Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pretty Girls on a Bruce Campbell High

The best photo from Portland doesn't even have Bruce in it. This is what happy fangirls look like on a Bruce Campbell high.

I still have photos to sort and edit. This will take a while!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Shatner responded to my tweets!

Ha! Pretty awesome. Shocked that my fellow UPS'ers didn't jump all over this, but hey...

Fangirl attempts to start a UPS vs. Fedex Twitter war...

Yes, I have a bit of UPS pride. I couldn't resist trying to take this conversation between William Shatner and Bruce Campbell in a different direction:

Of course, Fedex was quick on the draw too. And then the puns started...

Ha! Fun stuff.

I'm going to have to head over to the other job in a bit. It's going to be hard acclimating to skipping my afternoon nap from now until November.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Wizard World Portland, Part Three

Sunday morning, I was dragging. Tired from not enough sleep, having woken once again at 3am. 

It became hectic pretty quickly after a cup of coffee. Packing and readying to check out from the hotel, though I was hoping to leave my car with the valet while we did our last day of con adventures.

Our hotel was so good to us. Between the extra shuttle stop at the liquor store on Friday, the repeated pickups and dropoffs at the con, the great service, extra coffee, great restaurant and bar and the awesome valet and front desk staff, it was a great experience.

Once packed and the car loaded, I was ready for more fun. First stop: the ticket exchange line. Second: the main entrance line. Third: the Bruce Campbell photo op line. Finally, this stuff was becoming routine. We got into the photo op area well before they started lining us up, but that was okay, we weren't going to do the same song and dance with the lines that we did on Saturday.

Soon enough, it was my turn again. I didn't blink, didn't freak out, just got my picture. Life was good. And Bruce looked good. Mad professor, anyone?
 After that, we rushed straight off to the autograph line. Things went smoothly and we were able to get our autographs. While Kim waited for her second trip through the autograph line, I ran off to meet Robert Englund.

Robert Englund and the Elm Street franchise basically illustrate everything cool about my childhood. Some of my best memories were of renting horror films with my older cousin, listening to rock music, hiding coffee pots in our bedrooms and staying up all night. 

I was a bit nervous to meet Robert, for no reason in the end. I had chosen a rather obscure picture to have signed, having searched high and low for it since I had once had the poster on my bedroom wall, torn out of a horror fan mag.

I took this photo while I was in line because I was too broke at this point to pay for a photo with Robert. Wish I had been able to get one, but maybe next con...

And here's the gem I got signed:
Yes, that's right. From the Dream Warriors music video shoot: Robert Englund as Freddy with members of DOKKEN!

This literally illustrates the best parts of my childhood.
Seriously. Here's me one Christmas Morning with Nightmare 3... I was so thrilled!
And here's me sporting my Dokken shirt back in the day:
 So there I am in Robert Englund's autograph line... 

I say hi and hand him the photo. 

"Where did you get this?"

I tell him I looked all over for it since I used to have the poster on my wall as a kid.

He's excited to see the photo, so I give him the extra print I had.

And that's when Robert Englund starts telling me stories about shooting the Dream Warriors video...

Whoa. I'm standing in front of Freddy Kruger as he's telling me about making a video with Dokken. How cool is that?

Probably as cool as seeing Dokken in a small club about 9 years ago.

I could have never imagined such a thing as a young fangirl. Never. In fact, even Saturday I would have never imagined things going down the way they did.

But there you have it. Proof that I've been fangirling for a really long time!

Seriously huge thanks to Kim, Jane, Mike, Bruce Campbell, Mike Estes, Ted Raimi, Robert Englund, the Wizard World staff, our hotel staff and my understanding husband for making it a weekend to remember forever!

Wizard World Portland Adventures, Part Two

Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi gave an impressive performance at their panel. While it was advertised as a Q&A, it was anything but the same old: "When is Army of Darkness 2 coming out?" questions.

No, Bruce and Ted decided they'd just have a little fun with everybody. It seems that illustrating what a bitch filmmaking is was a good theme.

They chose people from the audience and decided to make a hypothetical two-minute movie with a $25 budget.

