Autograph Hound's Blah Blah Blog

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Laura Nummerroff If You Give a Dog a Donut

It’s Halloween and I rushed through Dallas rush hour traffic to make the signing in time. I needed to get there fast and get out fast so I could travel an even longer distance home. I didn’t want to miss any Trick or Treaters.
The signing was at 5PM. Even though it was inconvenient, it made sense.  The signing’s not for me. It’s for the fans of Laura Numeroff  who are ages 2 to 6 years old. They would be out well past their bed times if this was held at the normal time.  Also the kids still needed to do their Trick or Treating.
I arrived well after 5PM. I can tell there was a reading as I saw the mats on the floor in a semi-circle. The Q&A is over although Laura spent time with every child and mom. While the kids were ready to leave the moms were excited about the new book, If You Give a Dog a Donut.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wizard World Austin 2011

This was the second year I attend Wizard World in Austin.  I must admit I enjoyed it as much this year as last. There was a broad range of celebrities, artists, and vendors.
This show was a Buffy bonanza with James Marsters, Charisma Carpenter, Mercedes McNabb, Juliet Landau, and James Charles Leary.
But don’t forget about the Wonka kids – Julie dawn Cole, Paris Themmen, and Peter Ostrum.
The two largest names were Adam Baldwin and Hayden Panettiere; both having long lines for signatures and photos ops.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Elise and Electra Avellan and Barbara Nedeljakova Wizard World Austin 2011

I left work in Dallas and went straight to Wizard World in Austin.  Since I got there later than I hoped I made a command decision skipped going to my hotel and changing. I arrived at the convention in my dress pants, shirt and tie instead of blue jeans, sneakers, and Uof A shirt.
After I got a couple of autographs I worked my way over to Barbara Nedeljakova.  My plan was to get a photo of her in something from Hostel. The movie is violent and graphic but preys on the paranoia that every wise tourist has in the back of their head.  Then I saw this photo and couldn’t resist.
As I walked up to her a guy was leaving and singing in a foreign language.  She was shaking her head and I asked if she understood what he was saying. She said no and that he was singing in Russian. I asked if his Russian was bad or she didn’t know the language.  She said she didn’t speak Russian.  She mentioned a few other languages she spoke and then mentioned if the guy was speaking in Hungarian or Polish she would have understood as those languages were close to her native language of Slavok.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Time Bandit Vodka – Capt’s Hillstrand

This really wasn’t on the radar. I was aware of it but I didn’t have plans on going.  The wife and I had something else scheduled and this was not on the list.  But the wife was sick and the plans were cancelled and I had some extra time.  So, being flexible, I went at the last minute.  I really didn’t want to spend the day cooped up in the house with a sick wife anyway.
Whether you know or not, I don’t drink.  The idea of me getting a signed bottle of vodka seems silly. That’s the addiction of autograph collecting in the nutshell. You do silly things for silly reasons.
Sigel’s Liqueur was hosting the two Captains from the Time Bandit, which is one of the crabber’s featured on the show Deadliest Catch.  The captains have launched a brand of vodka named after their boat, Time Bandit.  I enjoy the show and while I don’t TiVo it I find my surfing ends whenever I come across this program.  I had an interest in meeting these guys even though I don’t drink.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wonka Kids – cause 3 out of 5 ain’t bad

Did you grow up watching Willy Wonka?  Did you find it fun or creepy?  I first saw it an age where I could enjoy the movie and was not creeped out. I can’t say the same for Wizard of Oz or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Those movies weren’t as entertaining as Mom and Dad thought. I was excited about getting the Wonka kids signatures. This was a warm part of my childhood.
I know that getting 3 out of 5 signatures isn’t that good.  Originally Wizard World in Austin was getting all 5 of the kids. One had to cancel and I figured 4 of the 5 was still good.  Somehow during the time I was there Saturday, I never saw the fourth.  C’est le vie.  Another show at another time.
When I was ready to pick up these autographs I approached Peter Ostrum first but he was in the mist of repairing some eyeglasses. He had the tiny screwdriver out and I saw a small screw on the table.  Peter looked up and was about to move the glasses and I stopped him. I told him getting the glasses fixed is more important and I tapped my glasses so he knew how important it really was. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mitch Williams, Sean Casey, and Harold Reynolds World Series 2011

