July 2005 Archives

fashions of 1934

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July 30 movie: Fashions of 1934. Friday must have been "William Powell Day" on TCM or something. Maybe they started "Summer Under the Stars" a few days early. Have I ever mentioned how much I love Summer Under the Stars? (In case you're not an obsessive TCM viewer like I am, every day in August is devoted to a different actor.) Georg doesn't like that they take a month off from the interesting themes (such as Mexican cinema, pre-code movies, tearjerkers, etc) that can yield unusual movies we wouldn't otherwise get to see.

I see his point, but I love Summer Under the Stars because it gives me the chance to fill in my viewing of particular actors. For instance I was just saying that I wanted to see more George Brent. Well, all I have to do is wait for George Brent day, and I'll have a dozen movies to choose from. The downside, of course, is if they do a run of days on actors I'm not that interested in (James Cagney), have seen a lot of lately (Katherine Hepburn), or actively avoid (John Wayne). Next week Joel McCrea is the only day I'm interested in, but I'll be traveling anyway so it's for the best.

Anyway, back to this movie. Fashions of 1934. This was a very silly film starring William Powell as a fashion pirate and and very young, very hot Bette Davis as his partner in crime. (I never, ever thought I would use the word "hot" to describe Bette Davis, but she was.) Powell snatches photos of Paris fashions, Davis sketches them, and they sell the sketches to knock-off manufacturers in the US. Plus a Busby Berkeley number featuring ostrich features! Silly good fun.

I especially liked Bette Davis in this movie. I love her movies, all of them, but after a point she mainly did serious and important roles, if you know what I mean. It was great to see her kicking back and having fun, not taking it all so seriously.

after the thin man

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July 29 movie: After the Thin Man. The second Thin Man movie was much like the first: Nick and Nora Charles and their dog Asta solve baroque mysteries. The plot honestly isn't all that, but heck, I'd watch William Powell and Myrna Loy read out of the phone book for ninety minutes. They are just so much fun together. Jimmy Stewart shows up too, which is always a plus.

gum test

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The trial run of the webcams was a smash success! Lisa is a damn genius. We're both going to be webcasting from our cars the whole way to Louisville on Thursday, sharing her uplink because I don't have enough cell minutes. She set up an Airport base station in her car to give us more range! We tested it by driving from her house to mine, and it worked great. I kept the connection the whole way. Of course our cars will be further apart on the highway, but she's going to put the base station in Spacepod's rear shelf so there's less metal between us to block the connection.

Besides the geekfest we also had a yummy dinner of Q Shack, spinach and green tea, and did a BPAL swap. I love these trades! It's a great way to try more blends without having to buy more and more and more. I'm most excited about getting Somnus, because I've been wearing Oneroi (another Somnium blend) every night and it's going to run out soon.

When we got to my house Jane was in the yard to greet us. And Thirteen came up to us inside the house, happy as a clam, and rolled over right there for me to scratch her belly. It was nice that she felt so comfortable around Lisa. Most people don't ever get to see relaxed, happy Thirteen.

i'll think about it tomorrow

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As I alluded in a comment below, an outing with the dogs is a great way to remember that the destruction of a website is not the same as the destruction of my life.

We went to PetSmart first, to get dog shampoo. I had some nice hypoallergenic shampoo before, but I left it at the kennel last time. (The kennel is such a schlep that I really couldn't spare the time to go get it. It was completely worth the money to just buy a fresh bottle.)

Thirteen loves PetSmart but Jane had never been before, and she was scared! I guess I can see why. It's noisy and bright and full of strangers and strange smells. She spent the whole trip with her tail between her legs. Except when a guy came up and petted her; then she relaxed a bit. The guy seemed to like Jane so much that neither one of us had the heart to correct him when he called her "good boy."

After PetSmart we headed to the Eno park. I haven't been since it got hot, and I must say the walk was much easier with an equal number of people and dogs. Jane isn't really down with leash walking protocol yet, and when I'm on my own I spent a lot of time disentangling myself from the leashes.

There were a lot of people where the path meets the river. We stopped briefly so the dogs could greet some other dogs, but we didn't linger. Thirteen likes other dogs, but is shy, and Jane can take them or leave them. And Jane doesn't like it at all when new dogs get up in her face. I want her to get used to being around other dogs, but it seems like we need to introduce her to them in small doses.

This walk confirmed how much Thirteen's mobility has improved. I would have expected her to be more stiff, because we've gotten so little exercise in the past month. But she was much better. There's a log that lies across the path, which she always has trouble crossing. Today she climbed right over it without hesitation. That's real improvement, not wishful thinking on my part. And further down the path she climbed down a short but steep bank so she could wade in the river. I wouldn't have even tried that before. I'm so glad the acupuncture is helping her.

I was afraid the water level would be too high after Thursday and Friday's storms, but it was actually fairly low. I guess 24 hours of rain don't make up for weeks of drought. The large dry spots in the river bed were kind of sad looking, but they did make it easier for the dogs to get in and out of the water.

I went wading too! We didn't want to let Jane off lead (I'm 90% sure she wouldn't go anywhere, but I wouldn't do it unless I were 100% sure) and she wanted to get in the water, so I waded in with her. I kept my sneakers on and they got so wet and gross. Next time I'm going to wear flip flops. Jane waded around, but didn't go in deep enough to swim. Some dogs just don't like to swim, and that's OK. Even just standing in the water really helps to cool them down.

