Thursday, February 7, 2013

Days of the Dead Atlanta 2013 Part 3 - The Ghost Of Wrestling PAST!

I was awakened at about 3 AM by my obscenely drunk wife. I’m sure you can guess why she woke me up, and if you ever run into me and want to hear the story of what ensued you have only to ask. It has been made public by her, but I’m not sure it’s Needless Things public, know what I mean? Suffice it to say that the next three hours were some of the most ridiculous I’ve ever had in my life and I now know what it must be like to have sex with a retarded person. That you want to punch.
            When I re-woke that morning I was actually in a pretty good mood, if a little sore. I had big plans for the day that consisted of the House of 1000 Corpses/Devil’s Rejects panel, browsing the Dealer Room, and looking at Famous People. Because that’s kind of it, you know? 

I got up at eleven because I thought the panel was at noon, but after I was all washed up and ready to go I saw it wasn’t until one. That was okay because it gave me time to eat and hit the Famous People Room. I went and got sandwiches from the Sheraton sandwich shop, which I have mentioned before but will briefly discuss again in a minute.

When I opened the door to leave the room, I could not believe my nose. It smelled of cotton candy and, sure enough, there was everybody’s favorite terrifying clown (who is actually less scary than a standard clown) Circus Envy! I said hello because we sort of tangentially know one another.
And then a thought struck me.
I pushed the door open and waved him over.

Me: “Hey, man – can you do me a favor real quick? C’mere.”

Circus Envy: (looking around) “Ummm…”

Me: “It’s cool – just a second. C’mere, c’mere…”

Circus Envy: “Oh… um…”

He was clearly uncomfortable, but I didn’t care. This was too good. I pulled that poor ol’ clown into the room and kicked the bed my naked wife was laying in and said, “Hey, he’s gonna hang out in here with you while I go downstairs!” and gestured towards Circus Envy.

He sort of went, “Oh… hey…” and she went “What” and I left. A mortified Circus Envy followed me out. It was awesome.

(pretend there’s a segue here)

The Sheraton sandwich shop serves huge, tasty sandwiches that defy reason by actually being worth the $7.50 they cost. They fill you up for several hours and taste fresh despite being pre-made. I actually really like these sandwiches and make a point of eating at this place if it’s convenient. That being said, the service at the Sheraton sandwich shop is so slow that you can actually feel yourself going insane as the ancient black ladies that work there slowly shuffle around gathering up your order as though they have glass in their shoes. That’s not to say they necessarily use all of their time gathering items. Sometimes they’re just standing there, staring off into space. Sometimes they might be rearranging the drawer in the left-most cash register, which I have never actually seen them use. You absolutely, positively will not spend less than fifteen minutes between the time you arrive at the Sheraton sandwich shop and the time you complete your transaction; even if you are the only customer. They know their sandwiches are tasty and that if you’re there you are probably out of options. 
I’m going to conduct an experiment this year at Dragon*Con. I’m going to go to the Sheraton sandwich shop with another person. We will arrive there together, but then one of us will exit the hotel and go across the street to whatever food place is over there. I would bet good money that that person will be back and at the table eating before whoever stayed at the Sheraton can even pay for their food. Who wants to assist me in this grand, scientific pursuit?

Okay, so anyway – I got a couple of sandwiches and took them back to the room.

After that I went to the Famous People Room to meet DDP, Mickie James, Danny Trejo, and Linnea Quigley; who I forgot to mention yesterday.

At some point on Friday I did end up checking out the Famous People Room. It must have been later because they were gone or leaving. All of the ones I wanted to meet were away from their tables, though it looked like DDP might be back. Mickie James was packing up when we got there. Linnea Quigley was nowhere to be found. This would become a trend.

So on Saturday my first stop was at Ms. Quigley’s table. And it was Linnea-free. There were plenty of alluring 8x10s scattered about. Lots of titties. Even one full-frontal shot from Return of the Living Dead. It was great. I figured I would come back after I got everybody else. 
Diamond Dallas Page was first because he was my priority for the whole con. My figure never did come and I’m still waiting to hear back from those bastards at about a cancellation or at least why it hasn’t shipped. But I was cool with getting a picture with the guy and having an 8x10 signed. I waited in line and once I got up to him I realized just big the dude is. I’m 6’4” and he was taller than me by a bit. And also in great shape. DDP looked like he could have hopped in the ring and had a match right there. I shook his hand and told him he was my favorite WCW guy and that his feud with Raven over the US Title was one of my favorites.

