Autograph Hound's Blah Blah Blog

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ivanka Trump – I owe you an apology

I sincerely want to apologize. While I wasn’t harshly rude, I do feel I didn’t represent myself or my fellow autograph collects very well. This has been gnawing at me much like a loose tooth keeps a kid busy until it comes out. I just want to pull ‘my tooth’ and get this off my chest.
Ivanka, you came to Dallas last week for an event a Brachendof’s Jewelry store.  This caused a lot of buzz in the autograph community.  Two other collectors and I were sitting at a park bench waiting for you to come. It was a beautiful day and we were busy swapping stories about some of our adventures.
As we are talking, a black car drove up and I saw a chauffeur. I stood up and picked up my backpack. I turned to the other two guys to tell them that’s Ivanka Trump in the car.  Before I even finished the sentence they were both walking up to you and had items out ready for you to sign. 
I went to catch up to them. I struggled with my clip board that had your photo.  I was walking up as you finished with them and I was now struggling trying to get my Sharpie out.  I stopped in front of you and froze; Sharpie still hidden in my bag.
Somehow I noticed you already had a Sharpie and I stopped digging in my backpack and held up my clip board.  I never said a word.  I don’t even think I smiled.
You approached and then paused and looked me in the eyes and said, hello.  Did I look scared?  I thought that was so generous of you to take a second to acknowledge me.  It’s a small thing to do, the pause and quick look in the eyes, to acknowledge the person you are across from. It’s not a wasted gesture.  I HOPED a mumbled out a ‘hello’ back to you but I know I was off my game and I don’t think I said anything.
You signed my photo and you paused and looked at me again and I know I should have said thank you but I all I really remember is that I turned to look for my friends and when I turned back you were walking into the store.
So, let me say hello to you now: Hello.
Next let me say, I wasn’t turning my back on you to be ungrateful. I was trying to figure out where my friends were in case they wanted a photo.
Now, let me say Thank You.  I should have never left without saying that.
I am embarrassed this happened this way.
Until next time, where I expect to account for myself in a more roper manner.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

R Lee Ermey - Gunnery Sergeant

Does the name ring a bell?  It might not.
To me, he is the iconic drill sergeant that makes grown men cower and weep under his glare.
You most likely know his voice from Toy Story or as THE Drill Sgt from Full Metal Jacket.  R Lee Ermey has even done a Geico commercial.
So I found it very odd when my wife poo-poo-ed the idea of giving a friend my extra copy of his autograph. (Sorry, you aren’t the friend I’m referencing. Maybe next time; thank you for playing.)  She was pretty adamant that the friend won’t want the autograph.  If I was going to insist on giving the signature, maybe they could use the picture frame for a GOOD photo.
Wives. So egocentric – If she doesn’t know who he is, then he’s not anyone important.  Just wait until he’s on Dancing with the Stars or Celebrity Apprentice. Then she’ll be bragging about the autograph and how great a gift it was – like it was HER idea; like SHE stood in line 3 hours to get this.  Just you just wait.
This signing was at Calebas.  It was part of the Grand Opening celebration and a line had formed outside as we waited for the store to open.  The place ended up being packed. I had the good fortune of meeting some fellow collectors and we chatted to pass the time.
The Gunny was tall and looked strong enough to take us on if we got out of line.  He has a presence. He came in, looked around, and then got started.  He came in character.  Once he started, he dropped the character and he didn’t look mean at all.  He was full of smiles and handshakes and was very generous with his time. Don’t let the photo mislead you.  He wasn’t yelling at me for taking his photo.  He was actually listening to someone and about to respond. While it wasn’t flattering, I thought ti was very in character so I’m posting it here.
I handed over the picture I brought to have signed. He autographed it and then picked up one of his promotional photos and signed it too. I didn’t even have to ask. He then asked if I wanted it personalized and I said yes.
One of the Cabela’s people asked if I wanted to pose with him.  I said no, I don’t take good pictures.  She quipped back: But HE does.  I laughed but declined.
I was happy enough with two signed photos I could have dropped and given 20.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nikki Sixx – the pilgrimage

