Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Donald Trump 10/26/15

I had been wanting to make it to a political rally again for quite some time now, and I was able to do just that the other day in New Hampshire. I had the day off so I decided to make the just under 2 hour drive to Atkinson to see one of the most relevant people of the year, Donald Trump. I am not a Trump supporter by any means, but he is in the spotlight big time, very successful, and while I don't sell, his autographs are simply worth A LOT of money right now.

I woke up before 4:00 a.m. to start the 100+ mile drive, and I arrived at  the country club where the event was being held right around 6:00. The event was so early because Trump was holding a town hall meeting live on "Today", with Matt Lauer. Before the town hall meeting was a ticketed public event, which is what I attended. The doors were scheduled to open at 6:30 a.m. for the 7:00 a.m. event, however when I got there, they were open, and the place was PACKED. 

I went to look for a good spot, and even with the large crowd I was somehow lucky enough to find an aisle seat right next to where he would be walking out. My spot was as perfect as it could have been. This picture doesn't show the crowd in front of the stage, but it was gigantic, especially for before 7 a.m..

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After a while of sitting around waiting, it was time:

I was pretty confident that I would be able to get the 'graph and maybe a picture on his way off of the stage, especially with me being right next to the rail.

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The speech went on, and despite really not being a fan of Trump's views at all, it wasn't too bad of a speech. I was actually surprised with how even-keel it was. He mostly talked about how he was winning every state(which was true until this morning). 

I did however find this tweet that shows me "face-palming" during part of the event, which I thought was pretty awesome. If you want to see, simply zoom to the bottom left, and I'm in a black hat.


When the speech ended and Donald was walking off the stage I stood up and got ready. He got to me, saw my "Forbes" magazine, asked me how the article was, held it up to the crowd, got an applause, and signed it with a HUGE signature. I was happy that my drive up was rewarded. As much as I disagree with the way he carries himself politically, I was a devoted fan of his show, "The Apprentice", so it was really cool to meet him. I tried to take a photo with him, but he was just rushing too much and I couldn't get a good one taken.

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I wasn't done though. Trump had an hour long live town hall with Matt Lauer as I said earlier, and I decided to stay around to see if I could get him to sign or take a picture again afterwards.

There were a number of supporters out near his vehicle along the railing, but I found a good spot. A few of the others were live-streaming the show, so I was able to know exactly when it ended. Just a few minutes later, he came out, and started interacting with the crowd. Almost immediately, I was being pushed hard against the railing, but Donald came right over to me after signing a book for a woman. As soon as he got to me, I felt the crowd pushing even harder but I wasn't really thinking about it. Trump grabbed my photo, once again held it up to the crowd, and signed it really big like the last time. This made the trip even more worth it, and I was pretty happy.

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I think this was actually the farthest I have ever gone for a non-guaranteed interaction with someone, and I'm glad that it paid off. I'm excited to see which other candidates I can meet before next November.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Rodney Atkins 9/7/15

As I said last week, fair season in New England is going strong, which annually leads to a least a few music 'graphing opportunities. This one was a little more planned than the Swon Brothers, since I had seen at least a month ago that Rodney Atkins would be performing at a fair I go to every year in Connecticut. I also saw a post weeks ago that if you join Rodney's fan club for a small fee, that you have a chance to win a meet and greet with him at your show. I knew nearly nobody else would see that post, so it was pretty much a guarantee, (at least I thought so), that I would be meeting him.

There was a long stretch where I hadn't heard anything, but then about 4-5 days before the show I got an e-mail stating that I was in! I love Rodney's music, and he and Jason Aldean literally got me into country music years ago, so I was pretty thrilled that I was going to be meeting him.

I had bought all 5 of his CD's on Amazon/at Wal-Mart for around $5 each which was a pretty good deal, so I was well-prepared for the event.

