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)