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!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Actor/Comedian Rob Schneider 7/10/15

While a lot of my successes lately have been after last minute decisions, this one was a little different. I saw a few weeks ago that Rob Schneider, who is in just about every movie ever made(I'm only half-joking), was going to be performing stand up at a comedy club that is just about 10 minutes from my house.

After doing a little research, I found out that Rob is one of the nicest celebrities out there. Tons of people told me about their successes with him, so I figured that I definitely should give it a shot, especially since I really am a pretty big fan of his.

My day hadn't been going well, because the first two ways in which I can get photos were unavailable, and I recently moved so all of my movies that had Schneider in them were at my old place, and Target only had one film that he was in.

My plan was that I would try to meet him as he arrived at the club, after someone had told me that he recently showed up during the opener's set. With that said, after I grabbed dinner, I headed inside the mall(where the club is strangely located) which was next door, and waited outside the club. There were benches so it worked out pretty well, and I had to wait to get inside the club regardless.

It was getting  a bit close to when he was supposed to go on, and I decided to go inside thinking that he must have simply beat me there.

I had also heard that he sometimes signs at his merchandise table after his shows, so I set that prospect as my Plan B. When I went inside, it was evident that there was no merchandise table, which wasn't overly surprising because he had another show pretty soon after the one I was attending would be ending.

So I was left with Plan C, which was to just ask him as he came off the stage. I did have the fact that my seat was close to where he would be walking out going for me. The cool thing about the club is that there is only one way in and out, so you have pretty good access to the acts if they want to interact with you. I was learning all of this quickly though, since I had never attended a show there before.

After the show ended, Rob came off of the stage and started shaking hands with people as he walked towards the exit. I got in the perfect position and noticed that I was the only person who had something to get signed. When Rob got to me I asked him to please sign, and what happened next was one of the craziest things I have ever experienced in my years of taking part in this hobby. He said, "Yeah I'll sign those for you, come with me." And so we started walking.

It soon became apparent that he was taking me to his green room, which was really cool because I was the only person he was bringing. He asked one of the workers how to get back to it, and they mistakenly lead us to the restroom. Rob went, "No, no, the green room!", which was pretty funny, and when we got to it the guard at the door seemed to want to stop me from following him in, but he said, "No, he's coming in."

So here I am, hanging out with Rob Schneider, world class comedian and accomplished actor. He was so nice, and just started signing whatever I had on me. I had actually left a baseball with my girlfriend back at the table (Rob starred in, "The Benchwarmers") which ended up being one of two regrets from this experience. The other was that I had my phone turned off from being at the show, and I didn't want to be rude and wait for it to turn on to take a photo. I should have turned it on when we started walking, but I just didn't think of it.  We got to talk about his new show "Real Rob", as well as his new Netflix movie with Adam Sandler that will be released in a few months. After he finished signing, I thanked him for everything, shook his hand, and was on my way.

I couldn't believe what had just happened, and I knew it would be a memory that would be unforgettable.

Rob even inscribed each piece with the name of the character he played in each film.

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

New Britain Vs. Richmond(Giants) 6/29/15

I haven't been able to make it to many Minor League Baseball games this season, but a few weeks ago the Giants AA team was in town with their #1 Prospect, Kyle Crick, as well as their #3 Prospect, Tyler Beede. I have done very well with their farm teams in the past(Connecticut used to be home to their AA squad), and just a couple of seasons ago, I met Joe Panik and Andrew Susac in New Britain, who are both currently starters for the Giants.

The scouting report going in was that Tyler Beede was incredibly nice while Kyle Crick was a little bit tougher of a 'graph. 

There was a double-header because of a rain out over the weekend, and I got to the stadium near the end of the first game. Beede is currently in the bullpen, and on his way in he stopped to sign for a number of fans. He was very nice, and I got to talk to him about growing up around me.

He was nice enough to sign a couple of photos and take a photo with me:

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I wasn't able to get Crick before the next game. A few people had asked, but he said, "Not right now."

I was hoping I would be able to meet him after the game, but I had doubts because this stadium has 
huge crowds outside after every single game it seems.

After the game ended, I went outside and my friend gave me 2 more Tyler Beede photos to get signed. That was pretty nice of him, and I was happy because I had only the two that I got signed earlier in the night.

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A little bit later, Crick emerged from the locker room as everybody was waiting for him. In general, #1 Prospects end up making an impact in the Majors, and end up becoming super tough to meet so they really get hounded for autographs in the minors. Some are nicer than others, and I would say Crick was overall pretty fine about signing. 

He only did one, and after I got mine signed, I turned my hat around and got back behind everyone else. He definitely remembered me because he asked, "Did I already sign for you?" I just said "no". This was one of only a few times I can remember lying to an athlete, but I didn't exactly feel bad about it because a kid who signed a $900,000 signing bonus can't be having too hard of a time, and can sign for their fans.


