Posts Tagged ‘PA’

posted by on Conventions, Movies/TV, Travel

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Over the next few weeks, I will be writing extensively about my experience this past weekend at the most recent Wizard World in Philadelphia. I will be going into depth on panels, celebs, cosplayers, artists, and more. I’ve decided to do a comprehensive, yet, hopefully not too wordy, diary style overview to kick things off. Times are approximate and are in EST. New correspondent Robert Sunshine accompanied me. During this post, I will just refer to him as RS.

FRIDAY, 5/8/15
10:37PM

We got on an Amtrak near our hometown to get to Pittsburgh. The train was late, which was actually a positive as that would make our wait for our bus in Pittsburgh that much shorter. The trip was uneventful.

SATURDAY, 5/9/15
12:35AM

After walking across the street from the Amtrak station to the Greyhound and getting situated, we called our families to let the know that everything was going well. We snacked, talked, and played on our phones for under an hour. Then, it was apparent that the Greyhound line for our bus was getting long, so we headed over to wait in it until 2AM. Our bus left about 20 minutes late. As usual on the Greyhound, the ride was uncomfortable. Of course, it was faster and cheaper than the Amtrak, so I’m good.

philly arrival

This is what I look like after 10 hours of travel.

8:30AM
Our bus actually made up the time that we’d lost, so we arrived on time. We quickly walked from the Greyhound station to the convention center. On the way, we stopped at that super ghetto, yet super close McDonald’s (if you go, you know the one) for breakfast.

press band

9:37AM
By this time, we had changed into our costumes and picked up our wristbands. (I was very impressed by how quickly these were passed out.) We were ready, but volunteers were only allowing VIPS onto the showroom floor until 10AM. RS made sure that his artist portfolio for Marvel was to his liking. We observed some great cosplayers. A talent agent for an extras casting company took down our info and gave us his card.

10:05AM
We were finally allowed onto the floor. One of the first things that happened was Michael Rooker walking quickly by us. Ah, the excitement when you see celebs so quickly like that! A few years back, I had an encounter with Norman Reedus that still gives me chills.

We got photos with some cosplayers and some even requested some with us. I was just happy that people got who I was dressed as, the Suicide Squad version of Harley Quinn. RS was a jester (or harlequin, as he was fond of saying), which garnered a lot of attention. I also picked up my Stephen Amell autograph ticket. It had said that it was for Saturday when I ordered it, but I was given one for Sunday. I was actually happy about this, because Saturday was so packed full of things to do. Plus, this would mean getting to see Amell on both Saturday and Sunday. That line was pretty long, so I couldn’t stomach waiting in his photo line then as well.

This is my fourth year attending (RS’s first), in all of that time, I’ve barely bought anything aside from photos and autographs. I don’t like dragging stuff around and I’m cheap. RS is a bad influence though. In no time at all, we had bought a good number of prints from some talented artists. We played a spin the wheel game at the CW booth. RS won a The Flash hat and I won an Arrow poster.

11:30AM
We hit up Summer Glau‘s panel. Her Firefly costar Nathan Fillion was originally scheduled to attend this as well. However, he was injured and had to drop out. She seemed sweet, but the panel wasn’t as exciting as it could have been. I always enjoy when actors have other actors to volley with, not just a moderator.

12:15PM
Glau’s panel was immediately followed by Lin Shaye’s, in the same room. I do wish that I could have stayed for that and the meet and greet that followed (we had passes), but I decided to go another way.

RS is a Potterhead. James and Oliver Phelps of Harry Potter fame had been added to the con’s lineup about a week or so beforehand. So we trekked to their room. Unfortunately, it was super packed. Being that I’m not a Potterhead, needed to charge my phone and figure out directions to our hotel, and the claustrophobia of a standing room only panel getting to me, I opted to chill out in the hallway, while RS watched. He said that is was very entertaining.