Side Note: I told Raven this same thing back in 2007 (because it’s true) and he looked at me and grunted. This affirmed my previously unwarranted dislike of Raven as a person despite the fact that he is one of my favorite wrestlers – Gnoll had an encounter with the guy a few years prior that was pretty negative, but I hadn’t ever met him and felt badly for having a low opinion of him based on somebody else’s business. But after that meeting in 2007 I had my own reason, which was actually better because Gnoll’s was in a situation where Raven was just being Scott Levy and hanging out somewhere and mine was at a meet-and-greet event that I had paid to get into.

Page surprised me by almost instantly mentioning He Who Shall Not Be Named. 
What followed was a conversation I would never have expected to have with anybody, let alone somebody who actually knew Chris Benoit. What Page said was that he wanted to have all of that stuff with Raven on the Best of Monday Nitro DVD, but that because Benoit had gotten so involved in that feud WWE would not include it. I was shocked that he would even bring up Benoit, but I recovered quickly and asked if he thought they would ever get to the point where they would include him in releases. He didn’t even hesitate when he said, “No”.

I wish I had been able to record the conversation because it was so interesting and so damn surreal to be discussing this with a legend like DDP that had actually known and wrestled Chris Benoit. As it was happening I simply couldn’t believe it. He said that there was no way WWE was going to put over a mass murderer. I asked how much the TV-PG thing had to do with it and he said a lot. He said that that guy at the end wasn’t Benoit. That he wasn’t anything like that. I told him I thought that in the long run the tragic end couldn’t change what Benoit had meant to the business and that it was hard but that at some point he would have to be acknowledged. DDP said that his brain had been donated and studied and that the years of concussions and untreated injuries had left Benoit with the brain of an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient. This was nothing new to me, but what do you say to that? I supposed that was the legacy Benoit would leave behind. That he had changed the way the biggest company in the world did business and the way it protected its “contracted workers” (which is a whole other conversation).

I can’t remember the whole conversation and I also don’t remember how I parted ways, but it was a pretty heavy meeting with one of my heroes. It maybe wasn’t exactly what I would have wanted, but it was impactful and certainly more memorable than your typical celebrity meeting.

All in all it was probably good that I was somewhat distracted by my talk with DDP because next I went to meet Mickie James and she is so fucking hot there is a good chance I might have been kind of an idiot.

I have been a fan of Ms. James’ wrestling ability and appearance for quite some time now. She first caught my eye as Alexis Laree in TNA. She was part of Raven’s gang and would go all crazy and fight dudes. She was way tougher than Julio DeNiro. Also, she had a habit of squatting on the turnbuckle while wearing a skirt. This paled in comparison to certain pictures that cropped up later in her career, but I’m not going to discuss those, despite the fact that I’ve researched them thoroughly. Ahem.

When she showed up in WWE it was still a good time for women’s wrestling there. Lita, Trish, Jazz, Gail Kim, and others did their best to change the way the WWE audience perceived female competition, and for the most part they succeeded. For a few years, at least.

I was getting ready to go off on a thing about WWE women’s wrestling before I remembered where I was.

So Mickie James was super-hot in person and I was too distracted to be distracted by her. I picked out my picture (not the best one, but that one had the stupid butterfly title in it) and got a picture with her:
When she was signing it she was friendly and chatty. Everybody was nice enough to sign stuff to Phantom Troublemaker, which I appreciated. She said she almost signed across her boobs and I told her they were hers and she could do whatever she wanted with them. I think she was one of the ones that successfully spelled “Phantom Troublemaker”. I’ll have to look when I get home. I’ve decided my new game is to see how many different ways it can be spelled. Sometimes the famous people will ask for help and sometimes they won’t.

As I walked out of the room I couldn’t quite believe who was sitting at a table in the hallway. None other than my old pal, Raven! He wasn’t advertised for the con and I could almost believe that he just showed up with his own table. I had the same theory about him at Joelanta last year. I’d actually like to get a picture with the guy, but I don’t want to deal with him if he’s in a shitty mood or something. So I avoid him.

I did not, however, avoid Danny Trejo:
I told him to act like he was getting ready to deck me. He laughed. I realize just now that my favorite kind of pictures of me are the ones where I look dumb. I absolutely love being attacked or stabbed or just looking stupid. Here’s another:
This was after I had caught up with Virginia Ham – who later will become a big player in my narrative – and was told that Linnea Quigley was now at her table. So after being shown a disgusting variety of bottled fetuses and chinchilla penises or whatever the fuck she had just bought I rushed off to get my Quigley pic.

