Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm in a Mood.

I get into Moods. Today's mood is a combination of Impending Doom and Murderous Rage. Not, you know, literally murderous rage. I wouldn't really so much as throw a pillow at someone. But all the same, when I'm in that mood the smallest little thing makes a furious little imp in my head scream and howl and shake its ineffectual little fists.

"Ineffectual" is the key word today. There are things that I should be doing these days, to be a Good Person. By society's definition of Good, and to some extent by my own definition, I should be providing loving thoughtful focused support to someone. And I can't. Or I don't want to.

The fact that I can't tell the difference is part of the frustration. I suppose that the two merge together; I don't want to, and the frustration and anger that I feel when I try to put on even a show of the right feelings means that the show doesn't work, so as a result, I can't.

Or something.

Monday, April 16, 2012

AIFF: The Recovery Phase

Today is the fifth and last day of the Ashland Independent Film Festival. For most of those days, we attended all five screening slots, starting around 9:30 in the morning and ending around 11:00 in the evening.

We're running out of clean laundry.

We're running out of snack food.

I think that my left leg may have abandoned the effort to maintain full blood circulation to itself, and will need re-education.

We've learned that we can get a slice and a drink from Martolli's and be back to the Varsity in a twenty minute break.

We re-learned the vital information that some of the classic theater seats at the Armory are an inch or two wider than some of the others.

Today I started using the thirty-second gap between the end of one short and the beginning of another as an opportunity to nap.

We're done. We bailed on the 6:00 screening today (a tradition for us, when we don't also bail on the 3:00) and went home, where we are collapsed on thickly upholstered furniture consuming sugared beverages.

I'm glad to be done. And I'm already looking forward to next year.

Oh, the films? Himself covers that. Go read his blog. Really. Go now.

Image: By Streifengrasmaus. Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Chimera Series: The Circus Coat

I bought Vogue 2232 years ago. It's a Geoffrey Beene jacket--or coat if you do the long version--with a cool angled hemline. I've considered doing any number of things with it, most of them quietly drapey and tasteful.

Then I saw The Tempest (the film, Julie Taymor, see Himself's take on it) at the film festival and, ooh, Trinculo's coat! See? Here? I abandoned the idea of a sensible rendition of this jacket; now I want a jester, circus, costume version. When will I wear it? Don't bother me with trivialities. Well, and there's always the Halloween parade.

Having a closer look at the Beene pattern and reviews of it, I realized that it may not be as distinctive as it looks. It appears to have a straight front, with angles only at the back. On the other hand, Vogue 8088, a Marcy Tilton jacket, is angled in front (see the line drawing?), is rumored to be easier to assemble, and comes in a wider variety of sizes. That may be the one to use, saving the Beene for something more conservative after all. Anyway, I've already sent off for a copy.

That vest version of 8088, from the pattern envelope, shows its potential for everything from tasteful to whacky. Yes, I'm looking at making the jacket, not the vest, but the vest photo has more of the festival vibe I'm looking for. I'm thinking of what C.S. Lewis said in The Horse And His Boy about your best clothes also being your most comfortable ones--that always made me imagine flowing, colorful celebration garments. I want one. Or two. Or three. I'm already thinking about a full costume--jacket, top, skirt or trousers. But let's focus on the jacket.

The first bit to think about is the fabric. Patterns and colors--that visual thing that I'm no good at. Contrasting primary colors? That has the risk of ending up with the Beachball Jacket. Contrasting pastels? That might be too pretty. My thoughts are drifting toward rich saturated violet, and blue, and green. When I went to Wikimedia Commons to for inspiration for those colors, I immediately changed that to jewel color names---amethyst and emerald and sapphire. Then, looking for specific examples, I found this photograph of foil-wrapped Easter eggs. I'm not too happy with the green, and the photo is drifting back toward pastels, but, yum.

Maybe the right background color would make it less pastel-pretty--a background color like the olive in that shoe there. And the pattern in the shoe provides some inspiration, too; I don't want plain simple color. I'm imagining pattern or texture or both, and probably not a print--I prefer fabric detailed in thread. Brocades, or stripes, or tapestry, or embroidery. And a colored, intensely colored, background. I keep buying fabrics with white backgrounds, and never using them.

So that's where I am. First chimera post. I can see that each project is likely to end up with more than one post, as my thoughts drift. And, of course, even more for the ones that actually come into existence. But I'll start here.

