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My So-Called Whatever is a weekly 80's/90's nostalgia and NKOTB podcast based on awkward moments and experiences of two life-long friends and their listeners.

Step 138 - NKOTB Block Party #75: New Kids on the Block Fan Stories from Sarah, Alyssa, Jessica and Arienne

Step 138 - NKOTB Block Party #75: New Kids on the Block Fan Stories from Sarah, Alyssa, Jessica and Arienne

We have some amazing NKOTB fan stories this week! Sarah shares her NKOTB NYC Hangin’ Tough 30 Experience, Alyssa tells an amazing story about a very special Facebook video call from Donnie Wahlberg, Jessica writes us about her very first NKOTB concert, and Arienne shares a very special “Stay the Same” Joey McIntyre story from the late 90’s.

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Sarah’s NKOTB NYC Story

I heard that the New Kids on the Block were going to be doing some media in New York City for the release of their 30th anniversary edition of Hangin Tough. I wanted to go so bad! I instantly thought No, I can’t go. I have to work, I don’t have anyone to go with, I don’t have the money! All the reasons why not. 

The biggest reason is that I have an anxiety disorder. I hate going to new places and doing things that I haven’t done before. Plus I really don’t like New York City. There are so many people there with so much going on. It’s completely overwhelming for me. 

They guys were going to be on Good Morning America in Times Square, which meant I would be there at 3am all by myself. I couldn’t imagine that would be safe. Well, not as safe as I like to feel.  

I kept thinking about those tweets of Donnies that say #Wish. And all the ones he right about wishing and then doing. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about Luke Perry this week as well. I was SO EXCITED to hear about the 90210 reunion. It was my favorite show growing up and I was so happy to hear that everyone was getting back together. 

I couldn’t believe he was gone. I still can’t believe it. 

It’s things like that that make me want to live in the moment. Do the crazy things. Spend the money. Do something fun. 

So I did. 

I got up at 4am on Thursday, not on purpose. I was just so excited that I couldn’t sleep. I worked all day, til 5pm and then went home and tried to sleep. I don’t know if I did, but I think maybe I slept for an hour? 

I got dressed with a serious knot in my stomach. The nerves were rough to make it through. I almost didn’t go. I seriously was calculating the money I couldn’t get back. But I kept going. 

In situations like that where it’s something I want to do, but also don't want to do, I just keep telling myself Do the next thing. Just one. 

I took the T from my house to the South Station in Boston and got on the 9:30pm Amtrak train from Boston to New York. I tried to sleep on the train, but those seats are not made for that. Plus I had fixed my hair and knew I would not have a chance to fix it again before I saw the guys. I didn’t want it to be too big of a mess!

I arrived at Penn Station in New York at 2:30am. Let me tell you Penn Station is NOT a place for a single girl at 2:30am. Wow. I just kept my head down and kept walking. I caught an Uber over to Times Square and arrived at the Good Morning America studio by 2:45am. 

Now, for reference, I went to the Today Show in October when NKOTB were doing their tour announcement. I arrived there at 4am and WAS LATE. There had been people there since midnight. So I thought there would be people at GMA. Wrong! There was no one there at all. When a few girls finally did show up about 4am they said you had to have tickets and there was no space outside for people to stand who didn’t have tickets. (Which turned about to be wrong, but I didn’t find out until later, when it was too late.)

I was pretty disappointed, but at the same time I didn’t want to be on TV anyway. I had called in sick to my job, so being on TV was NOT an option. 

There was an autograph signing happening later across town and I knew from Twitter that there were people standing in line for that already. So I took an Uber across town and arrived at Sony at 4:30am. 

It was COLD! Like 20 degrees cold with a little bit of wind that hurt. And I was thoroughly NOT prepared. I got in line behind some girls that had blankets and heavy coats and 5 pairs of pants on. I had on one pair of pants, one pair of socks and tennis shoes that the wind went right through. My toes were so cold I couldn’t move them. 

Not too long after I got in line a couple of girls showed up behind me. They had a blanket and hand warmers. I envied them. Before long we started talking. They shared some hand warmers with me that I was so thankful to have. 

It’s so hard for me to make friends with people, but when you have something like this, something you would stand on the street at 3am in the bitter cold for, in common, it’s easier. We ended up having a lot in common, more than just NKOTB, and hung out all day. 

People ask me why I want to go to events like this, why I want to be a fan girl for a boy band. It’s not just about the boys. It's this! This is why! I’ve met some of the most amazing people through these guys. I’ve made more friends in the past 3 years through the New Kids than I have my whole life! It’s so much fun to find people you have things in common with. That’s what this whole craziness is all about!