 It was absolutely hilarious. I told Bruce on Sunday how much I liked the panel and how nice it was to see something other than a standard Q&A.

Other fun parts of Saturday Comic Con:

Cassandra Peterson doing photo ops and signing as Elvira:

After an exhausting day, drinks and dinner with good friends!

Jane: it was good to meet "Precious."

Falling into bed at 11pm never felt so good... until I once again woke at 3am out of habit.

Wizard World Portland Adventures, Part One

Was fortunate enough to attend Portland Wizard World over the weekend. What a nice little break from real life!

Drove out Friday after work and got to the hotel early enough to check out the con with a friend and get a photo taken with Cassandra Peterson (Elvira).

 Since we had both traveled a distance, we were both out cold by 8pm. Working graveyards makes it hard to have a life on Friday night. That said, I woke habitually at 3am and had a heck of a time getting back to sleep, which left me a lot of time in the early morning on Saturday to goof off and drink a little coffee with rum added.

I look like a nightmare in the morning. Just think: this is what I look like when I go to work in the morning. Sorry, Faux Bruce Campbell and other unfortunate coworkers:

We had a nice buffet breakfast at the hotel, I stuffed myself because I knew I wasn't going to have time to eat again until late. After that, we were in the shuttle and off to the con. I'm so lucky to have a friend like Kim who manages to keep better track of things than I am. Even with my minor OCD, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing when we walked back into the convention hall.

The Bruce Campbell photo op line was our first destination, where we were lucky to meet my online friends Jane and Mike who are new to the U.S. and new to cons as well. They had VIP tickets, so they got to go ahead of us at every stop and we didn't actually get to visit much until the end of the day.

Professional photo ops are a new thing to me as far as cons go. I had been through one with Sam Trammell a couple years back, but that con was small compared to Portland. The line seemed to take forever to move and then all of a sudden, it moved way too fast. Next thing I know, it's my turn. They ask you to take off your glasses to avoid lens glare, so there I am, half blind, trying to pose with Bruce Campbell, looking so dapper in his blue suit. Put my arm around Bruce, SNAP!

The photog hollers out, "We've got a blinker here!" Oh no, I was mortified. Three tries later, a decent photo was taken.
 I'm happy I managed to get a little extra Bruce time, but I was so mortified that I was blinking, probably squinting really, because I'm blind without my glasses. I think I look awful. I have to focus on Bruce, because he's beautiful no matter what.

Then it was a mad dash to the autograph line which they had already cut off. First they told us to come back at 2:15, then 2:30, then 2:45. Finally, we just started lingering as the con staff kept trying to get us to move along. Somewhere along the line, they hadn't managed to inform us that we were supposed to exchange our printed tickets for different ones. Oops!

Hours go by and finally we're near the front of the line when a staff member informs us that our tickets are no good and we need to go back to registration. Luckily, Mike Estes rescued us and allowed us through.

Mike, you rock! I have to publicly thank you for being so kind during the entire weekend.

I left out the fact that we chatted a bit with Ted Raimi and got photos with him somewhere in the process. Honestly, my timeline is a bit messed-up with all the confusion.
 Yes, I blinked. This graveyard shifter was having a hard time keeping her eyes open for the camera.

But back to Bruceness. They were making a big deal of not allowing photos to be taken of Bruce while he was signing, which was a real disappointment. I had wanted some more candid photos to share, but such is life.

Bruce signed an Army of Darkness photo for my son, who wants to make movies when he's older. I told Bruce about my son and we chatted for a short time before I had to move along so the next person could have their turn.

By then we were in a situation. Kim had to go back through the line again due to con rules that said you could only get one autograph per trip through the line. Worried about getting seats for the panels, I covered Kim while she went to exchange her tickets in order to be legal coming through the line again. When she returned, I ran off to get seats for the panel.

In the end, they cut the autograph line off early and Kim didn't get her autograph, joining me at the Sons of Anarchy panel. Our seats weren't that great, the first six rows were VIP. The plan was to jump forward between panels, but we ended up out of luck on that end.

Lucky my camera was fairly kind to me.
 This is Ron Perlman and Kim Coates doing the SoA Q&A.