Now we're all relaxing. Thirteen was totally wiped out and seemed a little overheated. I'm in the bedroom with her now, to make sure she stays cool on her water bed. (She always wants to be in whatever room I'm in, and if I move the water bed to another room it confuses her and she won't lie on it. Ah, the quirks of a senile dog.) I hope we didn't overtax her. I was just so happy that she was able to do so much more. She seems OK now, just tired.

grrr

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Okay, so apparently there is a bug in the MT-Blacklist plugin. The plugin keeps comment spam off my blog. The bug occurs if you delete a blog. It deletes an extra one. I discovered the bug this morning when I deleted an empty blog I had set up for testing purposes, and another one disappeared.

The output pages are still there, so the site is fine as long as we leave it static. But the underlying data is gone. I logged into the database to check. All the entries, categories, templates: all gone.

I wrote to my hosting account to see if they can restore my data. But I have a bad feeling that backing up up the DB was my responsibility. In which case I'm screwed. I think I can write a script to strip the code out of the existing pages and convert them into a format that MT can import. But all the templates will have to be rewritten, and they were pretty complicated. Jesus. I feel sick to my stomach thinking about it.

I went to the user forum and this problem has been known since September 2004. And I have to say I'm rather pissed off at Six Apart. Their response on the forum was "gee that's too bad, but it was a plug in, not MT itself, so you're on your own." It's true, it was a third party plugin, but the third party now works for Six Apart. Even before he did, they included MT-Blacklist in their recommended plugin pack and have been encouraging everyone to install it since it came out. And they've known it caused a critical failure for almost a year. How hard would it have been for them to send an email to all paid users with a link to the bug fix?

I estimate that site took me about 30 hours to set up. I'll be thinking about Six Apart's great customer service every minute that I spend recreating it.

[Update; Just heard back from pair.com. They don't keep backups of individual user databases. This sucks.]

raining in my heart

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It's funny how context changes things. Last week I thought mid-90s was terribly hot; today it seemed almost pleasant. And the weather now feels wonderful. Rain, yay! The storm seems to have cut through the mugginess. I'm very much looking forward to a few days without air conditioning. I don't like to run the a/c much, but we've had to run it nonstop the past few days because the heat gets to Thirteen so much.

Speaking of Thirteen, she's doing really well. I think the acupuncture is genuinely helping. On Tuesday morning when I called her to get in the car for her appointment, she actually sort of ran to me! I can't remember the last time she moved that fast.

Thirteen is also losing weight! I hate having to put her on a diet, but it seems clear that weighing less would alleviate her arthritis pain. On the advice of the acupuncturist, I put Thirteen on Science Diet Light and cut her back to the minimum recommended amount for her recommended weight. (I was way overfeeding her before.) It's hard to tell for sure with a dog because if they pant too hard it makes the scale go up and down, but in the three weeks they've been measuring at the acupuncturists, she's lost almost a pound and a half. I asked if that was too fast and they said no, but I wouldn't want her to lose any faster. That's equivalent to me losing 1.25 pound a week, which would be awfully fast. But Thirteen doesn't seem to miss the extra food. She eats all her food right away now, which she never did before. But she doesn't beg for more or lick the empty dish or anything like that. So I don't think she's going hungry.

[I should add that I'm not trying to lose weight at all; I just put that in by way of comparison. Because for someone my size to lose 1.25# a week would take a fair amount of effort.]

Between the acupuncture and the weight loss Thirteen has been almost frisky. It's too bad the weather has precluded any dog outings. Maybe this weekend we can take Thirteen and Jane someplace fun.

Speaking of Jane, I took a cute (if I do say so myself) photo of her, and am soliciting opinions: does she look like a shepherd mix, or a husky mix? Opinions at the vet's are mixed. I thought shepherd until I saw a husky, and now I'm not sure.

The vegetable garden is still doing well. We finally have ripe tomatoes, the zucchini are starting to come in faster than we can keep up, and the pumpkins are emerging! This afternoon I counted 8 seedlings. If we get just 1 pumpkin per plant we'll be lousy with pumpkins. No brussels sprouts yet but they might take longer to germinate.

zombies on broadway

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July 28 movie: Zombies on Broadway. Georg wasn't up for a Thin Man movie tonight, and we forgot about our Netflix selections, and that left this. It was called Zombies on Broadway and starred Bela Lugosi and Abbott and Costello wannabees Wally Brown and Alan Carney. Do I need to say any more about the quality of the movie, or can you guess?

I was hoping it would be deliriously bad but no, it was just bad. I don't even like real Abbott and Costello movies, much less a knock-off. There were a couple of funny moments floating in an ocean of bad jokes and failed gags. Plus more ugly caricatures of African American and Caribbean people than you can shake a stick at. That part of the movie was painful.

now, voyager

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July 24 movie: Now, Voyager. What a treat: I turned on the TV during my lunch on Sunday and my favorite movie had just started! I came in where Bette Davis is having her nervous breakdown and Claude Rains swoops in to rescue her from her evil mother (the amazing Gladys Cooper).

I've seen this movie multiple times but this time I noticed that when Davis and Paul Heinreid have first met and he offers her a cigarette, he does it the conventional way: hands her the cigarette and then holds up a light. It's not until he falls in love with her that he lights two in his mouth and hands one to her. Making it an even more obvious metaphor for sex than I had previously realized. They had to be so circumspect in these mid 30s movies, with the actual sex only barely implied, that they needed metaphors like that.

bpal reviews

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This is the weekend for catching up on blog entries I guess. Quick reviews of all the BPAL I've tried recently:

Ace of Pentacles: "Black pine, patchouli, honeysuckle, oakmoss, almond and other soft earthen tones."

Pine, wood, and ... patchouli. ugh. as it dries the patchouli takes over. I tried hard to like it, but that awful patchouli. It looks like this isn稚 going to be my autumn scent.

Ace of Swords: No lab description.

