Barnes & Noble
New York, NY
April 20, 2015
For the first time in its 63 year history, MAD Magazine had a guest editor, "Weird Al" Yankovic. The magazine wasn't set to be released until April 20, but it had leaked early and been on the shelves for about week, so by the time of the signing I had already purchased and read the magazine. I imagine magazines don't really stick to their on sale dates as strictly as albums as such.
Anyway, wristbands were supposed to be available starting at 10:00, so Jackie and I got up early, caught an 8:30 bus, and due to traffic and the rain, we pretty much arrived at Barnes & Noble right at 10:00. After we got our wristbands, they told us the signing was on the fourth floor and to come back to start lining up at 4:00.
The plan was to get breakfast and hit The American Museum of Natural History to pass time. On the recommendation of the bookstore's security guard, we settled on a little diner across the square, where after breakfast, one man talked to me for several minutes and insisted that I looked like country singer Willie Nelson. The diner had a bar in it, and judging by the way he stumbled from that direction before talking to me, I imagine that played a little role in his observation.
By then the rain really had picked up, but fortunately the subway stop was in sight of the bookstore and restaurant, so we didn't have to be out in it very long. Our plan almost fell apart when we arrived at the Museum Of Natural History and realized that every tourist and elementary school had the same idea to spend the rainy day indoors. The line to purchase tickets was literally around the block.
I figured that the shortest line would be at the Planetarium entrance, because not many tourists realize the Planetarium is actually a part of the museum and thus connected. Luckily there were only a few people waiting outside, and the security guard took pity on people because of the rain, and was letting people inside. Once inside we were able to access the gift shop where we weighed our options. We decided to wait on line because it was much shorter at the Planetarium and inside out of the rain. It was then that we noticed the kiosks where you could purchase tickets with a credit card had no line. So we went there and one minute later we had our tickets.
Once in, we started on the fourth floor with the dinosaurs and primitive and advanced mammals, and worked our way down to lower floors stopping to see the North American birds, African mammals, reptiles and amphibians, Asian mammals, and North American mammals, before we had to leave. For the amount of people outside, it didn't feel as crowded inside and overall it was a really nice time. Of course, I had been there before many times before, but I still have not seen everything, so another trip needs to be made in the future.
We stopped at a food truck for a snack, then headed back on the subway to Barnes & Noble. We got there about 4:30 and there was already a short line that had formed. Most people were sitting on the floor reading the magazine. By 6:00 the line had gotten pretty long. At about 6:15 John Ficarra and Al came out and after a brief promo session with photographers, started the signing. There were also a few other MAD Magazine people there, most notably Al Jaffee, who sat next to Jay Levey near the stage for about 15 minutes.
The line moved quickly and the event was very organized. The bookstore provided two photographers, and staff who helped get items ready for signing, and assisted with your bags and coats. The photographers were a plus, however one on my pictures came out blurry.
When it was my turn, Al said hello and we chatted a little bit. He commented how he liked my shirt, and asked how I was doing. I told him I would be attending 20 concerts this tour and he said that he better practice then. We talked a little bit more and then he asked if I wanted a picture.
As I was about to ask John for his autograph, Al told me to show John my tattoo. John then asked if I also had an Alfred E. Newman tattoo, which I replied that I didn't. He said there was plenty of room left on my leg if I wanted one. He was very friendly and he also posed with me for a picture.
It took Al a few moments to realize that Jackie was next in line, and Al commented to her that he should pay more attention and look up once in a while. After we were both done, the aisle we needed to walk down was blocked by Al Jaffee who was making his way out and chatting with a few fans.
By now it had stopped raining, so we walked to the nearest Outback Steakhouse. Yes, I know it is a chain and there are thousands of other restaurants in New York City to choose from, but it's tradition, that makes it okay. Also, we had a gift card. At Outback Steakhouse, we had the most absent-minded waitress ever. She asked me twice how I wanted my steak to be cooked and forgot to bring the blooming onion. But it was after she forgot me lobster tail, that I threatened her with a bad Yelp review (because I'm tacky)!