Monday, April 23, 2018

EERIE, Philadelphia and NXT, Baltimore

I received word of two actors from the early 90s TV show Eerie, Indiana appearing in Philadelphia. Man I loved that TV show back in the day. I remember talking about this TV show in the school bus while going to middle school. Sadly it wasn't the main actor showing up. Just the second main actor and a supporting actor. So I was on the fence. But also appearing was Jessica Harper (who has been in movies, Minority Report for instance) and one of my traveling buddies really wanted her. So I had someone to go with and decided to embark on this for the Eerie folks with Jessica as a bonus. Sadly since this was a last minute thing for me I had no 8x10s printed.

Arrive and find free parking a short walk from the venue. The Eerie actors were up first. I got there and the show was ending. I asked if I could go in they said the talk is done but the cast is doing a m&g. Sounds good to me. I paid $10 (tickets were actually $12) and went in. I knew they'd likely be fine outside (spoiler alert they were and I didn't need to go inside for them) but paying that $10 would end up helping me big time. More on that later.

So I go in and I get a picture with Justin Shenkarow (Simon on the show). Nice as can be. They had posters for $5 but I elected to choose a free program instead. I then went for Jason Marsden (Dash X on the show, also has done a lot of other stuff for instance Goofy Movie, Monsters Inc, Disney's Tarzan) and got a combo. Then went back to get Justin's autograph. Both of them couldn't have been nicer. After mingling with the crowd inside they came out and as expected were nice as can be. Jason was also giving out a free Earie pin which I got. 

Next up it was time for Jessica. We were told she wasn't stopping. My traveling buddy advised not to ask her going in and instead to ask her leaving. I went against this advise (spoiler, I did the smart thing). She arrives, I ask for a photo op, she hesitates but is whisked inside by the venue owner saying she's not stopping. One guy who was communicating with her via email was allowed in the stage door and got multi combos from her. Two minutes later the venue owner says "where's the guy with the camera" and asks me if I got a ticket. I tell him truthfully they were sold out but point out 2 or 3 times in the conversation that I paid for the last show. He eventually lets me in and I get a photo op with her no issue and thank the guy. My traveling buddy still needed his autographs and offered the venue owner $10 which he accepted. With both of us done with all the names we happily drive away from Philadelphia.

Justin Shenkarow

Jason Marsden

Jessica Harper


An another day, NXT. Shockingly enough, I have yet to do a mass NXT flight. For one the reason or another those stars never aligned. So this time I was determined to finally do one. Took 2-3 hours of searching late night, but I finally found this flight. Since this flight was so difficult to find, I predicted (correctly) that there would be no other human who would both have the desire to look for this and have the necessary skill/patience required to find it. This is not the ideal flight to do by myself because there are a lot of people to get and extra eyes always help. Plus if I were the only one more chance I could be harassed. So I invited a handful of people including markedout's adelta to the flight.

I picked him op, arrived close to the airport. We still had some time till the flight so there was no sense in going to the airport and paying more money to park. So we mooched some breakfast to kill some time. 

We get to the airport, wait, and see our first wrestler. There is just ONE handler and he tries to cock block us, but we are 5, he is 1, and the wrestlers are many. He was basically powerless to act. It was so wonderful! I also heard him on the walkie talkie telling the bus driver to get ready cause they need to get them on the bus as soon as possible.

This is why I only like to do wrestlers at an airport. Cause anywhere else you deal with security telling you to leave the property. No one can tell you that at an airport! It's just sweet honey when the power is all yours (for a change). And aside from Velveteen Dream no one denied us photo ops. 

The following names I got were repeats: Kassium Ohnom, Tommaso Ciampa, Steve Corino, EC3, Johnny Gargano, Norman Smiley, Jeremy Borash. 

Of those Norman Smiley was an upgrade because he's wearing shades in the convention shot I got. And EC3 was the first time I've seen him since he was Derek Bateman. 

I also got Chad Lail AKA Gunner in TNA who has eluded me for many years!

I totaled 23 photo ops! Of which 16 was fresh. In the next year or two some of these names will be expensive pro ops at cons, just like the NXT folks before them. And I will happily pass on those pro ops.

Full list of NXT photo ops

Sunday, April 22, 2018

CSA Show and other meets around CSA show

CSA sports show was talking place and there were some names I was interested in due to their movie roles. Sadly, their prices are too rich for my blood. The pro op prices amount to triple digits even after split, and their auto prices are sky high. Even though they do table ops more often than not, the prices they commend for getting a full combo amount to more than I am willing to shell.

Given that, I need to find alternate methods to get what I seek. So I began looking for flights for people I was interested in. I found everyone I wanted except for Joe Namath. So I decided on a good approach for CSA show. Try to get a table op by finding someone with multiple autographs, and if that doesn't work go to the airport. 

