Tuesday, March 29, 2011

JRS or Bust: MegaJohn!

Before I blog a single word I must thank the one person who made my JRS or Bust, Orlando MegaCon dream come true - my husband aka Mr. Strwrsgrl.
Saturday, March 26th, 2011 - 1:30 am:  I couldn’t sleep and may have been getting a little anxious. So, Mr. Strwrsgrl decided that driving towards John Schneider…I mean Orlando…might calm me down. We kissed our daughter goodbye, loaded the JRS or Bust CD I made for the occasion and hit the open road. The CD is about 40 minutes long and I played it over and over and over until we reached Orlando. I did occasionally exchange it for the Twentysixmiles Soundtrack, but it was 3½ hours of John Schneider music all the way there – Bliss! I of course already knew all the words to all the songs. Now, for better or worse, so does my husband, lol.
Saturday, March 26th, 2011 – 5:00 am:  We drove by the Orlando Convention Center just to see if the MegaCon banners were raised. They were. Nothing could have been more impressive than seeing the Star Wars Celebration banners that we had seen there the previous August 2010 unless John Schneider himself had been hanging outside the building. My excitement growing, my husband decided to check our hotel to see if we could check-in a day early, but they were booked. We decided to have coffee at Denny’s and see how long I could wait before we might be let in at the convention center.
Saturday, March 26th, 2011 - 8:45 am: Standing in line to enter the MegaCon was so much fun. Yes, I am a John Schneider/Star Wars fan first and foremost, but I also collect Spiderman comic books. I’ve seen every episode of Star Trek and STNG – Make it so!  I introduced my daughter to Anime and Manga and therefore have an enjoyable working knowledge of that world.  There was Cosplay all around us and it was fun to watch. Keeping all that in mind…I came to this MegaCon for one thing and one thing only – John R. Schneider.  I told my husband, I will not look at or spend a single cent on anything else.  By now with all the list making and planning, I think it’s obvious that I’m a little neurotic. Yes, I’m crazy. I own it, but more than crazy - I am loyal. I love you Stan Lee, but ‘Nuff Said.
Saturday, March 26th, 2011 - 10:00 am: The doors opened and the crazed masses entered the ‘Con. I made a beeline for the autograph area. My heart rate and the pressure on my husband’s hand increased with each step as we neared his table. And then…he wasn’t there. The sun-glassed gentleman at his table advised us that he would be there in about a half hour and let us look over the photos and DVDs that were available.  It was a veritable Schneider-smorgasbord.

I paced like a hungry lioness for about 20 minutes and then we decided to go wait in the concession area so that I wouldn’t pounce when he came out. We returned to the signing area around 11:30 am and my breath caught in my throat…There was John Schneider! Honestly, my first thought was, where is all his hair and then I remembered that he just finished shooting the final episodes of Smallville – Pa Kent = short hair (except for Lazarus). I used to think that I preferred him with longer hair, but after this weekend I just can’t decide anymore, lol.

The line for Mr. Schneider was constant the entire day and I must admit that I kept moving to the back because I was thrilled, scared and enthralled all at the same time. The closer I got the more clearly I could hear his familiar baritone over the buzz of the convention floor. Centimeter by centimeter I moved closer. With every show of that glorious smile my John Schneider-induced hot flashes intensified.  I have never had a hot flash before, but I imagine that that is what they feel like.  Heart racing, head spinning, body temperature rising: John Schneider was the most thrilling amusement ride in Orlando that weekend.

Everything seemed to be going quite well and then John ran over to thank the fans for patiently waiting in line about 18 inches from me…I lost it! I started crying, shaking and if not for graduating finishing school may have wet my pants.
Then, I was next in line! I whispered to my husband, “I can’t do it.” John looked at me. I just said that John Schneider: the actor who played Bo Duke, Eddie Macon, Daniel Simon, Jonathan Kent, Jack Kincaid, Sam Doonby…etc. looked…at…me and said, “There’s no escaping it now,” or something to that effect.  My normally, near picture-perfect memory was completely fried this weekend.

