Sunday, November 19, 2006

Almost famous? No, not even close.

Those of you who have blogs yourself, do you have a well-organized means of logging possible future topics? Are you a "Start a draft for each potential post" sort of person? Do you have a neat and tidy notebook that you carry with you at all times for taking down ideas when the ideas strike? Or is your desk and bag a mess of bits and scraps of paper scrawled with half-legible phrases that are sure to spark a genius post? You know--really specific and intelligible things like "mom code" and "hugging not-Mike in Towers" and "childhood scars - Am. Horror"?

I'm thinking you can take a wild guess which of these methods I tend towards most often. And come on--You know you're dying to read each of those posts.

As I was rifling through my various wrinkled scraps of paper trying to decide what I should write about tonight, I came across a list I jotted down several weeks ago, around the time that Darren and Guinness Girl both wrote posts detailing their various brushes with the rich and famous. I read those posts and apparently thought, "I should do that! I should list all the famous people I've seen or met!" Fine plan, until I remembered that I haven't really seen or met a lot of famous people, which means my list isn't terribly long or at all impressive. Why should I let a minor detail like that stop me, though? The idea that any of these near-brushes with varying levels of fame would be entertaining is almost entertaining in itself, I think. Consider the list, if you will... (in chronological order because I'm all anal like that).

  • Charlotte Rae (a.k.a. Mrs. Garrett from The Facts of Life): I didn't actually meet Ms. Rae; I just saw her waving from a convertible about twenty feet away, but still it was a pretty exciting moment for my eight-year-old self. She hails from Milwaukee, so she probably felt she owed it to the city to make an appearance in the City of Festivals parade. Incidentally, The Facts of Life was one of the three or four shows my mother tried forbidding me and my sisters from watching during a brief period when she thought she needed to censor our TV viewing to avoid any exposure to talk of sex or... actually, I think it was just sex; I don't remember her considering any other offensive criteria as well. I know Golden Girls and Gimme a Break made that "forbidden or taboo" list, too, but none of the bans really lasted very long, if I recall.

  • Betty Aberlin: Our family photo albums include a picture of my pigtailed little sister sitting on Lady Aberlin's lap during a scheduled appearance at the Milwaukee County Zoo. She's beaming widely, looking star-struck and excited, not unlike how I look in the photo of me with Bob Schneider (see below). Incidentally, I think I need to re-watch Dogma one of these days, because that Wikipedia page lists it among Aberlin's credits, and I can't imagine what role she played in that. She was also in Jersey Girl, apparently (which makes me suspect Kevin Smith is a fan or a friend of hers), but no amount of curiosity will make me sit through that again.

  • Paul Molitor: I have never cared about baseball enough to even go to a game on my own, much less to stand outside afterwards in the hope of getting autographs from the players. I remembered seeing Molitor play for the Brewers at the one game my dad took me to back in '85, though, so when some friends and I went to his last game as a Twin in 1998, I agreed to hang out behind the Metrodome to catch a glimpse. He signed my ticket stub, which I would like to think might be worth something (it being the ticket from his final game and all), but the likelihood of my actually getting organized and proactive enough to find a buyer for such a thing is pretty damn slim, I'm sure.

  • Jim Creeggan (a.k.a. the red-headed bass-player from Barenaked Ladies): BNL played the very first concert at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center back in 2000. I remember three things in particular from that night: (1. The fact that the place was so clean and new and shiny, I saw someone actually brush off the seat-backs after stepping onto them; (2. St. Paul's Mayor Quimby trying to honor the band by presenting each member with Minnesota Wild jerseys, but butchering their names and having to refer to note cards to complete the transaction; and (3. Seeing a tall, lanky, curly red-haired guy dart across the street as we approached the arena and me and my friend Greg both turning to each other to ask, "Was that...?" We both decided we'd just seen Jim Creeggan run within ten inches across our path, but I have no real proof of the siting, of course.

  • Bob Schneider: You might not know who Bob Schneider, but really, I think you should. He is so much more than Big Blue Sea and Metal and Steel, the only songs of his that have gotten much radio play at all. He is witty and world-worn and wise, and did I mention he is h-o-t as well? Slightly skeevy, sure, but I would touch him anyway. I loves me a sexy man with a guitar. Anyway, at a show a few years ago, my friends Sarah and Lisa and I formed a "front-row alliance" with two girls nearby (one of whom was so fit she actually had a concave abdomen). After the show, we stood in line to meet Bob and get an autograph, and since none of us had a camera, Skinny Girl took a picture on hers and mailed it to me later. I subsequently found myself on her mailing list for lame-ass jokes and chain letters, but it was a small price to pay, I believe.

  • Douglas Coupland: I made mild and uneventful chit-chat with him while he signed my copy of Eleanor Rigby. ["That's Stefanie with an 'f'... S-t-e-f-a-n-i-e. Thanks!"] He seems like a cool guy, but I won't pretend there was anything more meaningful there than that.