Day 1

I had a flight for Michael Irvin, who was in the movie The Longest Yard. I was debating whether to venture for this as it didn't seem too worthwhile. But Bobby McFerrin, known for his hit "Don't Worry, Be Happy" was in town. Sadly the venue is iffy (I've heard stories of them kicking people off the property for waiting) and he is not known to be the nicest guy. However, I then discovered where Bobby was staying. Now I had reliable Irvin info and reliable-ish Bobby info. I decided to go out.

First stop is Irvin and there like like 7 sports collectors. He shows up people beg for autos but he denies saying he has a contract. He went in the elevator. When people cleared away to intercept him at the next floor I pleaded that I had nothing to get signed and wanted the photo op. He said I could get the photo op. He has hat and shades but you can make out it's him. So I'm not too worried about it.

Next up I meet up with another combo hunter at the Bobby spot. We wait and we are afraid that he wouldn't come back after his show, but by all evidence he was supposed to come back. And indeed he did. First the other hunter went for the op and Bobby began to quiz him asking for his name and his occupation. He then goes "some other time" but upon more pleading he agrees to photo ops. Good thing I didn't print for him because I don't think autographs would have happened.

I was going home, happy with a successful evening, then receive a call from markedout's adelta informing him that he scored Tom Selleck at an event (I knew of the event but Tom wasn't an announced guest)! This basically put a HUGE damper on me. I wanted to have a nice stress free day with CSA show after a successful evening, but now I had to go for Tom!

Michael Irvin

Bobby McFerrin

Day 2

Me and another combo hunter wait at check out for Tom Selleck. While waiting we score Reba McEntire. At this point the hotel manager (I assume he was some kind of manager) decided to be a real dick saying we need to get off the property. When Reba went out of hotel property I asked her for an auto and he tried to actually stop me but she told him it's ok. 

He threatened me with arrest, probably hoping that it would drive me away. He waited next to me on the sidewalk and after a few minutes he began calling on a walkie for someone to call police. He made sure to do this within my ear range. I told him he could call who he wants I don't even have to speak to them because I broke no law. He goes "do whatever you want" and I respond "I will do whatever I want"

So a black woman in uniform is here. Not sure if she was full fledged police. She had a gun and badge but she may have been a traffic or metro police. I am not sure. I tell her my first name and say that this is all she will get from me. There is also a hotel guard (NOT a police of any kind) waiting. I even tried to stand somewhere else and they were trying to tell me this part is hotel property. That was bull shit because 1) there was a sewer cover and lampost there and 2) I along with many others have waited for people there in the past. They even PHYSICALLY moved me from there! How can this be legal especially for the security guard?

Since I didn't want to cause too much of a scene as I still had celebs to get, I bit. But I told the security guard that I have 1000s of celebs and if I listened to people like him my collection would be 50% less. I also told him some of the A listers I scored in the past. He tries to tell me they are tiered and wanted to go home I respond "that's not for you to say" and he tries to tell me that it is. 

Finally I see Tom, I yell for him as they cock block him. Tom gets in his car. I then go across the street to try to get a roll down and they BOTH follow me! WTF? As the car moves away I follow on foot and they follow me back! I tell them I'm no where near hotel property and tell them to leave me alone. Remember one guy isn't a uniformed police man of ANY kind! At this point Tom checked out of the hotel and left hotel property so he has as much power now as he would if I were at the airport.

They follow me up the street and car is far away. At this point I run as fast as I could to both get away from them and hopefully catch up with the car. To my shock it's stuck at the next light. I plead and he rolls down and goes "alright just take it" at one point the car began moving as the light changed but then they stopped for me and I SCORED a shot that is both valid and not blurry! 

With this shot there was nothing worth staying at the hotel for (Chad Lowe who I have and Buzz Aldrin who is a dick anyway). But I decided to go rub it in their faces before heading to CSA show. I show the shot with the hotel manager yelling to him "WOW, you guys made me WORK for that one" and then made sure I showed the photo op to the uniformed black woman as I began to walk away. The black woman calls for a police car to come and orders me to stay put, but I shrug that order away with my arm and say "Nahhhh" as I continue to walk away. 

I see the police car. As I see him I run down the street then I go into a corner to hide. I wait for about 5 minutes then begin walking to my car. As I walk the car manages to spot me. He says he wants to speak to me and I tell him I did nothing wrong. I say I will listen to him. He tries to ask me for ID but I tell him that since I did nothing illegal I don't have to show him ID. He had a moment of silence and bewilderment in his face when I said that. 

So in the conversation he said that I couldn't stay on their property. I explained that I did leave and said how they assaulted me on the sidewalk and I explain how they were harassing me and cock blocking me even after I left their property. I also pointed out that if the celeb said yes it's between me and them and they have no say. He actually agreed with me on that point and also said that he understands why I'd be upset if they harass me even on the sidewalk. He then proceeded to ask me about the event and what celebs were there, which I told him. And that was basically it. Honestly under normal circumstances I would have gone back to the hotel just to spite them, but if I did that I would have missed people at CSA show.

