. I was the only one there. I then see T-Boz come out the car with her daughter and a male handler. She was very accommodating and signed for me and took a photo! SUCCESS! After she goes in the terminal I see another grapher and a pap arrive and I inform them that they missed her, and they were both shocked! Again, goes to show you that you snooze you lose in combo hunting. I like it much better when I'm not the one that snoozes. 

Next up we all wait for Chilli. While waiting the handler that dropped T-Boz off actually came up to me and told me that Chilli would be arriving soon. My reaction was this face Granted I already knew she was coming, but for a handler to tell me this? Wow I couldn't believe it. Since it's the thought that counts, I thanked him for the info. Eventually Chilli arrives and does autographs and photo ops despite the driver being a bitch. When posing she goes "am I that short you heave to lean down" which cause me to laugh/smile. When the driver leaves I go after Chilli and get a couple more done! 




After this weeping success I head to a spot for Dick Cheney. The event was actually free and included some food! On stage was Cheney, his wife, and his daughter. Sadly I had to sit through the event. During the event in 3-4 instances a protester would erupt and demand the arrest of Cheney for crimes against Iraq. It's quite sad you see that yet you never see anyone erupt against Clinton accusing him of crimes against the Serbs 

The event ends and I quickly go up to Cheney to get his autograph (already have a photo op from before) and I get him to sign my book. As I try to get another autograph a security guard stops me. Then when I try to get photo ops with his wife and daughter I'm also stopped. When his daughter does photo ops with some girls I point that out to the security guard and go off on him. He then says I can get escorted out or walk out. Since I still planned to wait outside at the spot, I chose to walk out otherwise I would have chosen "escorted out" and marked them with a sharpie 

I go outside and turns out I miss Cheney's wife by 2 minutes where another grapher got her to sign. I could have probably had the photo op right there

We wait longer till Cheney and his daughter finally come out but sadly does nothing for no one. 

Despite my shortcomings here, I should add that there were 3 other graphers trying to get Cheney, but none of them did. So a rare moment when I one upped Master combo hunters 

Dick Cheney autograph

Video of Protester demanding Cheney's arrest for war crimes

At the end of July me and another friend decided to venture to Lancaster, PA to meet the Beach Boys. Of the members on tour the significant ones were singer Mike Love and also Bruce Johnston. John Stamos was also touring with them. 

We arrive at the venue. At the venue we manage to find the hotel. We then decide to try the hotel. First we see Bruce Johnston leave in a cab, sadly by the time we got to him he was in the cab. But upon waiting some more he returned and we got combos! Got him on 3. Upon this score, my reaction was this face  because that meant the day is officially not a bust! 

Then we wait more and do the same rookie mistake! Mike Love leaves in a cab! Our reactions was this face Cause we could have potentially been on our way home instead of waiting hours upon hours more. 

Two minutes later a guy comes up to me saying I have to leave hotel property cause people are complaining about me. I say that I'm not on hotel property. He said I am and I told him that I'm on the sidewalk (there were traffic signs, and everything). After an exchange I told him "I think I'll just go ahead and stay". He then says "well then I have to call someone to move you" to which I replied "oh, go ahead". He then turned around and walked away angrily. 

Since I made my point, I then choose to simply stay in the car so it looks like I'm gone, since I don't want to ruin my chances if Mike Love returns. Finally Mike Love does arrive and we rush to hotel properly, and Mike Love is a true class act and is as nice as can be. I consider this my best music score of 2014. Got him on 5.

After this I quickly run away so that security doesn't see me again (in case I ever want to return to this spot). But we never did see the supposed someone who was being called to remove me. 

When never saw John Stamos either but decided to quit while ahead and get an early start going back home. Since I have a photo op with Stamos that wasn't a big deal to me. 

Sadly, this sweeping victory had a little punch in the face. I made the rookie mistake of not doing enough research on my albums. I later realized one of the 3 things I got Bruce Johnston to sign seems to be before he actually joined the band, invalidating the item 

Mike Love

Bruce Johnston 

Autographs obtained (invalid item marked as such)

One last meet I want to document from June that I forgot about, Hillary Clinton was doing a book signing at a Costco. The line was pretty decent and you were required to have a Costco membership to attend. Some people actually bought memberships right there and then. And they matched all membership cards with IDs so it was strictly enforced. When I got close they took away my camera saying it was too big  Then just before I got up to her they told me to put my phone away. Essentially that meant no photo ops. When I got up to her she was being nice and chatty and extending her hand to shake mine. I begrudgingly shook her hand. Should have told her if she didn't want to take a photo op she doesn't have to shake my hand. Additionally, the books were only signed "Hillary". 

