Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little Zelda's trip to Southern Comfort, part seven

Addenda, thoughts, and What It All Means:

The package I left with the hotel to be shipped off on the Monday after SCC? I call Tuesday after checking the UPS web tracking and find out that no, it's still there because nobody gave it to the driver. They manage to get it on a truck Wednesday, and it was back in town by the weekend.

The nail salon in Atlanta that I love and forgot to name? Classic Nail, 4772 Ashford Dunwoody Rd.; the phone number is (770) 392-9135. Really, they did an excellent job and my nails still looked great the entire trip.

I have mixed feelings about the hotel this year. Because I used my Priority Club points to pay for part of my stay, I got upgraded to the Club Floor for free. I don't think I would have paid extra for the privilege, but it was nice. The room was great-the AC worked perfectly, very comfortable and clean. The water pressure in the shower was sometimes an issue, as was the temperature, but you could never find a pattern to the issue.

And the toilet kept flushing itself. I had to talk to the desk twice about fixing it, and the maintenance person who came up to fix it thought I'd called about a blocked toilet. Nice, people. I should not complain about the parking, since it is free if you do it yourself. But the garage is too small-I was almost unable to find a spot in it, and the valets were not very helpful.

Do I like the hotel? I've gotten used to it, but I miss the old place. It was closer to the center of town, and most of the places I wanted to go to were nearby. But it's no longer an option; now a W Hotel, there are not enough rooms for SCC.

I saved this to come back and finish it, and of course I published the frelling thing instead. So here's the rest of my post...

I've said before that I was thinking that this was going to be my last SCC. This year, I haven't felt the kind of anticipation or excitement that I usually do before the event. The SCCLounge was more of a chore than ever, and a few things happened that did not help my mood. People have been telling me they aren't going anymore. They don't feel like it's worth going to; they've gotten everything out of it they can; it's focused on things they aren't interested in; they're fed up with the "community."

And probably the first two days at SCC, I was still feeling that way. And then I started talking to people, and getting back into a "groove" at the event. It made me feel like there was something more there. Are there problems with SCC? Yes, but they can be fixed. The health fair was a good start; making AIDS/STD awareness an integral part of the programming should be continued. The "Princess Day" was a great idea, and needs to continue. There needs to be more discussion about the direction the convention is going to take. And more openness, less leaving people in the dark and wondering what's going on...

I've seen too often that people feel like they are being marginalized and not part of the "community" for a lot of reasons. There has always been the transsexuals who are on the One True Path to their "wholeness" who regard anyone who is not TS as fake. There are crossdressers who don't give a damn about the issues of transsesuals, and transsexuals who think crossdressers can't understand them. Transmen are often ignored because there's this concept that they have it easier than MTF's. And that's only part of it.

I don't have any answers. I screwed up enough this year. I was supposed to meet up with people and didn't because I got caught up in my own thing, and I feel bad about that. I don't want to be a flake, but I was one this year. I've tried to apologize to those concerned and hope that they're gracious enough to forgive me.

I did have a good time. There were some great moments-Wednesday at the mall, shopping and being a model. Dinner with a friend Thursday night and finding out that she's more fabulous than I thought. Getting a makeover Friday and looking fabulous and feeling blissed. Finding that I still had that goth girl inside and she's still fierce, and getting to see someone who I really wish I could keep more in touch with. And going to the Barber Museum and seeing motorcycles and cars I only knew from photos.

So yeah, I'll be back.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Little Zelda's trip to Southern Comfort, part six

Continuing the adventures, almost done...


Southern Comfort ends for me when I take the polish off of my nails. Getting a manicure and pedicure is one of the first things I do when I get to Atlanta. I can look down at my hands and see pretty nails and it reminds me that I'm Here, not There...

Taking a shower, doing just a minimal shave (I haven't done any kind of hair killing so I shave. A lot. And after a week...). Putting on drab for the first time in days always feels odd for a few minutes. No bra, just a wife beater under my shirt. No panties, briefs. Jeans that don't fit as closely, boy socks, Chucks...I'm now in my other drag-the one that lets me pass all the time. A part of me sighs...