When fair day came, I went to the merch booth where I was told my pass would be waiting, I picked it up, and inside was the meet and greet pass, along with a note that said only one autograph and one picture was allowed per person. I was a little bummed, just because I had gone through the trouble of buying his entire collection, but I didn't think they would really enforce it because it was so low key. 

After the concert I went to the meeting spot, which was at the merch booth, and after a few minutes, I along with maybe 15-20 others were led to the area where the meet and greet would be taking place. After another 10 minutes or so, Rodney came out of his bus, and the event was underway.

I was probably 6-7 people back, and I noticed that Rodney was signing multiples for people, which was awesome.

When I got up to him, I handed him the CD booklets, and he asked who to make them out to.

I told him that he was one of the guys who really got me interested in the genre, and that his song, "It's America", played at a baseball stadium near me for like 5 years, and was the song that really got me hooked. He told me that he appreciated that. He was VERY nice. Not that I wasn't expecting him to be, but he was just awesome. He really cared about what people were telling him, and he was one of the most genuine celebrities I have ever met.

Rodney signed 5 CD's for me. Here they are in order of their release:

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Monday, September 7, 2015

New York Mets Vs. Boston 8/30/15

Last weekend I went to Citi Field for the first time on a group trip to see the Mets play the Red Sox. It is often tough for me on group trips to get autographs at the games because of timing, but this time we ended up showing up before gates opened which was pretty awesome.

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This was my 5th different Major League Stadium, and as always, I was very excited to knock another one off of my list. In order, I have been to: RFK Stadium in Washington, Fenway Park, Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium, and now Citi Field.

Since it was a Sunday, I knew there wouldn't be batting practice which would limit my chances for autographs, but when I got inside, the pitchers were throwing, and I already saw someone signing. When I got closer, about halfway down the stairs, I could see that it was Clay Buchholz. I hadn't met him in about 7-8 years,  around the time when he threw his no-hitter.

When I got down to him he was nicer than I had ever seen him, which was pretty great:

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A few minutes later, Eduardo Rodriguez started to sign after an obnoxious woman was screaming his name for 10 minutes. He signed for her and about 4 others. I missed out which was a bummer, but no big deal I suppose.

Craig Breslow also signed for a while, but I just wasn't in position, and I didn't want to move because I had a really solid spot in the front row. I always joke around saying, I've met over 140 Red Sox players, and he is one of the nicest athletes in Boston, but I just have terrible luck with him.

After that I was able to get one more autograph. Steven Wright was coming over and I really wanted to talk to him because I had seen him play for a few years in Pawtucket and he was always one of the nicest and most fan-friendly guys. I told him about seeing him in Pawtucket for so long and how I was happy that he had really made it and has been sticking around.

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I only got two autographs, but it was an awesome day, and Citi Field definitely became one of my favorite stadiums to watch a game at/enjoy the overall experience. People may call me crazy but I mighhhttt like it as much as Camden Yards.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Swon Brothers 8/28/15

Fair season is officially underway in New England, and while that means the year is beginning to wind down, a good part of my 'graphing season is just beginning.

Every year there is a small fair near where I used to live, and I found out a few weeks ago that the Swon Brothers, who since their long stint on NBC's , "The Voice", have begun to really succeed in the country scene were going to be performing at it. The concert was on a Friday night which was pretty perfect as far as my schedule goes, so my girlfriend and I decided to head over to the show, and hoped to get an autograph or two.

When we got to the fair, the tour bus was fenced in next to the stage as usual, but there wasn't much action at all so we just decided to walk around for a while and come back closer to showtime. We went back to get a seat about 70-90 minutes before the show. While we were waiting, a sign was put up at the merchandise booth that said that the guys would be signing after their show. I had bought a CD, so I was happy to have this safety net, and it's always nice to have pretty much a guarantee that I will meet who I am trying for.