Mostly sandalwood. When fresh it smells like the cologne one of my best friends in college wore. I liked his cologne, but because of the association it seems too manly for me. The drydown is good though. It faded down to a nice light sandalwood, with a touch of neroli. I'm not sure I get swords from this. That would be airy and intellectual (whatever that would smell like). But I like it.

Dana O'Shee: "Milk, honey and sweet grains."

In the bottle: Almond extract. On me, it smells almondy at first, but then settles down to a nice honey-milk. Much like Eden on drydown but lighter.

This one is another keeper. I'm surprised to like it so much. I didn't think I would like "foody" scents, and the reviewers who described it as smelling like oatmeal really put me off. But I got a freebie of this and it really doesn't smell like oatmeal. Just warm and sweet and comforting.

Eden: "This oil contains the innocence of the Garden, coupled with the Truth and Erudition found in the fruit of the Tree of Evil: fig leaf, fig fruit, honeyed almond milk, toasted coconut and sandalwood."

When first applied this had a nasty, burned smell. I thought it was the 鍍oasted coconut� but forum reviews describe it as bitterness from fig leaf. In any case, after about 15 minutes the bad smell goes away and the fig and coconut become more prominent. Not Coppertone coconut but true fresh coconut. After about an hour it痴 honey and milk, with just a hint of fig. Still no almond or sandalwood. This scent is so complex. I really, really like it. It would be a 土owza� if the first few minutes weren稚 so unpleasant.

Endymion: "A sweet, wistful blend of d'Anjou pear, Lily of the Valley, bois du rose and white musk."

Too floral, too much pear. Straight to the swap pile.

Envy: "Green herbs slithering through mint, lime and lavender."

I thought this would be mainly mint, but actually the herbs dominate. The mint gives it a nice chill. No discernable lavender. It痴 nice for this time of year, and quite different from everything else I've been wearing.

Kumiho: "A sharp, biting blend of crisp white tea and ginger."

I love this. Light and sharp and sexy. I thought it would be like Bath & Body Works� white tea and ginger shower gel, but that痴 more mellow and sweeter.

Lady Macbeth: "The essence of ambition, covetousness and manipulation: sweet Bordeaux wine, blood red currant, thyme and wild berries. "

Grape candy with a sickly overtone of blackberry. yuck.

Living Flame: "A luminescent red scent: breathless with passion, flickering with desire, and glowing with ardent and reverential love."

In the bottle it痴 dark and syrupy, but surprisingly faint on me. It痴 floral but not cloying. Hard to smell it, it痴 so light. Damn, it痴 going soapy. After a half hour it's pure soap. Too bad. I had high hopes for this one.

Maiden: "A gentle vision of purity, goodness and virtue: white tea, carnation and Damask Rose."

Way too floral. It must be the rose. I washed it off after a few minutes.

Sea of Glass: "Upon the Sea of Glass, glowing with the perfection of spiritual union and the radiance of true wisdom, rests the throne of God. A scent of inimitable purity, crystalline grace, and limitless light."

Beautiful, crisp, light. Reminds me of Dirty except doesn稚 fade as fast.

Now the bad news. Major allergic reaction. I started feeling sniffly immediately. After an hour my nose was running and eyes watering. I washed my wrists but it took another half hour before the constant sneezing stopped. Damn.

Sometimes I get sneezy for no reason, so this might be a coincidence. I知 going to give Sea of Glass one more try before relegating it to the swap pile. On a day when I don稚 have work to do.

Snake Oil: "Magnetic, mysterious, and exceedingly sexual in nature. A blend of exotic Indonesian oils sugared with vanilla."

Smelled so strongly of patchouli in the bottle that I didn稚 even put it on. Swap pile!

The Dormouse: "A dizzying eddy of four teas brushed with light herbs and a breath of peony."

Floral & herbs dominate at first. The tea comes forward after about 1/2 hour. Unfortunately it stays too floral for my taste, and goes powdery to boot. I was so confident of this one that I bought a whole bottle unsniffed. Bummer.

Tulzscha: "A crystalline, cold green fire: six mints with white pepper and cucumber."

Mint, mint & more mint. I can't smell cucumber per se, but it must be what's mellowing the mint. I really like this.

Ultraviolet: "Electrifying, mechanized and chilly -- the scent of crushed blooms strewn on cold metal. Lush violet and neroli spiked hard with eucalyptus and a sliver of mint."

mint and eucalyptus. not strong but potent. chilly. really nice.

Drydown: the mint disappears, now it痴 eucalyptus and violet. I don稚 get any metallic but it is very cooling. not 吐resh� like Embalming Fluid, but cold. It's wonderful.

Xiuhtecuhtli: "Copal, plumeria and sweet orange and the smoke of South American incense and crushed jungle blooms."

Incense. Dear god, incense. Swap pile for this one.

my nemesis

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This weekend has been slightly less stupid hot, so I got some yard work done. Yesterday I started early and spent about two hours weeding the blueberry bed. I thought I would be able to weed-wack most of it, but once I got out there I realized that it was too far gone for that. The bed is way on the far side of the yard where we rarely go, and we're not doing the kind of daily maintenance that we do in the vegetable garden. And so it had gotten extremely overgrown. Everything had to be pulled out or cut down. The bed is big (four blueberry plants, each 4 feet apart, and the bed is about 6 feet wide) so that added up to a lot of work. But Jane came and kept me company the whole time I was working. She just sat with me, didn't help by chewing up weeds the way Lina used to. But it was still really nice to have her nearby.