 

cassidy panel

Katie Cassidy

1:30PM
Katie Cassidy‘s panel was being held directly after the Phelps’ in the same room. RS has never attended before, so he didn’t know that he could have stayed in the room and moved up to get decent seats for us. No worries, I joined her line before the Phelps’ panel let out. Her panel was very fun and informative. RS waited in her Q&A line, but never made it to the microphone. This wasn’t surprising as many fans ask multiple questions even though they are repeatedly asked to keep it to one.

Ben McKenzie (Gotham) and Penn Badgely‘s (Gossip Girl) panels conflicted with hers, making them impossible to attend.

2:15PM
At this point we had about an hour and 15 minutes until Stephen Amell’s panel. It was originally set for Sunday, which I would have much preferred. However, it was moved, I believe, due to his Wine Mixer that day.

We were exhausted from lugging our backpacks all night and day. So, we booked it to our hotel (about a half a mile away). We didn’t have time to sight see on the way but I could tell that RS was really into the city. After checking in and grabbing some complimentary snacks, we headed up to check out our room and dump everything that we wouldn’t need for the rest of the day.

amell panel

Stephen Amell

3:30PM
We got to Stephen Amell‘s panel just after it had started. So, we were way in the back. I enjoyed hearing Amell talk about the progression of Oliver Queen’s character.

4:15PM
Amell‘s general photo ops for Saturday were set for 5:40PM (WAAAYYY too late IMHO). After exiting his panel, we headed to the photo booth to get our hard photo op card. We spoke to a volunteer who told us that we should come back at 5:20 to line up for Amell.

However, due to the photo op time, the time it takes to get around the convention center, etc. we were unable to attend any of the following awesome panels that were happening from 4:30-6: DANNY TREJO, MICHAEL ROOKER, ROGER CORMAN, and BURT REYNOLDS. We only had ONE professional photo op. I think that you’d miss a lot more if you had bought some more. I really wish that these panels were more spread out. I think that Reynolds and Corman were only there for Saturday, so that’s understandable. However, I don’t see why Trejo, Rooker, and some of the earlier panels in the day, couldn’t be pushed to Sunday. Then ticket holders wouldn’t have to feel like they were missing out on so much.

We took the probably half hour that we had after getting our op in order and changing, to shop and admire more cosplayers.

w amell

Robert Sunshine, Stephen Amell, missemmamm

5:20PM
We joined Amell‘s already long photo line. We were behind two very fun young ladies who were cosplaying Canary and Felicity Smoak (!). They made the time fly by. It actually did go pretty quickly though. I think that we had already made it near the front of his line by 5:40. I wish I had a good story about the op, but all I can say is that Amell has a nice smile. RS said something to him to the affect of, “Don’t worry, you’re almost done”. Amell seemed happy about that. I’m super suprised at the ops of him actually doing poses with attendees as these ops are always very quick. Maybe those were VIPS, or folks with much bigger balls than I.

bar menu

6:40PM
After the op and checking out a few things on the floor, we decided to head back to our hotel. We stopped for a brew on the way. At this point all we were missing was the Frankie Muniz panel, which was probably good, but not a must for either of us.

I chose a hotel with a pool so we could wind down. So after eating our food that we’d gotten to go, cheese steaks of course, we went for a dip. This was during the costume contest. I’m not sure why, but I’ve never attended a costume contest at the Philly con, so I wasn’t worried about it.

9:50PM
By this time, I was tucked into bed. I know this makes me a party pooper. After all, the official after party was taking places at the Field House from 9PM-2AM. However, I was exhausted and not feeling well. I felt a bit bad because RS has never been to a WW after party. However, I’ve only been to one and the experience was a bit of a let down, so I didn’t feel that bad personally. I think I was asleep by 11PM.

