Sdtrk: ‘Река’ by Утро
I take it you lot have read the first part of the narrative? Gooooood!
FRIDAY, 26 JULY
8.30am found our crowd consuming another hearty breakfast at Foxy’s, but this time, Amber Hawk Swanson joined our table! She basically filled in everyone who hadn’t gotten a chance to follow up with what she’s been up to since Amber Doll’s demise and subsequent transformation, as well as ask some of us present as to how our Synthetik partners are, and what we’ve been up to. (Not me; she already knows what I’ve been up to.)
It was a pretty neat experience: Jesse is simultaneously the veteran and the new guy in our iDollator community. He had Heather, a RealDoll, a few years ago, and through circumstances beyond his control, he had to stow her away for almost a decade in less-than-ideal conditions, which is when he quit the scene. Half a year ago, however, he resurfaced, and made a valiant effort to repair Heather. Unfortunately, her damage was too great, but now Jesse’s ready to start afresh with a new silicone companion. Amber got to ask a bit about him and her, and what he was looking for in a new Doll, so that was rather enlightening for all of us.
We had several hours between us and the evening’s main event, which was a tour of the Mechadoll USA studios, slated for 7pm. Amber said she was off to do some Bikram yoga, which is that type of yoga you perform in a sauna set to no less than 105°F heat, but she’d join us at the studio, and Z-Dr had to play catch-up with something else as well. Which left Mahtek, Jesse1965, Incred, littluvr, and myself to do the only logical thing, which was to go see the Space shuttle Endeavour over at the California Science Center. As you’ll recall, the Endeavour was the shuttle that, after decommissioning, was driven through the suburbs of LA to its new home at the museum last September. The ticket purchasing process was needlessly convoluted; tickets had to be bought online in advance, but even if you’d done so, there was no guarantee that they’d be available for pickup at the admissions window, depending on if there was a great demand for them or not. Undoubtedly, you’re having the same assessment reading this as we did when we’d heard it, as it made zero sense. But as I’d said, we had several hours to do away with, and tickets were only $2, so it wouldn’t have broken the bank.
Thanks to Mahtek’s, ah, life-affirming driving skills — let’s just say that we’ll gleefully splash out for the reinforced ‘o shit’ handles the next time he rents a van — we made it to the California Science Center with no loss of life, where thankfully our tickets were awaiting us. After a short trip through the exhibit, where we saw a couple of the Space shuttle’s landing gear tyres, a mockup of Mission Control, and a Space Commode, we entered the hangar where the Endeavour was located.
The Space shuttle is one of the three reasons Astrotrain is one of my favourite Decepticons
I’m pleased to report that the Space shuttle is about as large as you’d expect it to be. Larger, even. There was no physical way to take a photo of it in its entirety, due to its enormousness, but rest assured, it’s quite an impressive vehicle. Next year, the Science Center plans to store it more permanently in an upright takeoff position; visitors will be able to ascend a walkway and peer into the cockpit, amongst other things, but for now, it’s on pillars about twelve feet off the floor, where patrons could walk beneath it. I kinda liked how you can see that it wasn’t washed off from its last mission, as you can see space dust and debris on its exterior, with lines tracing its angle of final descent into Earth’s atmosphere. But seeing a Space shuttle in person is a hell of a thing to do, and definitely recommended! Perhaps if more people saw it for themselves, they might be urged to consider helping reinvigorate our flagging space exploration programme…
Damnit, I want a Space shuttle now! Elena suggests saving up for one of Space shuttle Buran‘s mockups, but then she would.
We managed to fearlessly fight traffic and reach the site of the Mechadoll studios round 7pm. Joining the five of us were Amber, Z-Dr, and CrazyJose, as we all met with the staff: Ron in production, sales head Matt, and Yves, the originator and sculptor of the concept. This was a first on several levels, as this was the first year Mechadoll was participating in DolLApalooza, as they’d recently moved their offices from France to the States, but prior to this, no-one in the iDollator community was ever given the opportunity to tour the facility. But y’know, that’s just how awesome we are.
