Don Sterling – Banned for How Long?

Wait just a minute America!  You’re applauding what?

Yes, LA Clippers owner Don Sterling is an ass and he won’t be hanging out at Casa Seleena any time soon but really?  A recording of a private phone call between he and his girlfriend gets him banned from the NBA for life, causes him to lose his franchise AND gets him a $2+ million fine?

He made no hateful public statements.  He doesn’t appeared to have treated anyone poorly. In fact, he was scheduled to receive an award from the NAACP.  Bringing the wrath of the politically-correct down on him because of a private conversation is like punishing him for the way he thinks, in my opinion.

Yes, racism is despicable but the day we start punishing people for the way they think is the day we are officially living in an authoritarian Orwellian world.  And all other freedoms mean nothing.

And yet when Jay-Z wears a symbol publicly that symbolizes an ideology that claims “White people are the devil”,  he only “raises eyebrows”?  Really?  That’s all?

So racism doesn’t work in both directions.

I listened to the entire TMZ phone recording and honestly didn’t see the cause for all the alarm.  Yes, he’s an asshole but to many people out there, you and I are assholes too.  His issue with “black people” seemed more related to a concern about having to deal with the perceptions of his peers regarding the behavior of an NBA owner’s girlfriend. 

He, himself, is in a bi-racial relationship.  How many bigots can claim that?

If you see a bandwagon, it’s too late.” ~ James Goldsmith

How much money did his girlfriend receive from TMZ for distributing his thoughts which were certainly recorded without his permission?  Honestly, this was a very private discussion within the couple .. emotions were running high and both were speaking “off the cuff”.

Sometimes we have to put aside the smaller stuff in favour of the big stuff.  This was small stuff.  But freedom of thought is huge.

Your comments?

“Fresh Look” Invisible Stick-On Bra

Cleavage in photo not from the bra being reviewed
Cleavage in photo not from the bra being reviewed

Being a tgirl has it’s advantages (haha!) when it comes to style and the creating the appearance we strive for. We have no life long attachment to our girlish physique and therefore can be very flexible without it feeling weird (lots of irony in that statement!).

I’m a girl who’s always felt we have the somewhat unique opportunity to make the boobs match the outfit .. not vise versa.  Wearing a top or dress that could use a little more “fullness”?  No problem!  Use larger breastforms!  Front buttons about to pop?  Smaller boobies!

Unlike many women, I don’t identify with a particular cup size.  Sometimes I’m a D, sometimes I’m a C and sometimes I’m just me (barely an A).   So it surprises me that I hadn’t paid much attention to those self-stick cup-only bras made famous by Nu Bra and their ads in the media.

But while at an event recently, a discussion about these little wonders and their ability to assist in cleavage creation came up.  “But don’t pay $70 each for one.  Walmart sells them for $20”, I was told.

Harris K Telemacher (Steve Martin): I could never be a woman, ’cause I’d just stay home and play with my breasts all day. – L.A. Story

So shortly after I came home,  the Fresh Look version appeared on my favorite designer sell-off site at 2 for $19.99 (beige and black) so I bought the pair.  Not Nu Bra .. Fresh Look.

Not knowing what to expect and how they really fit, I had no idea what size would be right for me.  Could I wear the bra over breastforms? Were they a me-only deal?  I decided to try a C cup.

Well, it turned out that the entire cup is adhesive inside and quite sticky (at least when new) so I don’t think I’d risk sticking them to $200 forms.

So here goes!  Right after my shower, no lotion this time, I separated the cups, peeled back the protective plastic film on the beige one, turned  it inside out as recommended and aligned the center of  the cup with my nipple. Smoothed it into place.  Did the same with the other cup and connected them via the center clip.

And voila!  Cleavage!  Not my best ever (like in the photo above) but “all me” cleavage without any silicone.  I’m not sure how much of this is due to the fact that my breasts are quite “10 o’clock  – 2 o’clock” but the bra pulled them nicely together.

These little darlings certainly haven’t made me a C cup but for times when a less boobalicious look is preferred, these will work nicely.  They`ll also be perfect under a totally sheer top. No more visible straps or band across the back.