Sunday, 5/10/15
8:15AM

My alarm was not set until 8:30, but I had slept my fill. We had to be checked out by 11AM. So we did the logical/fun thing and got our money’s worth by taking a dip in the pool again, after packing.

rs fountain

Robert Sunshine at the LOVE fountain

rs mall

Robert Sunshine at Gallery Mall

10:30AM
We were headed to the Gallery Mall and then the con. On the way, we were very touristy and took photos. Unfortunately the main store that we wanted to shop at in the mall was closed for some reason, but oh well.

elwes panel

Cary Elwes

11:35AM
RS and I went to get his Sunday wristband. Yes, he had to buy separate Saturday and Sunday passes partway through April, because the weekend ones had already sold out. After that, RS headed over to the floor to see what Marvel thought of his art. I went to get decent seats at the Cary Elwes panel. Elwes was very entertaining and looked smashing.

cassidy table

Katie Cassidy

cassidy

with Katie Cassidy

12:45PM
We headed to the floor so I could buy some table selfies for Katie Cassidy and Cary Elwes. That didn’t take too long. I was disappointed that the day before when I’d gotten my Amell photo, a staff member had told me that these could be bought in line. So, I tried to line up in Cassidy’s line first. Luckily, a volunteer found out the truth for me, so I didn’t wait in her line without a ticket.

Cassidy‘s line was fairly long. If I’m calculating it correctly, we were probably in her line for about a half hour. It was the fastest table meet I’ve ever had. I didn’t get RS in the pic, which sucked. Although I later saw others get two attendees in their pics on Instagram, so I guess I shoulda been pushy. No candid photos were allowed in Cassidy’s line. We found this out after snapping some. This is very odd to me. In the past, if you had bought an autograph, etc. from a guest, you were allowed to snap some pics in line.

When people ask me what Cassidy was like, I say that I don’t know, because I literally said “hi”. She said nothing to me. RS randomly asked her something as we were leaving the table. She answered, but in a very uninterested way. She’s definitely as beautiful in person though.

1:30PM
At this point, I truly didn’t feel like entering Amell‘s line, but when you have pre-bought tickets you can’t just throw money away and not go get them. I think that’s the idea. We waited in Amell’s line for about 50 minutes. Candids were also not allowed in his line. Since I knew this, I didn’t attempt to take any. Although, you will see some on Instagram that others took anyway.

I had bought the autograph, because you typically get at least a minute to converse with a guest when you are at their table, unlike in a professional photo op. However, I had a bad feeling when I got up to the table. The person at his table didn’t help me pick a photo. They asked if I wanted the photo personalized and then wrote my name, my four letter, easy to spell name on a post it and attached it to the photo. The only time I’ve had that happen for me, because I have an easy name, was when I met Christian Kane back in ’05. He was too hungover too function correctly.

Amell, however, seemed to have checked out. IMHO, he was in a hurry to leave and go promote his wine. I had read that the mixer started somewhere from 4-5. I tried to engage him in conversation. I told him how we loved his show so much that even though we’d only started in a couple of months ago, that we were already all caught up. I complimented him on his panel. I honestly don’t think he said anything back. He may have glanced up at me while signing the photo. RS is ballsier than me, so he stopped to ask Amell a question as we left. Amell gave him a more satisfactory answer than Cassidy (more details to come on what this is regarding).

mercer

Robert Sunshine with Matthew Mercer

elwes

with Cary Elwes

2:20PM
And now to the longest wait of all: the Cary Elwes line! After being in his line for about 20 minutes, I heard over the loud speaker that Matthew Mercer was having a free meet and greet in one of the rooms (It turned out to be a martial arts demonstration, very cool!) I told RS to go enjoy. RS had a theory that Elwes line was moving slowly because he was actually taking time to talk to attendees.

At about 3:15PM, I was sooo close to Elwes. His booth had fabric around all sides, absolutely negating any photos being taken by looky loos. I was the fourth person outside of it. There were maybe 9 people waiting behind me. This is when Elwes decided to take a break from signing. So I then waited a half hour for him to return. During this time, I watched Frankie Muniz, who was two tables over, interact with some young fans. He was great with them.