It’s a modest facility; Mechadoll share a building with two other corporate tenants, so they were relegated to two rooms of a five-room building, but at the very least, it’s some place to start. Yves was more than happy to show us around and display what the company have to offer. Speaking with him was a wild experience, though. He’s French, and his style of speaking is a high-speed combination of French and English, so at times, it took a bit of effort to parse what he was saying. ‘You get used to it,’ Matt had remarked. Still, any opportunity to trot out my gradeschool French is always appreciated!
We were able to see three moulds, a Mechadoll skeleton, a Mechadoll suspended from the ceiling that was being prepped for finishing, and Yves brought in a finished Doll, so we could all see one in person. She didn’t have too much to say, but she was amazingly soft and gorgeous!
‘No wonder you can’t fall asleep — you can’t close your eyes! That’s gotta suck’
As practically everyone else was mentioning the fact that Amber and I were the ‘Doll celebrities’ of the group, we had our photos taken on either side of the Mechadoll awaiting finishing, which was fun. As I was to later mention to her, it felt a bit like having a crowd of paparazzi snapping away, and it really wasn’t a bad feeling!
Throughout the event, some of us had a go at lifting the unfinished Mechadoll; Yves has been working on reducing the weight, as a lot of iDollators love the fact that a Mechadoll’s body type is a bit more full-figured than what other companies produce, but with all that silicone comes quite a bit of weight. Amber was fascinated watching each of us approach and lift the affictitious beauty, as every other person had a different style for carrying and moving their Dolls. It was at that point that she put forth the idea of her and I doing a series for Our Doll Community that would be like a video version of hints and tips for better taking care of your silicone companion, like lifting, carrying, bathing, dressing, etc. Mahtek said he’d be on board with that, and I told him, ‘you write ‘em, Amber and I will do ‘em,’ as we’re some of the only iDollators who are willing to be in front of a camera. So once the logistics on all that get finalised, that’ll be something for everyone to look forward to!
Amber also mentioned that she wasn’t altogether keen on how most bloke’s Dolls, whether they’re Mechadolls, or RealDolls, or Sinthetics, et al, wear what she believes is too much eye makeup. She made exceptions for Sidore, of course, but still. I can’t agree, as eyeliner is awesome! Fact.
Round 10 that eve, we reluctantly agreed to leave the Mechadoll studios in order to get dinner someplace, so with the exception of Amber, we all piled into three vehicles, and drove to a pizza joint. I suppose not all of California is open late, as the pizza place was closed, but Ron came up with another suggestion. Our caravan ended up at a Peruvian restaurant called El Pollo Inka in Gardena, which naturally means ‘the Incan chicken’. Being honest, their cuisine wasn’t my thing — I ended up ordering a plate of papas fritas (fries) and a plate of salsa criolla (lime-marinated onions), but lemme tell you about a funny thing that occurred there:
Matt, who I was sitting across from, had ordered a can of Inka Kola, and poured most of its contents into his glass. I was curious as to what it was, as it’s another one of those brands that hasn’t made its way eastward. I asked if I could try it, and Matt said I could have the rest of the can. Inka Kola is pretty damned good! It reminded me of the bubblegum soda that Jones makes that I used to purchase on a regular basis. Our waitress rematerialised, and I indicated to her that I’d like to order a can of it for myself. She took my order, nodded, and left. Upon coming back minutes later, instead of bringing a new can, she brought an empty glass. English admittedly wasn’t her first language, so I tried to explain that I’d wanted a fresh can. On her second return, I think she was thinking Matt’s former can was mine, and I just needed a fresh glass, cos she brought back another glass, but this one was filled with ice cubes. At this point, CrazyJose, who was sitting to my right, stopped her, and explained the situation in Spanish. The waitress finally seemed to comprehend, apologised, and said she’d be back with a new can. And she did! ‘It’s okay,’ CJ explained, ‘I speak waitress’. High-larious.
Close to midnight, we all thanked Yves, Matt, and Ron for their hospitality, and told him we expect to see their studios again next year. Nice blokes, and it was fantastic to finally meet them! Plus, any opportunity to fondle a Mechadoll is one that can’t be missed…
At the Mechadoll studios, photo © by Incrediwagon
Angry Hungry birds, iDollators at Syns@Sins at DolLApalooza, alluring Synthetik women, and a return flight home