Saturday, December 5, 2015

Fashion: In which I respond to a question nobody asked me

I've been binge-listening to the podcast Pop Fashion. This post was inspired by a thought from their... lemme check... April 10, 2014 episode.

Don't mock me. Stop it.

They discussed "normcore", a term I'd never heard before. My understanding is that it refers to regular, normal, boring clothes, sometimes worn deliberately as a statement, sometimes just worn. This was contrasted with not-found-in-nature colors in hair and nails and makeup and such, seen as an "anti-normcore" movement in beauty products. One question was why the same person may have "normcore" clothes, but also pink hair and 3D nails and glitter makeup. To quote, "How can we be both normcore in dress and and then...crazy sparkle land in beauty products; why is this happening simultaneously?"

I have a theory: I think it's about creative ownership of your own appearance.

My feeling has always been that the world of clothes is owned by the fashion industry. You--well, at least I--go shopping or go online hoping to find something that fits, that's affordable, that isn't hideous. If "fits" and "affordable" are challenges, adding the requirement that you like the item or that it expresses anything about you, is often an un-achievable luxury. Good enough is good enough. That's especially true in the early fashion-awareness years, junior high and high school, where taking a risk that might not come off can feel like a life-threatening risk.

I keep wanting to veer off into several more paragraphs, including references to Paul Graham's essay Why Nerds are Unpopular, and my own fashion experience, and that stuff about my mother, but I'm just going to conclude: For some people, including me in past decades, expressing oneself with one's clothes isn't an option that comes up at all.  Maybe a message tee or a Santa hat or an ugly Christmas sweater, but not on a regular basis.

But nail polish doesn't come in sizes, and most people can afford it. Makeup can be washed off before school or work. And if you gulp and straighten your spine and take the risk of showing up wearing it, and it doesn't work out, at least you didn't burn a year's clothes budget on it. So it's partly about budget, as the podcast discussed, but I think that budget is just a stepping stone to creative ownership.

And continuing on the theme, I think that this also explains why people who don't care much about their everyday clothes will pour heart and soul and all their spare cash into cosplay. Cosplay is about creative ownership. OK, it's a little odd to say that when you're imitating someone else's fictional creation, but art always imitates art. Cosplay would lead me into a discussion of sewing, which moves creative ownership of your clothes back to you, but I'm going to chew on that for a while.

My path to kinda-fashion, as discussed on this blog, started with utterly (utterly) abandoning all efforts at fashion. I wore black. Black skirts, black sweaters, black mock-turtle tees, black tees, black flats, black tights, black socks, black coat. By abandoning all effort with regard to clothes, an area that I didn't understand and wasn't comfortable with, I opened up space and time and money for experimenting in areas where I was more comfortable, or at least more interested. Perfume, of course. And scarves. And rhinestones. I could easily see a different version of me instead going with nail polish and pink hair. Ooh, no, deep intense plum hair!


No, that's not happening.

But anyway, that's my theory on normcore clothes with anti-normcore trimmings. To pull myself back into the discussion, I'm about to go out wearing Mom jeans, a polo shirt, a grey cardigan, a knit hat, a pair of black Merrells--and a spray of Papillon Salome (the perfume that Angela at Now Smell This gave a 7 on the skank scale) plus something with rhinestones.

So there.

Link Roundup from my own blog: Being a GirlFashion Voice, and The Huh? and the Predators and Reality TV.

Image: By Evi Michailidou. Wikimedia Commons

Friday, December 4, 2015

Blogging: The Undead Blog Awakens! (No, not this one.)

I was doing so well, and then a week rolled by, foom! No posts.

I blame Thanksgiving. I ignore the fact that Thanksgiving was a week ago.

So, remember that Rambling Chicken blog over there, the one that's been sleeping since 2011? I'd been thinking of trying an unprecedented experiment of a blog with a  fairly focused subject, and I'd been thinking of writing a sort of "where's the fried chicken in this city?" guide, and I realized that Rambling Chicken was a moderately perfect title for that concept.

And so, Rambling Chicken is about to be about chicken. Primarily in a food rather than a feathery bird context. I've already written this post about a Vancouver, BC restaurant that will serve you rendered chicken skin. On a plate. Like fancy potato chips, only much, much chickenier. I'm planning to continue writing posts about what restaurants serve what chicken-worth-eating.

I realize that there's limited demand for restaurant reviews/chickenfat rhapsodizing for cities where the reader isn't. One of the advantages of blogging purely as a hobby is that I don't feel an immediate need to solve that problem and get BIG STAT NUMBERS RAWR!


If I wanted big numbers I'd redesign the site and do...uh...stuff. About clicks and SEO and blah blah blah plus blah. Oddly, I do own the domain, because Himself got it for me just in case. Right now, it points to this blog and not that blog, but I'll fix that soonish.

I'll still leave the old material there, so it will be a confused mix of chicken and fiction and other stuff for a while, but over time the chicken posts will start to outnumber the others. Unless I write chicken fiction. I did recently write a piece of chipmunk fiction, so who knows?

There's a good chance that this will go the way of my other blog spinoffs, including the previous incarnation of Rambling Chicken, but where's the harm in trying? I'll keep posting here, but Rambling Chicken will give me a built-in excuse and context for writing about poultry. And, who knows, maybe chicken vintage memorabilia, or history and culture topics related on poultry, or...well, we'll see.

That is all.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Books: Book Stack

So, I always intend to blog about my reading. Book reviews and stuff. And as a sort of reading diary. But I never do.

Today I was looking at that stack of books on Desk Two, and I took a picture.

So what's in the stack?

That one on the bottom is the main rule book for Sandy Petersen's Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. It was very exciting when it was available in hardback, oh boy! It's the third edition.  When they were still doing percentile rolls instead of whatever weird thing they switched to. Yes, I do remember the game mechanics of a game that I haven't played in over a decade; is there a problem with that?

Two decades.

Two and a half decades?


I loved Call of Cthulhu. I loved roleplaying. Himself introduced me to it in college, and we kept it up for a while, and then it just petered out, but I still remember it ever so fondly. I doubt that it's on my desk because I was actually using it; I was probably using it as a hard surface to write on or something. But that means it's still on the active shelves, because seeing it there makes me happy.

The Whole Seed Catalog is great seed porn. I paid money for it even though it was expired when I came upon it. Just for the pictures.

I love Laurie King's books. The Beekeeper's Apprentice, with Holmes and Russell, should be one of my comfort bathtub paperbacks like the battered books that you see on the top of the stack. Now that I think of that I think I'm going to go get a paperback copy. And I loved the next one in that series and the next one, and the next one....and I love her other books. But...