And…It was all worth it! He was so charming. He actually shook my hand and asked my name. I told him how I’d enjoyed his panel, and he was happy about it. Then I said, “I’ve had a crush on you since I was nine”, and he said, “Come here and give me a hug”. Aw! We hugged! Then we took a photo together. Ah, dashing!

4PM
RS and I met back up for our final hour at the con. Doors closed in an hour!!! First, I stopped at Muniz‘s table just to tell him how great he was with his fans. We had to make a mad dash to buy stuff, get a photo at the Tomorrowland booth, and check out cosplayers.

rs bunny

Robert Sunshine with the Nesquik Bunny

w bunny

with the Nesquik Bunny

4:40PM
We left the convention hall, saw the Nesquik rabbit outside and got pics with him/free Nesquik from him.

bar ly

4:53PM
We arrived at my favorite place to eat in Philly, Bar Ly! It was awesome, as always. It’s still strange that this once Asian tapas eatery had to morph into a sports bar to keep business afloat, but they still serve the same great food, so not matter. After dinner, we chilled a bit and decided on our next move.

ritz east

7PM
We ended up at the Ritz East movie theater. We watched the mind blowing Ex Machina and got to chill out for a couple of hours.

9:15PM
While trekking back to the Greyhound station, we were stopped by some other attendees of the con. They were a lot of fun, so we joined them for a drink at a small bar.

10:30PM
We decided to take our leave, because it’s always recommended that you get to the Greyhound station early. We were there sometime after 11. Our bus was set to leave at 12:20. At 12:10, after already being lined up for a while, we were told that it was running 20 minutes late. It was wayyy longer than that. We didn’t leave Philly until after 1AM.

ginos

Gino’s Cafe

8:24AM
The lateness of our departure, coupled with the driver’s poor driving, and the always ominous traffic while entering Pittsburgh, means that we didn’t get there until 2 hours after we were set to. This made us an hour late for our last bus to our hometown.

So we had 3 hours to kill until another bus would be there. After chillin for a while, we went to eat at a nice little place called Gino’s Cafe. On the way there, we stopped at a cool, geeky trade in store that we vowed to return to in the future.

11:45AM
Our bus arrived 15 minutes late, arggh. We were so tired. We slept all of the way home. Unfortunately, as the Greyhound driver sucked, I did not get a nap in before returning to real life, and a meeting at 2PM, but what can you do?

The juice was worth the squeeze.~The Girl Next Door

Thanks to Wizard World for providing me with a complimentary weekend press pass to the 2015 Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con. For info on Wizard World’s upcoming cons, please go here.

You may also enjoy:
2015 Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con: missemmamm’s Top Programming Picks
Arrow Stars to Shoot into Philly’s Wizard World Comic Con
Meeting Evan Peters

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posted by on 90s Month, Life, Music

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Mon View Pool in PA

It’s summertime again, so how about a super overly specific playlist? When I was a preteen, my sister and I spent a lot of time hanging at the best pool around (Mon View, of course). There was always loud music blasting. Luckily for me, the super horny teenage help must have been in control of the dial because these are the songs I swam to. Basically if it was a R&B song about fucking we were going to learn it and inappropriately sing it in between strokes.

Here are my fun nostalgic pool songs of the 90s.

90s Hangin at the Pool from Emma_moon on 8tracks Radio.