Maybe 30 minutes before showtime, I noticed a really nice SUV pulling up near the fence, and I could see that Colton Swon was in the front seat. I went over and positioned myself near where he would be walking over. He got out of the vehicle and I asked him to sign the CD. He went to grab my pen, and a cheap fair security guy told me to go away or something along those lines. Obviously I didn't think much of it because the artist was literally grabbing my CD and pen. The guy then got in front of him and tried to block me from handing off the CD. Colton looked at me and was just like, "Sorry man." I could tell he really wanted to sign it, probably because it kind of pays his salary when fans buy his music, but the guy was just being obnoxious. Eventually, and by that I mean within the next 10 seconds, he was able to finally sign the CD. After that, I saw his brother Zach getting out of the back of the SUV, and walking behind the merch table. Another security guy said, "You can't be here." Zach didn't care though, and grabbed my CD and signed it with no hesitation at all. The security guys all seemed so pissed, and nobody else had even been trying to get anything signed because it all happened so quickly.

Let's recap.

-I was literally in an open area at a SMALLLL local fair.
-Both guys wanted to sign my CD with no hesitation at all. I'm pretty confident Colton would have  had a full conversation with me if he had the chance.
-Security guys who had no affiliation with the artists were trying to control their actions.

This is becoming a more and more frequent occurrence in the hobby, and it obviously isn't good for it. "Security guys" just need to learn their place and not go above what their job calls for. I see this happen at concerts, basketball games, you name it.

Yes, I realize that I could have just gotten my CD signed after the concert, but, "I waited until the show ended and waited in line." isn't the most exciting blog entry for you guys.

With that said, they were selling photos for $5, so I did wait after the show and have them sign that, but that's besides the point :) .

I had gotten the booklet signed by them before the show, and when I went up to the line after the show, my girlfriend got the actual CD done for me.

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Notice how the CD cover that I got signed before the show has much nicer autographs than during their signing:

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Boston Vs. Cleveland 8/17/15

A few weeks back while I was at work, a reader of this blog who happens to live in the area, whom I had only met once mind you, dm'ed me on Twitter with an INCREDIBLY generous offer of two free tickets to the Red Sox game that night. I was honestly pretty shocked. It was just such a nice gesture for anyone to make, let alone someone who had only met me briefly in person  a few years ago. With that said, I just want to truly thank, "P"(Didn't want to put his full name here) for his generosity.

After work I met up with my girlfriend and picked up the tickets. We then promptly drove up to Boston. Where I used to live was a lot closer to Fenway, about 65-70 minutes, and my new place is about 95 minutes away, but I still like to take any opportunities I can to make it up to the park.

We were able to make it to the stadium while batting practice was winding down which happened to be much earlier than  I had expected to arrive, and I saw Pitcher, Trevor Bauer, signing over the dugout, so I raced over and was able to get him to sign a baseball. He must have signed around 50 things for people, and he was just very nice.

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After everyone else came in, I decided to go to the NESN set on Yawkey Way to see who was doing the pre-game show  because I had seen that a number of my friends have had good luck over there in the past.

Hall of Fame Pitcher, Dennis Eckersley was doing the show with Tom Caron, AND nobody was around the exit of the set, so we went and got some food and came back closer to the end of the show. When the show ended, Dennis was walking over and when I asked him to sign, he couldn't have been any nicer. It was VERY hot so I was happy and thankful that he did it, and was extra happy to have met yet another Hall of Famer, and to add another Red Sox player to my list. I have now met 140+ Red Sox players.

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Eck was also kind enough to take a photo with me:

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I may have only gotten two autographs at this game, but when one is a Hall of Fame legend, there is little to complain about.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Chris Webby III 8/14/15

You may remember around this time a year ago, I met my favorite rapper Chris Webby at a music store in Connecticut while he was promoting his debut album. Now, a year later, Chris was back after 2 HUGE U.S. tours. The first was one in which he was the headliner, and the second was Tech N9ne's Special Effects Tour.

I had been wanting to see him again, because I had to miss his closest tour date on the Special Effects Tour after having gone to two stops on his previous tour.