Last year my wife drug me to the World Series because she was trying to get me out of my ‘The Phillies Blew It’ funk. The World Series is a bucket list item. Yes, it would have been a better bucket list accomplishment if my Phillies made it.   
So while I was hating on my Phils and nursing my bruised pride, she treated us to Game 5 of the 2010 World Series.  Even though that ended the run for the Rangers, we had a good time. I was going to bring some baseballs to get signed on the off chance I might get lucky but at the last minute I decided leave the balls at home. 
After the game was over, we wandered over to the MLB Network Broadcast area and watched the announcers.  I realized I made a mistake by leaving the balls at home.  The field was filled with retired players. To top that off no one was begging for autographs. I don’t think many people recognized the players out of their uniforms and in suits.
Well, the Rangers returned to the World Series in 2011 and my Phillies again returned home prematurely.  The wife bought tickets again but this time it was not for me. She had become a Rangers fan and SHE wanted to see the game.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

John Lithgow and Peter Weller – No Joy

With the long string of successes, it’s inevitable that I’d come up empty.  It happens and it’s frustrating as you do get spoiled after a nice run that I’ve had.
John Lithgow was in town to accept an award. Whoever was presenting the award had arranged a Red Carpet event where several other celebrities attended, including Peter Weller. My fellow hounds had some success getting theses signatures and a few other celebrities that attended the ceremony.  After hearing success I thought it was a sure bet I would come home with a photo signed by one of these guys.    
The next day, the Angelika Theater was doing a special screening of Buckaroo Banzi where John Lithgow and Peter Weller would be hosting a showing of Buckaroo Banzi and then a Q&A afterwards.  While my associates were concentrating on John I was focusing on Peter, who was the lead in this movie.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Larry Miller – Not so fast! 11/18/11

This is one of those names my wife will say, Who? But when then you tell her what he’s been in, she gets excited. Larry Miller is someone she really likes. He plays all those likeable or scene stealing characters in a lot of memorable movies.
Larry Miller was in town for a one man show not that far from the house and I heard he signs after the show.  Just knowing that he’s plans on signing after the show really lowers the stress level.  You can concentrate on the important things like what to get signed or what to say.  Granted I don’t spend hours thinking about that but it’s nice to be prepared.
A few of us showed up for the Friday night show. We entered the lobby of the theater and chatted among ourselves. As the show let out, lots of people were hanging out in the lobby. While discouraging to know the lines for an autograph will be long, it’s good to see as we now know we are in the right place.
So we are still chatting among ourselves and the crowd just doesn’t look like a Larry Miller crowd. So we wait and chat. Then someone comes out and the lobby crowd follows him. No, that wasn’t Larry. Hmm, odd. So we ask and usher and find out the theater has more than one performance hall. Larry Miller is in the other hall and that hasn’t let out yet. At least they share the same lobby so we weren’t going to miss him.
Then Larry’s show lets out.  People are milling around and we feel good. After 30 minutes most of the people are gone and no Larry Miller. One of our group members asks an usher and was told Larry would NOT be signing tonight. Bummer.
We still hung around another 20 minutes or so, just hoping.  It’s just the four of us.
Well, I call it a night and say my goodbyes. Even as I’m walking out the door, I take a final peak to see if Larry has walked into the lobby. Nope. As I’m walking down the sidewalk to my car, I turned around every 10 seconds hoping to see one of my compatriots shouting for me to come back.  Nope. After I get in my car, I drive past the front of the building and scanned the lobby. I noticed my friends have moved and seem to be huddled around someone. Shreeek went the brakes and I quickly park the car.
I’m inside and see Larry Miller holding court. He is posing for photos and signing stuff. He talked about the films from the photos he signed and answered several questions.  My photo was from the one man show and he paused. He asked if I took that tonight and I said I found the photo on Google.
One of my fellow hounds took a photo of us. While we were waiting I mentioned how much I liked 10 Things I Hate About You.  He said the movie was fun and I agreed and I also mentioned my wife and I really enjoyed the TV series. That seemed to make him smile wistfully.  He said even with two short seasons he felt that his TV daughters were like his real daughters.  That was a cast that bonded very quickly.
As we finished, we all said out thank you’s and our good byes. It looked like he wasn’t ready for us to go.  It was very personal and intimate.  Maybe we should have asked him to go to Denny’s.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Bill Cosby and Greg Luzinski –care package