Did I ever tell the story about the amusement park? Someone, a relative, a friend, I can't remember (And that's actually odd, because I didn't have enough friends to forget one. Hmm.) once took me with their family to an amusement park. And there was the usual "what do we do?" discussion, and the consensus was to go to, let's say, the ferris wheel. And we started toward the ferris wheel, "but first" we did something else, and "but first" we did something else, "but first" we ate something, "but first" we watched a show, and the whole day I couldn't enjoy anything, because my mind was fixed on the ferris wheel as the starting point, and everything else was a let's-get-this-over-with thing.

I mention this to explain why I couldn't enjoy Dreaming Spies. It starts at a particular point in time in the fictional world, and then moves back to a time previous to that fictional time, and I spent the Whole Bleeping Book in let's-get-this-over-with mode. I had the same problem with the sequel to Stephen Baxter's Flood. Ark, that was it. You'd think that this problem would recede in re-reading the book (because I re-read books, including mysteries) but I suspect not.

I don't have that problem with movies. I don't know why.

Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl (Susan McCorkindale) is about a Thin Lady who moved to a farm. It's amusing, it's well-written, I can't identify with Thin Ladies one bit. It didn't work for me. I bought this in a period where I was buying all sorts of back-to-the-country memoirs and urban homesteading books. I may go back to that when spring comes and the seed catalogs arrive and my simple farm resolutions fall apart, but I'm not in that phase right now.

The first several chapters of Doing Good Better (William MacAskill) were very enjoyable--I enjoy a well-written argument, and I really enjoy the elegant destruction of irrational beliefs, or elegant "why didn't I think of that?" discoveries. Who knew (spoiler?) that the best way to improve schooling in a specific community isn't books or school supplies, but deworming pills distributed by the teachers so that the kids have fewer sick days? It makes sense when I think it through, but who saw it coming? I love stuff like that.

Then it gets practical. It wouldn't be serving its purpose if it weren't practical, but apparently I wasn't ready to switch from enjoyment to useful information. I'll read it again when I am. Meanwhile, I'm just taking away the lesson that, yes, the best way to help the world, for me, is to make more money and donate some of it.

The Other Typist (Suzanne Rindell) started out very interesting, and then I got busy. I suspect I'll be reading it over Christmas, though I may pack it for Thanksgiving weekend. I did realize, however, that there's a comfort factor in the structure of a murder mystery--I have a fair idea of how a mystery is going to go. By contrast, I have no idea how The Other Typist is going to go. I don't know if the bad people will get their comeuppance. I don't know if the good people will survive. I don't know anything. We'll see how it goes.

How to Fly a Horse (Kevin Ashton) is part of a recent focus on creativity, along with Culture Crash above it, and Big Magic over on Desk One and therefore not in the photograph, and Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz. (Why do I include that one in the group? I don't know. Yes, I do--I think that it shares some facts and stories with other members of the group, possibly How to Fly a Horse, and because I loved the author's Ted Talk, as I loved Elizabeth Gilbert's Ted Talk. See? Don't worry, no, it doesn't make sense.) There are, no doubt, more that I'm forgetting, probably on Desk One. It was a lot of fun--one of those books that has me annoying other people by throwing little passages and facts at them. Himself isn't crazy about that habit of mine.

I've barely started Culture Crash. It was making me feel sad and cynical, and I ran away to the happier Big Magic. In my brain, the two are in opposition, because Culture Crash laments the fact that no one is getting paid to create any more, and Big Magic advises the creator not to count on getting paid to create. But I don't think that those arguments are really in opposition, because one is societal and the other is individual. I'll dig into Culture Crash again soon.

Speaking of Big Magic, Stern Men is my "stop fangirling and read one of her books, dangit!" Elizabeth Gilbert novel. I've only read a single page of the prologue, which had the effect of reassuring me that it's OK to write narrative and not just scene. That's all. Another likely Thanksgiving or Christmas book.

Hmm. I'm listening to yet another Podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert (this one for the New York Public Library, with Ann Patchett) and she mentions that she wrote for magazines. Which reminds me that my favorite authors tend to have also been journalists. So I hope I'll like Stern Men.

Then there are two bathtub comfort books near the top. The Moving Finger is one of my favorite Agatha Christies--I think that the only one I like better is The Pale Horse. I'm not that interested in the mystery--it's all about the characters, and the nice little un-angsty romance that Agatha Christie is so good at.

The Skeleton in the Grass (Robert Barnard) is, again, a cast of engaging amusing characters, but it doesn't just let you bask in sweet nostalgia; it questions.

Miss Melville's Revenge (Evelyn E. Smith) isn't my favorite Miss Melville novel; that's the first one. But I found it when sorting books, said, "Ooh! This one!" and it's been in the bathtub-book place of honor since. Waiting for the bubble bath. (The bubble bath came just the other day. Himself keeps me in bubble bath. There's a giant, giant jug of my favorite bubble scent, Cranky Baby (aka California Baby Overtired & Cranky) in the bathroom.)

That's the stack.

Image: Mine.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Gardening: Brr. And simplicity. Or something.

It's winter. Abruptly. I've been wearing a coat for weeks, but today I added a hat and gloves and long underwear and two shirts underneath a fat sweater. Winter.

I lived in California for quite some time, and back then winter was, well, absent. Most years, the tomatoes didn't finally freeze to death until sometime in January. Some years they never actually froze, they just got really depressed. All the same, this seems like an unusually abrupt change of seasons. Random chance? Global climate change? Squirrels? Nobody knows. 

This means that The Farm is mostly done for the year. The leaf lettuce, scallions, and the younger kale all look fine, and the chard isn't actually dead, but everything else has faded away. Even so, it looks much, much better than it usually does in early winter--it still strongly resembles a (sleeping) garden, rather than a weed patch. I'm trying to form a disciplined plan of clearing and soil amendment and re-planting, just an hour or two at a time, so that by spring there's a nice orderliness about it. We'll see how that ends up working out.

I notice that as it gets colder, my uncritical enthusiasm for growing everything fades, and I embrace the unprecedented idea of just growing the things that actually pay back. So what would that mean next year?
  • Blue Lake beans--mostly bush, but I want to try pole as well, because they're supposed to be much more dryfarmable.
  • Dryfarmed Early Girl tomatoes.
  • Experiment with dryfarming a couple more tomato varieties.
  • More zinnias.
  • More sunflowers.
  • More pumpkins.
  • More lettuce in winter and spring. In summer, either very small and lavishly irrigated lettuce beds, or no lettuce.
  • Keep growing the strawberries.
  • Keep the perennial herbs.
  • Add roses
It's a short list. I'm trying to see it as elegant simplicity rather than boring. Is it possible to hold to it when the seed catalogs arrive? We'll see.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Rambling: Creativity, Pink, and Betrayal

So, I'm listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's podcast ("Magic Lessons") and she's being all sweet and supportive and enthusiastic and spiritual I don't know what to do about this. As I keep saying, I loved her TED talk. And I apparently love the podcast, because I've listened to all of it today, and now I'm mining the podcast world for her guest appearances on other people's podcasts.