This event was at a super small venue which was really cool. It had the feel of old Webby shows before he toured. For those who don't know Webby, he has been releasing mixtapes and a few EP's for years now. He has crashed Datpiff's servers multiple times, and his debut album got to the top of iTune's rap charts at one point. He's finally starting to get real national attention, and it's pretty awesome. Oh, and he's from Connecticut.

The show was really quick, and much faster than his tour shows were. Afterwards, I walked to where he was coming out, and he was already outside hanging out. I looked at his manager and he told me that he'd take care of me after he was done with his cigarette. Webby has always been one of the absolute nicest guys out there, so I was excited to meet him again. When he finished, I had him sign 3 of his mixtapes that I hadn't gotten signed yet and he talked about all of them to me which was really cool. He was actually really funny talking about them, because he said he absolutely hated one of them(Bars on Me), and then said, "You can't love all of your kids the same, right?" jokingly which was pretty hilarious. I also found this interesting because, "Bars on Me", is one of my favorite projects that he has released. He also commented on how much he loved, "There Goes the Neighborhood", and "Best in the Burbs", which he said went together really nicely back in the day.

It was really nice to see Webby again, and I can't wait until he comes back around!

Here are links to my other two blog entries about meeting Webby:
Chris Webby I
Chris Webby II

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

50 Cent Round II 7/26/15

After successfully meeting 50 Cent last month on the shortest of notices, he continued to tour the U.S. promoting EFFEN Vodka, and made his way back to Connecticut for the last weekend of July. This time I was prepared.

When I saw that he would be holding another signing that I could make it to, I ordered some new things to add to what was at my house all along(for the last signing I found out as I was leaving work, so I had no time to grab any items besides the one CD that was luckily in my car). Also, 50 has been in the news a lot, and is in the new movie, "South Paw", so I was able to find a few things in stores that I planned to get signed. All together, I ended up with 4 CD's, a 16x20, and a magazine to get signed. Luckily, my girlfriend wanted to meet him and was willing to help me get all of this signed which was pretty cool.

We arrived to the store about 1.5 hours before he was scheduled to be there, and there were roughly 30 people already lined up. I went to the last signing at the very tail end, so I can't really compare the two events, but I can say he is drawing A LOT of people at every event especially considering the advertising for them is terrible.

I should mention at this point that I found out about this signing because a co-worker told me that his girlfriend heard somewhere that 50 Cent was doing another signing in Connecticut. After 2 hours of research I finally found the location. If anyone from EFFEN ends up reading this, keep that in mind.

50 showed up about 5 minutes late which was fine, and the line didn't move for a while because he pre-signs the bottles, and you basically trade in your receipt for your respective bottles when you move up to the staging area. It was run very smoothly, and once the line started to go we made it through in no time.

I decided to buy a case because a number of my friends + family( all 21+ ) wanted some, and it allowed me more time with 50 Cent, and the ability to take a picture with my own phone.

My girlfriend went up first(she had a single bottle) and the workers were commenting on how organized the stuff to get signed was. We had a good laugh about that later because I am meticulous about setting up boards to get signed. I noticed that for a lot of items 50 was using a really bad silver Sharpie, and it should have clicked with me to ask him to sign everything in black when I got up to him, but I think I just was holding too much and probably was a bit starstruck, and just didn't think of it at the time. I was also holding my phone and getting it ready as I was having him sign things.

One thing I learned at this signing was that he truly takes care of the people who buy the cases. He took like 6 pictures with me, including about 3 different poses, and was just all around awesome. I actually got to talk to him unlike last time, and it was just a really fun experience. 50 is one of my favorite entertainers in the world, and I've followed him since 5th grade, so it's just really cool to get to interact with him.

Here are the items we got signed. The bottles all came out so beautifully:

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Here's a photo with everything that also shows the 16x20:

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Also, here are the top 3 pictures I took with Curtis:

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Like I said, I came very prepared, and it definitely paid off!