So the other day I come home from work and a package is waiting outside the front door.  I gather it in and greedily open it when I see it’s from Mom and Dad.
Yes, I still get care packages from Mom and Dad.  It’s only slightly embarrassing but the fact they send the best stuff takes the sting out it.
I thought I knew what was going to be inside, one of our favorite bookstores (Bookends in New Jersey) had Bill Cosby signing his new book. While I’m hesitant about asking them to stand in line for hours for an autograph that they couldn’t care less about, I didn’t feel very guilty about this one. 
Growing up, as a home, we loved Bill Cosby.  As a family we laughed until we were in tears.  I remember the family gathering around the TV as he would appear on Carson.  My sister and I always watched Fat Albert on Saturday mornings. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

We Choose to Go

Last October I was walking around Dallas Fan Days and I saw this man walking the floor in a NASA Lunar Space Suit. Well, let me be truthful, I saw the lady with him in the sexy dress FIRST; then I saw the man in the suit.
It was a pretty good suit. He had the helmet on and the sun visor down. In fact, I was impressed enough to take a photo. My photos are usually reserved for the scantily dressed women at these shows, so that should say something.  These conventions always have a lot of cosplay but usually it’s of TV and comic book characters and not of our National Heroes.
After I took the shot the man took his glove off and signaled me to wait. It was obvious that taking the helmet off was impractical.  I watched as he fished something out of his pocket. He handed me a postcard.  My first thought was that he was hawking for a booth or some product. I was prepared to give the card a cursory view and trash the propaganda later.  I turned the card over and I stopped.  I read those simple words: We Choose to Go to the Moon…

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why I hated you James Marsters - Austin Wizard World 2011

It’s only a TV show. Take a deep breath and get a hold of yourself. Remember when you laughed at the girls at work a decade ago when they got upset?  That’s what you told them: it’s only a TV show. 
Doesn’t seem so funny now, huh?
About 2 years ago I worked my way through the Buffy and Angel shows while playing poker online. I would have 3 tables up and fill the 4th corner of the screen with a stream from Netflix.  I played a lot of poker. I watched a lot of Netflix. I watched a lot of Buffy and Angel.
It was the beginning of July of 2009 that I saw the episode that really got me mad.  Spike tried to rape Buffy. I was furious. It didn’t matter that in a few episodes Buffy more or less forgave him or they had made an uneasy peace. For the viewers a decade ago, it was a passage of a couple of months and a week between episodes to sort through their feelings. I was watching 5 or 6 hours a day and I could not digest my emotional rollercoaster that fast.  I was beside myself and still very angry for weeks.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Charisma Carpenter and the magic UofA shirt

I know, I know, it seems every actress I get an autograph from, I have a thing for. It’s not true.  I’ve been lucky lately to run into the few that cause me to sigh heavily when I see them.
Charisma Carpenter is one of those ladies. I watched on her Buffy and I’ll admit I have a love/hate relationship with that show but not her. I thought Charisma would be a better Buffy and I actually told Charisma that when she signed for me. She skillfully denied the comment and I then added that she appeared much more coordinated than Sarah. She laughed and admitted that she was more graceful.
Charisma was the ONE person I had to meet at this show. The others were icing on the cake but I really wanted to say ‘hi’ and have my 15 seconds with her.  I felt it wasn’t going very well.  My Buffy comment might have been a sore spot or she was tired of hearing it or she was afraid I was some blogger that causes trouble or I was just in another of a long line of love sick puppies following her across the country.
I was about to step away, ending the whole encounter, and then she opened up.  She commented on my shirt. Yes, I was wearing one of my U of A shirts, so good of you to remember my trademark.  She told me she had a relative that went there in the 90’s for Engineering. She had another relative going there soon to play on one of their teams. This allowed me to stay a few more seconds and say a thing or two more about the school.
It was only a few sentences. A simple exchange but it turned the whole thing around for me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jeff King 4 time Iditarod winner