This was as close as I got to her all weekend:
Shit! I just realized that I forgot to talk about the House of 1000 Corpses/Devil’s Rejects panel! And there’s a reason for that! It wasn’t very good!

I blame the moderators. And whoever decided that there should be four moderators and five mics and that each moderator should definitely have a mic but that all 8 (EIGHT!) guests would have to share one. For their part, Sid Haig, Tom Towles, Bill Moseley (especially Bill Moseley), Jennifer Jostyn, Irwin Keyes, Robert Mukes, and Walter Phelan were all pretty good. Haig and Moseley ran the show, but Towles and Keyes got in some good little stories, too. What we were able to hear was interesting.

The whole thing got off to a bad start because some bland guy came out and said (basically) this:

Hey everybody. I know we’re all super excited to see… all of the people from this great movie that we all love. But real quick I want to go over a couple of things.”

At this point the feeling of being at a high school function was heavy in the air.

We’re all a bunch of rad dudes who like to party and have fun, right?”

Yeah! And we may look a lot different from other dudes who like to party, but we can party in a responsible way. We’re really excited to be here in the Sheraton, but as guests we need to respect their rules.”

Yes, except for the fact that we are not fucking fifteen-year-olds staying over at our buddy Skippy’s house where Skippy’s mom is the weird one who doesn’t let her son watch The Simpsons or play video games or drink soda. We are fucking adults who have paid large sums of money to stay in this hotel and attend this convention.

They don’t want any open containers in the hotel, so if you’re going to be drinking alcoholic beverages – and we all like those, right?”

So yeah, if you are keep it in a covered cup. The hotel even provides coffee cups with lids in the rooms, so you can just use those. And let’s show them we can party and have fun just as responsibly as any other group of individuals that might have a convention here! So now let’s get ready for the… uh… people that were in House of 1000 Corpses! We all love that movie, right?”

At that point the guy had done the emcee equivalent of showing you a naked picture of Bea Arthur right before you were about to get it on with Jessica Biel. We were all still excited about the panel, but that excitement was definitely dulled and we were not going to be able to enjoy the experience as much.

Bland guy handed it off to a pair I am going to call Huge-O and Huckster. Huckster was valiantly trying to be good at hosting the whole thing and Huge-O was terrible. So of course he introduced the panel guests.

Here’s Jennifer Jostyn.”

And here’s Bill Moseley.”

And of course here’s Sid Haig.”

And on and on like that. No excitement. He might as well have been reading the phone book.

This is why it might have been bad for anybody to have ever handed me a microphone and let me talk to people. Because now I know for a fact how good I can be and how fucking awful people like Huge-O and Bland Guy are and how there is no way in Hell they should have microphones and be introducing people. I can’t believe those guys had the lack of self-awareness necessary for them to think it was a good idea for them to get in front of people and talk. After every introduction the actor walked out and twelve people in the crowd clapped because these guys’ delivery was so dead we weren’t sure if it would be inappropriate to be excited. It felt like a somber occasion. If I had been up there everybody would have been going fucking nuts, including the guests. And I’m not just talking shit. This is fact.
So once everybody was on the stage we all struggled through the most awkward panel ever. Haig and Moseley had to keep getting up and handing the mic to each other and the rest of the actors. There was a Q&A that actually had some decent questions, including mine, which was, “Did any of you guys snag any props or costumes from the production?” to which the answer was basically, “no”. Sid Haig said he took a baseball cap and Irwin Keyes told some wacky story about the mask he wore, which started Haig off on a story about Rob Zombie’s house which I’m sure would have been great if had had a fucking microphone.

But like I said, what we heard was pretty good stuff.

When it was all over, the guests came up to the front of the stage and… sang the National Anthem.
Seriously. It was weird. Awesome, but weird.
While all of this was going on, Mrs. Troublemaker was in the room sleeping. She doesn’t ever get to relax. As much as I bitch about my job, hers is to stay at home and raise or son, do laundry, clean, and who knows what else. By nature she is not a relaxer, but the few times she can get away from everything she can relax with the best of them. So I wandered around and left the room to her.
This is where I ran into an ESO fan who had specifically called me out on Facebook as a favorite of his. I mean, I’m sure there are plenty of people that feel that way, but this guy was the first to come right out and say it. I encourage any closeted Phantomaniacs out there to let the world know! Anyway, I only briefly got to say hi as we were both on our way to things. He had an overall more positive experience at Days of the Dead than I did, which I think was a result of his only being there for a few hours. Check out his perspective on things:
This is where I got some of my favorite pictures:

I was actually going to take a picture of these two hot chicks, but then I saw this girl with the… what the heck do you call these things?:
Anyway, that’s not to say she isn’t a hot chick, but she was definitely a more visually interesting subject for a horror con. I asked if I could take a picture (which I almost always do) and she let me and then said I should buy something. We rooted around in her tray looking for anything useful or sugar-free. I finally found some mints I didn’t need and then we couldn’t figure out how much they were supposed to be. She had a list, but they weren’t on there. So I just gave her a dollar. 
I also saw a great Predator:
And my old buddies Hoax, Brian, and Goggle from 52 Ways!:
I very much hope you’ll be seeing those guys in MCW sooner than later. And in case you don’t, here’s something else:


Oh, and here are those two hot chicks from before. I eventually ran into them again:
And I also ran into a guy in the Miner costume from the My Bloody Valentine remake:
This is extraordinarily weird and I can only assume one of two things:
  1. This guy is actually a miner and was thrilled to have an easy costume, or
  2. This was actually Jensen Ackles and he just didn’t want to be recognized.
But it can’t be number two because Jensen Ackles is, like, 5’3”.
But these guys were the thrill of the con for me:
Reggie and his unfortunate girlfriend from Phantasm IV(?). I loved these two and the fact that they not only had coordinated costumes but also that they were costumes from one of the best movie series ever was just outstanding. They easily get Best In Show.

Eventually Mrs. Troublemaker texted me that she was ready to leave the room, so I went to meet her and have some beverages. Bear and the Queen came with me along with a friend of the Queen’s. We met a lot of new people over the weekend and I have to say I liked them all. That might have actually been the best thing about the con. Well, no – Mickie James was the best thing about the con.

We all got to the room and had some more shots, then headed back to the Dealer Room.

I know I’m spending a lot of time on the Dealer Room, but you have to realize that the Dealer Room and the Famous People Rooms were it. There was nothing else to do unless you were Mrs. Troublemaker and wanted to sleep in the room all day. 
Oh, and I put my Phantom Murdermaker costume back on just because I liked it so much. I got a picture with Tucker and Dale:
And then these two wacky people that I have seen at every con I have ever attended:
I call them the Con Fairies. They’re very nice. That’s why I have this picture. See, Monkey wanted to get his picture with Tucker and Dale but didn’t want to bother them. I (sometimes) have no problem bothering people, especially in the interest of others, so I went over to Tucker and asked if they had a minute for pictures whenever they were done chatting. Tucker was talking to the Con Fairies and the purple one was all like, “Sure, no problem!” when I asked about the picture. So I felt like I kind of had to include them. But I did still get the other one and Monkey got his.

Once the Dealer Room closed we went out for dinner with Monkey and Lady Monkey, Rescue John and his lady, and Virginia Ham and her friends Kay and (dude); who we both liked. I had talked everybody into going back to Hsu’s – a Chinese place we ate at during Dragon*Con that Mrs. Troublemaker didn’t get to go to. I really wanted her to try them.

Once we got everybody rounded up it was pouring down rain and Mrs. Troublemaker was not having it. She said there was no way she was going to walk in the rain, not even two blocks. I have learned to not make Mrs. Troublemaker do things that Mrs. Troublemaker does not want to do, so after Lady Monkey told us that Monkey had run out to their car to get umbrellas I broke the change in plans as delicately and considerately as I could:

Well, Princess Sugartitties here will melt if she gets wet so we’re getting a cab.”

I asked the hotel guys where to get a cab and he got one immediately. Unfortunately it was a sedan and we had six people who were fairly friendly but not that friendly. So I aksed him to get a minivan. Only then when only had five people because Monkey hadn’t gotten back yet. So it sat there and me and the guy in the little red jacket just stared at each other awkwardly. The best part was that there were approximately 1,462 other taxis right around the corner and we could have had one at any time without anybody having to wait. Oops. I also think I was supposed to tip the red jacket guy but I didn’t think about it until just now. Double oops.

Naturally by the time Monkey got back and we all got in the cab it had stopped raining.

Two blocks and twenty dollars later we arrived at Hsu’s, all hungry and all thoroughly amused at the cab ride except for Rescue John’s lady; who had volunteered to pay for the cab ride. Which was very nice of her.

Okay, that's as far as I could get. Hopefully I'll be able to wrap things up and get them posted tomorrow night. Check back and see.


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