  • John Edwards: I don't even particularly like this man, actually, but that didn't stop me and my friend Lisa from standing in a half-mile-long line to hear him speak at a campaign event at an area high school in 2004. I read a quote at that time that said something to the effect of, "The Dems could put a vacuum cleaner up against Bush, and we'd vote for it." How true, I thought; how true indeed. Anyway, Lisa snapped a picture of me shaking a sweaty-pitted, uber-enthusiastic Edwards's hand, and hence, I add him to the list.

  • Josh Hartnett: OK, so I got only within 30 feet of him at a DFL volunteer event the night before the 2004 election. I shook the Mayor of Minneapolis's hand that night, too, which is both less and more impressive at the same time. Funnier (to me) than any of this is when my then-friend Julie and I saw a guy at the Lake Calhoun Chipotle a couple years prior who looked just enough like Josh to make us wonder if he might be his brother. The boy is from Minneapolis, so it's possible, I suppose. We didn't interrupt the guy's burrito-eating to ask him, though, of course.

  • Sarah Vowell: Since she is my nerd-hero, I would like to say that I met Sarah at her reading at the U of M a year or so ago and we immediately became fast friends. In reality, I just handed her my books to sign, crossing my fingers that I wouldn't say anything stupid that would lower my entire city's esteem in her eyes. Apparently -R- was at this same reading, but since I didn't know who she was at the time, I don't think I noticed her there. The main thing I remember from this night was Sarah telling my friend from Rochester how impressed she was that he made the trip for her reading and suggesting that he check out the Kodak attraction in his town. Apparently she thought he meant Rochester, New York, not Minnesota, but like we were going to correct the venerable Ms. Vowell?

  • The Johns of TMBG: They must like kids a great deal to shift their focus to children's music the way they have, but the exhausted look Linnell and Flansburgh had at their performance and signing at an area Barnes & Noble last year made me really wonder how they're feeling about that choice.

OK. So I'll agree none of those sitings or near-meetings were terribly impressive or enviable at all. The truth is my friends have actually had much more luck in this department. Here is that list, for what it's worth...

  • My friend Sarah once won tickets to see Kenny G. and, not being a huge fan herself, ended up leaving halfway through the show. She left just after a break, however, when Mr. G. was making a re-entry from some balcony or side-entrance to the stage. He sprinted by her through a hallway, and she looked at him, stunned and confused, and said, "Hi, Kenny G.!" This story is much better told in person, with Sarah's abrupt and chipper intonation of those words, but since this is the Internet, that text-only reconstruction will have to suffice.

  • Since almost meeting one celebrity wasn't, apparently, enough, Sarah also met Vern Troyer (a.k.a. Mini-Me) at a bar in downtown Minneapolis one night. And she has the photos to prove it. Lucky girl...

  • My ex-boyfriend once saw Jennifer Love-Hewitt (you know--my near-identical twin?) and her entourage in an airport in I-forget-what-city. According to him, she was wearing cargo pants, a baggy hooded sweatshirt, and stiletto pumps, which, in my mind, begs all sorts of questions as to her state of mind and reasoning capabilities, but as I didn't have too high an opinion of her before this, there's really no sense getting into any of that right now.

  • My friend Lisa has some friends in LA who own a catering and takeout business of some sort. During a visit last year, an order came in, after which Lisa's friend turned to her and said, "Lisa, do you want to deliver this one for us?" Shortly thereafter, back in Minnesota, I got a text message saying, "Guess who just delivered takeout to Alanis Morissette? Me!!"

  • The same ex-boyfriend who almost met Jen Lo-Hew has a friend who took a solo bike tour out west last year, and at one point, said friend sent back photos of him and Lance Armstrong in a smiley, arms-on-each-other's-shoulders pose. Know who took the photo? Yes. Sheryl Crow. In obviously happier, more together sort of days. The day that photo was taken was actually just a day or two before Crow and Armstrong announced their short-lived engagement, but I'm pretty sure my ex's friend had nothing to do with either that or the subsequent breakup.

  • Al Franken has moved back to the Twin Cities recently (presumably to establish residency to qualify him for the 2008 Senate race in our state). I haven't run into him here yet, but my friend Carrie has--at a restaurant in South Minneapolis. As if we didn't already have proof that Carrie's life is more interesting than mine (she is, after all, the one whose job recently required her to have drinks with two Tantric sex experts). No fair, I say. No fair.


Darren McLikeshimself said...

I keep no lists. I write 'em as they come to me.

guinness girl said...

I love brushes-with-fame posts! Ooh, and yours reminded me of 3 more people! Awesome!

Josh Hartnett. Mrow.

stefanie said...

Darren--I wondered if anyone would remember by the time they reached the end of the post that I actually started with a question they could answer.

GG--Wow; you really ARE a magnet for famous people! As if your list wasn't already long enough?