Next time I wear them I`ll be sure to measure them for cup size and will post the results in an update here.  I’ll  also let you know if I get anywhere near the 50 wearings the manufacturer suggests.

And in closing, I lifted my top and showed them to my sweetheart.  She approved, tried to `tweak`my nipples through the bra and bingo!  I got that all-to-familiar hugely erotic feeling that makes me purr and  makes my knees weak.

But that’s a story for another day.

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

_MG_4288s2

 

Is that what it’s all about?

I’ve noticed that my website traffic has taken a big hit recently. And blog comments are at an all-time low.

I assume a lot of this is related to the latest change to my site software.  Keeping loyal followers becomes more of an issue when you force everyone to join again.  I apologize for that but unfortunately I just didn’t have the time to figure out how to bring members and their login information forward after my hasty move from the old software.

By `losing`your user info, it’s like I wasn’t loyal to you so why should you be loyal to me?

Or maybe I’m just getting lost in an internet world that continues to add content exponentially.

Either way, this is me, I`m a happy chick and this is where I’m at.

Thank you to those who have been able to track me done here and especially to those who take the time to comment!  Love ya!

Invoke Societal Change First; then Pass Laws to Protect

Today, the OntariSeleenaK_8861so Human Rights Commission launched a new policy to protect the rights of transgender individuals.  Does Ontario need this?  Well, yes .. and no.  Let me explain my feelings.

From this girl’s experience, and from the experiences of many of my friends across the country,  Canada has been a relatively friendly place for trans people for many years.  It’s now in our culture to be accepting. Yes, marriages do end, families become estranged, friendships dissolve sometimes but jobs are usually kept and violence, both emotional and physical, is negligible.

And yes, there are individuals and pockets of individuals who don’t share a philosophy of tolerance but they’re relatively rare.  But since no one has pushed or angered them, their behavior usually falls into the “indifferent” category.

Since I spend lots of time in the US, I wish they could understand this concept .. what I like to call the “Canadian model”.  You see, first we change public feelings .. then we add laws and policies to take an official stand on that societal change.

We did this with same-sex marriage a decade ago and are doing it now with trans rights.

Every November, we observe the Transgender Day of Remembrance and we remember those who have lost their lives for simply being themselves.  Brazil, Mexico and the US are usually the top three countries where these tragedies occur.  Canada doesn’t even make the list. ~ Seleena Kay, preaching from her “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” pulpit

The US, in my opinion, is doing it entirely backwards.  There has been less of a cultural change promoting acceptance of same-sex marriage or trans rights.  But the laws are appearing regardless and the activists are claiming victory.  This does nothing except  make law-abiding people, though judgmental via their upbringing or religious beliefs,  feel like criminals.  And in those feelings bitterness thrives.

Are these extreme right wing “moral” people wrong?  Absolutely they are!  But can they change?  I believe they can be defused at the very least.

It’s that bitterness that could get someone like me seriously hurt.  And the law means nothing to either the perpetrator or the victim while an act of violence is being committed.  And this scares me.  Even the police scare me there.

So bravo to Ontario.  Bravo to the OHRC for the new policy.  And bravo to Canada for putting the horse before the cart!

You can read more about the policy here.

Laura Jane Grace

I’m not sure if you’ve heard of her. Since most of my crowd is more mature, I assume many of you have not. But, in my opinion, she’s the face of transgenderism for the next generation. And she’s a fabulous spokesperson.  Intelligent, sincere and very pretty although not as “girly” in appearance as some of us strive for, Laura Jane Grace is a songwriter and the lead singer/front person for a band called Against Me!  Transgenderisn appears often in her songs, which I would call dark folk with a grunge influence.  Not my cup of tea but I do respect her work.

Below is the link to her interview done by George Stroumboulopoulos for the CBC up here in Canada. It’s 22+ minutes in length but well worth a peek.

Strangely, most of the transgender community seems united with their positive feelings about the interview, although many have expressed displeasure because she failed to correct George when he said something about her “choice to transition”.  Personally, I had no issue with that and even if Laura Jane did, rather than get into a discussion which likely would have caused Strombo to correct himself for his choice of terms, she had the class to move forward.

“You want them to notice, the ragged ends of your summer dress. You want them to see you like they see every other girl. They just see a faggot. They’ll hold their breath not to catch the sick.“~ from Transgender Dysphoria Blues by Against Me!