I'm not sure which was more annoying: the vines which had totally overgrown the fence behind the blueberries, or this one humongous bramble. No, the bramble was definitely worse. (These brambles are totally my gardening nemesis.) I had thought about digging it out this past spring, but I was hoping it would bear fruit so I left it alone. A few months later we had no fruit, but a mass of huge canes -- up to 8 feet long, no joke! -- tangled in each other, the other weeds, and the fence. The canes were covered with giant thorns and Japanese beetles. Ugh. At one point I tried to toss a few canes onto the refuse pile and they somehow bent back, wrapped themselves around my body, and got stuck to my shirt, pricking me all along my arm and back. And when I finally disentangled myself there were thorns left stuck in the back of my shirt, so I had to be careful how I moved until Georg came and pulled them out for me. That was no fun at all.

Anyway, in two hours I didn't get the bed completely cleared, but I got it done enough that I could feel OK about stopping. The blueberries are looking good. They're all small of course, we just planted them last fall. But they've all got lots of healthy looking growth. The smallest had been completely covered by a volunteer shrub and wasn't getting hardly any sun. But even that one is sending up new canes & I'm hoping that it will catch up with the others now. Two of them put out fruit earlier this year, but we had to pick it all off. You're supposed to let them develop root strength for the first few years. We'll have to do that again next year, but then the year after we can eat the blueberries. That is, if the birds let us.

The yard work totally wiped me out, so I spent the rest of the day goofing off. Which meant playing with my BPAL database. Am I a geek or what? I got it set up to track the ingredients in each blend in a separate table, with a report showing each ingredient, all the blends that use it, and my rating of each blend. Now I can get a sense of which ingredients work best (and worst) on me. In the process I learned how to use linking tables. The concept of many-to-many relationships had been eluding me so I'm very pleased to have figured it out. Which probably makes me sound hopeless to those of you who have been working with databases for years, but what can I say, you have to start somewhere.

This morning I went back out to the blueberry bed to clean up: stuffed all the cut-down weeds into the yard waste bin (at least, all that would fit) and then sprayed Round-up on the vines and the brambles. I hate using such harsh chemicals but in this case I think it's necessary. Then I mowed the freedom lawn, since Georg had changed the mower blade yesterday. I am so happy to have discovered the "freedom lawn" concept. No more guilt about the weedy lawn! We can pretend we did it that way on purpose!

movies

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Good grief, has it really been a month since I wrote anything for the movie list? I'm going to get caught up quickly:

June 17: Jackie Brown. Quentin Tarantino's love letter to Pam Grier, and a worthy subject she is for tribute. Unfortunately I missed the long shot at the very beginning with Grier walking through the airport. But I saw my second favorite scene, when Robert Forster sees her for the first time at the jail. He's a great actor. I wish this movie had revived his career the way Pulp Fiction did John Travolta's.

June 18: Bowfinger. This movie was funny, but I felt uncomfortable about finding it funny because the premise was so odious: Steve Martin as a crap director who makes a movie around superstar Eddie Murphy without Murphy's knowledge. Basically Martin's film crew stalks Murphy until he goes insane. There's also a starlet with intimate knowledge of the casting couch, in case you weren't already offended. That said, I was laughing even while I was cringing.

June 19: The Impossible Years. Talk about offensive! This movie opens with a date rape scene played for comedy, and goes downhill from there. It's about David Niven failing to get along with his incorrigible teenage daughter. The only good thing about the movie is the daughter's (played by the future Mrs. John Delorean) hair. She had gorgeous hair.

June 29: Master and Commander. I watched this with my dad, and a fine ripping yarn it was, too. My dad had read almost all the books in the series so he was able to fill in a few gaps in the movie.

July 3: Jaws. Can you believe I had never seen this? I'm probably the last person who hadn't, so there's not much I can add. I'll just say that the shark looks incredibly silly and fake, but Speilberg did a great job of hiding the shark and building the tension so that by the time I finally did see it, I didn't care. Also, I knew nothing about the ending, but by observing the law of movie conservation I knew exactly how the shark would be killed from the moment the implement of destruction was introduced. I don't usually figure that kind of thing out, but this one was really obvious.

July 3: The Adventures of Robin Hood. This has the be the perfect swashbuckler.

July 8: Sylvia Scarlett. Katherine Hepburn plays a girl who dresses like a boy when she and her father go on the lam with Cary Grant. Hepburn's acting was shrill and annoying (I think this was from her "box office poison" years) and the conclusion of this movie was unfathomable -- Hepburn doesn't love Grant! How could anyone spend that much time in close quarters with Cary Grant and then fall for someone else? -- but it was worth watching to see Hepburn in drag. There's a very sexy scene where a woman flirts with Hepburn, draws a pencil moustache on her and kisses her on the mouth. I'm kind of surprised they got away with it actually.

July 9: Magnificent Obsession. Douglas Sirk, how do I love thee? This wasn't as good as Imitation of Life but it was still a classic melodrama. Rock Hudson plays a selfish playboy who causes Jane Wyman to be widowed and blinded, then becomes a surgeon so he can cure her. Cue the violins!

July 10: Bullitt. They showed this movie because of the car chase. Apparently before this movie, car chases were always done slow, and then sped up on film. But they did this one at full speed, and it was so effective that from then on all car chases were done this way.

July 10: The Opposite Sex. Filming a remake of The Women was a bad idea. Making it a musical, adding men to the cast, and choosing June Allyson to replace Norma Shearer and Joan Collins to replace Joan Crawford: all bad, bad ideas. The ending was also slightly changed in a way that dissatisfied me. Collins' humiliation and downfall is complete, which I guess is supposed to appeal to our sense of justice. But I loved the ending of the original, the way Crawford shrugs off her defeat and walks out with her head high and a smile on her face. I believed that Crawford's character would land on her feet, and I liked it better that way. The only good thing about the remake is Sandy Descher as the little girl. She was way better than Virginia Weidler was in the original.