Bruce and Ted were up next with their Q&A, which turned out to be anything but the standard Bruce Campbell Q&A.

Due to space, I'm going to break up the reviews into bits, so this is officially To Be Continued...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Portland Countdown, Unfortunate Decapitations and Bruce Campbell lookalike.

I officially have two days to prep for Portland Comicon. I'm not ready at all. Still need to check cameras, pack clothes and such, get the tires on my car checked, print out tickets and con schedule, remove all my work crap from car and find something for Bruce to sign.

I'm excited, but I'm stressed about having everything ready to go once I get off work on Friday. I usually get out around 8-9am, so I have to rush home, shower, pack the car and run. My friend is getting into Portland right about the time I'll be getting home from work. If I had a regular job, I wouldn't have to stress on the shower, but I tend to work dirty jobs. Of course, if I had a regular job, I'd be stuck working all day Friday and not be able to attend the whole con.

I had ordered prints of some photos I took to have Bruce to sign at the con. Imagine my reaction when they arrived today and his head was cut off in every single print! What gives? Having worked in a photo lab, I know that if you have to crop for print size, you do so in a manner to not decapitate your subject. I'll be calling customer service for a full refund tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm now out in the wind trying to decide what to have Bruce sign.

Recently, I met someone who reminds me of Bruce Campbell. Sam Axe-style Bruce to be exact. I think the universe is trying to tell me something, or I could be imagining the resemblance because I'm excited for Portland. Either way, I spend a bit of my time every day trying to avoid getting caught staring at Faux Bruce. The other day, it was several hours of trying unsuccessfully to avoid being distracted. Would it be wrong if I approached a near-stranger and asked him to say, "Give me some sugar, baby!"? I suspect the police would be called.

Lucky for me the Clark Kent-style Dean Cain lookalike isn't working with me now that our seasonal hires are laid off at work. It took me quite a while to figure out who he reminded me of, thankfully another coworker figured it out before I did.

Anyway, keeping with the Bruce Campbell lookalike theme, here's some real Bruce photos that hopefully illustrate what I've been trying to avoid staring at lately...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Help me decide!

I need help deciding which Bruce Campbell photo I should get signed in Portland soon! Nine days and counting!!!

I took these all at ZomBcon. I am the copyright owner of these photos. Please message me here, on Facebook, or Twitter and let me know which one I should have signed.

"The Tongue"

"Evil Dead Wedding"

Or this one, which has no title.

"Mix Tapes" and odd musical revelations...

It occurred to me yesterday (or actually at 3am as I was driving into work today) that I haven't changed out the CD in my car since September. Whoops. Guess I like that "Mix Tape" more than expected. Guess it's time to switch to something else for a change.

I've always given my mix tapes odd names. The one recently evicted from the player had a fairly uninspired name because I was going through a bit of an emotional crapfest and wanted to inspire myself: Mushy Gushy Love Songs. Oddly enough, most of the songs had nothing at all to do with love.

I once titled a genuine Mix Tape with: Eating Cherry Chapstick While Frolicking in the Rain. Yup. A cassette. This loosely ties in with the story, so stick with me.

Today's first "Mix Tape" was titled: Lovesick Puppy. The sequel is aptly named: Lovesick Puppy's Puppies. And there are a few mushy gushy love songs on these gems.

I give you track lists and a little commentary.

Lovesick Puppy:
Too Too Kind - Lazy Susan
Throwing Stones - Kim Virant
Sleeping In - Kim Virant
Kegger - Kim Virant
While You Were Out - Blue Spark
Cupid Song - Blue Spark
Peace of Mind - Diamond Star Halo
Ashes - Goodness
Eveready - Goodness
Sex & Rebellion - Goodness
Disco 77 - Goodness
Catching Fireflies - Goodness
Coat of Arms - The Rockfords
Sureshot - The Rockfords
The Rules - Tube Top
Burning Bridges - Soda Jerk
Things U Do - Second Coming
Touch Me All Night Long - Cathy Dennis

Typical mid-1990's Seattle band mix tape here with the one random catchy pop song added to fill space at the end. Nothing monumentous? How about the fact that 2/3 of the tracks are Goodness and Goodness-related bands and performers?

