Posts Tagged ‘MLE’

I’ve meet most of the famous people that have influenced my life in a positive way, and it’s not by accident.  For the first time ever, I’m divulging my tactics on how to meet celebrities, including artists, athletes, and other inspirational, culturally significant folks.  You may say, “hey Cam, what’s this got to do with SURVIVAL?”  Well, I believe meeting legends improves you as a person, and at the end of the day, all you can hope for is that you are better than the day before.

I think I got hooked on approaching stars in my childhood, when I stalked Portland Trail Blazer players after games with my dad.  They’d be gingerly strolling to their luxury cars, and I’d go in for the kill.  I offered them a basketball to sign with my Sharpie.  Any good autograph seeker knows to bring their own fresh permanent pen.  Nothing is worse that standing in front of your hero trying to bum a pen for a signature.  I caught up to Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, Terry Porter, Buck Williams, and the rest of the old school Blazers.  I remember weaseling close enough to the locker room entrance too, so that I could high five all the players as they ran out on the court.  After that, I didn’t wash my hand for a week.  My mom made me in the end.

I learned as a kid how to approach cool people.  First I would say something like, “Hey, I’m a big fan.  I just wanted to say hi, and ask for you autograph.”  They usually obliged, but I’ve had more than my fair share of epic snubs.  More on that in a second.  Basically, if you see a celebrity, be chill like them.  I offer up a compliment, but don’t go overboard.  Plus, I tell them something about myself, that they can relate to.  I find common ground.  For instance, when I went up to UFC star Chael Sonnen at an amateur MMA event, I shook his hand and told him I was also an Oregon Duck.  Then I mentioned being a ring announcer for mixed martial arts fights in Seaside, Oregon.  I told him maybe I would announce his name one day in the octagon.  I had his attention, and he was happy to pose for a picture, and sign an autograph for me.  I have more autographs than a memorabilia dealer.  Meeting athletes is easy.  Catch them before or after the event, and be polite.

I’ve been snubbed by stars too.  Jack Nickalus passed me by.  Arnold Palmer told me he had signed enough autographs that day.  But the biggest snub of all-time comes from the punk Greg Oden.  This Blazer washout walked by me on Burnside in Portland, while I was talking on my phone.  I hung up, and casually approached him while waiting for a crosswalk light to change.  We were the only ones on the block.  I said, “hey Greg, I’m a big fan (lie), and I just wanted to say hi and shake your hand.”  Greg Oden looked me up and down, and then looked away, not saying a word.  I backed up slowly proclaiming, “Greg Oden just snubbed me!”  Then I yelled for all of PDX to hear, “Greg Oden is too good for the world!!!”  The realest thing I’ve ever said.  I told that story on my radio show on the Oregon Coast.  I still plan to burn his basketball card on camera.  It will never be worth anything. 

Most celebs aren’t goons, so don’t be afraid to go up to them.  One of my favorite encounters was when I slept on the street in Los Angeles to have a chance as a contestant on The Price is Right.  I went during spring break right after I turned 18.  It took 14 hours of waiting in line before I stormed CBS Studios and sat front row, one seat over from Contestant’s Row.  I didn’t play any pricing games that day, but I did have a long conversation with Bob Barker himself.  He towered over me, high on the stage.  During a commercial break I had the courage to raise my hand and ask him a question, but not a stupid one.  I’m sure he’d been asked during every damn taping about when he is doing Happy Gilmore 2.  I could tell Bob was sick of that comment, so I buttered him up like hot corn on the cob.  He read my price tag name tag, “Yes Cameron.”  I said, “Bob, after all these years, how do you look so good, and stay so fit?”  Perfectly executed.  He rambled for 5 minutes about his days in the military, and training, and so on, then went back to the show.  However, to my surprise, when he was way across the stage during the next break he said, “anyways Cameron, back to your question.”  I still have that yellow price tag sticker with my name on it.

I could go on all day about the well-known people I’ve met.  Mainly, you just need to be on the lookout.  Get very familiar with the faces of people you appreciate.  Be ready to approach, and try to know their schedule.  When I worked at the mall running a kiosk, I had mini football helmets stocked, so I could throw up my back in whenever I feel like it sign, and get that autograph.  This was in Eugene, and athletes from Oregon and around the country shopped there.  I even had one foot by one foot sections of hardwood floor on standby for basketballers to sign.  I remember bothering U of O sensation Luke Jackson for an autograph when I finally hunted him down in Macy’s.  He said, “what do you just carry pieces of wood around?”  I said yes, but he scribbled on one anyway.  I met comedian Carlos Mencia in the mall too, and Steve “The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin’s family.  My picture with Bindi Irwin is classic.