July 14: Every Girl Should be Married. A demented little movie about a young woman (Betsy Drake) stalking Cary Grant. Unable to get a restraining order because I guess they didn't exist yet, he eventually marries her. Franchot Tone bizarrely competes for the affections of the crazy woman. If you're interested in the fucked up social attitudes of fifty years ago, this movie is a must see.

July 15: Demolition Man. Pee-yew, what a stinker. I'm afraid I don't have anything good to say about this movie. And yet, I watched it again knowing how bad it was. What's that about?

July 16: Zatoichi Challenged. This isn't the best Zatoichi movie I've seen -- way too much of the allegedly cute kid -- but any Zatoichi is worth watching. The plot has something to do with forbidden erotic art painted on pottery.

July 16: Quality Street. This looked like a Pride and Prejudice knockoff but it was actually more of a Persuasion knockoff. Katherine Hepburn plays an old maid who is crushed when the man she loves (Franchot Tone) returns from the Napoleonic war and doesn't find her attractive anymore. So she poses as her own neice -- who is beautiful, silly, and an incorrigible flirt -- to get back at him. The premise is ridiculous: if the years made Hepburn lose her looks, then how can a new dress and hairstyle make her beautiful again? But I love Hepburn and Tone, also Eric Blore who has a decent supporting role.

July 19: Ocean's Twelve. I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. It helped to view it as a parody of a caper movie, rather like Our Man Flint. The funny part was that I spent the whole movie thinking, "That woman looks like Catherine Zeta Jones, except not as pretty." And it was Catherine Zeta Jones! I'm so used to her looking super glamorous, even excessively so, that when her makeup was more appropriate for the part I didn't recognize her.

July 21: The Conspirators. Paul Henreid stars in a wartime movie about a Dutch freedom fighter trapped in neutral Lisbon, which costars Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. So basically it's Casablanca Light. They've got Hedy Lamarr to replace Ingrid Bergman, but without Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains it's a much weaker film. Still, I love Henreid and Lamarr. The best part of this movie is when Lamarr takes Henreid to a nightclub with a fado singer. Lamarr explains that fado is "songs about love that can never be," and translates the song: "In my love for you, I lost God." Yep, that sounds like fado!

July 23: Blue. No, not the Kieslowski movie. This is an atrocious film I found out about from the Onion AV Club. It's got Ricardo Montalban as the leader of a gang of banditos, Terence Stamp as his adopted son, and Karl Malden as the doctor who takes Stamp in after he's wounded during a raid. Despite all this, the movie is really awful and dull. Stamp's accent is horrendous, which they try to cover by having him rarely speak. As the AV Club reports, the best line is Montalban's: "All you can do is farm dirt, because that is what you are! Dirt!" Good golly I love Ricardo Montalban. He approaches every role with such gusto. In interviews he finds something to be proud of in every part. He even had good things to say about that circus guy he played in the Planet of the Apes movies. He sounds like the happiest person alive.

July 23: Jezebel. I've already written about this so I'll just add that it's still terrific, and this time I had more appreciation for George Brent. I should watch more of his movies.

And now I'm finally caught up, and TCM is using Elvis Costello music in a promo for their "cars in the movies" series. woo!

what a day that was

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Well I started to write a long-winded and whiny post about how craptacular the past few days have been, but I decided that sharing my misery with y'all won't make me feel any better, it will only make me sound long-winded and whiny. So take my word for it, it's been a rough week.

But on the bright side, today was BPAL lunar update. yay! I ordered:

5 ml Fruit Moon: "The bountiful, bright and vivacious prelude to the Harvest. A horde of wet, ripe fruits: green apple, apricot, blackberry, black cherry, black and red currants, cantaloupe, English pear, guava, lemon and lime, orange, mandarin orange, kiwi and mango, passion fruit, papaya, Georgia peach, raspberry, plum, tangerine, pomegranate and strawberry over a luminous blend of lunar oils." I'm leery of the blackberry and black cherry being listed first. I tried Lady Macbeth, which is grape and blackberry, and it was awful on me. But maybe with so many fruits the blackberry won't be so overwhelming. And if it doesn't work for me I'll have no trouble selling it.

5 ml Numb: "This icy blend was something that we were saving for the upcoming [not soon enough!] winter months, but since Brian and I watched the thermometer slap 107 today, we decided that there痴 no better time than the present to introduce a singularly chilly, delectably ice-rimmed perfume. Revel in the gelid polar frostiness that is Numb, and forget about the heat for a moment." Sounds wonderful! I only wish we could get it now, not 2 months from now when it isn't so hot anymore.

5 ml Oneroi: "Soporific, dark and unfathomable: a somnambular blend of deep lavender, white sandalwood, jasmine, bergamot and mugwort." I've been wearing this to sleep at night and loving it. I'm going to be crushed when my imp runs out! I should have ordered a bottle immediately.