In one of the podcasts, she talked about getting stuck creatively and trying to break out by doing the opposite of what you've been doing. And I don't know if I'm stuck, but I'm wondering if I should consider the possibility of embracing pinkness. Just, you know, to see what happens.

So what's pinkness? I think that I see it as enthusiasm without cynicism. And, see, saying that feels like I'm betraying my lifetime loyal companion: Cynicism. Cynicism, meet my readers. Readers, meet Cynicism. Of course, you've met before, in plenty of my posts, but I don't think you've been formally introduced, by name, before.

I feel a really strong resistance to resisting cynicism. It feels like betrayal. Cynicism and I are pals.

Now, Ms. Gilbert keeps talking about fear, in a way that is not unlike the way that I'm talking about cynicism. And cynicism is a big galumphing costume that's animated by all sorts of things, and one of those things is, without a doubt, fear. But there are other things in there. I don't want to pat cynicism on the head and encourage it to go away and have a nap. I don't want to tell it, as she tells fear, that it's never going to get to drive the car. Well, the creative car. The car of creativity.

(Patrick, from Coupling: "Well, obviously the puppy represents love. You’ve got to rescue the puppy of love from the car… of… conversation.")

There are things inside that cynicism costume that I need. In fact, I suspect that my creativity is split between cynicism and pink, rather like Good Kirk and Bad Kirk. I've managed to mostly avoid the pinkness, but I think that that luxury is coming to an end. Two of my current project ideas require me to at least occasionally turn away from cynicism so that he can't clearly see what I'm writing until it's down in words. One of them is about a man that (oh, dear God) likes his mother, and another one requires that I understand, and ideally even embrace, a certain brand of uncritical enthusiasm.


Image: By Russavia. Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rambling: Rambling

So, the slip like object and the silk skirt are done. I have yet to try them on. I mean, try them on properly, with hosiery and shoes. Rather than bedroom slippers. Finishing them was all hand sewing. To finish the next things, I'll have to clear off a table and get out a machine.

I have two lengths of polka dot silk. I want to sew something out of them. Skirt? Shirt? Robe?

That's ignoring the rest of the stash. I have too much stash. Almost everyone who sews has too much stash, right? I want to force myself to use some up on unglamorous sewing. I need pajamas, tap pants, cooking coats, kitchen and harvest aprons, and so on. Even shoe bags and laundry bags for the luggage, and pillow covers, and for that matter, covers for the sewing machines.

I'm reading The Martian. We got me my very own paperback; Himself doesn't like me dropping his books in the tub.  I'm enjoying it, though I like the first person voice of the main character much better than the third person sections.

There's no fried chicken in the house. What's with that?



See, I've been posting almost every day, but I seem to have run down today. Sewing? Chicken? Chocolate? I know I didn't mention chocolate, but it's on my mind. Of course.


Apparently that is all.

Image: Mine.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sewing: UFO Roundup

You know the term "UFO" in a crafting context, right? UnFinishedObjects?

I have several. Today, I feel motivated to finishing and/or tossing them. Or finish, evaluate, then toss. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. I suspect it's because I've been reading about Kanban and Personal Kanban--I want to get some items off my Doing list. Column. Whatever.

So I finished a skirt in dark-grayish-blue silk crepe, that I started months ago. Finished except for the final press, and then I'll have to wear it and see if it works at all. That's usually why something becomes a UFO--I baste it, try it on, and lose enthusiasm.

And I bound the waistband of that blue wool crepe skirt that I mentioned.

And I started hemming and binding the waist of a black, it's got a zipper, so it seems like a skirt, but it's really lightweight, almost a voile, so it seems like a slip. I can no longer remember why I started it.  Whatever the reason, it'll be done soon.

After all of those are done and either on hangers or in the donate pile or in the trash, I'll start sewing the cooking coat that I cut out perhaps a year ago.

Except that I know that there's a half-finished skirt in lightweight black wool crepe around here somewhere, really cheap wool crepe that bought to test patterns, but I can't find it. And somewhere there's a drop-sleeved thing in light pink linen that's too big and long to be a shirt, too short to be a bathrobe, too unstructured to be a jacket, and too pretty to be a cooking coat. I suppose it could be a swimming cover-up if I ever ever swam.

Look! Sewing themed cat picture!

That is all.

Image: By Ron Galili. Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rambling: Pancakes and Fur Collars


I fried two kinds of chicken last night.

I just made Swedish pancakes.

I did eat some broccoli with the chicken. That makes it all OK, right?

It's raining out there.

I was going to finish making a skirt this weekend.

That's looking increasingly unlikely.

Oops. I was also going to plant the French grey shallots.

But the rain is an excuse for not doing that, right?

I've been thinking of learning how to make pot roast. But that wold be unhealthy.


I bought more rhinestones. And a cool pin that looks sort of like a metallic Tribble.

That's a Maine Coon. The cat, that is. The one with the sort of Bugs-Bunny expression. If we get a cat again, I want it to be a Maine Coon.

I dug out the pieces of that skirt so far, and was startled to realize that it's made of wool crepe instead of denim. A person should really remember these things. It's wool crepe that I've had for years and years. It seemed like time to do something with it. I remember my thinking now that I have the (partial) skirt in hand.

I bought a couple of hundred yards of bias binding in assorted colors, and thirty yards of black twill tape, when we were in Portland. Because it's harder to find that stuff in Ashland. I'm hoping that the result will be that I knock off some skirts. I prefer bound hems.

While I was at it, I bought two more patterns for the Casual Shirt Grail. The Casual Shirt Grail is the goal of a simple shirt that I can get from cutting table to wearing in roughly three hours--and that I'm subsequently willing to wear.

I already have the Gored Skirt Grail that I can make that fast--assuming that I didn't spoil the pattern last time I re-traced it. It was a patchwork of cut pieces and masking tape from all the alterations. I'm pretty sure I traced exactly precisely the pattern from the last successful one that I made, but with the tape giving way and pieces of pieces falling on the floor, and with Version I and Version II and Version III floating around, it's hard to tell for sure.

The Casual Shirt Grail requires (1) no collar, because I can't finish a shirt with a collar, even a simple collar without a stand, in three hours. And (2) not-set-in sleeves, because I have yet to solve my tilted shoulder problem, plus set-in sleeves are precise enough that I suspect I'd be doing a little tweaking with each different fabric. And (3) no required buttons. When this pattern is right, I want to be able to cut and sew it without even needing to try it on.

The goal (Huh. This post is starting to narrow down to a topic here) is to have a reasonably flattering shirt pattern that's so easy that I have spare attention for embellishments. Piping, binding, contrasting stitched-down facing, beading, embroidery, decorative buttons--not, I promise, all on the same garment.