Aside from being a good interviewer – he does his research – George is really a non-judgmental guy who truly does understand.

Laura Jane mentions she suggested the book Whipping Girl by Julia Serano as recommended reading for those wanting more information on gender dysphoria.  Although I’ve heard of the book, I haven’t read it but likely should.  If you’re interested, it’s available here.

Yes, Laura Jane has it easier than many of us.  Her generation isn’t a locked in to the rigid gender “rules” quite as tightly as my generation is, she lives in the music crowd  – a stereotypically non-judgmental grup – and is married to an artist, but the internal challengers and conflicts she once experienced were the same.

Although she’s doing a wonderful job bringing transgenderism to the young masses, there’s something going on behind her eyes that I find somewhat worrisome.  I wish her well.

And to George Stroumboulopoulos, well done!

What’s the Real Gender of an Author? and Facial Gender Analysis

There are a few fun tools available on the web these days that might be of particular interest to those of us in the transgender world.  The tools themselves are designed to be more fun than informative and were probably not designed specifically for transgender people at all.

Genderanalyser

The first one I’ll talk about today is Genderanalyser.  If my memory serves me correctly, the media story about this mentioned that it was written at Harvard or one of the big US schools.  It’s purpose in life is to tell if the text at the user-provided URL was written by a male or a female.  It provides a likelihood percentage and asks us to tell it if it’s correct.

“There are those who wish there were no differences between men and women. In the 1970’s at the University of California, Berkeley, the buzzword among young women was “mandatory unisex,” which meant that it was politically incorrect even to mention sex difference.” ~ Louann Brizendine, M.D.

I provided it with the url for my About Me page and it believes there is a 72% likelihood that page was written by a female.  When I tried my blog post Could I Blog Professionally? it replied “We guess http://seleenak.com/could-i-blog-professionally/ is written by a man (56%), however it’s quite gender neutral.” 

I was a little surprised that my blog post New Website Look: The Reason For the Change returned 59% female.  I would have suspected that the frustration I was feeling when I wrote that would have come out as male characteristics but they really didn’t.

You can find Genderanalyser here.  Give it a try!

Pictriev

The second tool I’ll mention is Pictriev,  the Facial Search Engine.  Upload an imagine or provide an image URL and Pictriev will try to tell you if the face is male or female. It will also try to guess the age and provide a short list of famous people with similar faces.

SeleenaK_8727s
I provide this image. It found my face buried in all the hair and scored it 22% masculine, 78% feminine and estimated my age at 26 – I’m more than double that age. Lookalikes include Paula Abdul, Joan Collins, Angela Lansbury and Jackie Collins.
SeleenaK_8993s
Then I uploaded this one. It scored 61% masculine, 39% feminine and age 40. Lookalikes include Oprah Winfrey, Naomi Campbell, Young Jeezy and Lenny Kravitz.
SeleenaK_6686s
Lastly, I tried this one. It scored 68% masculine, 32% feminine and age 45. Lookalikes are Susannah York, Sasha Cohen and Bianca Jagger. Interestingly, it believes the face is mostly male yet found only female lookalikes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also tried uploading a couple of photos of genetic females and, here are the results:

Marilyn923733764_1361915166
Marilyn Monroe is 0% masculine, 100% feminine and age 29. She died at age 36 so even the age is entirely possible. Her lookalikes were Marilyn Monroe (ha!), Barbara Lawrence and Mamie Van Doren.
audrey
Audrey Hepburn, who some believe had the perfect face, didn’t score quite as well as Marilyn. This photo as rated 6% masculine, 94% feminine and age 26. Her lookalikes were Audrey Hepburn (yay!), Sophia Loren and Jessica Marais.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there you go.  Although I don’t know how the algorythm works, I think, if someone was so inclined, they could analyze their own results and make adjustments to their look to move the percentage in the direction of their choice.  A good self-improvement tool.

Yet when I discussed this online with tgirl friends their photos seemed to be scoring very high .. much higher than mine.  When they suggested I keep trying different photos until I got a high feminine rating I realized what they had been doing.

Instead of considering PicTriv fun or informative, they were using it flatter themselves.