Costume Image: Wikimedia Commons.
Easter Egg Image: By Lotus Head. Wikimedia Commons.
8088 Pattern Line Drawing and Vest Photo: Marci Tilton/Vogue Patterns.
Silk Brocade Shoe Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sewing: The Chimera Series

Every year we go to the film festival. And every year at least part of my reaction is, "I really need to do something creative." Not that I think about doing films--I know that films involve almost zero overlap with my skill set. Usually, I think that I should do more work on writing fiction. But then I don't. I'm not driven to write fiction; as I've said more than once, I don't want to write fiction, I want to have written it. I want that badly, but not enough, so far, to actually do much of the writing,

There's nonfiction. Like, say, this blog. I often consider the idea of writing a nonfiction book or at least longer hunks of nonfiction involving more dedication and effort, but, well, what about? The three categories that tend to come to mind are Information, Humor, or Angst. Well, yes, writing truthful personal things doesn't need to be Angst (hey, does the Dewey Decimal System have that as a category?) but that tends to be how I think if it when I imagine myself writing it.

But this year, I find myself thinking of sewing. That strikes me as alternately silly and just right. Returning to that skill set issue, sewing would address the areas that I've always ignored. The visual, the tactile, working with my hands, and the Putting Myself Out There realm. Yes, it's almost entirely self focused (I'm not interested, right now, in sewing things for other people, except maybe Himself), but that doesn't mean that the neurons that it exercises couldn't be useful in other areas.

I have a lot of sewing projects that I'm thinking about, mostly in terms of art and creation rather than having something to wear. That's not to say that they'll look like arty clothes; it's more about the motivation being creativity rather then primarily function. 

So I'm planning to, er, plan. I want to write a series of posts detailing my ideas for garments that may or may not become real. The first term that came to mind for these garments was "vaporware" the term for software or hardware that sounds like a great idea but may never happen. But that sounds both negative and too high-tech. The dictionary's last definition for chimera is "an illusion or fabrication of the mind, especially an unrealizable dream." That sounds a bit pessimistic, but I like it anyway, especially in combination with the primary, fantastical-monster definition.

So off I go. First project to follow soon.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Link: AIFF Coverage by Himself!

So we're attending the Ashland Independent Film Festival. Five days, five screenings a day (OK, four the first day), often more than one film per screening, wheeeee!

So I wanted to point you to Himself's site, Blogging Ashland, where he is blogging away about the films in a timely and highly entertaining manner.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rambling: New Toy

I have an iPad now.

Ever since the first iPad came out, I've wanted one, but I also acknowledged that I had Absolutely No Excuse Whatsoever for buying one. For big stuff, I had my computer. For small stuff while out of the house, I had my phone. And, heck, my computer is a laptop, so I could carry it outside the house too, just as every third person in every coffee shop on the planet seems to. So no iPad for me, nope nope nope.

Then the new one came out. And now I'm typing this on one. I no longer recall the rationalization that I used for buying it. I know that travel was involved, and the ability to access data without WiFi.

I find myself feeling weird discussing the thing, because discussing luxury items feels vaguely Wrong. Then I remind myself that this is a perfume blog, for bleep's sake. The discussing-luxury-items ship has sailed.

So. What do I use the thing for? What justifies it, compared to a laptop? Well, for one thing, I write in new places. I'm typing this while sitting on a barstool. I wrote a long rant on an airplane. I hesitate to carry the laptop, and even when I do carry it, I hesitate to haul it out and start it up. I don't have that issue with the iPad.

Now, hauling out the iPad is a habit that I've been actively cultivating since the day I bought it. I've chosen to accept--embrace--being "one of those people". The ones that eat their meals or wait for their movies or buses while typing or tapping or gesturing or staring blankly at one electronic device or another. I knew that if I didn't make a point of taking the thing everywhere, and firmly extracting it at restaurants and in lobbies, I wouldnt end up using it.

So I'm writing on it. Check.

And I bought OmniFocus, a ToDo type thing that I'll use to organize my life. Really. OK, maybe not really, but I enjoy entering reminders and plans. "Buy yogurt" and "Trace Beene jacket pattern" and "Figure out what smells funny in fridge." Personal things, not work things. I like that.

Oh, and I watch movies, of course. And TV shows. I love TV. Especially personal, private TV. It's not that I watch anything embarrassing; I think that it may be more about control and the TV being mine mine mine. When I was a kid our TV was on a rolling cart, and I used to roll it into my room for no reason other than that possessiveness. So I was delighted when Himself bought me a portable TV back in college and re-delighted when he got me a video iPod and now he's talked me into the iPad and, yay.