I'm looking at a vintage 1950's swing coat with a gorgeous fur collar and wondering if making something with really high-quality fake fur would end with people spitting on me and throwing red paint at me. I guess the more obviously fake the fur is, the less likely that would be to happen, but I want things that look more convincingly first-half-of-the-twentieth-century.

Meanwhile, I do have a really nice-looking swing coat pattern.

That is all.

Image: By Takashi Hososhima. Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Books: Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic

So, I finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert's(*) Big Magic. I bought it because I loved her TED talk on genius as an entity separate from a creator. I loved Big Magic just as much, though I can feel that there's a battle in my head, between my natural cynicism and the positive messages of the book. Cranky and Inspirational are dancing around the ring, taking shots at each other.

(* Elizabeth Gilbert? Eat Pray Love lady. You know, her.)

Inspirational made it into the ring partly because the positive messages in the book aren't determinedly oblivious, shovel-in-another-spoon-of-sugar, unicorn-breath messages. Gilbert doesn't assure you that if you take risks, quit your job, follow your passion, blah de blah, you'll be just fine. In fact, she recommends keeping your day job. She doesn't tell you that your creativity will fight your battles and keep you fed; she urges you to protect and feed and support your creativity, even though it may never feed you, may never do anything but keep you company and give you a shot at more joy in your life. She doesn't assure you that you'll create anything world-shaking, or beautiful, or even good. But still, that joy thing.

No unicorns. I like that. Even though I dislike "inspirational." I dislike the word. I dislike the concept. It makes me twitch. But it's still in the fight, holding its own against my cynicism. Not that she used the word, at least not that I particularly noticed. But there's a vibe that needs a word, and that word keeps popping up in my head.

It's my mother that inserted the word in my head. She loved that word. If you read my blog, you know some of how I feel about my mother. Elizabeth Gilbert, on the other hand, likes her mother.  Maybe that's part of the difference. Maybe a supportive mother is a natural brake on cynicism. Maybe it allows positive ideas that don't smell like unicorn and don't feel like denial.

Is it wrong that I'm relieved that Elizabeth Gilbert doesn't want to be a mother? Some distance from the idea of the mother as the font of all good things is...good.

I love the TED talk. I love the book. I bought Stern Men, one of Gilbert's novels. (My cynicism just wouldn't allow me to buy anything as popular as Eat Pray Love. Maybe later.) I subscribed to Magic Lessons, Gilbert's podcast. I'm Googling for videos of Gilbert's various talks. I'm sensing fangirl tendencies in myself. This must be controlled.

But all the same, I love Gilbert's concept of an idea as something that has its own separate existence, that seeks a person to carry it out--and that eventually, if it's neglected, moves on to find another person, leaving a dead husk behind. (OK, I don't know if "dead husk" is hers or if it's a product of my crankier view.) She has me thinking of my five (count 'em, five) ideas for books--three novels and two nonfiction--and wondering which one I want to tend and feed and keep alive. Because I can't manage a litter.

Maybe she's (twitch) "inspiring" me to commit to writing one of my dark, cynical ideas. That would be cool.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

SOTD: Byredo Pulp, or Engulfed in Fruit

Kitty! No, he has nothing at all to do with the post.

After twenty-four hours, and more than one washing, the Salome on my arm was still distinct and gorgeous. I probably could have just left it there and considered myself perfumed for the day.

But I wanted to put on something else, while this uncharacteristic rebirth of perfume interest is going on. I considered Byredo Blanche, as a sort of amusing contrast, but it occurs to me that I don't see Blanche as merely shy, but distinctly opinionated about her quiet soapy cleanliness. I think that there would be squabbling, or perhaps silent treatment, if they had to share the same person.

So I dug out my decant of Byredo Pulp instead. A big squashy heap of slightly overripe fruit seems like an affable companion to Salome. And it was.

But it was big. Big. BIG. One spray on the back of my neck (for wafts) and one on my other arm (for direct-sniff updates) and I was drowning in that heap of fruit. I ended up doing the cooking-oil-wash on my arm, and washing the back of my neck, to get it down to only a little too much. I'm going to decant this to a roller, for maximum control. Or maybe mix one drop into a gallon of unscented body cream. Or something.

I don't think that I used to have this problem with Pulp. Is it a summer versus winter thing? Or the long interval of little perfume wearing?


Also, that kitty is staring at me.

That is all.

Image: By Heikki Siltala-catza. Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rambling: Rambling

This post was going to be about Papillon Salome. Salome is glorious. It's also hard to put words to. Well, it's hard to put PG-rated words to. Y'know? And this is a pretty PG blog.

So apparently no Salome review today. But I enjoyed it, from the shocking top notes to the final sweet, powdery, but still distinctly animalic drydown.

(Hmm. Would the Neighborhood Sample Pass enjoy Salome? Is that idea madness? I just finally broke down and ordered a bottle of Shalimar extrait. Salome, Shalimar, and... Muscs Koublaï Khän? I'm not doing that Etat Libre d'Orange thing, nope nope nope. Nope.)

(It's madness, isn't it? Yes?)

(I could make up for it next round with a 'soapy' theme.)

And there is no NaNoWriMo update to speak of. I suspect that my NaNoWriMo experience this year is going to collapse to no more than, "Try to write more than usual in November."

I Dressed again. I've been wearing the skirt in the first photo, a black-and-white denim-weight cotton houndstooth with a hem bound in black bias binding, a lot. Over and over and over. And over. So I bought the fabric to make another one, this one a tan-and-white denim-weight cotton herringbone, with a hem bound in tan bias binding.

From a distance, they're just going to look gray and beige, but I know that they have pretty woven patterns, see? I have another one in a tiny-black-and-white-pattern in wool, and more pieces of assorted tiny-patterns in the fabric stash. I'll have a whole collection of tiny-pattern skirts.

I haven't had a Coke days? Five? So it's not surprising that I'm being stalked by a migraine. I'm trying to drown it in iced tea.

I've been trying to Tweet more, because I'm trying to understand Twitter. Just because. I couldn't really tell you why.

But I'm still pretending that Facebook doesn't exist.

I think that's all.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fashion: What I Wore Monday

I'm Dressing again.

For the past few months, my clothing criteria have been that my clothes be (1) clean and (2) mine, as opposed to stealing Himself's. Actually, I didn't always adhere to (2).

But cold weather seems to suddenly activate all the girly parts of my brain. Today, I wore that scarf, that coat and skirt (the skirt is the barely visible bit of black-and-white), and those boots. I wore a gray collared shirt, too, but I'm still wearing it, so I didn't include it in the photo op.

