Last weekend I attended the BEA convention, an event for publishers and book sellers. One of my duties was to sign books for an hour at my publisher's booth. Hordes of authors were doing the same, at different times, throughout the show.

I got to the show early and decided to walk around and see if I ran into anyone famous. I've been to a few of these conventions and you can usually count on seeing a minor celebrity or two. To me, celebrity watching is like bird watching, but better because celebrities rarely crap on your head.

The last time I went to this convention, a number of years ago, I talked to Oliver North and saw Heidi Fleiss from a few feet away. Not bad. But on this day all I saw was Jackie Collins. She's famous enough, but I've run into her twice in LA on other trips - once at a restaurant, and once on a TV set. So that was disappointing. I was hoping for something new. And I wondered if Jackie has a house of if she just wanders around in public hoping I see her.

As I rounded a corner, I noticed a long line of people who were obviously waiting for a well-known author. I had about 15 minutes to spare, so I jumped in the line, hoping to see the celebrity before I had to go do my job. I listened to the people ahead of me and tried to figure out who I was waiting for. Man, was I disappointed. They were in line waiting for me. Luckily I am virtually invisible in crowds, so no one noticed me slink away and go to the head of the line to sign books.

The next morning, at the Burbank airport, I was in a gift shop buying a Snickers. A woman asked the guy next to me if she could take a picture with him. It was Mario Lopez. He was flipping through a People magazine, presumably looking for pictures of himself. So I guess that counts as a decent celebrity sighting. But Mario was flying Southwest Airlines, so I couldn't get too impressed. Not that I am competitive, but my boarding pass was an A3, and I doubt he could top that.

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Aug 4, 2008
Hey... some of you serious Dilbert heads may know this...

I am looking for a particular strip from many years ago... 8 to 10 years ago...

I recall it was a satire of a reorganization chart... When a department was "centralized" it was to be "decentralized"... then later vice versa...

Any one know when that was (or where I could find it)?


Jun 3, 2008
I see sports celebrity types all the time in Columbus, OH and Pittsburgh, PA. When I was younger, I used to get their autographs. (Rocky Blier, Jack Lambert, etc) I guess I got over it when I worked at a radio station that was attached to the local TV news studio staffed with 'local celebrities'. Some of those folks, that I had grown up watching, were such miserable human beings that I just though, "Nah, what ever impresssion I have of that famous person, I will just keep it that way and not spoil it by actually speaking to them." It's tough sometimes, because often I just want to give them some kind of encouraging word, like "Nice play Sunday, Ben!". I just act like I don't see them, though.
Jun 3, 2008
Are you planning on coming to the UK?
Jun 3, 2008
There's an adult comic/magazine in the UK called Viz that has a feature called 'Lame to Fame' - the idea is that you try to come up with the most convoluted 'claim' to have been involved with a celebrity. For example, 'I once had a drink with a bloke who had caught Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon's dog after it had escaped from his big house'.

www.viz.co.uk has some great stuff, including a swearing dictionary called the 'profanisaurus', a 'top tips' section, letters page, etc. For anyone who likes British humour and is ready to move on from Benny Hill, give it a try.

Like all intellectual snobs, I see celebrity culture as shallow, frustrating and ultimately quite negative. I also get giddy whenever I see one, just like everyone else.
Jun 2, 2008
You're kind of a weirdo. That's why you're awesome.
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 2, 2008

Rather maso, as the French say. Besides, you'd have to get a t-shirt or else people would get too close trying to read your card.
Jun 2, 2008
I can't think of a single celebrity I'd like to meet. Probably most people are like that.

Erving Goffman would have been fun to have dinner with. He tended to run sociological experiments.
Jun 2, 2008
It would be very difficult to make this work, but I think it would be interesting if everyone who qualified as either an unknown major celebrity or a somewhat recognizable minor celebrity would have to wear a name tag, with their reason for celebrity for one year. Then, say if you're at Home Depot, you might spot someone with one of those name tags. Then at your next party, you can say, "Hey, see that u-bend under the kitchen sink? I got the same one the guy who played 'Cooter' on The Dukes of Hazard did." It would be wildly annoying for all the celebrities, but life-changing to everyone else.