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The night ended up being very successful, and I hope to see these guys playing in San Francisco very soon!

Friday, July 3, 2015

2015 Travelers Championship Celebrity Pro-Am

One of my favorite events in CT all year. Unfortunately last year I had to skip it because I had just switched jobs, but this year I was good to go and hoped rack up on some celebrities, as well as some of the best golfers in the world.

For those who don't know, the Celebrity Pro-Am is a charitable event in which a PGA Tour Professional is paired with 3 other people. These people can be celebrities, dignitaries, and just other local people of interest. Of course, I only go to meet the celebrities and PGA guys, and usually I am very successful.

Here are links to the other two times I have 'graphed this event:
 2013
 2012

This year, I'll start by talking about how I met each celebrity and what they were like.

George Lopez was my big target for the day. I knew his signing habits were very good, so I wasn't too worried about missing out on him although there were a lot of people.

I first met him when he was coming up from the practice facility. He was rushing because he had to tee off and kept saying,"Last one, last one." but he kept signing and  did two 8x10s for me:

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Later in the day, I still had photos for him so I went to the 8th green, and I was super happy with what transpired.

I called him over after he finished the hole, and I had 2 photos showing(with some more peeking out under them) on top of my book. He signed the first two, and without me even asking, grabbed the others and signed them for me. This was incredibly nice of him, and not something someone of his level of celebrity do very often, if at all.

The marker he had by this point was God awful, but luckily I was able to get him to use mine on the previous photos.
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To top it off, he was more than happy to take a picture with me:

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Bridget Moynahan, the star of Blue Bloods on CBS, was another big target. Some may remember her from her role in Coyote Ugly as well.

She was actually hosting/playing in the charity mini golf tournament that takes place the same day as the Celebrity Pro-Am. When she arrived, she had a cart bring her right up to the mini golf course so I wasn't expecting the best. She had a brace on her ankle, so I'm guessing that was the reasoning for her being driven directly up. Other people were reassuring me that she would sign at the end, because that's what she did last year.

They were right, and at the end she signed away:
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She was very sweet to the fans, and thanked us for coming out. She even commented on how much she liked the photo I chose.



Matt Lauer of the Today Show was also at this event, and I had never met him before so he was also near the top of my list. I was able to get him coming up from the practice green area. He was rushing much more than the others, but still stopped and signed.
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Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots was another name I was excited to see on the list because he is one of the Patriots that I haven't met yet. He was VERY nice. I told him I loved the photo of him making the tackle and he laughed and said," Me too, but my knees still hurt from doing that." He was half kidding...
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Tim Wakefield needs no introduction, and while I had met him before, I am always excited to see him because I grew up watching him. He signed 2 photos for me(I had to dip him) but he was very nice.

He had his own(blue) sharpie to my surprise. Usually no famous person voluntarily carries a blue with them.

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The Connecticut legend Jim Calhoun signed up a storm at the event, and I caught him coming down from the clubhouse. I've never had a bad experience with him!
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It was a bit of a surprise to see that NASCAR phenom Bubba Wallace Jr. would be attending this event, but as a fan of his, I was pretty happy. I saw him multiple times throughout the day, and he was always very nice as most NASCAR drivers are.
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Skateboarding legend, Ryan Sheckler was also there, and he was truly one of the nicest people in attendance. His handler kept trying to drag him away from signing, and he just kept going and going. He wouldn't stop, and his handler was getting visibly frustrated. It's always so funny when power hungry people try to ruin the fun, but Ryan hooked everyone up!
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Season 1 winner of NBC's ,"The Voice", Javier Colon was there as always. I've gotten a bunch of things signed by him over the years, so I just went with one photo this time.
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Coach/ Hall of Famer Geno Auriemma is always a great signer, and I was able to get him to sign 3 of the AWESOME new Womens' Championship Sports Illustrateds.
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Overall, I had a great day 'graphing the celebrities who attended and now I will talk about the golfers.

Two-time Masters Champion, Bubba Watson, is always one of the top golfers at this event. He usually signs a lot coming off of his last hole, and that was true again this year:
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I was able to meet another two-time major champion, Ernie Els, for the first time around the practice area. He probably has the worst autograph of any golfer out there, but it was still cool to meet him.

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Another first-timer for me was former Masters Champion, Angel Cabrera. Angel is a STRICT one-per and glares into your soul like a dementor straight out of Harry Potter to make sure that he doesn't sign for you again.
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I got the rest of the golfers that I had either met a number of times before or that I didn't care as much about on pairing sheet books.

Keegan Bradley:

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Hunter Mahan:

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Gary Woodland:
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Brandt Snedeker:
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Luke Donald & Stuart Appleby:
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Mark Leishman:
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Jason Gore, Kevin Na, & One Unknown:
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I'm really happy with how this year's tournament worked out for me, and I'm already looking forward to next year.