We were miserable together for about 7 hours before we got to go inside the Sony Studios and get our coveted wrist bands. But we were so happy once we had them!

We took a short break to eat lunch. It was so nice to be inside a warm restaurant and sit down for a while. I finally got some feeling back in my hands and feet! 

We went back to get in line by about 2:15pm. The people running the event had told us not to come back until 3pm, but we wanted to be close to the front of the line. They were telling us the guys would sign up to 10 items for everyone. We just couldn’t see them doing that as Joe had to leave for his Broadway show and we knew all the guys would be tired. They had been up and going since 5am and had done so many interviews that day. 

So we got back at 2:15 and there were already a bunch of people in line, probably more than 50 in front of us. There was a rumor that Joe was only staying until 5pm. That had us worried. They were supposed to start signing at 4pm, but it’s the New Kids so they didn’t start until about 4:30pm. I was surprised they were only 30 minutes late. Thankfully we made it in before Joe had to leave.  

The guys were set up at a table in the lobby of the Sony Studio. The security people were only letting about 10 people go in at a time. When it was my turn I went through the revolving door and was pushed into a line that weaved through the lobby. 

I could see the guys as soon as I walked in. I had to take a second to realize that it was real, this was actually happening. After all of that waiting, all the cold, all the counting the seconds thinking we would never make it, there they were. There was Jordan, just sitting right there, looking adorable as usual. 

I have to say it’s kinda awkward for me to just stand there and stare at them, even if everyone else is doing it too. I want to just stare, mouth open and all. But it’s like when they are in front of you you realize they are people too and it gets weird! What do you say??? 

When it was my turn the security lady grabbed my record and CD cover from my hands. I must have given her a nasty look because she was like “It’s ok. I’m just gonna give it to the guys to sign it. You just walk down the table as they sign it.” Ok. I can do that. 

I said hi to Danny very awkwardly. He said hi back. 

Jon was next. I said “I can’t wait for your show on HGTV!” He said “Thanks!” with a big smile.Donnie was next. I told him I was waiting for him outside since 3am. He grabbed my hand and smiled, tilting his head like “Really? You’d do that for me?” It was really sweet. 

Joe was next. He’d already signed my album and moved it on to Jordan by the time I scooted down to him. He was looking at something so I touched his hand to get his attention. He jumped because my hand so freaking cold. But then he smiled at me and gave me a high five. 

The security lady was grabbing me and was pulling me out as Jordan finished signing my CD cover. He handed me my album and waved. I could only smile at him. Damn my nerves and shyness!! 

I was so happy though just to be there and experience it all for just a few minutes. It was 14 hours of being cold and miserable for an awkward “Hi” from Danny, a smiley “Thanks” from Jon, holding hands with Donnie, a high five from Joe and a wave from Jordan. Two minutes of happiness. Only a Blockhead would understand why that was totally worth it and why I’m ready to go do it all over again the next time they are in town! 

Once the moment was over we headed out. We were ready for a hot shower and bed! My new friends and I found a cab and went to Penn Station. I parted ways with them there. They were headed home and I was going to my hotel. 

I was so excited on the walk to my hotel that I didn’t want it to end. I had thought about buying tickets to see Joe’s Broadway show before, but I wasn’t sure that I would be up to it and I really didn’t have the money. But I didn’t want the day to end. So I bought the ticket anyway. 

I had enough time to check in to my hotel and freshen up a bit before heading over to the theater. It was only about 3 blocks from where I was staying thankfully. 

I’m so glad I went. The show was completely awesome! I’ve never been to a Broadway show and wasn’t sure what to expect, but I loved it and Joe was amazing!

I knew that Joe and the other cast members would come out and sign autographs after the show, so I wanted to hurry to get outside. But my cheap ticket put me in the corner of the theater almost all the way to the top. I tried to hurry as much as I could without being rude. It was DIFFICULT!. 

When I got outside there was no room by the barrier. I made a spot kinda between and behind 2 girls close to the end. I didn’t know if Joe would even come out because he had had such a long day already, but I hoped anyway. It took about 30 minutes, but he did come out! AND he took the time to sign autographs and take selfies with everyone there!!! 

When he got to me I handed him my phone and he took a selfie. Then he looked at the picture and started changing settings on my phone. I said, “It’s ok” and he’s like “No, I think we need some flash.” Then he took 2 more selfies and looked at them. “There you go. That’s better” he said as he handed the phone back to me. I was surprised he took so much time doing that. It was really nice of him. 