This is getting long, but the point is that you can meet influential people too.  Have guts, be ready, and meet them with confidence.  Gifts don’t hurt either.  I once went to legendary Air Jordan shoe designer Tinker Hatfield’s pad with a house warming gift.  I crashed his party, but he invited me in anyways.  I gave him the best ceramic vase I’d ever made.  He put it on his mantle, and gave me a 45 minute tour.  Just goes to show you that if you appreciate others, they will appreciate you.  I can’t imagine the person I’d be if I hadn’t met the people that inspire me to go hard.  The World is yours.  Don’t let anybody bring you down.  Meeting famous people is your God given right.

Meeting Famous PeopleFrom top left: Cameron McKirdy with Haloti Ngata (NFL), Joey Chestnut (#1 Pro Eater), Aston Eaton (#1 athlete on Earth), Bindi Irwin (Freed Willy), Chael Sonnen (UFC), Badlands Booker (rapper, competitive eating champion), Joey Harrington (Oregon Duck QB), Erick Lindgren (#1 poker player in the world), Terrell Brandon (NBA All-star)

The McKirdy Bros Professionally Eating Ribs

The McKirdy Bros Professionally Eating Ribs

Times are tough, for many people this isn’t the first time they’ve struggled to make ends meet. I’d like to humbly share a time in my life my frugality took a dark but interesting turn. It was 2008 and I was a student at the University of Oregon. My major was international studies and so, in a way I was honing my skills for a life of financial hardship. I was “in between jobs” as they say, and while I had saved enough money to still afford rent, my savings were diminishing fast. Food was expensive. I had contributed to society, paid my taxes for long enough for me to feel less guilty about what I was scheming. I looked to the homeless for inspiration and I found none. “They are doing it all wrong” I said to myself.
 
I had long been a fan of free food so I started brainstorming of all the past places food was a plenty. Buffets. Breakfast buffets. Continental breakfasts. The Holiday Inn Express was closest to my house, so that’s where I first walked in as confidently as possible, to a hotel I’ve never been in before. Oatmeal. Apples. Oranges. Muffins. It was a beautiful display of food not meant for me, which made it even more exciting. I had my backpack on me because my Spanish class was in a half an hour. I ate what I could, and opened my bag to shove a bundle of bananas in. I took an extra muffin for my friend because he was broke like me, and as it turns out I’m very generous with other people’s food. This went on for a while. So long that I started to rank the hotels. Phoenix Inn had apple juice and hot chocolate so I gave it a B+. But breakfast was only one meal out of the suggested 3 a day. I had started noticing official University of Oregon food golf carts zipping around campus. I was lucky enough to have experienced this before at catered public events and so I knew they had the goods. One day in between classes I saw a green cart zip right in front of me and if it were possible I would have jumped right on the back and followed it to wherever it was going, but I had to be more inconspicuous. So, I ran. Calmly. Like I was late for a class across campus. Finally the cart stopped in front of the law building. Taking from future lawyers was alright by me. I wasn’t stealing. I was taking something being offered just not to me. Oh was it delicious. The pasta was seasoned and covered in feta cheese and oil. I was in heaven. The breakfasts and occasional catered meal kept me for only so long. I did some grocery shopping rather often to buy my bulk items of hummus, rice, beans and oats. Cheap nutritious foods. I was at Whole Foods when I noticed a bread man checking the dates of each loaf and then collecting the ones that were about to expire. I striked up a  conversation and he told me that he could give me some just not in the store. He told me to meet him out back. A couple of minutes later he was noticeably more casual with me. He didn’t care about the bread. So I took all that I could. Six loaves of organic whole wheat bread. It only lasted me a few days. 
 
Turns out he gave the rest to the Eugene food pantry, but they always had plenty of bread from other donations besides his company. I looked into the pantry and I qualified. I rode my bike to the pantry, and again only had my backpack. They told me to go outside and they would bring me my food allowance. They rolled out a two level push cart full of canned foods, cold milk and other dairy products including a very cheap pint of chocolate ice cream. I could only carry about a quarter of what I was alloted. I wouldn’t have eaten most of the other stuff any way because it was full of MSG, salt and I knew it would taste awful. 

Eventually I was able to get a job and save up some money so I didn’t have to go to all the trouble, but I had a good run. Without all the ways I found to get free food I am sure I would have started charging groceries on a credit card. I hope I don’t have to do it again, but it is nice to know that sometimes beggars can be choosers if you’re smart enough. I am very thankful for each and every free bite to this day. 

Andrew McKirdy

Andrew Scoring Free Organic Bread

Andrew Scoring Free Organic Bread