Also at the Dallas Adventure and Travel Expo was Jeff King. If you are like my wife, a huge question mark is hanging over your head. While I can’t claim to be a big fan of the dog sled race or know anything about the sport other than a few talking points, I would rather watch the Iditarod than Dallas Cowboys football any day.
The original plan was to sit through his lecture and get him at the book signing after he was done speaking.  Luckily he was at a booth selling his book and I was able to get his book, Cold Hands, Warm Heart, signed and his photo.
He was a friendly man. Outgoing and open. He was surprised I brought a photo. He originally thought I was at the event because he recognized the photo and the room. I had to disappoint him by saying I found it on Google.  Then I had to repeat that as he didn’t quite get was Google was.  Asking him if he ever Googled himself left a question hanging over his head.
He liked the photo and liked that someone came to see him.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stephen King Majestic 11/10/11

I’d like to say I’m the biggest Stephen King fan. I’d like to say I’ve read everything he’s written. But I really can’t. He writes faster than I can read. If I only read his books I’d still have a stack of books on my nightstand and be a decade behind in my reading. And to be truthful, his fans scare me.
It’s been 20 years since I really thought about his fans. That was when I worked at Waldenbooks.  His fans are true to meaning of the word ‘fan’ - short for fanatic. They are like Dallas Cowboy fans during a winning year. They are over top and believe the Cowboys can do no wrong. Yes, Cowboy fans scare me too.
Too many of fans are like Annie Wilkes in Misery, they love/hate him. They think he walks on water and he talks directly to their souls and are also pissed off he doesn’t write more and say exactly what they want him to say.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Do you need a body guard Samantha Brown?

Sometimes you overthink and you spoil it for yourself.
I’ve enjoyed Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel for a long time. Apparently, I’m not the only one. I think everyone that was at the Dallas Adventure and Travel Expo on Sunday was there for the same reason.  She filled the 300 or so seats and had people standing to listen.
She speaks as well live as she does on her show. She talked about her various TV series and learning to travel while learning to do the show.  She gave some advice that my wife and I both think will be very useful. 
The first was to bring ear plugs and wear them in the airport. It helps cut down on the noise and you can still hear the announcements. It’s a cheap replacement for a Bose headset and you don’t need batteries or a recharger.

The second recommendation was bring some tennis ball size squishy balls. I think tennis balls might just work. She puts them on the floor and lies on them and uses them to work out the stress in her back and feet.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jay Leno 10/29/11 Majestic

So after I rushed out from Jane Lynch, I sped down the highway to get Downtown.  I wanted to be there in time to get Jay Leno before the show.
I get downtown and I vaguely knew where the Majestic theater is. Downtown Dallas isn’t that big, so if I get lost, it’s not a crisis but the shot clock is tick, tick, ticking. I find the place and now I’m looking for my fellow hounds. Seeing them will tell me I’m in the right spot and that I’m not late.  I haven’t tried to get anyone at the Majestic before so I don’t know the protocol, or the timing, or the sweet spot forgetting signatures.
After attempting to drive correctly down all the one way streets I see another collector. A small smile spreads across my lips. I know I’m not lost.  I now know where to stand.  Now, the question is where do I park? I’m hoping be in and out fairly quick.  I don’t want to pay but I would really like my car to still be there when it’s time to go home.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jane Lynch B&N 10/29/11

This is a Christmas Present for my sister. Since I know show doesn’t read my blog I have no fear in spoiling the surprise.
Most likely you know Jane Lynch from Glee and about a third of the crowd was Gleeks. You also may know her from the string of offbeat comedies she has done over the years on both TV and on the big screen.
She was in town to sign her book Happy Accidents.  Jane Lynch answered several questions from the crowd and shared an interesting tidbit from an upcoming Glee episode.  Nope, I won’t share, sorry.
She also spent some time explaining the concept of the book and how she never foresaw a career as a comedic actress.  Her career was a happy accident and one that she doesn’t regret.
Once she started signing, the line moved quickly even though she took time to greet with each person.   Since I had places to go and people to meet, this worked well for me. I got my books signed and headed out to my next event.