Lazy Susan... singer Kim Virant... Kim Virant married to Chris Friel of Goodness. The Rockfords, also featuring members of Goodness. Blue Spark because Garth Reeves is a genius... and a member of Goodness. Am I on a Goodness kick? Not really, but they did play a sold out show in Seattle over the weekend and this broke girl missed it.

Tube Top and Soda Jerk off a compilation CD. If anyone has a copy of Soda Jerk's indie release... hey, I need that entirely too bad. I am an obscure music collector. Got it on cassette? I can deal with that, I know how to transfer those things.

Second Coming, but not Second Coming. Obscure, impossible to get. And I will not divulge my source. I suspect this is one of the songs that Maxi went on to record during the first Second Coming breakup that ended up hidden away somewhere for legal reasons.  This was the holy grail of unreleased Second Coming tracks to me for years. No, I don't share, but it is on youtube.

And yes, a dancy pop song to end the whole shebang. Because I'm weird like that. I'm not even sure how I came across the song.

Lovesick Puppy's Puppies:
Give It Up - Super Deluxe
Enough is Enough - Super Deluxe
Knockout - Super Deluxe
Minneapolis - That Dog
Hawthorne - That Dog
Hesitation - Sweet Water
Slightly Used - Best Kissers in the World
Vicodine - Best Kissers in the World
Hungover Together - Best Kissers in the World
Good - Better Than Ezra
Try - Michael Penn
No Myth - Michael Penn
All Wrong - God Lives Underwater
The Ultra Love - Maxi
Toy Soldiers - Martika
Smooth Operator - Sade
The Sweetest Taboo - Sade
You Should Be Mine - Jon Secada
Longing - Josh White
The Chair - George Strait
It Ain't Cool to be Crazy About You - George Strait

Did I ever warn you I was diverse to a fault? This illustrates my eccentric taste pretty well.

Super Deluxe. More 1990's Seattle awesomeness. As you go through this, you may recognize the bands but not the tracks. Some of this stuff is from little-known indie releases after the bands had been dropped from major labels or otherwise faded from sight. I love this Super Deluxe record, but most people probably stopped following them well before this point.

Following up with some That Dog. You may remember them as a one-hit wonder. The tracks I selected here are a couple favorites. I would have never noticed them beyond their hit song back in 1997-ish, but for a friend who gave me a mix tape at a Goodness show in Bellingham. This was the period of time that I was dating He Who Shall Not Be Spoken Of Ever. It started snowing as I was driving home from that show and I was passing through Everett when I heard these two tracks for the first time. That mix tape had some gems on it, for sure, and of course the tracks that I knew only as "the unreleased Sweet Water" at that time, which fans would know as Suicide.

Which brings us to the Sweet Water track, fittingly, though not off the Suicide record, but rather from Clear The Tarmac, which must have come out over 6 years ago now, because I know I was listening to it a lot during the time we were house hunting.

Best Kissers in the World, I love you, even if you can't spell Vicodin correctly. The EP these tracks come from is pure listening pleasure, but I had to pick a few favorites. Carrie Akre from... Goodness... guests on Hungover Together. Can't go wrong with Carrie Akre.

Better Than Ezra was another one-hit wonder. I stuck with the hit in this case. I remember driving to a lot of concerts with this one playing on the radio.

I came across Michael Penn many years ago at Bumbershoot and he impressed me so much that I've been a fan ever since. I've included his only known hit as well as a personal favorite track here. He scores films mostly these days, which makes my heart a little sad. I love his songwriting.

I think I saw God Lives Underwater at a show back in the day. I hate to say it, but I can't really remember who I saw with who when anymore. That's right. I thought I'd never forget the date, location and details of every concert I had ever been to. Guess I was wrong. It makes me a little sad to think that music has fallen to such a low priority in my life that I can't remember what year I saw Second Coming at Brewstock or Fates Warning in Portland. Either way, hit song, I still love it.

Finally, the expected Holy Grail track. The Ultra Love was a Second Coming song. They played it and Things U Do at shows back in the day... including at Brewstock, whenever that was. Once again, not saying where I found it, not sharing it, try looking it up on youtube.