We’re such an insecure, delusional group, aren’t we?  But maybe that’s what makes us sweet!

This Site and the Heartbleed Vulnerability

heartbleedFirst off, please be aware that the recently-reported Heartbleed is not a virus.  You won’t “get” anything on your computer and there are no infected websites.  It’s just a vulnerability that a hacker could use to intercept username and password info in transit when you log in to a secure server that uses a particular type of encryption.

You can usually tell if a website is using any type of encryption to log in the the log in url begins with https instead of the usual http.

If you’re concerned about the Heartbleed vulnerability on my website or would just like to change your password, login here . Then in the upper right corner of the next screen, mouse over your username and select Edit My Profile. From there you can change your password.

While my site is certified secure on the server side and is totally virus/malware free, it’s been built using the WordPress framework (that’s how you log in) and WordPress has not yet been certified free of the Heartbleed vulnerability.

I’ll update here when I get the “all clear” but please understand that the very worst thing that could happen would be that someone uses your password for this site to log in as you and possibly make a comment using your (usually fake) identity.  That’s it! There’s no way anyone could capture any of your other private information from visiting my website.

Could I Blog Professionally?

I wish I could but I just don’t think my writing skills are up to the task.

My favorite lingerie blogger in the world, The Lingerie ASeleenaK_5435_cropsddict, is looking for additional staff.  She  appears to be doing very, very well  and therefore needs to expand.  And the coolest part of her expansion is that she’d consider transgender writers!

Cora, the Lingerie Addict herself,  has always been a friend to the LGBT community.  She has zero tolerance for trans hate and understands the often unique needs we have at the lingerie counter.  So the possibility that she might select a staffer from the TG world is very exciting!

If I thought I had even a slight chance of filling the position I’d apply, but I think you all cut me a lot of slack here.  I just don’t think my writing skills are ready for prime time, and my lingerie knowledge is likely a little shallow as well.  But if you have the time, the talent and the expertize, you absolutely should apply to be part of her wonderful team.

Hopefully I’ll be updating this post in the near future to tell you that a TG blogger is part of the TLA team!  But in the meantime, if you care about lingerie, subscribe to The Lingerie Addict.  Your lingerie will fit better, you’ll save a tons of money and you’ll wow them when your daywear comes off!

Update: Sadly, I’m not longer recommending the Lingerie Addict.  I’m of the opinion that racism and racist rhetoric runs in both directions and I no longer follow this blogger.  I just got tired of listening to her complain “why are the no women of color ..” appearing in ads or getting modeling assignments.  Marketing staff go to great lengths to present the most marketable image and if that doesn’t involve women of color, why must it be considered a racial snub?   Good bye, and  good luck. You’re as racist as those you hate.

Your Thoughts on Tolerance?

Recently, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich either resigned or was forced to resign over the news that he had contributed financially to support opposition to  same sex marriage in California.   He’s the guy who invented javascript (which has likely enhanced your web experience at least once in the last 24 hours whether you know it or not) and was the co-founder of Mozilla who’s mission to promote openness,  innovation and opportunity on the Web has always made the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft SeleenaK_6196_gradient_sseem like greedy, power-hungry and anything-for-profit.

OKCupid, the dating site, started the blacklash that cost us Mr Eich’s tech talent.  Members arriving at their site using the Firefox browser were asked to come back using a different browser.

My dilemma is this;  I’m hugely in favour of same sex marriage but I’m also believe in freedom of choice.  And it doesn’t seem right to only allow freedom of choice when that choice falls in line with our personal beliefs.  This, to me, is thinly disguised fascism.

I think those of us who believe same sex marriage is a no-brainer need to work harder at changing opinion.

Does anyone think removing Eich from his job will change his opinion or anyone else’s?  It may cause him or those who share his feelings to be less vocal but it doesn’t increase support.  All it does is angers those who share Eich’s opinion thereby making them even stronger in their resolve.

Someone once told me “my father would have wanted to take ya out back and shoot ya, but ya know, you’re alright  … for a tranny!” ~ Seleena K

OKCupid, you suck monkey balls.  I think you’re pretending to have taken a stand against a judgmental  guy but you’re really just using a noble cause to gain publicity and increase profits.  Shame on you!