6 imps:

  • Hesperides: "Sturdy oak bark, dew-kissed leaves, twilight mist and crisp apple." I'm searching for an everyday autumn scent that I'll love as much as I love Embalming Fluid in summer.
  • Hamadryad: "Seven dry woods with mossy lichen and a gentle breeze of forest flowers." Another possible autumn scent. People describe it as smelling cinnamony.
  • Phantasm: "This delicate, spectral perfume gives rise to an eerie distortion of of the senses. It bestows an ephemeral, ghostly, and truly haunting quality to your presence. Green tea, lemon verbena, jasmine and neroli." I tried this at the sniffing party.
  • Temple of Dreams: "For use when working with the many Gods of Sleep, Dreams, and Nightmares." The plan is to try all the somnium blends eventually.
  • Black Tower: "Long-dead soldiers, oath-bound; the perfume of their armor, the chill wind that surges through their tower, white bone and blackened steel: white sandalwood, ambergris, wet ozone, galbanum and leather with ebony, teak, burnt grasses, English ivy and a hint of red wine." A new catalog scent. I love white sandalwood, and the wine and leather in Wanda worked so well for me, I'm hoping this will too.
  • Bengal: "A sultry and unruly blend that emulates the ambient scent of the markets in ancient Bengal: skin musk with honey, peppers, clove, cinnamon bark and ginger." Another new one. I hope it doesn't end up smelling incensy, because it sounds divine.

finished

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Finally got to read Half Blood Prince yesterday. Pretty intense. I hate spoilers and don't even like to think ahead and try to figure out plot points as I go, so I greatly appreciated Georg's advice not to read the chapter headings in advance. In fact, I got so into the book that I didn't even read them as I was going.

Yesterday I talked to a client who had been away on vacation. Turns out he took his grandson to a Harry Potter week in England! He said they wore robes, rode broomsticks, and played Quidditch! I was so charmed by the whole concept that I didn't think to ask him what he meant about the broomsticks. The trip was timed to the release of the new book, so the grandson could read it on the plane back. Now that is cool.

Meanwhile Thirteen's third acupuncture session is in about an hour. It does seem to be making her more comfortable, though the heat has been so awful that I haven't been able to test her mobility by taking her on walks. Every year the heat affects her more. I'm really glad we have that water bed for her.

last one in

| 1 Comment

To my surprise, I haven't yet started reading the new Harry Potter. Georg read it first, and he didn't finish until about 10 this morning. By which point I was busy with some things that had to get done, which I didn't finish until about 8 this evening. After dinner I could have started the book, but I was afraid I'd get sucked in and stay up all night reading, and I have a busy day at work tomorrow. So we watched Ocean's Twelve instead. Which I quite enjoyed, which is probably due to the bad reviews when it came out leaving me with fairly low expectations.

Anyway, now it's 11 pm and the book has been mine for the taking for over 12 hours, but if I start now I'll definitely be up all night. So I'm going to bed, and will read it tomorrow afternoon when I get done with work. I'm not accustomed to having this kind of willpower.

Jane has been acting like a freak all evening. Hiding in the study in the dark while the rest of us sat in the living room. Normally she wants to be with us all the time (well duh, she is a dog). We were worried that maybe she was sick or hurt, but she's walking fine, ate a treat, doesn't seem in any pain. I think she's still spooked from when I broke a glass earlier this evening. Between the smashing noise, iced tea going everywhere, and Georg and I both yelling "oh no!" Jane got pretty scared. She's a skittish girl. She almost seems more nervous than Thirteen! Well, not really. But Thirteen is too old and feeble to run away from things that scare her anymore. Jane is plenty fit enough to jump and run away from loud noises and sudden movements, while Thirteen generally just sits there looking anxious. We call them "the scaredy sisters" sometimes.

gardening notes

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We have reached the time of year when my gardening chores need to be nonstrenuous, completed early in the day, or both. I'm trying not to let the weather totally defeat me, but I've only gotten a little, teeny tiny bit done in the past week. It felt like much more than it was, but I think that was the heat. And trying to fit the gardening in among multiple 15 hour work days probably had something to do with it too. Anyway, here's what I've done in the past 7 days:

  • planted a few things from the farmer's market: phlox, stokes aster, another rudbeckia and some blue annuals to replace the pansies in the blue & white bed. (Which has gradually become a blue, white and purple bed.) I waited way too long to take out the pansies, but I just didn't have the heart to pull them up while they were still pretty. Then they were a little bit scraggly and I was too busy to deal with them, and then suddenly they looked positively awful and I couldn't wait to get rid of them.
  • weed wacked the ditch by the road, and the hill above it. While up there I discovered why those dwarf sunflowers are performing so poorly: they got et! Something ate them right up, every last one. Ah well, so much for that grand plan. I've been wondering if a deer happened by our yard recently. We do see them occasionally in the neighborhood, and I've noticed the tops eaten off some flowers, including a huge sedum. Well, it was huge before it got eaten. Normally when something eats our plants I blame the rabbits, but whatever ate this stuff was tall.
  • weeded the blue and white bed, herb garden and vegetable garden, and deadheaded the blue and white bed. The vegetable and herb gardens are easy to weed because we've stayed on top of that pretty well, but the blue and white bed had gotten a bit overgrown. It's those damned brambles, popping up everywhere. They are my nemesis. Along with the yucca, which is surprisingly invasive, but I'm not even thinking about that yet. Yucca has humongous, thick roots -- the root I dug out was the size of a partially deflated volleyball, and the plant was fairly small! -- and you have to get every last bit of it. I failed to do so and now we have a half-dozen more to contend with. In fall I'll have to dig out that whole bed to get to the yucca roots.
  • harvested the shallots, and sowed seeds for autumn vegetables: pumpkins, brussels sprouts, and more beets. The pumpkins are the jack-o-lantern kind, not the eating kind. I'm actually a week or two late on them & they may not be ripe in time for Halloween. Oh well, we'll still enjoy them in November.

The sowing was done this morning, while Georg worked on staking the tomatoes. We hear those cages at Home Depot are useless, so he rigged up this wonderful thing with wooden stakes and twine, which also uses the chain link fence behind to support the plants. Later in day I'll go take a photo of it.