To clarify, unknown major celebrity - would anyone know John Grisham, the lead singer of Fall Out Boy or most of the cast of SNL if you saw them on the street?

Minor celebrity - someone who appeared in an TV show that was cancelled years ago, was a NASA pilot who flew the space shuttle more hours than anyone else in history, someone who wrote a screenplay that won an Oscar or someone who performed a one-hit wonder in the 80's or 90's.
Jun 2, 2008
I bet minor celebrities don't feel famous at all, and get a kick out of meeting one another. Jackie Collins is probably writing on her blog about how she saw Scott Adams. Not Mario Lopez though, I doubt he even knows what a cubicle is.

+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 2, 2008
What I want to know is, how the heck you got A3. I assume you paid the extra fee to get on the plane before the rest of us? (Their system never makes sense to me; whether I check in the previous day or wait till I arrive at the airport, I get something around B52. Come to think of it, there was one time I actually got a better place in line when I checked in at about the last minute. Go figure.)
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 2, 2008
You should have started at the back and slowly pushed / elbowed your way to the front of the queue ("Excuse me, pardon me, can I just get through there. Excuse me, excuse me, thank you, pardon me...)". Then, when everyone was nicely annoyed with you, just sit down and start signing.
Jun 2, 2008
Yeah, but all it takes is for ONE celebrity to crap on your head to ruin experience forever.

And watch out for Jackie Collins. She is obviously getting her Rita Mae stalker-groove going on for you.
Jun 2, 2008
Great story Scott.
What is with people giving negative ratings to perfectly good posts? If someone is being mean or lame give them a bad rating.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 2, 2008
You say:

"...celebrities rarely crap on your head"

This is a strong indication that you've never worked on a film crew.

For those who do, this would be getting off lightly.

+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 2, 2008
You should have stayed in line (especially if you could have cut to the front). I'd have loved to have stood there for hours, looking at my watch and turning around to ask if anyone had seen me. The inner snickering would probably have escaped, however.

And as for the airport, your external geek appearance was obviously strong enough that day (like some form of tech-aftershave) that a dip with a digital camera (I presume it was digital) thought you'd be clever enough to know how to take a picture without mailing it to the rest of the world by accident.

How my wife got my cellphone to display "will call smurf" and start to ring a number I'll never know.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 2, 2008
Hi Scott,

If it makes you feel higher on the celebrity ladder, I'll tell you I had to google Mario Lopez to see who you were talking about. That has to score a couple of celebrity points. Can you really be a celebrity and fly Southwest? I avoid that airline like the plague, even after they started flying out of my regular airport.

Since, as far as we know, you were the biggest celebrity there, did you get to sign any body parts? Or at least something more interesting than a book?


Jun 2, 2008
Who is Mario Lopez?

Nevermind! I just wiki-ed him. Its the Animal Planet - Pet Star guy. Wow.

Did you do any tricks for him?
Jun 2, 2008
You're lucky you found out that it was you who you were waiting for, otherwise you'd have been in line a long time and been late for your book signing, which would have had a lot of people upset with you and cussing you while you were right there in-line with them.

You should have started signing books from the back of the line and worked your way to the front. That way you could have rid the people in the back of the line and been first in line to sign your book.

That would have made the people in back happy, and the people in the front of the line who waited much longer would've been pissed. It sounds like a the Dogbert thing to do.
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 2, 2008
"To me, celebrity watching is like bird watching, but better because celebrities rarely crap on your head."
This is classic.
BTW Scott, wouldn't Jackie be thinking the same about you, not having a home and wandering around in public hoping she sees you? Shoud check out her blog.....

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