We journey into a little pop paradise here. One hit wonder Martika put out an amazing song with Toy Soldiers. I don't think too many people even remember it. I don't even think I liked it when it came out because I was too deep into other stuff at the time, but it's held up to the test of time well.

Sade. Because, Sade. You can't have a Lovesick Puppy without a little Sade.

Josh White, former singer of Marble and Man Ray. This track is off his solo CD. Good luck finding that gem anywhere. I really wonder whatever happened to Josh. He had such an amazing voice and wrote such creative, emotional and slightly dark lyrics. I hope he's well wherever he's gone away to.

Wrapping it up, a little classic country. Yes, I like country. I don't lie when people ask what I like and I say "everything." Seriously.

Well, that's my foray into music for the day. Almost.

The Cherry Chapstick Mix Tape? That was my gift to the friend who gave me the one with That Dog and Sweet Water on it.

Oh, and my awesome friend, MGX, brought me back an autographed laminate from Fates Warning's Seattle gig last month. Too cool! I need to snap a pic of that soon!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Informational: How to File a UPS Insurance Claim

I have to precede the informational portion of this post with a few things. 1) I work for UPS, but I'm not in customer service. The information I give is practical in nature from my days in retail shipping. 2) I don't see a lot of damages in my current work capacity. In fact, the only obvious damages I've seen recently were glass bottles and jars(wine and rum in those particular incidents, and a horribly destroyed box of homemade jellies). 3) I'm not in the business of diagnosing how a package became damaged, nor am I allowed to take or pass responsibility for said damage. 4) It sucks to get a damaged package. I'm sorry for your frustration, and I totally understand why you need to vent about it. No UPS employee likes to hear about someone receiving a damaged package. Even if we didn't ever personally touch your item, it's still our collective reputation at stake and we want to do right by you.

I was delivered a damaged package. What do I do now?
If you saw your driver or signed for the package, it's best to refuse outright to accept an obvious damage. It saves you a few steps. However, most of us don't see our delivery person and find the damage well after they've left our area.

The first thing I advise is to photograph the package as you open it, making sure to get close-ups of things such as indented corners, water damage, places where the box has been re-taped, etc. As you open it and continue photographing the evidence, make sure to get good photos of the packaging inside. This may or may not be relevant to you, but it helps your sender once the process moves forward a bit. Finally, make sure to get good close-ups of actual damages to your merchandise.

Now, call or email your sender and let them know the shipment was damaged. The photographs will be helpful to you at this point and also in the future. It is also helpful if you can provide the UPS tracking number to your sender. This is important for them and saves the time it would have taken to find this information in their records. Your sender will likely send out replacement items as soon as their next possible pickup is, meaning you will likely get your replacement items before the rest of the claims process is done.

Do not, under any circumstances, throw away your damaged items or any of the packaging. This will come into play later.

Why contact the sender first?
In the world of UPS and most other major carriers, the damaged item is property of the sender until the claim is resolved. Because your sender holds insurance on your item, they are responsible for the majority of the claims process.

I contacted the sender. What now?
Now you will wait. Maybe a week, maybe a little bit more. In the meantime, a reputable sender would have gotten a replacement item sent off to you and filed a UPS claim on your damaged shipment.

UPS will contact you and attempt to come inspect and retrieve the damaged item and packaging. When UPS pays an insurance claim, they are technically purchasing that damaged item for retail replacement value. The insurance claim will be paid as a check to the shipper.

Your replacement item is highly likely to have arrived before you ever hear from UPS.

These tips work for all major carriers, not just UPS. I've been through the claims process on behalf of customers many times. UPS is very good about making things right with their shippers, making it easier for the shipper to get replacement items out to you before the claim has even been processed. If your shipper self-insures or uses third party shipment insurance, this process should be similar, but not exact.

At some point, I may make a post about packing tips for safe shipping. Packaging makes a huge difference in how your item arrives to the destination. As I mentioned in the beginning, all the damages I've personally seen lately have been items packaged in glass with less than ideal cushioning. I also advise to never ship carbonated beverages. They explode with heat and shaking.