Saturday, June 24, 2017

SOTD: Parfum d'Empire Tabac Tabou


Tabac Tabou. Good name.

I dug through the subset of samples that live in the Tightly Sealed Metal Canister, and this one had by far the most interesting name. I tried to find something else, because it was in one of those pop-top 1ml vials, but nothing else intrigued.

So, after struggling with thumb and fingertips and fingernails and a butterknife over the sink, I finally got it open.  By then the excitement had faded, because the wet traces on the edge of the cap and on my fingernails didn't really smell all that interesting. But I smeared just a little on my wrist, and...

Ooh.

The opening was a civet-forward "what have I done?" moment, a shout of "I'm going to be really dirty!" A blast of animalic and dark-spicy notes that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Then the civet apparently shrugged and wandered off, and for the next few minutes I smelled moderately aggressive leather, progressing from well-worn and slightly sweaty to new and clean, a new belt emerging from tissue paper. It was accompanied by a little tobacco, quiet and retiring.

Then...

What is that? There's still an echo of leather and pipe smoke, but the main body of the scent has a powdery and faintly creamy vibe. It makes me think tea, not tobacco, but tea with a texture like buttercream cupcake frosting, with a faint crunch of sugar crystals now and then. 

And now I finally look at the notes--I try to force myself to experience at least a few minutes of a scent without looking. Luckyscent says "immortelle, tobacco, narcissus, honey, grass, musk". I'm guessing that the tobacco-tea-cupcake is coming from the honey and immortelle. The honey grows as time passes, with no hint of that urinous thing. I love beeswax, and this is close enough to be pleasing.

By the way, I'm not getting narcissus. At all. Not a hint. 

At this point, the scent also feels vintage. Some scents do a sort of deja vu thing on me, where a new scent announces itself as familiar. My brain is trying to say, "Oh, that smells just like Aunt Amelia always used to smell..." even though there never was an Aunt Amelia. 

I like it. So far I like it a lot. I actually tried it yesterday (SOTY?) but I can still smell it on my wrist if I put my nose up to the skin. I want to buy some, but a bottle would be madness--based on the projection and longevity I got just from that tiny smear, I suspect that the 1ml vial alone would last me a dozen or more wearings. So, a decant. I think. Though we might be at Scent Bar later this year...

(Temptation!)

That is all.

Review Roundup: Fragrantica and Now Smell This (from whom I realize that, yes! that scent I can't put my finger on does have a vibe of horse) and Kafkaesque and colognoisseur and Scent For Thought and memoryofscent and FragranceGeek and A Bottled Rose.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Gardening: More Perennials!


I may have mentioned that The Farm has 120 four-foot-by-six-foot beds.

Prepping and planting a bed--lifting the weed barrier, digging or forking, adding fertilizer, adding compost, possibly swapping the weed barrier with a piece that has suitable holes for the new crop, re-attaching the weed barrier, making a watering apparatus or moving in an apparatus suitable for the new crop, manicuring the soil of the holes or drills, possibly adding sand or vermiculite or compost to accept the seeds, possibly mixing seeds with sand, planting seeds or plants, possibly adding a layer of compost, watering the planting in...

Whew!

...takes at least a couple of hours per bed. Planting a line of several beds--like the 24-by-4-foot garlic bed or last year's 36-by-4-foot bean bed--doesn't really reduce it that much.

120 beds, two or three plantings per bed per year, takes us to, oh, maybe 300 hours of prep-and-plant per year.  On weekends, when the weather is suitable and we're in town and I have time. So this explains why I have yet to get the whole farm in production at one time.

Therefore?

Perennials. Edible perennials. Preferably what I'm calling "soft" perennials--the kind that are easy to move or eat or give away if I want a bed back for annuals, someday when I have more gardening time.

Currently, the perennial list is:
  • Six (seven?) beds of strawberries.
  • Three of black currants.
  • Two and a half of chives.
  • Half a bed of garlic chives.
  • One bed of thyme and oregano and tarragon.
  • One of sage.
  • One of rosemary.
  • One of perennial scallions.
  • Two of Jerusalem artichokes.
  • One of artichokes.
So, nineteen or twenty. I'll probably remember one or two more. So that's a little under twenty percent perennials.

My plans for more include:
  • Another bed of chives.
  • Another five beds of strawberries.
  • Two beds of garlic chives.
  • Ten beds (one full row) of blueberries.
  • Probably six beds of raspberries.
  • A sweet bay.
  • At least one more bed of herbs.
  • Ten roses along the left-hand fence. Probably rugosas, for lots of rose hips, so that they count as food. See the picture up top? Fruity!
  • Ten of something along the right-hand fence, where the ground is painfully gravel-filled from the parking lot next door. Something tough, like maybe butterfly bushes to bring in pollinators for the rest of the stuff.
  • Five evergreen shrubs of some kind, preferably edible or edible-themed, along the front of the five right-hand rows.
  • Another five at the back of those same rows.
What's that add up to? Seventy-six total, leaving twenty-four beds for annuals. Three-quarters perennials. I'm not sure if that's too many or two few annuals. And I'm a little worried about the high number of un-soft ones--for example, you can't peacefully pull a blueberry bush out of the ground and replant it or give it away the way you can a raspberry or a clump of chives. But it's going to take me plenty of time to plant the extra fifty-six (fifty six!) bed of perennials, so, I have some time to decide how much those things worry me.

Oh, hey, I forgot asparagus. And I keep thinking about breaking the edible theme and planting some peonies.

Anyway, it's a plan.

That is all.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Writing: Highly Flavored Fiction

As usual: Wow, it's been a long time since I posted.

So I've actually been writing fiction. A couple of weeks ago, I started a new strategy: the highly flavored strategy. I'm...

OK, let's just paste in what I wrote on a writing forum at the time.
So after talking about flow over in the writer's block thread, I did some thinking about what used to be rewarding back when I spun daydreams in my head. Some of the appeal, I realize, is that in my own head I embrace any situation that I find emotionally satisfying, even if it seems foolishly angsty or sentimental, and even if it doesn't necessarily fit a neatly coherent and likely plot. I go for immediate emotional reward. For the fictional equivalent of salt and fat and sugar. (Isn't there a Yiddish criticism that translates to "without salt or fat"? Or am I misremembering?)

So I sat down to write a scene in a fictional/fantasy world that I used to use back when I played roleplaying games (but it's my world, not fanfiction), with the deliberate determination that when something feels a little too salty or buttery or sugary, I'll embrace that something rather than back off. I'll embrace, in fact pursue, the overflavored first draft.
One goal, I realize a while after writing the above, is to have a period where I enjoy writing fiction. I usually enjoy having written fiction; I don't usually enjoy doing it. I'm enjoying doing this. I've written five thousand words since the third, which is admittedly not a lot, but it's (1) more than my official allotment of 300 a day (446 a day on average), (2) got written during a high-stress time when I'd probably write nothing, and (3) I enjoyed almost every minute of it. I say "almost" because the first couple of sentences, each time I sat down to write, had to fight against resistance, but then I was into enjoyment. Oh, and (4) The plot is surprisingly close to coherent.

The flaw with this as far as the blog is concerned is that highly flavored scenes give me stage fright, so I'm not willing to post them to the blog. We'll see if that changes.

That is all.