I also dug out a pile of assorted rhinestones and am looking for an opportunity to wear them. And you've seen the re-interest in perfume in recent posts.  And I dug out the tentative batch of makeup that I bought a year or so ago and seriously debated well, wearing some. You know, outside the house. Maybe. It could happen.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

SOTD: Lush Godiva Solid Shampoo

It was raining today, and I was running around here and there. And I kept wondering, "Why do I smell jasmine? I'm not wearing perfume. Is it her? No, it's over here, too. Is it him? Why do I smell jasmine? Why do I smell jasmine? WHAT'S GOING ON?!"


Two days ago, I washed my hair with a Godiva shampoo bar. Today, the occasional raindrop falling on my hair was waking up the jasmine bomb that is Godiva, and creating a cloud of jasmine around my head.

It's a perfectly nice jasmine--not too dirty, not too clean. But there is a LOT OF IT, enough to make me write in ALL CAPS.

And it's not just launching its attacks from my head. After washing my hair, I noticed that a cloud of jasmine was emerging from my bathroom and marching down the hall, so I wrapped the shampoo bar in a washcloth, to at least confine the scent to the room. It didn't work. So I shut the door. It didn't work. I finally put the shampoo bar in a zip-top plastic bag and zipped it. That finally shrank the cloud to within the boundaries of the bathroom.

I like this shampoo bar. It leaves my hair well behaved, even when I just wash my hair and fall into bed.

The scent is very pleasant.


That is all.

Image: By Joe Parks. Wikimedia Commons.

Edited to add OBSource: I paid money for the Godiva shampoo bars.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

NaNoWriMo: Slackery

Well, dang.

I fell off the NaNoWriMo wagon, but I thought, "OK, at least I'm on track for NaBloPoMo."

Then I didn't post yesterday.


Guess I'd better get back on that wagon. Can I write nine thousand words today?

Cat Picture: By Aria Belli. Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Perfume: First Sniff: Tom Ford Jardin Noir Ombre de Hyacinth


When I want hyacinth, I’ll wear Serge Lutens Bas de Soie instead.

When I want expensive soap, I’ll wear Balmain Ivoire instead.

When I want New Barbie Doll/Liddle Kiddle, I’ll wear Jo Malone French Lime Blossom instead.

Tom Ford Jardin Noir Ombre de Hyacinth is Perfectly Nice. At about a third of the price, I would call it surprisingly good. As it is,  I just call it surprisingly expensive.

That is all.

Oh, except for the cat picture:

(Fragrance source: purchased decant.)

(I really must start reviewing an occasional scent that’s less than three years old.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Perfume: First Sniff: DSH Mirabella

I blind-bought a bottle of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Mirabella a while ago, I think in a spasm of support for independent perfumers, and I think there was a hint that it won't be around forever. But I only got around to wearing it today.


I’d been sniffing the cap, as I do, and it smelled perfectly pleasant, a nice old-fashioned black and white photograph. Then I sprayed it, and it expanded, a warm, amber blooming globe, a giant shaggy chrysanthemum created from light and scent by Glinda the Good Witch.

OK, not literally. If you’d been photographing me, there wouldn’t have been shaggy petals in the shot, but…wow. I’ve never experienced synesthesia, but this gives me a hint of what it must be like.

I sat and enjoyed it for a moment, then bent to sniff inside my collar (because I test my scents through one spray on my stomach, usually) and it was like diving down below the sweet, gorgeous, but mostly proper surface of the globe to find a delightfully animalic core, as if someone had added a scent created by straining human perspiration and keeping the warm smells-like-someone-I-love parts while tossing out the rest. I lifted my head and then ducked again, lifted and ducked, lifted and ducked, like one of those dashboard bird things, and I could find the two layers every time.


It’s still old-fashioned, but it’s as if I've stepped into that photo and entered its real world of color and sight and sound and movement.  An American city street in the ‘forties, with well-tailored women in tapping high heels and the scent of autumn and burning leaves and lush almost-overripe fruit creeping in from somewhere. Yes, that’s two simultaneous almost-hallucinations; don't quibble with me; Cary Grant is coming down the street arguing with Rosalind Russell or possibly Priscilla Lane and I want to watch.

I ought to go on to notes, but this is one of those perfumes where the notes are so blended that the perfume just is what it is. There are fruit and flowers but not in the modern "fresh!" vibe; it's syrupy overripe fruit and deep-sweet flowers.  There's spice and honey but not enough to give me a food vibe; it's the kind of spice that just flows into the leather, and then the leather is the kind that flows, in its turn, into the more animalic notes, perhaps the civet that Fragrantica mentions. It's comforting, but comforting with brightness and power; it's your pet tiger, not your security blanket.

I like it. You could probably tell.


Image: Wikimedia Commons.

(Correction: Apparently I did try it, two and a half years ago, when I first bought it. That post, too, has a slightly dazed feel; I suspect that it knocked me just as flat then, but with fewer words to express the experience.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Blogging: Freebie Phobia

This blog is small. Tiny. Amateur. Part of its amateur nature is the fact that I don’t initiate relationships with perfume brands, and when a brand reaches out, I do a lousy (perhaps better phrased as “nonexistent”) job of maintaining that relationship. I am blogging as a normal consumer, when I’m not blogging as a chicken glutton.

Why am I raising this subject? Because I’m about to wear some samples that I did receive from a brand representative. For free. Two, maybe three, years ago, a nice person (See how I don’t remember the name? See how bad I am at these relationships?) from PureDistance offered me a bottle, and I declined but said that I’d be delighted to receive ordinary 1ml samples. Only after that did I realize that, oops, PureDistance’s “ordinary” samples are a pretty fancy production, costing a non-trivial bit of money. I felt so guilty that…I never reviewed them.

No, there is no semblance of logic there. But the history was in my thoughts as I was going through my “interesting samples I’ve never tried” drawer and ran across the fancy PureDistance samples. Which I will now sniff. And, if words come to mind, review. Now that they’re no longer new releases and nobody cares.

You see, again, why I am not a bigger blog? There are plenty of other reasons, including my frequent digressions on chicken skin and cucurbits, but this is part of it.

I don’t know why I’m not comfortable with a free-samples relationship for me, when my reaction to it for every other perfume blogger is, “Well, of course. How else could they possibly review all those perfumes without going bankrupt?”. Now, other perfume bloggers are free of Postal Regulation Phobia, which is why free bottles are just fine for them (because they can give them away again, the way they do) and not for me. But it doesn’t explain my issue with samples.

When I analyze all the details, I can only conclude that I trust those bloggers not to be influenced by freebies, while I don’t trust me. I think I should be offended at my opinion of myself.

Meanwhile, I’m debating the fifty dollars for a sample pack from Thorn & Bloom. Whee!

(Catcatcat picture.)

Image: By juanedc. Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Perfume: Words and winter and stuff

So, I was going to sniff a perfume and write about it. I rummaged through the Largeish Decants drawer, sprayed on Vetiver Tonka, and waited for words to come.



That's all I've got.