This Is How We Do It-Montell Jordan
Red Light Special-TLC
Whatta Man-Salt N Pepa
Doin It’-LL Cool J
My Lovin’-En Vogue
Unbreak My Heart-Toni Braxton
What Have You Done For Me Lately-Janet Jackson
Pony-Ginuwine
Freak Me-Silk
Fantasy-Mariah Carey
Waterfalls-TLC
The Pleasure Principal-Janet Jackson

playlist photo is by m01229

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Playlist: I Like to Move It, Move It
Sloppy Dance Mix Playlist
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posted by on Excursions, food, Travel

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4 out of 5

Photo0575

Last year, I had the opportunity to dine at Lautrec at Nemacolin Woodlands in Farmington, PA. I was at the hotel on unrelated business with some time to kill. The restaurant was recommended to me by the hotel staff. I was immediately taken with the name, Lautrec. It is in reference to the well known painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. You may recall a portrayal of him in the film Moulin Rouge by actor John Leguizamo.

Photo0573

The name was most likely chosen due to the fact that Lautrec was French and this restaurant specializes in upscale European style dining. The decor, mood and service was fabulous. A red and gold color scheme were utilized. The wait staff was both friendly and prompt.

Photo0570

Photo0572

nemacolin food

The food was delicious and affordable considering the style of the restaurant. I would say that the menu is medium priced though it is a fine dining restaurant where I would expect to pay more. I ordered a lox bagel with all of the fixings and an orange juice. This was the first time I had an actual bagel prepared with lox and salmon. The juice was good. The bagel was amazing. Everything on it was fresh and delicious. The juice was around $3 and the bagel meal was a bit over $10. My father had the classic breakfast. He enjoyed his meal as well.

Photo0574

The bathrooms for the restaurant are both stylish (heavy on the gold decor) and cleanly. I highly recommend this establishment to anyone visiting the area.

You can check out the official site for this restaurant here

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My Father: TV Star aka “It’s okay to stay”
Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Moulin Rouge
Style File: Strawberries Forsythe

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posted by on Conventions, Movies/TV

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Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for WWE

Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for WWE

Remember last summer when Hot Donna and I covered the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con? Well I’m hoping to attend this summer as well. The event takes place from May 30-June 1, 2013. Since it’s so far off all of the celebrity guests haven’t been announced yet. However some choice guests have already been announced? Guess who I’m super excited about?

That’s right, John Cena. Cena is most well known for being a wrestling superstar with the WWE. I’m not a big wrestling fan but I’m totally into his action movies. The Marine is awesomely fun. Oh & well he is super hot. Want to know a secret? Hot Donna almost bought a standee of him back when we had an apartment together. Yep, that’s how awesome he is. Cena will be sighing autographs and doing photo ops on May 30, 2013 (my birthday!) from 3:30PM ET to 7:30PM ET.

Cena has stated, “I’m glad to be back at Wizard World, I had such an amazing time meeting the fans last year in Chicago, I can’t wait to see the northeast Cenation fans at Philadelphia Comic Con!”

Some other awesome guests who have been announced include James Marsters, Juliet Landau, Norman Reedus, Andrew McCarthy, Joey Lawrence, Michael Rooker, Linda Blair, Ray Park, Lou Ferrigno and Stan Lee. I’m excited to hear further announcements in the coming months.

For more info on the various conventions being held by Wizard World this year check out WizardWorld.com.

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2012 Wizard World Philly Comic Con: An Exclusive Interview with Amber Benson
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2012 Wizard World Philly Comic Con: Dot Com for President
2012 Wizard World Philly Comic Con: My Favorite Costumes

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posted by on Excursions, Family, Life

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(Just a FYI-I didn’t think I was going to write about this so I didn’t take my camera. The photos below are cell phone shots.)


(this is the longer version, no that isn’t our house)

Last summer my father received an inquiry from the local hospital. He had heart surgery there about 10 years ago. They were shooting a commercial and wanted him to come in for a casting call. My father stays active doing activities like the Senior Games and the Polar Bear Plunge, when possible, so he talked up those points. If I recall correctly he had one callback before they decided to include him in the commercial.

my dad the day of the shoot, in what I refer to as his Charlie Sheen shirt

my dad the day of the shoot, in what I refer to as his Charlie Sheen shirt

In July the commercial was shot. My father isn’t proficient at texting so he made short calls all day to give me the scoop. He told me how there was a group of heart patients so he didn’t know if they would do a medley commercial or just choose one or two people later. I told him that I thought it would be everyone (I didn’t know but wanted to keep his hopes up). The funniest calls were wardrobe related and would be a short call without explanation until later. “Gotta go, she just told me to take off my pants“. They let him keep the wardrobe, BTW, neat.