Packing up took far less time than usual. Partly because a good part of my stuff was going back in a box, and that was just repacking it (and tossing a few things in to make sure my luggage weight was down). I know how backed up the bellmen will be-everyone wants to check out at the same time, and we bring a lot of stuff with us. I take my suitcase and hanging bag down to the car, since that's easy. When I am going back to the room I see a bellman on his way up and ask how long it'll take to get someone to pick up a box from my room; he says he'll be right there.

A half hour later, I give up and carry a forty-five pound box to the elevators and then to the bell stand, sign a form so it will be picked up on Monday (I've already put a prepaid shipping label on the box, and the hotel has a regular pickup) and drop it off. Turn in my room keys, see a few people I know in the lobby and say goodbye.

One of the more interesting things to do on the Sunday after SCC is to play "Spot the T-Girl;" see if you can recognize someone when they aren't looking their best, that is. I usually do pretty well with the game. Today, there's not a lot of people checking out yet so I leave without getting to play.

Since my flight was out of Birmingham later that afternoon, and I had plenty of time, I went to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. It's located on the grounds of Barber Motorsports Park, just outside Birmingham in Leeds. I've always wanted to visit the collection. I like vintage motorcycles, and old racing cars, and the Barber has both in numbers. I'm an admitted gearhead, which surprises people for some reason.

The museum is big, but you can hit the highlights in two hours (which is what I had) with enough left to want to come back to spend a far more leisurely afternoon. There were two motorcycles I really wanted to see. First was the Britten. The first time I saw a picture of one, I couldn't imagine anyone ever building a more perfect motorcycle. It was the vision of one man, New Zealander John Britten, who wanted to create a V-twin racing motorcycle that was more advanced than anything built to that point. And he did it. Seeing it in person, all the incredible details, how it had just enough, no more...You know how you dream of something and fear that in person it'll be so much less? This was better.

The other motorcycle was more classic: the Vincent Black Lightning. Besides being the subject of one of my favorite songs, Vincent built the first superbikes. If you love sport bikes, you have to love Vincent. Seeing one, in all black and chrome and perfect, was worth the trip. Seeing a whole range of them was fantastic.

The Barber has a wide range of bikes-everything from the earliest to some of the newest, from utilitarian to art works. And cars-a tribute to John Surtees, the only man to ever win world championships on two and four wheels. It also has the largest collection of Lotus racing cars anywhere. By the time I left, I'd taken a ton of photos and memories to get me through my post-SCC downfall, I'd hoped.

I know, geeky car stuff in the middle of my SCC post, get over it...

Birmingham Airport has become a favorite-it's small enough to have everything close by. Dropping the car off and then walking across the road to the check-in counter-and no lines. I was there early enough to get something to eat (overpriced of course), and I'd already pre-checked in so it was wait for the plane and go home. We landed on time, baggage was off the plane quickly and I got to my car and back to the house sooner than I'd expected.

Oh, and I had managed to leave my iPod in the car. Nissan Versas have a little compartment over the vents that is perfect for putting your iPod in when it's connected to the stereo. And to be ignored when you're cleaning the car out. I call Hertz, leave a message, and totally expect not to see the thing again. Which is disappointing because it had been a Christmas present from the family. It's not new (4th generation), but it works fine for my needs and it's how I listen to music when I'm not at home. I haven't gotten used to using my Droid for that yet. I do hear from someone Monday, give them my info, and pretty much expect that's that.

Until Wednesday, when I get a call. They have my iPod, and need my credit card number to send it back. I eagerly give it, along with my mailing address. It's there in a couple of days, and I'll forgive them for the crappy packing (a sheet of bubble wrap that it slipped out of but the case protected it). So, Hertz in Birmingham Airport are good people.

Whew. I was going to sum things up in this post, but I think I'll do one more.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Little Zelda's trip to Southern Comfort, part five

The story continues...


The "big day" at Southern Comfort. Saturday is things like the pool party, the big cocktail party, the formal dinner, keynote and entertainment. It's the last day, and everyone makes the most of it...

I got up at a reasonable (for me) hour, skipped the seminars. Instead, socialized and went back to Perimeter Mall to pick up some make up. Remember the faux Bebe watch I saw Wednesday? It was still there and the owner of the stall was ready to haggle. I paid him about what I expected to-less than his tag price-and we were both happy. Tried to find some boots at Nordstrom but their size choices were limited. I guess all their big shoes end up in Dallas...