I’ll admit right up front, I only went to this signing because of the name. I don’t really know who Nikki Sixx is. I don’t really know the music.  I went because this was an ‘event’.
I got there and spent a lot of time outside waiting for my group to be called. I did the normal thing I do: people watch.
Rock can’t be dead because this signing had a large turnout. People older than me; people my age; people younger than me; and kids of all ages.  Nikki Sixx’s appeal covers the gamut.
There were a few people I recognized from other sigings. Some women about my age dressed very provocatively and were distracting. Some women about my age dressed provocatively that should have looked in a mirror before they left the house.  There were a lot of people with tattoos; a lot of people dressed like they were going to a rock concert after the signing; and a lot of people just like me: bluejeans and sneakers and no tattoos.
This isn’t really my tale of getting a book signed nor is it really about Nikki Sixx. It’s about the young lady that stood behind me for over 3 hours.
I noticed her before she got in line.  She was very attractive and I would have guessed about 25 years old. She was standing by herself and just had a twinkle in her eye and smile that hinted at something but you had to guess what it was that made her smile. She was people watching too and just rocking back and forth to pass the time.
When they called our group she ended up behind me.  A local radio station had a van blaring music so there wasn’t much point in talking.  After a while music did stop. She turned to me and asked if I had any gum.  What a pick up line, right?  (That’s sarcasm folks.)  I actually nodded yes and turned for my backpack to get some and stopped. I hadn’t brought my backpack.
If you know me and my backpack, it’s like mom’s purse. I have everything in it.  You want gum? I got it. You want aspirin? I got that too. Tissues, coughdrops, bandaids, Neosporin, etc?  I got it. This time I was naked; I was without the backpack.
 I apologized and told her I left my backpack in the car.  The car was in the parking lot at the mall about 200 yards from where we were standing.  She accepted my apology and we attempted to start a conversation. The music from the van sputtered off and on. We weren’t really in sync in what we talked about.  We were very different with different backgrounds and different agendas for the day.
I was here for a signing of a big name I had no background on. She was here because a previous book Nikki Sixx wrote really touched her emotionally.  She admitted she never cared enough about a band or author to ever want an autograph. This was special to her. Special enough to leave her daughter at home and hang out at Barnes and Nobles all day with strangers.
After a few mis-attempts of finding common conversational ground, we settled on cats. I have 4 and she has 1. From there I saw a photo of her cat and then of her child.
While I was thinking it’s not a big deal to leave the kid at home to go shopping, I found out she left her kid at home with Grandmom in San Antonio (A five hours drive from the bookstore). She drove out Thursday night so she could get in line Friday morning to get a wristband.
B&N handed out wristbands the morning before the signing. Depending how early you got there Friday, determined which group you were in and how long you would be waiting Saturday.  She and I got there about 9:30AM Friday morning to buy our books and get our wristbands.  We were the same group.
So now it’s Saturday. She has been away from her hubby and daughter for 2 ½ days.  This is how important it was for her.
As the conversation continued, she told me things and I guessed more. At times I thought she might only be 20 years old and other times I thought maybe 30.  I’m still not sure and it really doesn’t matter but something in Nikki Sixx’s book helped her in a very important way and this was her chance to say hello and hopefully interact with him and say thank you.  That was the cause of her sly smile I saw earlier.  How often do we tell someone that important to us thank you in person?
As more and more time passed the conversation included the mom and daughter in front of us. They were from Corpus Christi which is about a 7 hour drive.  The 3 of them had a lot more in common and I fell silent as they talked.  They talked concerts and arenas and music. This was also important to them.
When we got within 15 feet of the signing table, my San Antonio friend and the Corpus daughter jumped the line to snap some photos of Nikki Sixx. They shot photos for each other, of themselves together, and did some self-portraits with Nikki in the background.
I let San Antonio go in front of me. I watched her approach the table and Nikki looked up. I couldn’t hear the conversation and it probably was better I didn’t. He smiled. He looked her in the eyes. He nodded and looked interested.  San Antonio talked. After a minute or so he lifted his tattooed hands and held his fists out to her: she fist pumped him back.  As I moved forward I heard him ask which was book for her. She pointed and he wrote an inscription in there for her.  I read it.  I shouldn’t have but I did.  It was personal.  He stood and they hugged. It had a heart felt hug.  She picked up her books and walked away without her feet touching the ground.
Nikki Sixx paused before turning to me.  I liked that.  It seemed to make that last encounter more personal.  He signed my books and I mentioned that that meant a lot to her. I told him while standing in line I could tell she really needed to do this for herself. He mentioned that she seemed like a very sweet girl.
I picked up my signed books and San Antonio was still at the bottom of the escalator collecting herself mentally.  We chatted for a few minutes recapping all that she accomplished and what happened while she was at the table. Corpus daughter came over and said goodbye.  Then we left too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jamie Kennedy - Addison Improv

