Thursday, March 15, 2012
We originally planned to go to the Tampa Ren Fair last Saturday, but then my iPhone predicted rain and one of you lovely readers informed me that Dan Aykroyd was doing a signing in Orlando that day and next thing I know I have to get out of bed by, like, 8:30 AM. (WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?)
Since I was a sleep-deprived zombie for most of the experience, I'll let the photos do (most of) the talking:
We arrived just before 11AM (the signing was scheduled from 11am - 1pm) to find the Blues Mobile in the ABC's parking lot and a line already out the door. The car's dash was appropriately littered with cigarette boxes and bits of trash:
A little after 11 the Vodka Van pulled in:
Dan's latest thing is his Crystal Head Vodka, which he tours around the country promoting. I'm pretty sure most of the people who show up for the signings could give a rip about the vodka (although the bottle is impressive and it tastes quite nice), but the cool thing is Dan will sign anything you bring in, and at no charge. You don't even have to purchase the booze, although most people do to be polite.
Another ten or fifteen minutes passed, and we got our first Dan sighting:
He made a quick photo stop at the Blues Mobile before being ushered inside.
He called a greeting to us as he went by, proclaiming, "It's like Santa Claus for grown-ups!" and receiving a thunderous ovation from the crowd inside.
The owner of the car was already in the store, but he and his partner (who I think was his dad) came out later for photos:
When someone told him Dan had sat on the hood earlier, he loudly exclaimed he was never washing it again. :D It was fun hearing him geek out over his childhood hero being near his car; that infectious energy really boosted the spirit of us end-of-the-liners.
John takes pictures of me to pass the time. (This is my sleepy smile.) You can see his "Couldn't-Care-Less Bear" t-shirt in the window reflection, and his silhouette in my glasses. :)
I later had to duck out of line and chase this little guy into the parking lot to get his picture:
And this group was just behind us in line:
I like the guy's trench coat, and middle girl's dress, and that adorable StayPuft amigurumi in the second guy's belt holster. Turns out the gal on the right made it to give to Dan, and, because I love you guys, I hunted down her Etsy shop in case you want one of your very own. (Or to buy me one. You know, whichever.)
The next two hours passed pleasantly as we chatted up the two guys behind us, Rob and Bill, who were cool enough to get my Restaurant at the End of the Universe jokes. Man, do I love being around fellow geeks!
Eventually we rounded the final corner and I got to take stalker-like zoom photos of Dan from behind a display:
CRAZY EYES PHOTOBOMB FTW!
The last twenty feet went surprisingly fast, and we were scrambling to get our signing things in order just as one of the million handlers surrounding Dan called out, "NEXT."
John and I had a total of three things for Dan to sign between us. One was a photo for a friend who couldn't be there (and we still need to discuss payment options, Chris):
Because I didn't have time to buy a professional photo online, I just cropped a screengrab and printed it out. I think it turned out pretty well, though.
Next was my large StayPuft doll/figure/bank:
I think we can all agree: if anyone can pull off a Dan Aykroyd tramp stamp, it's Mr. StayPuft.
Here he is with my mini StayPuft, which was signed by Ernie Hudson (Winston):
And here they are on my office shelf, just 'cuz:
I know no one can see that they're signed this way, but *I* know.
Our third item was a kind of art project I had way too much fun making the night before, and I was up 'til past 2AM working on it, but I'm going to make you wait to see it 'til another post. Sorry.
Actually, you get a blurry shot of it here:
I brought a silver pen for Dan to use, and it took lightning-fast reflexes to catch him mid-Sharpie and ask him to use it. Those handlers had the guy signing like a machine!
Kermit-flailing on the inside. [AAAIIEEE!!]
After he quickly signed my two items (John had the StayPuft), Dan leaned over, quietly asked my name, and then we got the money shot:
You can tell I dressed to match him, right? (Well, except for my yellow boots & jean skirt. Awww yeeeah.) Seriously regretting I didn't put my shades on, though. Maybe I should photoshop some in...
After this we bought our glass skull full of vodka (it's only polite!), said our goodbyes to our new friends from the line, and went home for a much-needed nap. Total time in line: just over two and a half hours.
I've never waited that long for an autograph, but to be honest, the whole experience was totally worth it. On the book tour John and I had shows where people waited that long for *our* autographs, and when we'd apologize for the wait they'd invariably say they'd made friends in line and had a pretty good time regardless. Now I can relate. Being there with people who love some of the same things you do helps keep it fun.
So, if Dan swings through your town: Go! And if he doesn't, then I hope you at least got a grin reliving it with me. :)
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