After the commercial he received some consent forms but we had no idea when the commercial was going to actually come out. In December he received a letter inviting him to the world premiere of the commercial at the local hospital. He asked if I could accompany him and they said yes. I was surprised as often they do not allow guests to activities that he does (I guess that’s just a specification of the local senior center, blarggh).

my dad’s ad

my dad with his ad

On the morning of January 3, 2013 we arrived at the hospital. In a small room up front they had a projector screen set up plus some ad mock ups. We hadn’t expected those and they were very neat. During the presentation someone from the production company showed the commercials a few times after explaining everything. There are two TV ads, one short and one long, so they can be played during different commercial breaks. I’m sure you’ve noticed commercials that have been cut down to fit a smaller ad space. This is the same thing. My dad made it into both cuts! Score, not everyone did. We were informed that they wouldn’t be played on local stations but cable ones. We don’t have cable but a few people have seen my father on TV and mentioned it. I remember hearing TNT, TBS and FOX (I’m guessing one of the upper Fox channels).

The print ads would be appearing on billboards and in the newspaper. To date my father’s ad hasn’t shown up yet but so far we’ve only seen two, which feature the eye catching color red, which makes sense. Keep an eye out in the future though if you live in Southwest PA.

The catchphrase for the ads is “It’s okay to stay”. What this means is that our local hospital is equipped for many heart emergencies (though not all) and if possible you should probably go right there instead of being trekked to Pittsburgh. They did save my father’s life so this is totally accurate.

Prior to the showing the other patients shared their health war stories and MD recommendations. I was asked a few times if I was in the commercial. That worried me a bit since I’m in my late 20s. I mean I know that Americans aren’t the healthiest but that seems young. Later I did notice that one the participants looked to be healthy and in his 40s (a guess) and I know that it can really happen to anyone, so not that odd, I suppose.

Cheryl with the billboard version of her ad

A pretty, petite woman sat to my right. Cheryl was very nice and told me about shooting the ad. She was referred to as “the dancer” by other patients and the production company dude, as she dances in the ad (and as a hobby IRL). I told her that I loved the dress that she wore in the commercial. She said that it was even better looking in person. She was very nice and surprisingly self deprecating. She had a great attitude for someone who had been going through this heart procedure rigamore since 1999. I’m happy to see one of the print ads/billboards that is getting a lot of exposure is hers.

All of the patients in the ad attended, the cardio nurses and even most of their doctors stopped by to check it out. There was even a bit of gossip about someone who hadn’t made the cut. (My guess is that it was either time related or she changed her mind and didn’t sign a consent form). They also had some refreshments, a table with bottled water, coffee and some type of pastries (it’s been a while and my memory isn’t the best). However I do remember thinking while this was nice and I did get both of us bottled water, that the pastries must be a test. I mean who is going to sit their eating one during a heart presentation? The answer? No one. I didn’t see one person pick up a pastry. (It could have conceivably happened later but not while I was there.) Hey, it’s like craft services on a Hollywood movie, they’re not supposed to eat the food.

It was a short presentation but fun and interesting to learn a bit of behind the scenes info on commercials.

Info on the Cardiac unit of the Uniontown Hospital an be found here on the hospital’s official site.
These ads were produced by Big Picture Communications Inc. of Pittsburgh.
The music is by Big Science Music, who also uploaded the above longer version of the commercial to YouTube. (awesome!)

I am not making a claim to doing any of this work. These were obviously made by the above entities. (This is called covering my ass, just in case, LOL.)

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