I need to thank Racer X for the help about where and when I needed to be so I could get this one. Racer X is a very knowledgeable collector in the DFW area.
Getting Jamie Kennedy’s autograph at the Improv was a little different for me. This was more of the hanging out and waiting on a street corner to get the coveted autograph; as opposed hanging out knowing someone was going to do a signing like I did with Rob Schneider.
When I got Rob Schneider’s signature at the Improv I was actually waiting for him to set up his table to sell his shirts and DVD’s.  While I didn’t know exactly how everything was going to work, I was fairly sure I was at the right place to get my autograph.
This autograph was way out of my comfort zone, although it was fairly straight forward.
I got there and hung out with Racer X. Knowing that Racer X was still there meant I wasn’t late.  It’s also good to chit chat while you are waiting.
Jamie arrived by car. We caught up to him as he was about to enter the stairwell. He saw us and stopped and he signed. No fuss; no muss.
He was very laid back and told me if I wanted a photo I could catch him after the show. I was okay with that but then he stopped and said let’s take it now.
Trying to hide my confusion I got the camera out and someone took our picture and then we went our separate ways.
The most important thing (well, to my mom it's important) - how did I look in the photo?

So this time I almost have a smile. I did remember to suck in some of my gut. Maybe, just maybe, if I get enough practice, I might learn how to take a picture in a few years.  Won’t mom be proud of me then?


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Eva Longoria Williams-Sonoma

Eva Longoria’s book signing caused some excitement among the autograph community in Dallas. First, it was Eva. Second, it was at a Williams-Sonoma instead of a bookstore.  Next, it was a cook book instead of a ‘tell all’ biography.  And lastly, it was on a Sunday morning.
The book is called Eva’s Kitchen: Cooking with Love for Family and Friends.  The Williams-Sonoma was limiting the signing to the first 350 people or so.  You could buy 10 copies of the book. One was enough for me. (Sorry mom, I didn’t get you a copy. Yes, I know I’m a bad son. Yes, next time, I promise. I call again soon.  Love you. Bye!)
You paid for your book in advance.  At the time the books were not shipped so you needed to pick them up at 9AM to redeem your vouchers for the book. 
After a bunch of us got our books and got back in line.  A young mom and daughter were looking over the recipes and earnestly telling me which ones would be easy to make and which ones hard.   It was fun to see how serious the discussion was and how determined they were to make me understand.  Somehow they really thought I would be looking through the book to find something to cook or bake. 
I can see it now, Mrs Autograph Hound died from natural causes as she laughed herself to death while husband attempted to bake cookies from Eva Longeria’s cookbook.  The autograph community is in mourning.  Film at 11.
Eva actually started the signing early. Since I was close to the front of the line, I was in and out in 20 minutes.  She allowed people to take photos and they even had the store employees held with posed photos.  As you can see in my photo, I was SO-O-O happy to be there. 
I really need to learn how to take a photo.  As good looking as I am, that really should come naturally to me. I did remember to shave that morning, although I forgot to put ‘product’ in my hair. I did remember to suck in the gut this time, although in this pose it didn’t matter.  I did forget to smile.  It’s hard to be in photos. Don’t know how the actors do it all of the time.  Also, if you think this photo is bad you need to see my driver license photo.
Really look at this photo. It’s almost like it was photoshopped. How can she be go glamorous and I can be so ragged? At least my UofA shirt looks clean.
I did whisper a thank you to her as I stood up and she smiled back and then shook my hand.
A good start to the morning.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cindy Crawford – sometimes they watch back

I tell this story all of the time and people really don’t believe it. Maybe I’m not telling it right…
Yes, I got Cindy Crawford’s autograph.
Yes, I asked her out on a date – to a home cooked meal.
Yes, I was married at the time- still am married and to the same woman.
And lastly, yes, Cindy blew me off and was VERY interested in my friend Elbe.