And I got a database app where I'm storing information about all my sewing patterns so that when I'm in a fabric store I know how much yardage I need. Also delusional? Probably. But I have entered a dozen or so patterns, complete with photographs of the front and back of the envelope.

And of course there's web browsing. Incessant web browsing.

And eBooks. I'm torn about eBooks. I signed up for the Google ones and I buy them through my local bookstore's site, so at least they get a cut. But I want to know how much the cut is, compared to a paper book. See, I'm not going to give shelf space to many new paper books, so I can either buy and read and sell or give away the paper versions, or buy and read the eBooks. I don't much care which, except for the instant gratification that an eBook provides, versus the bathtub readability offered by paper. So the profit to my favorite bookstore is a nontrivial factor, and I wanna know.

Well. So. That's all. There's an under-edited, diary like air about this post. I wonder if the iPad, due to its less fluid editing but greater availability, is going to make this blog more diary like? We'll find out.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Perfume: Powder and Office Supplies

So I was in the hardware store. Actually, I was in the office supply store that lives inside the hardware store, because Himself wanted some manila envelopes. And I saw this whirligig thing with "Rolodex" on it that was presumably intended for paperclips or something, and I thought, "Sample holder!" You do that, too, right? All cunning little small containers are obviously intended for samples; all that talk about paper clips or whiskey (in shot glasses, that is) is just a diversion.

So I brought the whirligig home and dug into my sample box (after clearing off the bacon-scented candle and polka-dotted necktie and and vase and candy dish and Chinese fans that were stacked on the sample box--see why I rarely use a sample?) and picked out a selection of tiny jars and sprayers and vials and tucked them into the three cups and took a photo. That one, up there. This weekend I plan to buy some inexpensive gaudy beads that are just barely too big to fall through the grid of the little cups and pour some into the middle cup, so that small vials can stand up.

This suggests a possible resumption of perfume blogging. Why would I bother to photograph perfume-filled desktop gadgetry if I weren't going to, next, talk about perfume? (Unless I'm going to talk about office supplies.)

So which perfume to start with? On the bottom, those itty bitty bottles are all samples from Ayala Moriel that have been waiting for me to opinionate about them since... er.... well, I'm pretty sure it was before Christmas. In the middle, those itty bottles are "travel size" perfumes from CB I Hate Perfume that have been lurking for well over a year, possibly two or three. The top is jam packed with a bunch of stuff too tall for the other two cups.

I was just about to bleeble on about what I could wear, whether to test the new or the old, bleeb bleeb bleeb, but then I snatched up my decant of Douce Amere and sprayed it under my shirt and on the back of my neck, so I guess that answers that. I like Douce Amere; it has a big, sustained dose of a gentle powdery note that's almost too subtle to catch in some other perfumes. (I can't remember which other perfumes because there's no need; when I want that scent these days I just grab Douce Amere.) But apparently I'm not too much in love with it, because when the rumor was going around that it was going away forever, I didn't spring for a bottle. It didn't go away, right? It just went non-import, or something?

If you're new to my blog you may be saying, "You're the perfume blogger--why are you asking me?" I'm asking because I've been away from perfume land for a little while. For several months I've been stressed or depressed or obsessing about vegetable gardening or sewing or something, always something, that distracts me from perfume. That's why I'm excited to see if I'm going to start perfume blogging again.

You might also ask, "OK, ChickenFreak, you live inside your own head; don't you know if you're going to start perfume blogging again?" Well, no, I really don't. I can intend to start, but I've learned over the course of this blog that I write what I wanna write, based on the whim of the day. I can urge myself to work harder at the blog, or I can slack off and fail to work at it at all. I have some control over that. But the actual topic is apparently not under my supervision. Neither is the fact that I want to say "whirligig" again.



It appears that that is all. Except, you folks who aren't new to my blog, am I going to start perfume blogging again? You've met me (well, at least virtually)--what's your guess?

Image: Mine.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rambling: Rambling

So, this is one of those times when I decide it's been long enough since I posted, and I'm going to post. Whether I have anything to say or not. On those occasions, often my first action is to find the cat picture that will, of course, accompany the post. I'm particularly fond of this one. I'm not sure what the cat is saying, but I'm quite sure that he's not in a good mood about it.