I stepped forward like the cowardly lioness asking the Wizard for courage, and a new heart since I’d just blown the fuse on my last one. I can’t remember a thing that I said, but I do know that my big-mouthed, adorable husband told John that I had waited over 32 years for this moment and also that he has been the other man in our household these 17 years that we have been married. I do remember giving him the gift bag and card that I had prepared for his 51st birthday (April 8th – A holiday at our house). I explained what each item was and then I was gestured to come around to his side of the table for my photograph.
I remember beginning to tell my husband to hurry up and take the picture and then said aloud, “What am I saying? Take your time.”  I stood there in John Schneider’s arms, holding him and smiled for the camera. I know that I was in his arms and holding John Schneider because I saw it in two pictures that I saw later that day.  I don’t actually remember feeling it. The encounter didn’t last more than four minutes. The line was long and I was so happy that there were many John Schneider fans there waiting for autographs and pictures.
After going to a quiet area to resuscitate, I later returned to the edge of the autograph area and tried to nonchalantly stare at JRS for the remainder of the day.  Now this was just so that I could get enough usable pictures for the blog, lol. (Remember my photographer daughter was not there, only my husband who had never used that particular camera before. My husband was tireless and patient.)
Because my husband was going to be taking the pictures and not my daughter, I purchased Froggy Photos in advance so that I would have at least two good pictures of me, my husband and John Schneider.  One for each day of the convention that John was going to be there. (I later found out that he arrived early and showed up on Friday – AHHH!)
Saturday, March 26th, 2011 - 3:00 pm: After stalking watching John Schneider from a distance, we left for a much needed power nap for my husband in a convention hallway. We returned to wait in line for our professional Froggy photos and I met my ‘sisters’, the other John Schneider fans who had traveled from far and wide to see JRS that day.  We recounted our childhood stories of crushes, favorite episodes and our latest John Schneider encounters for over an hour. Mary Lou, Diane, Lisa and so many others – John Schneider fans are the best! Then quick as a flash it was time for our pictures.  The photos take seconds and then they are over, but they are so worth it.   
When it was our turn for photographing my JSIHF (John Schneider-induced Hot Flashes) returned. I stepped up with my husband, John looked at me and said, “You, again?” but in a nice, humorous way.  He then proceeded to direct our picture session based on all the things my husband had said to him before at the table .  He would play the ‘interloper’ holding me again in his arms *sigh* and holding my husband at bay.  He told my husband to try and get me away from him (Over my dead body, lol.) And then Mr. John Schneider asked me to put my hand on his neck. My heart is racing just at the memory of the request. I have always been obedient and complied.  The back of my hand brushed against the stubble on his cheek. Then my hand, of its own volition, rubbed his unshaven cheek and I could not stop myself from saying, “That feels nice.” John turned to my husband and said, “She’s feisty isn’t she.” Needless to say the picture turned out awesome and I will treasure it for ever.  John is a great director! Is there anything he isn’t great at?
We communed with the other Schneider fans until our photos were ready and then hung around the autograph session until the MegaCon ended for the night. At this point, I hadn’t slept more than three hours in the past two days and hadn’t eaten since 5:00 am that morning. I was in complete shock.  We went to our hotel which turned us away because of plumbing problems in several buildings and had to check into one of their sister hotels.  It was a crazy night.  I couldn’t remember actually being in the first photos that I took with John and was determined to concentrate the next day so that I could remember every moment.  My husband was admittedly blown away by how gracious and kind John was and to me and all of his fans. 