Set the Wayback machine to 1996 and Cindy Crawford was signing her book Cindy Crawford’s Basic Face at Wal-Mart.
I heard about the signing while I was lunch so it was a last minute decision to leave work early to stand in line. One of my coworkers asked if he could join me. I had no problems with that so Elbe and I drove in one car to Wal-Mart.
Elbe was a college football player. He still lifts weights and looks like a pro athlete.  He’s a good looking young guy with a good sense of humor.  He can be very quiet at times and he can also be very raucous at other times. He has charisma and people generally gather around him at parties and such. Today he chose to be timid. 
Even though we got there 30 minutes early, the line wasn’t too long. The line wrapped around the aisles of the store but we could hear a loud mummer ahead of us. As we got closer it turned out to be a hundred high school kids standing near the signing table hoping to catch a glimpse and get a photo of Cindy. They weren’t in line for a book just to see her.
That crowd of kids let us know when she arrived.  A roar echoed through the store when she walked to the table. Every few minutes they would organize a chat to get her to look up for a photo.  Cindy would sign 5 or 10 books and then look up to the crowd with a wave and smile.
As I got to the table I said hello and she looked up. Yes, my heart skipped a beat and my mouth started to say: I’d like to invite-
But she cut me off with a raised hand.  She looked at me. Then she pointedly looked at Elbe who was standing innocently behind me.  I think Elbe actually moved a step back to hide behind me. She then leaned over to her side and looked around me.  With a big smile she asked who was with me. I turned and said: He’s a friend. He’s a Supervisor at the office I work at.
So I turned back to her and tried again to say: I’d like to invite you-
Again she cut me off. She gave Elbe the ‘look’.  The look of – Ooh, I’d like to get to know you better.
So she asked Elbe what he did for a living. Elbe meekly replied: Ms Crawford, I just came with my friend. I only wanted to see you in person.
 If you know Elbe, he may be quiet at times but he isn’t meek very often.  She repeated the question about what he did. He gave her a 2 sentence description and she accepted it but never really took her eyes off of him.
Yes, I was jealous. I may be a geek but I have some pride. Clearly I was meatloaf and Elbe was Filet Mignon.
Now I figured my chance was gone as she was handing me the book. 
She said: You said something about wanting to invite me…
I was impressed. I figured since Elbe caught her eye what I said was nothing more than a buzzing of a bee in her ear. I really debated in that fraction of a second whether I should give up and take the book or bull forward. Discretion is the better part of valor. Then again, how often do you get to meet Cindy Crawford?
Yes, I took my shot.
 I said: I wanted to invite you home for dinner. I bet you’ve been on the road for long time and a home cooked meal would be nice. My wife and I would love it.
She is good. She has been hit on by thousands of people. She has had important people; influential people; people from all walks of life try to persuade her to come home with them. She has gone to thousands of parties where she is drinking and others are drinking and people get sloppy and stupid and she has practiced her art of the let-down. Her craftsmanship showed when she responded to me.
Without a blink of an eye she tilted her head slightly and said with a genuine smile: Ahhhh. That is so sweet. [Eyebrows crease a little] I’d love to meet your wife and have dinner with you. Your right, I have been on the road a while. [She paused for effect] But I’m leaving on a flight tonight. I have to pass.
Then she made her smile into a slight frown so I’d know that she was frustrated that her scheduled was inflexible.
Did I feel 10 foot tall?  Oh yeah.  I just asked Cindy Crawford out. And I just got turned down by Cindy Crawford. I got turned down so well, I didn’t realize at the time I was blown off. I really thought she had to leave on a flight.
I thanked her for the book and she thanked Elbe for coming to visit. Yes, she did make a point of thanking him.  Obviously she wanted one last look at Elbe before he left.
Did Elbe feel 10 foot tall?  Oh yeah.
We drove back to the office and all the girls wanted to know the typical questions:  Is she really that pretty? Was she nice? What was she wearing? Etc, etc, etc.
I didn’t remember what she was wearing. But I decided to make life interesting for Elbe and told then Cindy was drooling over him.  Did that ever send the office into dizzy. It didn’t take long for every woman in the office to know about what happened and come over to check to see if he had any lipstick on his collar.
When Elbe got tired of answering questions he returned the favor and threw me under the bus by telling the girls how I asked Cindy out on a date.
Yes, that was more chum for the sharks. Before the Spanish Inquisition got too wound up, it was time to leave and I shut down my computer and went home with a freshly signed copy of Cindy’s book.