Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Clip, The Cookie, and Vera

Heh, you probably have no idea how long I have waited for this day.  A flapping year.  To celebrate my cookie.

Your wha...?

My cookie.  It's actually an autograph signed by Steve Blum I ended up getting tattooed onto my left forearm.

And here I thought it was a stale piece of dough with some mold on it.

Sorry to disappoint you, dear reader.

It's not the first time you have, Vera.

*phft* Well then, heh.  Did you know about what started the process of getting my cookie?

Probably not, but I'm sure you're going to spill the beans here.

You got damn right I am, heh.  It started with an audio clip created back in October 2012.

A clip of what?

Allow me to explain.

Explain while I enjoy my beverage of choice here.

Once upon a time, when I was living in the suburb of Strongsville, *shivers*, I was content with my living space and the fact that I was paying less on rent than I was in my prior living quarters.  I had my phone, and that was pretty much all the entertainment I really needed (I was donated a TV, but didn't use it much because no cable, no satellite, and no funds to pay for such ridiculousness).

At that time, I was becoming well known as an annoying pita (pain in the ass), at least my brain thought so, on Twitter.  I would tag voice actors in tweets in order for them to (hopefully) respond, and of course, Steve was one of them.  The fact that Steve was so nice with people and did respond when he could made it more inviting to me to banter with him.

In August 2012, Steve had put the call out on Twitter about an event he was fundraising for.  Of all things, Steve was participating in the Los Angeles Rock and Roll Half Marathon, raising money for his charity of choice, the ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).  I caught this and thought that maybe I can give a little something, since I just got paid at the time.  I ended up chipping in $25.

A few weeks later, Steve put out another tweet, saying that if anyone donated $100 or more to his cause, he would do a 0:20 (twenty second) recording of your choice of one of his characters he voiced and whatever message.  I felt a bit deflated, because I already donated $25, and I didn't have enough to chip in another $100.  Then the golden ticket arrived in Steve's following tweet: "for those who have already donated, consider it retroactive."  Translation: if you donated already, do another donation that would make up the difference to equal $100.

That was something I could manage, I thought to myself.  I ended up chipping in again, this time for $86.11.

Are you serious?  Why $86.11?

Let's do the math:  $25.00 + $86.11 = $111.11. (I thought he was number one, so I donated money that reflected all ones, heh.)

Only you, Vera, would do something like that. Continue....

He raised quite a bit of money, which was awesome, I don't remember how much though.  I don't remember what date he ran the race (to which he did complete, by the way).  After he was able to finally catch his breath, which probably took him a week or two, he started to reply to those who had donated, including your #1 brat, as to what each individual wanted.  There were two choices: either a 0:20 voicemail recording, or just a 0:20 recording.  Even to this day, I don't understand the purpose of a voicemail recording, so at the time, I chose a regular recording.  When asked what character would I like and what the character should say.  For me, this was an easy picking: I wanted Starscream from Transformers Prime (if you haven't seen that series, Starscream sounds like he went through Seeker puberty and ended up sounding like Barry White) to do something Rolling Stones related (I mean, Starscream pretty much had all the Jaggerisms thrown in; the hip sway, prancing around in high-heeled peds, purrs when he is in control, etc.) because yeah, Starscream was a mecha version of Mick Jagger.  Steve agreed and began working on it.

I think it was a week later or so, in October 2012, I got an audio file from Steve via e-mail.  And apparently he had a lot of fun making this clip (at least that's what he wrote in the e-mail).

To describe The Clip, it goes like this:

  1. It wasn't to a Rolling Stones song (which I was a bit bummed about in the beginning), it was to "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera.
  2. Instead of Adam Levine's "Oh's," Steve said "Vera". (I actually had to stop the audio because I began screaming like a fangirl. At 11:30pm at night.  A Sunday night.  Where I had to get up in a few hours to start my job.)  I started back from the beginning again.  I found out he said "Vera" twice in the beginning. (My face pretty much was fuchsia at that point in just pure giddyness.)  On my seventh try to play the clip from beginning to end, Starscream ended up singing the first few lines of the song, with some random edits along the way, and ended up with him saying that I (Vera) had the moves like Jagger (to which I was like: who told him that?  I didn't tell him that, heh.).
  3. For a 0:20 recording, it turned out to be 0:59 long.  Yeah, special brat was a special brat that night.
Man, you suck.

Jealousy doesn't look good on you, dear reader.

Hmph.  Go on.

Needless to say, I didn't get any sleep that night, or any other night.  For the next two weeks.  I was so happy with this recording that I shared it with anybody would be willing to listen to it.