I was a very proud fan as I watched John be attentive to each person who had taken their time and money to meet him.
I got a decent night’s sleep but kept waking up because I was afraid the alarm clock wouldn’t go off and we would be late for day two.  The agenda for day two involved John Schneider’s Superman’s Father panel, another Froggy’s photo session with John and my final autograph time.
I was too nervous to eat, so we went immediately to the MegaCon and were first in line at the Superman’s panel discussion room.  Luckily, we met the most awesome people Myna & Peter and spent over an hour talking to them about all things Japanese, Anime & Manga because I was missing my daughter. Honestly, my husband and I have only attended two conventions since our daughter was born, but we meet people that we honestly want to know for the rest of our lives, Myna & Peter were definitely two such people.
Next thing I know, It was time to go wait for John.  We went and got seats in the second row, right in front of the stage and that is where I met some other JRS fans.  The JRS fans and some other Smallville fans all discussed our disappointment that Chloe wasn’t really Lois and that she would never end up with Clark as we all wanted. I thought I was the only person who felt that way. Then I babbled on and on about John Schneider like I had Tourette's syndrome. It was then that Denise and Linda decided that I was their other ‘sister’ spirits in the life-long John Schneider fan club. I loved these two gals immediately and we plan to keep in touch.  Some other Smallville fan was astounded at my John Schneider knowledge and asked if I even knew his Social Security number.  I’ll never tell!

Mark, the host for the panel, was awesome and soon introduced John to a screaming crowd.  My husband pulled me back into my chair when I stood clapping, lol. Then 50 minutes of an awesome, wonderful conversation with John Schneider.  John only had to ask me once to let some other fans ask questions, too. He was so nice.  John talked about stories from his childhood, Smallville and some new projects for his fans to look out for.  Most notably, Doonby and its soundtrack which should be released in theaters later this year. Also, a show that he is working on and co-producing for Nick-at-Nite with Cher. The project that I am most intrigued by is ‘Backwater’, a script that he wrote and will direct.  Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.
Then we met another group of fans at our second Froggy Photo’s session, especially Marie, and hope to see them again at another Con in Orlando. I again had a bout of JSIHF. This time when I entered the photo area John said, “The questioner.” My husband decided that I should take this photo with John alone and so we did.  The first time I forgot to look at the camera and stood there holding John and staring at my husband *sigh*. When I admitted that I was looking the wrong way, John said, “You can look at your husband anytime.” We took another photo and I must admit that it is my favorite.

My husband and I again chatted with the new JRS fan friends that we met, as I mentally stalled the ending of the Orlando MegaCon. When the final photograph was printed, I went over to John’s table for the last time and got the director’s cut of Collier & Co., which he autographed for a friend of mine. John asked to see the last photo that we took together and signed that one with a funny comment. We spoke for a short while and then as quickly as my dream had begun it was over.
I turned and stood there for a few moments, not watching him, but listening to the kind way he treated all of his fans and then without looking back, lest I turn into a pillar of salt, I walked away.  When we got to the exit of the main hall it finally hit me that I had met someone who has been in my life for 32 years and I began to cry.  I’m crying again now. Not that it’s over, but that I finally did it and that John Schneider was as kind and wonderful as I knew he would be.  I only hope I wasn’t too much of a nuisance to him, lol. I don’t regret one second of my fandom of John Schneider and will be a fan for the rest of my life. He really is @therealtrueshit!
Mega John -Yeehaa!


Freja said...

This sounds like it was a total blast. I enjoyed reading about and completely understand your experience. My motto, "everyone needs something in their lives that makes them absolutely giddy." I'm so glad you have that. Where are your photos with him?

Strwrsgrl said...

It was and here it is John's Birthday and I still feel like yesterday was the Orlando MegaCon. Will I ever recover...of course not! Yeehaa!

Mary Lou said...

Oh, I am so excited by your blog. I keep going back to it to find parts I missed before. You are so smart, savvy, and lucky to have gotten to see John on Sunday too at Megacon. I love the way you write, and it was so great meeting you. Please stay in touch with me because I think you have it all going on, girl! Thanks for helping me with my JRS addiction.

Mary Lou said...

Do you know where I can purchase Gods of Circumstance? I've looked everywhere, but it doesn't seem to be on DVD. Can you give me any other info? Thanks.

Strwrsgrl said...

Sadly, I don't know where I can get my hands on a copy of 'Gods of Circumstance'. If and when it ever becomes available, trust me I will post it here.

Strwrsgrl said...

Also, I am so pleased that you enjoy the blog and that you share my addiction, Yeehaa!