Signed Hillary book

Chloë Grace Moretz report in late July

Wanted to make this report quick so that anyone who may want to attend one of her signings can have an idea what to expect. 

My day started early in the morning as I wanted to try for singer Linda Ronstadt. I got to the spot and I was the only one there. As soon as I arrive her car pulls up. She is frail and has Parkinson's, so she slowly comes out of the car. It was just me and my camera, I pleaded for the photo op and she did nothing. She goes "I'd appreciate it if you didn't" 

Two minutes later two other graphers arrive and I say they just missed her. 

As the time passed we became 7-8 graphers. When she came out everyone had their items up and as expected she did nothing for no one. 

I decide to go to where she was staying, and I was the only one there. Again, I plead, this time for an autograph only. But again, she declines me. 

Wow, so 3 different attempts at her, 2 of which were one on one. And nothing to show for it. What a wasted morning. 

Off to the next spot where I had the train info of Chloë Grace Moretz. I wait and the witching hour is close. I then see from a distance two security guards escorting a hot girl with shades out to the side where I cannot get to her! Dammit!  Baffles a person when someone like Hugh Jackman comes out like everyone else but Chloe has to be snuck out. Shows you that there are no rules when it comes to combo hunting. 

This is truly a horrible day for me  And it has nothing to do with my technique or decision making. It's simply because in combo hunting it's essentially a crap shoot no matter. 

Now I'm faced with a choice: Go to the Chloe signing or do the AP the next day. 

The signing was at least somewhat of a guarantee. The only thing that bothered me was the fact that they said they had "If I Stay" posters they were giving out to be signed and that anyone is free to bring an "If I Stay" book to get signed. This implies that 8x10s (or anything not related to "If I Stay") would at the very least be frowned upon. Plus I did have another non-combo related engagement I had to attend to. So if I attended the signging I would be late. 

After much thought I decided to delay my engagement and try my luck at the signing in the hopes that I would not have to get up early in the morning and pay for gas/parking at the AP. After all cutting costs should be the priority here. 

So I get to the signing around 4. By 4:30 the line grew twice as long, and about 30 minutes after that she finally showed up (late). 

Everyone had the book as their extras, didn't see anyone with merch. But people were getting both the poster provided and the books they had signed. A good sign. 

It seems quick photo ops were being allowed at first, but then were shut down. That was of no concern to me cause I had a photo op from NYCC last year. So this was an autograph only mission. And let me say, so much stress is removed when your only focus is autographs

By the time I get to them they said we were allowed ONE item to speed things up, either the poster or the alternate item (which for everyone was basically the book). So essentially if you have a book signed you're not allowed the poster. I had two 8x10s I was aiming to get signed.

The guy in front of me actually had the first item I saw that was not a book, a program of a previous show she made. She marked out for it and signed it. 

Then it was my turn, the moment of truth! I arrive to the table and as I put the 8x10s down Chloe and book author Gayle Forman sign the poster. At first Chloe is hesitant to sign my hit girl photo and asks if she's allowed but signs it. The woman says ONE ITEM. Then I ask for one more again she is hesitant and looks away for approval but signs it. 

I then escape with my poster AND two sign 8x10s. After being told one autograph, I got away with THREE!

And people were paying big bucks for these at NYCC 2013!!

I guess I could have stuck around for more autos or to get a photo op with author Gayle Forman, but I chose to make good on my engagement and quit while I was ahead. 

Overall a horrible wasted day, but at least it ended on a happy note where I got to complete my combo with Chloe Grace Moretz 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Scares that Care weekend, Nightranger concert

Myself, Joresky, and one other friend Don decide to head out to a small horror con in order to get Amanda Bearse (Marcy from Married with Children) and some others. 

The day starts off bad with Saturday traffic. But we get there with plenty of time. The mooching Gods were with me as I managed to mooch admission. 

First guest I get is the main reason I came, Amanda Bearse. She was friendly and appreciative to everyone coming to see her, even asking where you want your item signed and asking where you got the other autographs. I got her on my Married with Children cast photo already signed by Katey and David. This would be the only autograph I obtain. 

Then I go to actor Yaphet Kotto who I know best from Running Man starring Arnold and also from Alien. Got a photo op. 