This happens. The lack of words. Comes and goes. It may be part of the season change; it's hard to tell.

Now, Vetiver Tonka has never been one of my favorite perfumes. I don't adore it and I don't hate it. That could be part of the issue.

And I suspect that it's a late-winter perfume for me, rather than early winter. Right now, I'm craving oily, animalic, smokey perfumes. I seem to recall that as winter drags on into spring, I crave scents to sweep out and sanitize all that fur and sweat and smoke. So I'll return to Vetiver Tonka in, oh, March.

Meanwhile, what are the sweaty things that I'm seeking?

Caron Alpona has that smell of freshly-bathed cat, with oranges. Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque is lions prowling around the campfire. Robert Piguet Bandit, the modern version, is musky, if far too polite, rather like a tiger got an MBA and turned up in a double-breasted suit. Papillon Salome, now, that's a a fine batch of skankiness. Daim Blonde is  a very clean nest of white fur. I suspect that I'd like to bury myself in Aftelier Cepes & Tuberose, but the bottle is too tiny for truly enthusiastic drizzling. Oh, and the thought of Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia, and MCMC Kept are appealing.

Aside from the honey in Kept, I'm not, it seems craving the food fragrances. No syrup for me yet. Not even any tea; the thought of Tea for Two does nothing for me. When I check blog posts from previous years, this appears to be off kilter; a few years ago, I was enthusing about Ayala Moriel Guilt.


Image: By Tomitheos. Wikimedia Commons.

NaNoWriMo: Again the confusion

Day two and strategy three for NaNoWriMo: I went back to fiction. Whee!

3,566 words.

And, cat picture.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

NaNoWriMo: Starting

So, I started NaNoWriMo. Not a novel; I'm working on that unnamed nonfiction idea that I had a while ago. I got 1725 words in, or fifty-eight above quota. But it's not going to work. Not for NaNoWriMo, that is. The book is intended to be a series of essays, and I failed to consider the amount of mental fermentation they would require.

So I think that the goal of this year's NaNoWriMo is going to be: Write 1667 words, on a single topic,  one that isn't directly dependent on the context of my blog, every day. On whatever. An essay today. A really long perfume review tomorrow. That sort of thing.  Just use it to form a writing habit.


We'll see.

Meanwhile, cat picture!

Image: By nsleep6. Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Writing: A WriteOrDie NaNoWriMo?

I type 110 words per minute. Last time I tested.

That means that if you abandon things like, say, thought, I could do NaNoWriMo in 15.15 minutes per day.


There's a tool called WriteOrDie--application version and website version--that stimulates you to keep typing at top speed, and tortures you if you don't.

I could add a very, very small ration of thought and do NaNoWriMo in thirty minutes a day inside WriteOrDie.

It's essentially a stunt, but, somehow, I'm kind of liking the idea. I'm not sure if I have time for NaNoWriMo otherwise, and sometimes when I'm typing at full tilt, interesting things come out.



Of course, it's late. And I've had three caffeinated beverages and several pieces of early Halloween chocolate. Sanity may return tomorrow.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Writing: NaNoWriMo or no NaNoWriMo?

Can't decide.

I could work on the novel that just got darker. I've already started on it, but I'm usually a NaNoWriMo rebel anyway.

I could do the "NaNoBlogMo" thing where I try to blog fifty thousand words. Not fiction. Babbling.

I could just ignore the whole thing.

I could just set some other goal, like writing or blogging every day, but not the 1667 words that NaNoWriMo calls for.

It occurs to me that the purpose of NaNoWriMo--at least as I interpret it--is to encourage one to write willy-nilly, without worrying about any discipline other than pumping those words out. It's a goal that I approve of, for those who are inclined to perfectionism and won't call a piece of writing finished until it's polished to a high gloss.

That is not my problem.

So I could reverse the whole thing and try to force myself to write something coherent and somewhat polished, every day for a month. Not long and coherent and polished; there's a limit to the madness here. But something that isn't diary-like and isn't dependent on the context of the blog. My history with Girl Scout Thin Mints one day, thoughts about Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth the next, that kind of thing.

The odds of that happening are low. But I kind of like it.  It could be a plan for a very ambitious NaNoWriMo Rebel whatsit next year, if I pre-planned thirty topics. But I don't see it happening this year.

See, the above is only 240 words. Can I really write seven times that much every day for a month? It feels iffy.

I could just write free-association fiction:

Janet collapsed on the beanbag chair and stared up at the ceiling. Acoustic tiles. She started to count them, first across, then down, but lost track twice. How was that possible, after only two glasses of wine? Maybe they... ah. The doorbell. 

"Chinese food is here!" she shouted. " Can you get the door? I've fallen in the beanbag and I can't get up."

But, see, there I'm stalled. And it's just 61 words.

Can't decide.

Image: By Extraordinary. Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rambling: Sunday Randomness

No, the picture has no significance whatsoever.

I still don't understand Twitter.

I fried two kinds of chicken. Actually, three. (Italian breadcrumb chicken fingers, panko crumb chicken fingers, and wings.)

I'm averting my eyes from the work week.

I may be catching a cold.

I'm watching Wonderfalls. It's a really good TV series. Sad that it didn't last longer.

The novel that I'm threatening to write just got darker, a decision that un-stalls several things but moves it away from the cookies-and-balloons novel, with friendly mild conflict between well-meaning people, that I was imagining. It's not as if I'm a cookies-and-balloons writer anyway, though.

I just bought several yards of toweling (the kind for nice dishtowels, not terrycloth) to make napkins, an apron, and some harvest bags.

I should fold some laundry. But I don't wanna.

I also made cookies. This is not the healthy nutrition weekend.

The current Wonderfalls episode is talking about cheese. You'd think I couldn't get hungry any more today.

Well, cheese and the Devil. Not directly linked or anything.

Y'know, I really should like Twitter.  It's short-format, immediate-feedback writing, and I used to like that in online roleplaying games.

The second picture has no significance either. I'm just adding free-association photos to the free-association babbling.

The third one looks like he thinks he's significant, right? Those bug eyes and all.

We were going to go harvest the pumpkins from the farm this weekend. It didn't happen. Maybe tomorrow.

I did harvest the melons. The ones we grew on the Farm. They're occupying an entire refrigerator shelf. I should eat them. Or give them away. Or reject them. The first one we ate was merely adequate.

I should plant the shallots. That was supposed to happen this weekend, too. Also the garlic. My garden plans are behind, because my knee got angry. I'm not quite sure what I did to it, but I think it was that Saturday when I tried really hard to get a shovel into really hard soil. It's getting better now. And the rain is coming soon.

Bug-eyed cat looks doubtful about something, doesn't he?

That might be all.

First Image: Wikimedia Commons
Second Image: By Pluton76. Wikimedia Commons
Third Image: By Julia Volks. Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Neighborhood Sample Pass: The Sequel: Round One: Two Faces of Serge Lutens: Chergui and Bas de Soie

A lot of colons in that title there.