I gave him my playbill to sign and while he signed it I said “I was waiting for you guys at 3am.” He’s like “oh!” with a shocked look on his face. I said “it was so fucking cold!” He said  “Yeah! Wow!!! Did I see you there?” I said “Yeah, I touched your hand and you jumped because my hand was so cold. “ He said “I’m sorry!” I said “It’s ok.” He said “Thank you for coming! Thank you!” I said “Of course!” And he gave me this huge smile.

It was the perfect way to end the day. I walked back to my hotel in a daze. The hot shower I took that night, after all that time in the cold, was the best feeling ever. Then I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. 

People always ask me who my favorite New Kid is. It’s Jordan really… I think… I mean it was and then I had a moment with Donnie and now I’ve had this time with Joe. I think the reason that I love the New Kids so much is that each one of them is special to me. Even though I do like Jordan so much, I really love them all.

It could be because I’ve yet to have a special moment with Jordan. But I keep hoping… I’m putting it out there in the universe, like Donnie says to do. #Wish 

Alyssa’s “A Moment Like This” - Sorry Kelly Clarkson, but I had to - July 15, 2018

Dear Nikki and Brooke,

I have taken a quick time out of writing my New Kids OG Stories to write about a very special moment that happened last summer. In fact, it’s probably my favorite New Kids moment to date.  I know that everyone in the community is waiting on the edge of their seats for Chapter 4, my next installment (LOL!), but I really felt the need to write about this moment now.  With all of the New Kids news and events of the past few weeks and the tour launching in a few days (EEEEK!), my heart is bursting at the seams with happiness. I couldn’t help but be reminded of exactly how I felt the day the following happened...

A Moment Like This (Sorry, Kelly Clarkson, but I had to) July 15, 2018

Last summer in order to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club in Dorchester, MA, Donnie hosted an AirBnB event coined Flip Wahlburgers with Donnie.  This intimate event was originally to host five lucky guest for an afternoon of touring Boston, flipping burgers, and getting serious FaceTime with our fearless Captain.  Obviously, it sold out before most Blockheads knew about the event, so Donnie, being Donnie, opened up the event to two more lucky guests. Long story short, I spent countless hours on multiple days hitting the refresh button on the AirBnB website any available moment I had.  In fact, my index finger got a little sore which was very similar to how sore my thumb got after my first experience playing Nintendo when it first came out. I’m pretty sure that I was in good company on those few days; I know for certain that I probably wasn’t the only one doing that (LOL!).  It was futile, but fun...what I wouldn’t have done to be on that party bus!? I was not the lucky Blockhead to scoop up those last two tickets, but I am a very fortunate to know the person who did. She’s become a very close friend over these past few years.  I couldn’t think of a more deserving person to go on this once in a lifetime journey with her favorite New Kid, Donnie. In addition, she’d be bringing her life-long BFF. I was more than happy for these two women who so graciously took me under their wings when I went to my first VIP alone in 2015. Their unforgettable day with Donnie is their story to tell, and I hope that they are able to share it with the group someday because it is unbelievable in the most believable way since Donnie was involved.  He is magic, and I’m pretty sure he will #StayMagical (right, Nikki?).

On the day of the AirBnB trip, my heart was so full of excitement for my deserving friends.  I just couldn’t believe people I knew snagged the tickets and would be Hangin’ Tough in Beantown with Donnie.  Throughout the day, I got a few updates via Facebook Messenger. I felt very lucky and “part of the trip” because I was a little bit in the know, haha :)  Having the inside scoop felt pretty special. What happened toward the end of the day is where my small moment came into play. My husband, two daughters, and I were able to spend a rare Sunday together as my husband usually has to work weekends.  As we were taking a “Sunday” drive around the backroads in the suburbs of Massachusetts so the girls could nap; my phone began to ring in a VERY unusual way. I was extremely caught off guard because A) I had never heard this ringtone before and B) I always, ALWAYS turn off my ringer when my girls are sleeping.  It was so odd; I had no idea what was up until I realized it was a Facebook Messenger video call from my friend who got the tickets. I didn’t even realize you could make calls through Facebook! Anywho, I was excited to catch up with her about what had happened that day...all the juicy details, if you will. I answered the call expecting to see her glowing face but all I saw was a vehicle floor and all I heard is “Alyssa, Alyssa...Hold on, Alyssa…”  OMFG!  It wasn’t my friend’s voice; it was DONNIE’s.  Hearing my name come out of that man’s mouth was heavenly! My friend had asked Donnie to give me a call to say “Hello!”  I couldn’t frickin’ believe Donnie was on a video call with me. I kept my cool although I was dying inside. He was amazingly kind and gracious as always. It meant the world that he called me, but even more that my family was there by my side as we were having very rare family time together.  Donnie invited my husband to say hello and asked to see my two snoozing kiddos in the back seat. He was so easy to talk to and made me feel comfortable and calm. At the time, I wasn’t able to fill in my daughters on what had happened because they are such huge fans and would have been so bummed that they slept through the whole thing.  To this day, I still can’t believe that I got that call and will certainly never forget it. I am also forever grateful to my friend for making this awesomeness happen to me on her special trip; that girl is a “good egg”! Attached is the video that was taken from inside the party bus when the call was happening. I’ve also attached several screencaps Donnie took during the call to capture my family’s moments with him on that afternoon.  This man never ceases to amazing me!