Back on track with CSA show, I first score Lar Park Lincoln (F13th 7) and then David Pollock of the Bad News Bears. I mooched the other two at Chiller so I figured might as well get him. Then I found a guy getting a Dan Marino auto who didn't care about the photo op. Offered him $20 to stand with him. He accepted. I know Dan Marino best from the classic Jim Carry movie, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. When it was time for Marino I got my shot then the guy asked for "one more" and Marino was more than happy do oblige. I also got the guy a proof photo. When leaving the guy declined my money since I took his photo op. I took his email address and I thanked him. This ended my day as I no longer had to go to the airport for Marino.

Tom Selleck

Dan Marino

Full list of photo ops


Day 3

This day starts with me dropping my mom to a family Easter function. Sadly this threw me off timing wise as it meant I had to miss Pete Rose's autograph session. This was upsetting but would eventually work out perfectly. More on that later. Since I had to do Rose at the airport, this meant I had 3 spots to hit up. CSA show for Joe Nameth (no flight on him), Airport for Pete Rose leaving, and at another spot for the Asian child actor from the movie Ready Player One, Philip Zhao.

My first try is Joe Nameth, who has been in various movies. He was $300 for a pro op and $200 for an autograph. As stated, too rich for my blood. Now I know I'm not into sports but how is it that Joe Nameth's con prices is comparable to that of major movie actors like Ben Affleck and Michael J Fox and more money than most major celeb at a con? Even Stallone, one of the biggest movie names you can ever score, was $800 a combo at NYCC. Yet here Joe is $300 less than that. 

Anyhow, security seemed to be stopping people from taking table ops. One combo hunter tagged with someone and failed to get a valid shot. But this didn't stop me from trying. I offered someone $25 to stand with him but he declined my money and said I could come up with him. Perfect! We were near the end, I got the guy a proof shot for his item. When I asked for the op they were trying to stop me but he posed. I was trying to be quick and sadly shot is blurry and sub par. However it is valid and you can easily make out who is posing. I guess free is free and most people paid $200 for an auto and got NO shot so I still got the long end of the stick.

Since the Zhao event was not supposed to start till later I had time to go to the airport for Pete Rose. Or so I thought. I drive 10 minutes from CSA show to the airport, park for free, and wait. Then I get a text from another combo hunter telling me the time Zhao is supposed to arrive at the venue and it was much earlier than the event start time. WTF? Since I was already in position for Rose I begrudgingly decided to stay then try for Zhao leaving. But not 2 minutes after this conversation I see Pete Rose limping to his gate. I had to move fast because I thought he was entering the first class lounge (he didn't). I ask him for a photo op and he is happy to oblige, upgrading my sub par shot from 11 years ago! Wow what luck! This meant I could get Zhao going in cause his spot is about 10 minutes away from the airport! 

I rush there and go in (30 minutes free parking after that it's $15). As I enter I get a call from the other hunter telling me he is literally on the tail of his car and they are pulling up front. I quickly park and RUSH to the front. I see the child signing and I go up and try to ask for a picture. Security tries to stop me saying I can take pictures of him but the parents say "just one" and I get the selfie! I was quickly in and out before I would get charged for parking!

Wow it's not often that timing works out so flawlessly when you combo hunt! But indeed it did here. With that victory I was able to join my mom at the family Easter function, eat some good food, and after that drove back home to watch Wrestlemania (via a mooched stream of course)

Joe Namath

Pete Rose

Philip Zhao

Friday, April 20, 2018

Awesome Con 2018 report

This year's awesome con had a huge array of guests. However, there were only four I planned to get. The rest I either had or cost too much for their caliber. The guests I wanted were John Boyega, Ben Savage, and the two Smallville actors.

I would do only one flight for Awesome Con, namely Michael Rooker. I already have one street shot and one paid shot but wanted an upgrade. The free shot from NYC he has a cap on that covers some of his head and he's doing the middle finger covering a part of his face. In my paid shot from Wizard World he has cap and shades. Since he is known to wear cap and shades at cons, my only shot at an upgrade is to go to the airport and pray to the combo Gods he's not sporting any hat/shades. 

I arrive and he has cap but no shades. Takes the photo op no issue but says he doesn't sign at airports. Sadly the photo op isn't an upgrade as his cap is even more intrusive than my NYC shot and it's slightly blurry. I chase after him and say the shot didn't turn out. He says let's do another. This time he takes hold of the camera as I selfie it. This helped me big time because the way he held it and posed his head was tilted and the photo op came out great. Now I'm set for life. At the con he was not only wearing both hat and shades but he did NO table ops! And the pro ops people paid big money for he had hat and shades. It's amazing how in combo hunting when you stalk people you can end up with the longer end of the stick.