My goal will never be to force my beliefs on anyone, to incarcerate those who disagree, to financially castrate those who don’t see things my way.  But give me an opportunity and I’ll try very hard to change your opinion through honesty, tolerance, meaningful discussion and compassion.

What are your thoughts?

 

Website Update and Conference Plans

I thought it was time to check in with you to tell you how things are progressing with my new-look website.

I continue to add photos to the galleries in the Members area.  Lots there … tons more to add, and I’m adding daily right now.

SeleenaK_3686My video page, also in the Members area, needs a new, more polished look.  I’ll work on that eventually but for now, all the videos are there.

I’m making progress in bringing all my blog entries to the new site.  I’m working backwards chronologically and everything from today to early 2010 has now been restored.

Whew!  Lots of work!

On a more fun note, I’m seriously thinking of attending Gals Spring Fling in eastern Ontario next month.  I’ve wanted to attend this one for years but it always fell around a weekend that was difficult for me.

The town of Gananoque (pronounced gan-a-NOCK-way) is in the heart of the  Thousand Islands on the banks of the mighty St. Lawrence River.  It’s one of the most beautiful areas of Ontario.

The Thousand Islands extends on the Canadian side from Wolfe Island near Kingston, On., to the Brockville narrows at Brockville, On.. On the American side they extend from Tibbets Point on Lake Ontario to Morristown, N.Y. – per http://www.1000islandsontario.com/

The event is presented by Ottawa-based Gender Mosaic with help from Toronto-based Xpressions.  According to everyone who’s attended, Sophia, Amanda and staff create a totally wonderful experience.

And the town truly welcomes us with open arms.  This is very incredible for a town with a year round population just over 5,000.  But they do love us!  Or our money!  Or both!  haha!

If you’re planning to attend, please let me know.  A comment here or email to the address on my Contact  Me page would be fabulous.

New Website Look; The Reason for the Change

Let me get this off my chest.  It’s been bothering me for a long time and I’m hoping that by telling you about it, I can put it to rest.

I truly believe the tech revolution of the past few decades is nothing more than a change to the way we communicate.  The basis for, and the honesty behind, our communication should be no different than it was when we wrote letters and used the postal service to deliver them.  Only the methods we use to communicate have changed.  And there should be a reasonable expectation of honesty in our communication.

We are who we are.  Some of us are very boring and others are not.  Yet, in the online world, so many of us pretend to be who we are not; and piracy, copyright infringement, theft of intellectual property and plagiarism are the tools.

SeleenaK_3686So here’s the story.  A little over a year ago I was approached by a transgender web software developer about “bringing my website up to date” using her own, internally developed content management system.  It would have a modern look, be mobile device friendly and would be free for me to use in exchange for her company’s exposure.  She made this same offer to other t-girls website owners and several accepted.  It appeared she was being nice to a segment of the transgender community.  Cool.

She really caught me at a weak time because I agreed to make the change, hoping it would inspire me to create newer and nicer content that in the past.  But of course, I knew that nothing in life is really free.

The implementation of the new website code was rocky behind the scenes.  She trash-talked my hosting company (who I believe is one of the premier adult hosting services on the planet), talked down to me (not knowing that I had tons of corporate experience in large banking system implementations), and claimed some malicious code on my laptop was performing brute force hack attempts on her blog site (totally unfounded).

My site was primarily a photo/video site yet her platform was weak in those areas. So when it became obvious that her base product, the freebie, wouldn’t give me some functionality my old site had, I paid for add-ons.

She seemed like a nice, sincere person with good intentions, and maybe she was.

But when my old site was gone and the new site began to take shape, she pointed, in casual discussion, to her transgender blog site.  “Look at mine; see how nice it is?  Yours can be this nice too!” – I’m paraphrasing.

And I read her blog.

What I read was professionally written, extremely high quality blog posts and articles … and they was signed by her.  But after having communicated via email with her for more than a month, it was obvious to me that she could not have possibly written the words on her own site.  In reality, her spelling was poor, her grammar was poor, composition and sentence structure were not even close to the caliber on her blog.  She was plagiarizing everything.

Here’s a little trick if you suspect plagiarism.  Copy a couple suspect sentences and paste them into Google within double quotes.  If Google finds a perfect match, you’ll know it. And the posting date is a good indication of which one came first.