And that's where The Adventures of The Clip came about, from October 2012 to August 2014.

I mean, I shared this clip with errybody, heh: friends offline, friends online, coworkers, former coworkers, supervisors, former supervisors, my parents, my grandmother (made her a fan of Steve's work, heh), Dingbat (I think that's when his jealousy began over Steve), Dingbat's coworkers, former instructors, a drag queen stage performer, an Amish woman taking Amtrak from Los Angeles to some place in Kentucky, Catholic nuns, a Reform rabbi, the former teacher who introduced me to the Rolling Stones, and anybody else I forgot to mention.

It was, and it still is, my prized intangible possession.  I still have The Clip, stored on my phone, on my data cloud storage space, and in an e-mail that a good friend had forwarded to me in my time of need.

It became pretty clear that I had to somehow meet Steve in person and thank him for all that he had done.

Fast forward to July 2014.  One of the happiest months of my life:  my bankruptcy was discharged with no-assets and my first disability check came in.  The first thing I decided to do?  Look up Steve's website to see where his convention, or con, appearances were coming up.  My eye caught the word "Kentucky"; he was going to be at a convention called FandomFest.  In a few weeks!  Well, shit.  Here's my chance.

I treated myself to a VIP pass and hotel accommodations in Louisville, because it was so nice to get away from Troll Central Station (the living quarters of the basement of my parents' house in Parma Heights I moved into in August 2013) with cash I didn't have to bum off of my dad.

On August 1, 2014, I made the 6-hour drive from Parma Heights, Ohio, to Louisville, Kentucky.  After settling into my hotel room, I made my way down to the convention center where FandomFest was being held.  This was my first convention I ever attended as a guest; the second convention of sorts overall (I was an intern, volunteering at FrightFest in 2002 at the Hilton Airport Hotel in Cleveland).  So as I am walking around, all of my autistic senses started to kick in: bright lights, noisy patrons, much open space, very loud, wow.  I went around to see where the celebrities were, and they were off on this corner of the convention center, and they were mostly on-camera celebrities.  Only one on-camera celebrity I had recognized: professional wrestler Al Snow, with his trusty sidekick Head.

I was like: where in the hell are these voice actors?  I turned around, and boom, their booths were behind me the entire time.  Yeah, I had to learn this on the fly real quick.  To get to Steve's line, there were actually two lines: one for VIP, and one for regular ticket holders.  But since there was nobody in either line, I stood at the VIP line.  Then switched to the regular line.  Then switched back to the VIP line, because I had no idea what to do and what I was doing.  After Steve finished up with signing autographs for a father and son team, he recognized me right away (kinda hard to miss considering I was wearing a Rolling Stones t-shirt).

First thing I did was asked for a picture with him.  His helper said that it would be $10.  As I began to reach for my purse, Steve had said (paraphrased): "No, it's okay.  She's an old friend of mine."

My first picture with Steve was this:

Ummm, Vera, you forgot to take off your sunglasses.

Yeah, I saw that when Steve's helper took the photo. *facepalm* I asked for another one without the sunglasses.

Okay, much better.  How cute.  Now, what about this cookie?

I had actually placed my arm on the booth table, and said: "please sign this."

Steve was a little concerned; he was afraid I might not like it or I might get regret it or what have you.  He did it anyway.

Okay, and then what?

Welp, when I walked into the convention center, one of the first things I passed up was a tattoo parlor set up from Tattoo Charlie's, a local establishment.  I ran right to the parlor after I got my arm signed, and was like: "How much?!"

The artist looked at it, and said "$50."


What the hell does "20140801" stand for?

It's military timekeeping for dates.  2014 = year, 08 = month, 01 = day.

So what did Steve think about you getting it tattooed?

I went back to show him that picture, because I took it before it got bandaged.  His jaw dropped when he saw me with a light blue bandage over where he had signed it.  I looked at Steve and said: "What, did you think I was going to get this airbrushed?"

I ended up explaining why I got the tattoo done: 1) because Steve left such an indelible mark on me (heh, he ended up shaking his head when I said that) and 2) this was my reward for being such a survivor and making it up to this point in my life.  Steve explained that as long as I was happy with it, he would be happy with it.  (When I got back home, I had a bit of explaining to do to my rabbi, heh, apparently not being aware, at the time, about the mythical taboo of Jews and tattoos.)

Do you still have that tat on your arm?

I do!

A little bit of sun, a little bit of fade, and some random pore clogging I had to dig out, but it's still on my arm.

Very good.  Now, how's that toothy bastard of yours doing?

*sigh* I'll get to that in a post down the line. Yeesh, heh.

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