Michael Rooker take 1

Michael Rooker take 2

Arrive at awesome con, meet with and we go in. My first get is John Boyega which I split with NYC combo hunter Wong. He came with Ling/Kush who were also cool to see.

I had to wait for my splitter for the smallville names, so I held spots in both Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum lines (thanks to markedout members Tony, Greg, CM, DJ for all the help). I scored them both. Then I stood in line for Ben Savage and was joined by Greg. We got yelled at by the handler for taking too many photo ops but it worked out well!

Matt Denton and Josh Lee, the BB8 production crew, were doing a signing. Their auto was $20 each and you get a free picture with a BB8 droid. That droid moved and talked and everything (via remote control). Since I didn't want to pay $40 I asked for free selfies with both Matt and Josh which I scored. 

Then I discovered another BB8 in one of the fan booths. Aside from the fact that this one was stationary with no internal electronic components, both BB8s looked exactly the same, only that one didn't cost $40 in any shape or form. So I got FREE shots with both humans AND a BB8 droid. Quite the win on all fronts 

John Boyega

Tom Welling

Michael Rosenbaum

Ben Savage

The BB8 production crew,

Matt Denton

Josh Lee

The BB8 that cost $40

The BB8 I got for free

An assortment of weekend meets in March

On a weekend of marches Vanessa the Jersey shore stalker and friend decide to come my way. I join them for a spot with Vanessa Hudgens. Already have Vanessa but I needed Ana Villafane who I anticipate will one day be a good name (she already has movie credits).

We wait for exits, and remembering my Kate Upton blunder I grab anyone that is signing and taking photo ops. Most I got are barely valid but Anthony Ramos is a valid name and will be in the upcoming Godzilla movie. Also get Vanessa autos and photo op. After spending time inside with family Ana finally comes out and happily does combos no issue.

Full list of Day 1 photo ops

Next up was the day of marches. We all found the spot to stand. The security guard knew what we were doing and was trying to stop us on a public street telling us to move across the street. I cursed him out and he cursed me out. He said he has a job to do I responded "so do I" and he said he would be my worst nightmare and I told him I would be HIS worst nightmare and that he and I are stuck with one another.

At one point when I was arguing with me another guy that was there told me "get your hands out of your pocket" (without thinking I just put my hand there). And how do I respond to that? I put BOTH my hands in my picket and go off on him telling him not to dare tell me what to do again.

Though in the end we basically made up and the crowd would grow so much that he would stop worrying about me.

Before the crowd grew I got Dennis Rodman which I consider a an upgrade over the op I got at Big Event. He still has hat and shades but you can see more of his face than in the photo I got at Big Event. I also got Bebe Rexha (frist time) and Andra Day (repeat).

One huge miss was Ben Platt who signed but did no photo ops. Cher came out and I had no reason to get a photo op so I got an autograph on my magazine. 

Other names came out but I had no reason to put effort: Julianne Moore, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, Paul Rudd. I also missed Miley Cyrus' little sister but the one op she took had shades and she made a peace sign which covered her face. So I don't consider that much of a miss. 

George Clooney (who I had) and Stephen Speilberg (who I needed) snuck out.

After this we went for a Fallout Boy flight (Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump). I wanted to do this because it was the only thing I had at this point where the info was exact. Vanessa was really happy though as she loves Fallout Boy.

We go to the airport, see them, and they are cool. Patrick was invalid in my first shot and the handlers tried to stop me from getting a retake but Patrick said it was fine and apologized as I got a second shot.

From then on the evening took a turn for the worst, as I waited for actor Dana Carvey and Jefferson Sharship lead singer Mickey Thomas and missed them both. HUGE PUNCH! 

BUT the failures were reversed by a Master who had a flight on Mickey and a train on Dana. This meant I had to be up early for the train then go to the flight. As it turned out it was impossible to do both Dana and Mickey, so even if I scored one of them I would still have to go the next day for the other.

Dennis Rodman

Bebe Rexha

Andra Day

Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump

Go to the train station for Dana and he is nice as can be. He says his wife doesn't believe that he gets combo requests. Then to the airport for Mickey Thomas, nice as can be. I should add the evening before Mickey Thomas did shades shots at night! Here he came in without shades and then took them off as we asked for combos.

After this we print photos and have lunch at Costco. Then back to the spot from the first day. I didn't really care too much to go there again but Vanessa and friend wanted to virgilize. So I got more autos and more photo ops as Venessa Hudgens asked if I was selling the photos.

I then dropped them off to the bus station and this ended the weekend.

Dana Carvey

Mickey Thomas

Ana Villafane

Full list of Day 3 photo ops

Now to showcase autographs

Signed Cher magazine

Signed 8x10s part 1

Signed 8x10s part 2