So I did a few searches.  She was plagiarizing a blogger/author in New Zealand regularly and stealing articles from Psychology Today magazine as well. Bloggers, magazines, journals .. everyone was fair game. And she didn’t give credit to anyone.

You can imagine what I was thinking.  If she’s okay using someone else’s content as if it was her own, how much of the software on my website is actually hers?  But I had put a lot of effort into moving to her platform, my old site was gone, and my free time was running out.

I said nothing and we finished converting my website to her platform.  But it bothered me.  Who was she?  Were her photos real?  Was she a trans woman at all?

Slightly more than a year went by with me worrying that I was going to be accused of using stolen SeleenaK_3688software .. “her” software.

Then in early March of this year, I got an email from her … the first in almost a year .. offering to upgrade me (“software is free, just pay for my time to convert”) to  her responsive platform.  Responsive platforms know the difference between smartphones, tablets and larger computers and adjust the website for optimal display in real time.  She told me how much work she had been doing for the TG community in her city, public appearances, cable TV  etc., (none of which I could verify) and that her blog now has nearly 10,000 subscribers.

So I told her the truth about how I was feeling and had been feeling since just after our relationship began.  I mentioned the plagiarism but didn’t provided links.

And she freaked.  “if you make such claims you need to specify the facts, what articles are you referring too?”  Even when confronted she wouldn’t be honest with me.  I certainly could have sent her a link to each of her articles as well as a link to the original article she had copied.  I discussed this with a politeness that she likely didn’t deserve.

It didn’t end well.

So, I had to get my panty-wearing butt in high gear to get my site moved from her platform to my own .. stat!  I chose the WordPress framework and built from there.  And I’m now able to sleep at night.

As they put my cold dead body into the ground, I need someone at the grave site to say “that bimbo may have had decent legs but she really had a lot of integrity!”

The only thing I regret is not being able to bring my existing member database forward to the new site so, unfortunately, you all had to join again.

So (if you’re still reading this), did I overreact? Am I overly cautious? Is it okay to be a blogger with 10k subscribers while presenting “stolen” content to them exclusively?

Am I an asshole who needs to get off her high horse and lighten up?

Your comments are appreciated.

Keystone Conference 2014

WelcomeToPennsylvaniaI thought that rather than do a review of the conference as I did last year, I’d just tell you about some of the fun I had and drop a few names along the way but, in the end, it feels just as much like a review as my ramblings last year.

This year, I arrived a full day early.   This gave my spouse Kim and me extra time to explore and relax too.

A financially-painful side note to adding an extra night at the Sheraton to the original booking: no discount was available on the extra night, even though it was a Monday and consecutive with the existing multi-day reservation.  It cost almost $100 more than all the other nights.  Yikes! The event room rate was good for this class of hotel but take it from a girl who loves nice hotels; the regular rate is too high for a place like that.

Registration

The registration process was nothing to write home about .. “too early! We don’t open until 1:00 pm”; well excuse me.  Not exactly a personable group at registration; no welcoming words or explanation of the package contents.  So off to the bar to have a drink and read the conference guide in search of seminars that might interest a girl like me.

Seminar Offerings

I thought the offerings this year were slightly better than last year, even though I still struggled to find anything really interesting.  But Monica Prata was there!  Yay! I’m a Monica groupie so I was at all of her seminars.   Awesome as always!  More about Monica, her presentations and her services in another post.

Our “Hostess”

Last year, it seemed that Kristina was the hostess at all the outings I attended.  This year it was Suzane .. awesome lady!  I even had lunch with her in the hotel restaurant during one of Monica’s seminars on girl dining.  Very cool and she had it together.  Hopefully, moving us around safely and efficiently wasn’t too much like herding cats for Suzane.

Keynote Speakers

Once again, I wasn’t impressed with the keynote speeches; but it’s that way for me (and many like me) at most events.  Although a relatively small percentage of attendees either are currently or are  planning to live full time as women, keynote topics all pertain mostly to topics and issues of interest to those who are.  And it always seems like a forum for speakers to tell us how great they are, how much adversity they’ve overcome and what a great job they’re doing for us.