So if you're a regular reader of my blog, you may be saying, "What sequel? I've never heard of this Neighorhood Sample Pass thing." If you're a participant in the previous Neighborhood Sample Pass, you may be saying, "Blog? What's this blog thing? Are you going to try to make me click on ads and buy a vegetable chopper?"

If you're both, hopefully you'll be un-confused instead of doubly confused.

No ads. No vegetable chopper. I just figured, I write for the sample pass,  I write for the blog, why not combine them?

Clash of worlds! Aiieee!

Ahem. OK.


In 2012/2013, I organized the original Neighborhood Sample Pass. I made up ten(?) little baggies of fragrance samples and decants, each with a theme, and gave each one to a friend in my neighborhood. (My often-discussed Postal Regulation Phobia ruled out including friends not in my neighborhood.) Said friends sniffed for a couple of weeks, then passed their baggie on to the next person in the rotation, until the baggies had made it all the way around, and the first pass was ended and I announced my plans to start a new pass.

Time passed. And passed. And passed some more. And suddenly I want to do it again.

This time I'm doing it as a sort of "perfumes of the month club". (But I'm sticking to the original name anyway.) This time I'll choose two or three or four perfumes and make up sample-sized decants for all participants, so that we can all talk about the same perfumes at the same time. This involves far less bookkeeping, and is nicely flexible.

First round! Bwahaha! Only two scents, because I'm temporarily short on decant bottles.

The Perfumes: 

Serge Lutens is both a man and a Paris perfume house. In my mind, the house balances on the line between niche and mainstream. Many of the fragrances have the delightful strangeness of niche creations, and when one of them is not strange, that fact often results in criticism from the online perfume wearing community. But the line is fairly frequently sold at department stores, which makes it feel not so much niche to me.

Now Smell This classifies Serge Lutens as niche, and I don't argue with Now Smell This on matters of definition. Or much of anything else. You can read their background for the house here. They also have a page (here) on Christopher Sheldrake, the nose behind many (most? all?) of the Serge Lutens fragrances.

Marla, in Perfume-Smellin' Things, asked "So do you like the warm, North-African amberfest Serge Lutens, or do you prefer his cold, austere, Northern European perfumes?" Inspired by the question, I've offered one of each.

My first choice, Chergui, is classic Serge Lutens. To me, it's pipe smoke, honey, leather chairs, and musty house. It's complex, spicy, syrupy, very popular, and moderately strange. And Lutens is supposed to be strange.

I discussed it here, and then went into the old-house vibe that it gives me, here. It's also discussed at (links! links!) Bois de Jasmin and Perfume-Smellin' Things and Perfume-Smellin' Things again and The Non-Blonde and Parfume da Rosa Negra (scroll down for the English version) and Perfume Patter and Now Smell This and Kafkaesque Blog and Olfactoria's Travels and Australian Perfume Junkies and The Fragrant Foodie and EauMG (video!).

The second fragrance, Bas de Soie (translation from the French: "silk stockings") is far less strange. It's a floral, primarily iris root and hyacinth, and it's pretty. Normally, pretty does little for me, but this one... When I first sniffed it, I classified it as one of the house's "well, they have to produce something conventional if they want to pay the bills" scents. Meh. And then, the very same day, it dragged me back; I couldn't say why, but I had to have it. And it keeps doing that to me; sometimes I shrug, and sometimes I want to dive into my own scented skin and I wear it for days on end.

My main, enthusiastic but short, post on this fragrance is here. For more detail, try (more links!) The Scented Salamander and Grain de Musc and Bois de Jasmin and Perfume Posse and Cafleurebon and Perfume Shrine and Perfume-Smellin' Things and MakeupAlley and Now Smell This and The Fragrant Foodie (scroll down) and I Smell Therefore I Am and The Non-Blonde and Megan in Sante Maxime and Olfactoria's Travels and EauMG.

First image: Wikimedia Commons.
Second image: Wikimedia Commons.
Third image: Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Wordless...Monday? Mary Tyler Moore

We're watching the special.

(Yes, six days late.)

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Rambling: Bits and Thoughts

Write. Write write. Write.

What about?

I'm debating whether to do NaNoWriMo this year.

The tomatoes are still tomatoeing. When I said that they were petering out, I was wrong.

We have a dozen pumpkins. A nice even dozen. Unless a little one's hiding under the leaves.

The seed garlic and seed shallots got here. Gray French shallots. The ones that I faintly remember are/were/will be removed from Hortus Fourth? Or did I make that up?

I'm reading three books simultaneously. How to Fly a Horse: The Secret of Creation, Invention and Discovery by Kevin Ashton, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz, and Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Make a Difference by William MacAskill. And I read Felicia Day's You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). I suspect that if I dug in the book stacks, I'd find more books in work.

We saw The Martian. Pretty good. A movie with science and no obvious "Seriously?!" errors. I didn't know it was a book. Heh.

This is not the most engaging blog post I've ever written.

I'm just saying.

And, worse, I didn't actually write it today. On Sunday, that is. I wrote most of it several days ago, didn't like it, left it to get stale, and came back today.

I do that a lot. I checked, and I have ninety-nine "draft" posts in this blog's queue, and another nineteen in Rambling Chicken's queue. Remember Rambling Chicken? I sometimes wonder if it would have been better to merge my blogging over there, instead of here. Rambling Chicken is a slightly less whacky name than ChickenFreak's Obsessions. I keep wanting a less weird name. Or a more cleverly weird name. Or something.

I'm looking through the draft posts. One consisted, in its entirety, of two sentences:

"Yesterday I fried chicken. Today I wore Cristalle."

You'd know that was me even if it were unlabeled, right?

OK. That is all.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rambling: Creativity versus rewards and praise, and another rant about blogging

So, I was recently talking to a  friend (Hi, friend!) about the research that suggests that rewards suppress, rather than encourage, creativity. A week or three later, I ran into the same idea in the book How to Fly a Horse.  The book discusses a few experiments and facts:
  • Children who were rewarded for writing stories wrote less creative stories than children who weren't.
  • Adults who were rewarded for creating collages created less creative collages than adults who weren't.
  • Adults who were told that their collages would be evaluated created less creative collages than adults who weren't.
  • Woody Allen wants nothing to do with his Academy Awards.
  • Einstein avoided Nobel prizes.
(By the way, I want to know why collages keep being the creativity activity for adults in these experiments. Is it because most adults can use a pair of scissors and a glue stick, so they reduce unwanted differences based on skill?)

I was thinking of all of this in the context that if you want to create an environment that encourages creativity, you may want to keep rewards out of it. And then I came to an abrupt conclusion:

Micropayments have destroyed blogging.