Yesterday was Last Saturday, which means spending money. Well, the spending money isn't mandatory, but in theory all optional purchases have been pent up since last Last Saturday, so the odds of zero spending are low. In practice, I seem to have fallen off the Last Saturday wagon lately. But all the same, I bought a cut of silk/hemp charmeuse fabric in a lovely dark red. It looks terribly dressy, and the hemp should make it much more sewable than pure silk charmeuse. I longed for the same fabric in black, but managed not to buy it. Yet.

The fabric would be perfect for my first creation of a little Mad Men style lined sheath dress, if I were that kind of person, which I am not. I'm looking at the idea of becoming that sort of person with a slightly wistful air rather than the horrified one that I would have had five years ago. But I'm not there yet, so my current plan is to sew the piece up into a dressy-jacket version of the Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt. That plan might actually happen.

By the way, Himself has posted his second post about our Portland and Bay Area tour of gluttony. He made me hungry. And here's the first post if you never caught my earlier reference to it.

Speaking of Portland, it's interesting that after more than twenty years of living in the Bay Area, and, oh, three or four trips to Portland totaling maybe fourteen days, it's Portland that I feel wispy sentimental feelings about. My favorite restaurant in the world remains The House in San Francisco, but I really wish they'd just put the whole thing on a house moving trailer and move it to Portland. Well, preferably to Ashland, but I picture it in an urban setting.

Not that San Francisco has ever really felt like an urban setting to me. Even in the depths of the financial district, where you're surrounded on all sides by tall tall buildings and can imagine, depending on your mood, either ticker tape or suicidal stockbrokers falling, it doesn't feel urban. Is it too sunshiny? Too clean? People don't wear enough black? People wear too much black? Too many tourists? Not enough kids? Anyway, it doesn't feel urban. Maybe it feels like Disney Metropolis Land. Portland, on the other hand, even when you're walking through a nice old residential neighborhood with barely a third floor to be seen, feels urban.

Speaking of Portland, have you seen Portlandia? The show? I officially don't like it. I groan when Himself turns it on. And then I laugh at it a lot, so I suspect that I may actually like it. Except for the Feminist Bookstore bits; those two characters annoy me slightly more than the boss in the British version of The Office, which means that they're breaking an annoyance record. I realize that they're supposed to annoy me, but there are limits. However, I suppose that I credit Portlandia for the "put a bird on it" menu innovation at The Original in Portland (see Himself's post for clarification), which might mean that without Portlandia I would have eaten one less piece of fried chicken in my life. So that's a reason to like the show.

Speaking of fried chicken... er... well, one should always speak of fried chicken. I had some today at Smithfield's in Ashland, the only restaurant that I know of that has fried chicken as a side. Not buffalo wings or chicken nuggets, but real proper bone-in fried chicken. I vaguely remember that the book Square Meals mentioned Southern dinners where the main dish was accompanied by platters of fried chicken, so I suppose that's some precedent for fried-chicken-as-side. I approve. I ate entirely off the sides menu today, having two pieces of fried chicken and a fruit bowl. Yum.

Speaking of fruit... well, no. I started writing a bunch of stuff about weeding the strawberry bed and whether we'd eat all the pears from our pear tree this year, and that was boring. So there will be no speaking of fruit. Except that my lifetime aversion to the texture of apples (they squeak in my teeth!) seems to be fading--I ate all of my fruit bowl apples today. Yay me.

OK, speaking of fruit, I'm trying to eat more vegetables. I'm getting older, and it's time to either start eating an at least somewhat sensible diet, or get ready for various health problems  to come if I don't. So I've been cutting sugar drastically and white starches fairly significantly, and eating a fair bit more vegetables. But not a lot more fruit, partly because fruit has plenty of sugar of its own, and partly because it kicks off dessert cravings.

I'm trying to change my habits one habit at a time, so I haven't yet gotten to the fat reduction habit--I'm ignoring fat consumption entirely, allowing myself to (for example) plop as much butter as I like on my broccoli. I'm terribly curious to know if I've been compensating for missing sugar by eating tons more fat, or if the disappearance of desserts and pastries and potato chips and mayo-absorbing squishy white bread may have actually led to a reduction in fat consumption. I rather wish I'd been keeping a food log. Finding out from my cholesterol count seems like a great deal too much work, given the whole blood extraction aspect of it.

Speaking of vampires... OK, no, I have nothing. No new comments about Buffy, nothing about anything new that any of the Buffy actors are doing, not even anything about Firefly. Not a thing.

OK, I seem to be out of random thoughts. I was going to close with something like, "pat the cat", but looking at that cat, he'll take your fingers off. So I just wish you a happy Sunday, or my sympathies on the looming Monday, and hit Post.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.