Next up Alexandra Paul who I know best from Baywatch. Joresky got the combo but I managed to score a FREE photo op 

The last guest I wanted was the only guest I had to wait in line for, and that was because she didn't come till late. It was Elvira. I already had a fully suited photo op with her from Chiller a few years ago, but I wanted her non-suited, cause it's cool to have both. Me and Don decided to split this photo op to save. 

The time at this con ended with a free photo op with horror director/writer Kevin Kangas, a total  name for me.

Amanda Bearse AKA Marcy Darcy (Married: With Children)

Full list of Scares that Care photo ops

Signed Married with Children 8x10

After this we drove to a Nightrangers concert, this time just me and Joresky. They are best known for their hit "Sister Christian" 

Out of the 5 current members, 3 of them are original, including the main 2 members of the band. We arrive late at the venue that Joresky claimed was unmoochable. But mooch we managed to do! And we caught the tail end of the concert including their hit "Sister Christian". 

Sadly they were not doing a meet and greet. So we hang out after the concert. Shortly after newer member Joel Hoekstra comes out and does combos with everyone who wanted one. I got a combo myself. While technically I got something, thus far the evening is still a total waste as he is not one of the originals. And there was no guarantee in sight. 

Then we see lead singer Jack Blades going to his car, and we run the same direction as him. We manage to score autographs and photo ops. One picture I had him sign he's like "WHOA where did you get that, that's my garage". 

Upon this score, my reaction was this face because right there and then the evening is not a bust. If I got nothing else I now got something. Sadly, the other  members left in a van we could not get to. So we had to go to the next spot. 

Next spot we immediately get guitarist Brad Gillis! YES! Score for another original member. He signed and did photo ops. Sadly, while getting Brad we missed drummer Kelly Keagy who actually is the vocalist for their best known hit. But Brad said they'd all be leaving this spot in 10 minutes so we knew right there and then if we waited we'd get Keagy. 

While waiting, we see newer member Eric Levy who is happy to do combos. Minutes pass and we see Kelly Keagy and he is happy to sign, do photo ops, and even chats with us! 

Amazing how things were looking bleak at first, but ended up with 100% success

Jack Blades (lead singer of 80s rock band Night Ranger, best known for their hit "Sister Christian") 

Kelly Keagy (drummer and lead vocalist of 80s rock band Night Ranger, best known for their hit "Sister Christian")

Brad Gillis (guitarist of 80s rock band Night Ranger, best known for their hit "Sister Christian")

Friday, August 1, 2014

Some scattered meets throughout June

Let's take a look at a few scattered meets throughout June, including one meet of the year candidate! 

Early June, I have an outgoing for actor Eric Dane. Some of his credits include co starring in Marley & Me, Multiple Man in X-Men: The Last Stand, and star of the TV show The Last Ship. 

I arrive at the airport and wait. Then I see a tall guy with shades I immediately figure out it's him. I ask for a combo and he's happy to do it. 

Photo op 


Late June, I got train info for actress Susan Sarandon, She is credited for being the co inventor of the selfie with Geena Davis and she was in movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Thelma & Louise, The Client, Step Mom, among others). When I saw her she was nice as can be. Did a selfie with me and got her autograph. A selfie with the co inventor of the selfie, HCIT! 

Co inventing the Selfie

Photo op


Next up, Nice Peter of Epic Rap Battles of History fame (the most watched show on youtube) is doing a show. He is the co creator and co writer of ERB and also played many of the characters including but not limited to Darth Vader, Stephen Hawking, and Hulk Hogan. 

I come late into the show, and I mooch my way in a very good start. As I arrive I catch the tail end of his show where he performed the Albert Einstein vs Stephen Hawking battle and a non ERB song of his. The show ends and he states he's going to do a meet and greet. Why oh why can't it always be that way 

I line up and finally get up to him. I got a photo op then pulled out my 8x10 of him and Epic Lloyd where he is Steve Jobs suited and Lloyd is Bill Gates suited (Gates vs Jobs is one of my favorite ERBs). He marked out for the photo and asked where I got it. I told him I'd send it to him, and he wrote down his email. I also asked him why they never got an ERB booth at NYCC he said "it just never happened". 

Photo op


And a meet of the year candidate, none other than agent 007, Pierce Brosnan! I had a flight and waited for him at the airport. We were about 3 graphers and 2 paps. When he came I ran down escalators that were going up to ensure I beat him downstairs. I managed to score a photo op as we were walking! Then he signed! 

As he went to the terminal he signed again! Two things plus the photo op, success 

Photo op

Notice in the photo op you see a grapher running down the escalator going down. Good thing I took the one going up. 


Brosnan signing 

Stay tuned for more reports.