One of the tomato plants isn't doing well at all. We think it isn't getting enough sun, because the tomatillos in front of it got so much taller than expected. I thought they would be the size of peppers, but they're actually 3-4 feet tall and sprawling all over the place. I'm afraid that transplanting the already sad tomato in this heat will kill it. Maybe we should cut back the tomatillos that are blocking the sun.

Still no ripe tomatoes but lots of green ones. The healthiest plant so far is the Super Sweet 100 cherry tomato. The others we can't identify until they ripen, because I stupidly forgot to write down the order in which I planted them. Each little peat pot was carefully labeled, and then I stuck the pots into the ground without noting which was which. Good thing we planted a wide variety of colors and shapes so we will be able to distinguish the ripe fruits.

The zucchini plants are going insane. One of them is starting to encroach on the driveway, but I think I've gently trained it to grow back towards the soil. The squashes are starting to come in more frequently but not faster than we can keep up with eating them.

One of our zucchini plants is a variety with extra big blossoms, and last week Georg made the most wonderful squash blossom soup. I think it was a Rick Bayless recipe and it was yum. The only bad thing about squash blossoms is that the flowers close up in mid-afternoon and bugs tend to get trapped inside. So each flower has to be opened and checked for bugs. I guess this would be a problem if we were stuffing and deep frying them, but that sounds like way too much work.

What's really freaky is when you pick a blossom with a bee trapped inside. I guess the bee gets scared, because the whole flower starts buzzing and vibrating, and you can feel the bee moving around inside. The first time that happened to me, I dropped it and shrieked like a little girl. Okay, every time. At least I mustered enough courage to cut the flower open and let the bee out.

about the tights photos

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To all the fetishists who found my photos of myself wearing tights:

I don't know how you all found me, and I'm well aware that I can't stop you from looking at photos I chose to post on the internets and ... doing whatever it is you do. Don't tell me; I don't want to know.

That said, please stop writing to me. I am not flattered that you like my legs. (I like them too and that's the only opinion I care about.) I am not going to tell you my age. (You would be disappointed if you knew. Really.) I am not going to email you more photos. I am not going to wear specific tights at your request. And I am definitely not going to join your online fetish group. (Though I am amused by the very existence of a German fetish group for photos of women wearing woolen tights. What will they think of next?)

Let's make a deal: You boys do your gawking and wanking in private and leave me alone. And in return I'll leave the photos where they are. This arrangement will give us all what we want: you get to stare at my legs and .. do whatever it is you do. And I get to pretend you aren't there. But if you insist on writing me all these creepy messages, I'm going to have to take the photos down. And then where will we all be?

sniffing party yay

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The sniffing party was great fun! It was Lisa, Wordnerdy, Pinky, Erin, and myself. Many vials were opened and shared, nothing was spilled, everyone had things that everyone else wanted to smell, and everyone took notes to add to their wish lists.

I added a few things to my wishlist: Empyreal Mist, Phantasm, Whitechapel and Glasgow. And I did my first swap! I gave Endymion to Wordnerdy in exchange for Antony. I had high hopes for Endymion, but that was before I had ever smelled BPAL. Once I started trying things I knew that pear and white floral wouldn't work for me. The pear would have been okay but white floral is just too strong for me. I do better with lighter notes like tea, citrus and white musk.

Lisa had the most interesting scents, like Graveyard Dirt and Miskatonic University (which smelled like Irish coffee). Wordnerdy also brought Spooky, which was really wonderful. Pepperminty with a touch of coconut. I almost wish I hadn't liked it because it's a limited edition. I had a freebie of Grog, which in the bottle smelled like rum cake. Very weird! Alas, the imp of Grog was rather overfull, and the tips of everyone's fingers soon smelled like rum cake. Actually my fingertips smelled like a sort of generic "BPAL mixture" by the end of the party from opening and sniffing so many things, but it has dissipated by now.

Caffe Driade is a great location for a gathering like this, aside from their iced tea refill policy:

"Do you give refills on tea?"
"Yes, but it costs the same as the first glass."
"So you mean, no."
"That's right."

But other than that it was a great place to get together. Lots of little outdoor spaces that gave a feeling of privacy, so even though there were plenty of other people there we didn't feel like we were reeking up the space and ruining it for others.

thank you, roger ebert

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To Roger Ebert: Thank you for completely, 100% spoiling the classic Night of the Living Dead. Now I don't feel like I'm missing as much although I will probably never see the movie. Or at least, now I know what I'm missing.

note to self

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Note to Self: in future, do not get up early and work, then mow the lawn, then work at Stoneline, then go to a radio show, then come home and spill half of your dinner on the floor, and then out of general crankiness eat the half you didn't spill plus a whole additional dinner, then expect to get more work done.

ughhhhh.

(At least I had fun on the radio. Here's the playlist, thanks to our spiffy new online playlist thingie.)

london photos

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Thanks to Flickr, we can already see photos from London.

Most of the photos are from local TV coverage, but a good number are on the scene.

catching up on bpal

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A few quick reviews:

White Rabbit. "Strong black tea and milk with white pepper, ginger, honey and vanilla, spilled over the crisp scent of clean linen." This reminded me a lot of when I used to drink a lot of tea every day, and how good that tea felt first thing in the morning. I think my reaction to tea was the way most people feel about their coffee. And I used to get a killer headache if I didn't get my morning tea. Which is why I gave it up.

Anyway, despite having such a strong association this was the first tea scent I didn't go wild over. I really liked it a lot, but I didn't find myself wanting to smell like that forever. On my scale of "ugh' to "yowza," it rated "love." Which is one step below "yowza." I'm going to try it again when it's cooler and see if my response is better.