And there’s rarely an acknowledgement that the audience is international.    Some of us are not too interested in hearing about changing interpretations of the US constitution, which US states do and which US states don’t, or who pays for which treatment in America.  But it’s a U.S. conference so I suppose we shouldn’t complain even though I’m not the only one who felt marginalized and excluded.

Laughter is universal and positive.  How about a daily dose of comedy instead of similar speakers delivering similar messages?

Are you tired of me whining yet?  ha!

The Event Hotel

The Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey was wonderful .. clean, pleasant, no elevator issues.  Luncheons were quite good, especially considering several hundred people were dining at the same time.  Service in the dining area was wonderful too.

The hotel bar, the Dog and Pony Lounge, was packed every night; live entertainment or karaoke .. fun!

On a personal level, this was the first event I’ve attended since I quit smoking several months ago.  As expected, I really did miss the socializing in the outside smoking areas.  For those of you who don’t smoke, there’s a certain rapport … a friendliness .. that persists in the smoking area.  Although I know my cigarette smoking days are over forever, the quick, fleeting, friendly encounters that happen, usually in less than pleasant weather, will always be missed.  Y’all might hate me for saying this but, in my opinion, smokers are just cooler people.

Distractions?

To the two girls who didn’t attend this year because they felt the Vanity Club presence was too much last year, please know that it appeared to be less this year.  But in my opinion, the Pink Essence presence was significant and the huge photo background in the lobby was a bit much.

Dining Out

Carrabbas Italian Grill in Hershey was nice; the food was very good and the service was excellent. A chain restaurant doing it right.  A perfect place for our welcome dinner.

Dining in the Mountainview Dining Terrace at the Hollywood Race Track and Casino was also very good and lots of fun!  Our server, Monique, was fabulous.

Char’s at Tracy Mansion was wonderful fine dining in an elegant setting on the river.  Yummy coconut martinis too.  Char herself even dropped by to welcome us.  I highly recommend Char’s to anyone looking for something upscale.

I did overhear a slightly unsettling customer dialog at Char’s as we all entered. Woman: “what kind of group is that?” The response was unintelligible to which she replied “oooooh”.  But all was fine and, frankly, I can’t blame anyone for wondering about our group.

It’s really about friends, isn’t it?

So, to Dianne V – my best event buddy from far, far away; Monica P – an inspiration; Scarlett T – my fave makeup artist; Suzane O – our fearless leader this time; Kat W – one classy lady who always seems to look at me like I’m from Mars (haha!); Penny P – my best friend from Erie Sisters; Samantha J – another best friend from Erie Sisters; Roxanne M – an event rookie who seemed like an event pro; Davina and Cyndi G – the very cool road warriors; Tania W – a wonderful lady, a hottie and a pleasure to chat with …. the minutes or hours I spent with you all were special, and I thank you for that.

And to that sweet couple from somewhere in New England (I think), “Patricia” and trans spouse with the killer heels and awesome furs, I really wish we would have shared contact info.  If either of you happen to stumble upon this, please get in touch.

My Photos

I took no pictures at all this year (other than the one at the top of this article that I scooped from the dash cam video).  None.  Zero. Nadda.  Zilch.  Wow.

In Summary

The hotel, although very nice, is not on the same level as the gorgeous SCC venue in Atlanta or even most of the hotels and B&B’s in Provincetown but the facility is a step up from the rather “rustic’ Fantasia Fair event locations.  The place was spotless, they treated us well and the food, both in the banquet hall and the restaurant was very good.  All in all, a wonderful venue for an event like this!

I didn’t find the event staff to be excessively personable (Suzane was the exception this year); definitely not even close to the smiling, chatty, fab volunteers at Fantasia Fair.  But the schedule worked, the buses were there when expected and I believe the seminars all happened as planned.

There did seem to be an awful lot of makeup artists in attendance.  I’m not sure how well any of them did financially since supply seemed much greater than demand.

But if you can only attend one event each year, I think the Keystone Conference is the one to attend.  A much better value, more organized and more fun than Southern Comfort Conference; less expensive (albeit shorter in duration), less weather-affectable and less geographically spread out than Fantasia Fair and a little more high heel friendly.

And to some of us, that’s really important!