I don't actually know if it's a valid conclusion, and "destroyed" is a big overstatement, because there are lots of good blogs out there. But I have griped, many times, that it's essentially impossible to have any discussion about blogging without that discussion turning toward, not blogging, but rewards for blogging--readership and pagerank and ads and Adsense clicks, and all of those numeric metrics that can add up to making more money from ads or selling products or selling the blog itself.

Many bloggers chase that reward, focusing the entire blogging effort on increasing their Adsense payments from enough money to buy a burger a month, to enough money to buy a burger a week. The entire value of what should be a joyous creative-effort is reduced, in perception, to a few dollars. And if the reward stays at a few dollars, or in fact never goes above a few pennies, they feel stupid, like they're suckers. 

Even when a blogger doesn't actually care about money, the measure of a blog is still often based on the measures that produce money--readers, page views, pagerank.

What kind of sucker has a glorious, joyous time creating and offering their creation to the world, without demanding that they get paid for it? After all you get paid when you sing karaoke, right? You get paid when you invite friends to dinner, right? You get paid when you sing carols at Christmas, right? You get paid for those great cookies that you take to the potluck, right? You get paid when you have a fascinating conversation with a friend, right?

Oh. Right. You don't. And, yes, I'm descending into sarcasm. I'm annoyed. Blogging is an opportunity for absolutely anyone to create and share their creations--words, photographs, pictures, videos, whatever. But because, in theory, a blog could result in a financial reward, blogging is weighted down with reward baggage that discourages that creativity.

No, it doesn't discourage it for everyone, or at least it doesn't destroy it--there are great blogs out there that have ads on them, so obviously having ads doesn't keep you from having a great blog. I'm sure that for some blogs, the ads are what makes the blog possible, either by actually paying a wage to the person who does the blogging, or by paying for some of the expenses of the blog.

But the idea that creating for free makes one a sucker, is one that annoys me. And the standard measures of a blog encourage that idea. So I rant.

That is all. I may, in a later post, engage in the more nuanced discussion of creativity versus reward that I intended when I sat down to write this post. But apparently I had to rant first.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Perfume: Another Take on Seasons

So, I've posted (hereherehereherehere and here) about the effect that the seasons have on my fragrance tastes. Traditionally, the pattern has been that as day lengths shift after the solstice, I gradually lose interest in perfume, and then as we're past the curve and roaring into the next season, I get excited again. Well, that's how I remember the pattern; not all of those posts agree. This winter is a new twist--as we edge into the seasonal turn, my interest in perfume is climbing, not falling.

I want sweaty or dirty or syrupy perfumes. Right now, I'm having a strong craving for MCMC Kept. (I'm in Portland, where most of my perfume collection isn't.)  I'm also eager for the right occasion for my shiny new birthday bottle of Papillon Salome, which Now Smell This just gave 7 on the skank scale.

And I'm thinking that I really must get another bottle of Aftelier Cepes & Tuberose, because I don't want to run out someday.  And after reading EauMG's review of Thorn & Bloom Orange Blossom, I'm craving it without ever having smelled it.  (But Thorn & Bloom wants fifty dollars for samples. Meep! Also, meep!)  And I'm craving the freshly-bathed-soapy-cat smell of Caron Alpona.

Dirty perfumes. Mmm.

Image: By Dwight Sipler. Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Rambling: Rambling



It's "I haven't posted in too long" time. So I will now present a few paragraphs of random digressions.

The farm is petering out. The beans and cucumbers and tomatoes are still producing, but halfheartedly. The honeydew are saying, "Harvest us, already." So are the delicatas. So is the basil. The kale is a cabbage moth convention. The zinnias and cosmos are still pumping out flowers, and the lettuce is breathing a sigh of relief at the cooler temperatures. So are the strawberries, come to think of it; I keep being surprised that strawberries don't seem to like suffocating heat.  Oh, and there are pumpkins! A dozen, if I counted right.

As best I can recall without actually looking at the garden plan, I think that the next step is to plant the garlic and shallots, and more lettuce. And some perennials that could be planted almost any time between the time that the rains start and the time that they end. Well, the sooner the better, for all that nice winter root growth, but no special time. I imagine some winter Saturdays spent alternating between putting perennials in the ground and then warming up as I reorganize the shed.

Except that I should also spend those Saturdays gardening around the house. And decluttering. And writing fiction. And...well, you know. Are there really people who wonder what they'll do when they retire? I'd like to retire today, thank you.

I just saw a commercial with a woman who looks startlingly like Lammily. You know, the Barbie substitute with something nearer human proportions. She's pictured in this post. No, not the yawning cat. Scroll down.


Apparently that is all.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Rambling: Blogging and Perfume Blogging and Writing and Stuff

So my perfume interest is perking up, after a long gap.

And I'm debating whether to try to be a real perfume was going to say "again", but has this ever been a "real" perfume blog? I suppose the question is whether to go back to being as much of a perfume blog as I was at my maximum level of perfume-bloggyness. Back when I tried to post my scent of the day, and knew some of what was new, and sometimes even reviewed an occasional scent that was new, and not only did the Review Roundup, but tried to update old Roundups with new reviews.

Oh, and I had cat pictures. (Look, cat picture!)

Should I do that again?

Not that I would ever stop posting about sewing or pumpkins or fried chicken or random ramblings. But I would once again have a default topic, a six-posts-out-of-ten topic.

It occurs to me that although I adore Henry Mitchell, I have never read Any Day, his book not-about-gardening. While I love Herman Herst, I don't know if I'd read a book, by him, not-about stamp collecting. I haven't read any of Judith Martin's non-etiquette books, and even though I've bought them, I haven't read most of Calvin Trillin's books not-about-food.

It appears that I equate a writer with a topic. My topic has tended to be perfume. I might like my topic to be fiction, but perhaps the solution to writing more fiction is not to write less of other things, but to write more of other things.


Stepping slightly away from me (me me me!) that leads me to consider the link between a writer and a topic. Why do I find myself wanting a writer to continue to write about the same topic? The first phrase that my head came up with when I asked that question was "in jokes." In jokes represent an ongoing relationship and a comfort with that relationship. I suppose that when a writer continues to write on the same topic, continues the same conversation, it feels like we're having that comfortable relationship. Whether there are jokes or not.

I read Linda Grant's The Thoughtful Dresser, where I met her mother as a subtopic, first, and then I went on to read her Remind Me Who I Am Again, about her mother, where I ran into clothes as a subtopic, and so it was like changing topics in a conversation with someone that I already knew. I suspect that I'm going to read all of her books that clearly involve clothes, before I move on to the ones that don't have that tie.

So it appears that when online, my primary topic is perfume. Well, and also complaints about my mother, but you probably can't build a blog community around that....

....can you?

You probably can.

But I'm going to stick with the perfume for now.

Image: By aall1. Wikimedia Commons