I went to a mall on a Saturday alone. And had no problems. I know people who would never, ever imagine going to anyplace beyond their own comfort zone-their home, their support group, etc. Maybe that's okay for them, but I need to do more. I've stopped finding bars that much fun anymore. But going out to dinner? Shopping? Yes.

Oh, and I broke another pair of sunglasses. Yes, cheap ones, don't cry over them but at this rate I ought to just buy one nice pair and keep track of them...

I'd decided when I was packing for the trip that I was going to wear a nice little black dress for Saturday night. I didn't have a ball gown, my sequined dress has a rip in it, and I didn't want to buy something new. Simple, right?

And then I go to the vendor's room and talk to the owner of Timeless Trends because I wanted a new corset.  Out of curiosity I tried on an overbust style corset. I don't usually get overbust styles because, well, I don't have a lot up there without some additions. But then I tried on one that had a smaller cup size and I got an idea...

So, throw out the planned outfit for dinner. And decide that my little inner goth is going to come out. Because, well, I'd been such a good girl all week. Kinda.

Now, if you're wondering how a somewhat flat-chested person fills out the top of a corset? Tape, makeup, padding, and that corset certainly help. A fishnet bodystocking conceals enough but still gives you the illusion of showing off. A lace layered skirt from Torrid, black patent boots from Electrique Boutique. Finish the look with a black and red streaked wig, dark eyes and red lips (MAC Russian Red, thank you). Take a step back, and yeah, this works.

The look worked-lots of compliments. Not formal, kinda wild, but you know, I liked it.

Dinner was not bad, the end-of-the-conference thank yous were brief, and we had a break until the night's entertainment arrived so we all took a break in the bar, got drinks, and chatted. Oh, and I stole a rose from the centerpiece and hid it someplace nobody would ever notice:

Don't tell, okay? 

The entertainment was ventriloquist Mark Merchant, who had flown in from Italy (he was doing shows on a cruise liner). I'm not a huge fan of the art, but he was funny and his first couple of puppets were fun. And then he brings out his last one, an older lady.

Named Zelda Rose. Really. 

Okay, I knew about this because people had been wanting to tell me about this so I wouldn't be upset. And of course, other people did NOT want me to know so I'd be surprised. Neither group was pleased because I really did take it in stride. Actually, Mark was far more surprised when I introduced myself after the show!

And FYI, "Zelda Rose" is less unique than I thought. She's a Muppet. She's also a twenty-three year old model. And a training manager in South Africa. There are twenty-seven Zelda Rose's on Facebook. Among others. But as far as I have been able to learn I am the only TG Zelda Rose, and that pleases me. 

Afterward, I drove over to The Jungle for the Skin Two Ball. I was only going because I needed to get out of the hotel for a while, and I was dressed appropriately. These aren't usually my kind of things to go to; unless you are going with a group you know it's not much fun. You get to see lots of fetishwear and pretty people but you can't socialize much. I did show up, waited in a very long line to get in, found a friend who was there and who told me that someone I'd been hoping to see was there-and that I needed to know exactly what they were wearing...

So I walked around until I found a pair of latex aliens (catsuits, hoods with breathing apparatus) and told the shorter one "I know you." She shrieked my name and gave me a hug; we hadn't seen each other in years but it was like yesterday. She took her hood off and still looks fabulous (even sweaty!). She's a prodomme, and no I won't tell you who she is. 

There was one downside-she'd had a bit to drink and frankly it was hard keeping her focused. But she's a nice drunk, and her friends were going to make sure she got home. We did reexchange contact info so hopefully we'll keep in better touch! After that, I lost interest after being blown off by someone who was more interested in their own attention, made my goodbyes and left. Spent a little while talking to people but ended my night earlier than I'd thought...

Next, Sunday, travel, and what did we learn. Really.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


I didn't go to GEAR; simply not into going this time. We celebrated the twenty-first birthday of my stepson, in a uniquely family way. We don't do huge, elaborate things; dinner at a favorite place with friends of the family. This is an on-call week for my spouse, which means lots of things go out the window. We do not make plans for call weeks...

One interesting thing from the birthday dinner. I was sitting next to a friend who had never seen me en femme until last Saturday at Beyond Vanilla.* He did not at first realize that was me! He did however compliment me; thought I looked lovely that night. I thanked him; always nice to get a compliment. I forget that not everyone has seen me that way.

* No, I did not go to the birthday dinner en femme.