Donnie, if you are listening because I’m pretty sure you do from time to time, I am sharing these thoughts with you feeling a myriad of emotions.  Probably with the same roller coaster of emotions I feel when approaching a meet and greet...eager, nervous, anxious, excited, nostalgic, happy, thankful…and so on.  Although you and I have met a few times, we do not “know” one another on a personal level (at least not yet!), but I’m pretty certain that if we did you’d still be one of the best humans on the face of this planet in my humble opinion.  Donnie, you are a remarkable being. I would like to thank you for being you; open minded and inclusive. You have this incredible way of making each and everyone of your fans or anyone around you feel important and loved. Your energy and enthusiasm are contagious, while your generosity is second to none.  You reek of positivity and that shit sprinkles like confetti! Simply put, you impact lives in ways you can’t even imagine and it’s beautiful. Your example restores my faith in humanity and reminds me of what is truly important every day. Thank you, Mr. Wahlberg! The whole BH family thanks you I’m sure!

In conclusion, I have made many amazing New Kids’ memories over what has almost been my lifetime.  Each moment adds to this breathtaking giant mosaic of New Kids’ love painted in my heart. I am forever grateful for having Donnie and the rest of the #BoysInTheBand in my life.  NKOTB is one of my happy places; and when I think about them, read about them, watch them on TV, or am around them; it feels like home/family #bhfamilia.

I know I got a little emotional in there, but it is what it is!  All Love! Hmmm...maybe I should’ve entitled this piece Call It What You Want? Thanks for sharing my story again!

Lots and Lots of BH Love,


Jessica’s FIRST NKOTB Concert!

I went to my first nkotb concert here in Utah on June 6th.  I got to the venue way early.  I was walking around for a while.  While I was sitting down outside.  I saw Danny Sr, a few steps from me. I should have gotten a picture.  I heard him talk to someone from here. I am kicking myself for not getting a picture.  I was wearing my nkotb tshirt, some girl was admiring my shirt.  While waiting inside to give my ticket to get in. I saw Danny's daughters walk past us.  Boy there was a lot of people there.  I got pushed a few times. I found my seat easily. I was really close to b stage. I got to see Jordan and Donnie really close. I was so happy that I got to see nkotb.  I am 44 now,  I have loved nkotb since I was 13. I am enclosing a picture from my first nkotb concert.  Here is two pictures from b stage. I will be going again. 

Arienne’s My Joey MAC Story


I just wanted to share my Joey mac story with you ladies!

So when he released the album Stay The Same, my friends and I went crazy for it. I had been a fan since I was a wee child. Seriously, my parents got me tickets to see NKOTB on the 6th bday.
So when Joey did his thing solo, we were all about it. 
I grew up on Cape Cod. There is a tiny venue there called the Melody Tent. It has some pretty huge names that come in the summer, which is amazing because there are no bad seats. It’s always an incredible show. 
Turns out Joey was coming to the Melody Tent the summer that I was 16. So of course my friends and I got tickets. 
Come the day of the show, we get there....walk to our seats...and we are in the FRONT ROW!! It was amazing! We screeched and screamed through the whole show. 
While the show is going on my friend Jen, who is the BIGGEST, DIE HARD Joey fan that I know, brought her Joey doll from the New Kids era. (The Barbie sized ones). The doll was completely naked, but she waved it around pretty much in his face the whole show. So. Show is over, Joey leaves the stage. As we are walking out, a member of his team runs up to us and says “Joey wants to know if he can have the doll. Here, you can have his sweat towel and water bottle.” Of course she traded it! Looking back, we should have asked to meet him if he wanted to have the doll, but we were all so shocked that she just kind of said “ok!!”. She kept that towel and water bottle displayed in her room for YEARS. We lost touch, but I’m willing to bet she still has it. I’m sending along some pix from the night. 

Thanks for all you girls do for the fandom! 
Your fellow Mainer,

Step 139 - The Nineties - S1E1: The One About TV (Part 1)

Step 139 - The Nineties - S1E1: The One About TV (Part 1)

Step 137 - Clueless Rewatch

Step 137 - Clueless Rewatch