Oneroi. "Soporific, dark and unfathomable: a somnambular blend of deep lavender, white sandalwood, jasmine, bergamot and mugwort." Now this I love. I mainly get lavender and sandalwood, and it smells just beautiful. Very comforting. I rarely have problems with insomnia, but I look at the Somnium series as a way to make sleeping that much better.

Dirty. "A wonderful antidote to an all-nighter oozing with drunken, addled perversion and debauchery. A fresh, crisp white linen scent: perfectly clean, perfectly breezy." This is like taking Embalming Fluid and removing all the recognizable notes -- the tea, the sandalwood, the lemon -- and leaving nothing but that crisp coolness. That's what Dirty smells like. I love it.

Twilight. "An enigmatic, otherworldly scent, brimming with power and mystery. Lavender and jasmine, with a touch of glowing honeysuckle." In the bottle it smells like lavender. On me it smells like soap. Not just soap but SOAP! It smells like I have Ivory soap caked under my fingernails. No, it's worse than that. It smells like I was washing my face and accidently got soap in my mouth. Yuck, bleh, ptui. After about an hour the soap goes away and it's just a heavy, cloying floral. This is without a doubt my first "ugh." It must be the jasmine that went all horrible on me.

sniffing party!

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Want to know what all these mysterious scents actually smell like? Or what an imp is? Or how to pronounce bpal? Join me, Lisa and Wordnerdy as we share our Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab stock at Caffe Driade this Sunday at 7 pm.

bpal rules

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I got my first BPAL order yesterday! Woo! 12 imps for me, 6 imps plus a bottle for a birthday present, and they threw in a bunch of freebie imps. I heard they do that all the time, but I was still surprised by how many.

Even with all the freebies they only sent me 1 that I already had. Though I don't have that much BPAL yet, so it wasn't that much of an accomplishment. I didn't even know what most of them were so I spent some time last night looking them all up and entering them in my database. It was interesting to try and figure out how they chose the freebies. There were a couple of popular ones in the freebies (Dana O'Shee and Grog) but most of them have very few reviews. That makes sense that they'd use the freebies to introduce people to less popular scents.

With so many to try -- and I hadn't even gotten through all the imps I got from the forum yet -- I may have to stop with the long reviews for a while and just post quick impressions. Last night I tried on Kumiho: "Nine-tailed fox demon of Korean lore who transforms into the visage of an irresistible beauty in order to seduce men and lead them to their doom. A sharp, biting blend of crisp white tea and ginger." It was wonderful. I had heard that many people find it too strong & sharp, but I applied it lightly and it was just what I was hoping for. Simple and crisp and cool, perfect for hot weather. It didn't last very long with such a light application, but I might be better off reapplying than dousing myself and making it too strong for the first few hours.

Today I think I'm going to wear Dirty: "A wonderful antidote to an all-nighter oozing with drunken, addled perversion and debauchery. A fresh, crisp white linen scent: perfectly clean, perfectly breezy." Good thing the night of debauchery isn't a prerequisite!

acupuncture

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Thirteen had her first acupuncture appointment this morning. Perhaps it sounds silly, but my perspective is that if a treatment works, I don't care whether it's a drug or acupuncture or pyramid power or what. Besides, acupuncture on a dog is a blind experiment of sorts. She doesn't know what's happening so there can't be a placebo effect.

The appointment was at Cole Park Veterinary Hospital, south of Chapel Hill. It was a consultation first, which was a little frustrating because they didn't have Thirteen's file, even though I had called St. Francis weeks ago to fax it to them. Dr. Pagel (the acupuncturist) said they might have received it and misplaced it. Whatever the reason, I ended up having to tell her everything that should have been there in the file. Thirteen's bronchitis, her discospondilitis, her enlarged heart and spleen, the selegiline, etc etc etc. I hope I didn't miss anything! Dr. Pagel said she'd make sure they had the file by the next appointment, but I'm going to call St. Francis too to be sure.

After the consultation she did the acupuncture. I had never seen it done before. The needles were very thin and flexible, and came in two lengths. Dr. Pagel sort of rolled them between her fingers as she inserted them. She said that Thirteen might not feel them at all, especially on the back. And indeed Thirteen only flinched once, when one of the needles went into her bad leg.

Thirteen ended up with needles in her back, hips, and her bad front leg, plus one in her forehead. We had to wait for 15 minutes with the needles in. Dr. Pagel said that adults have to wait longer, but children and animals feel the effect more quickly. I had to prevent Thirteen from shaking, in case she shook out the needles. But she was very good. She only tried to shake once and didn't dislodge any needles.

Dr. Pagel said that some dogs find it so relaxing that they lie down and go to sleep. (I didn't know how they could lie down with a bunch of needles stuck in their side, but that's why the needles are so flexible and bendy.) I knew Thirteen would never relax enough to lie down. Being at the vet's office totally freaks her out. But at least she wasn't any more freaked out than at any other vet appointment. By the end of the 15 minutes she had calmed down enough to walk around the room and listen to the sounds outside the door.

I wish now that I had asked Dr. Pagel to put one of the needles in me too, so I would know what it felt like. It really didn't seem to bother Thirteen. In fact Dr. Pagel missed one when she was removing them, and Thirteen had it in her leg the whole way home! I didn't see it until we were on the road, and I wasn't able to remove it until we got home. But she was totally normal in the car, alternately lying down and sitting up, looking out the window. So I guess the needle wasn't painful.

So Dr. Pagel said that we might not see much result the first time. Thirteen does seem more relaxed this evening, but she might just be exhausted after all the anxiety at the appointment. She definitely isn't limping any less. But we have another appointment next week, and we shall see how it goes.

wage slave

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The bad thing about taking a week off just before a major holiday is that Georg and I both had to work today. Well, Georg would have had to anyway, and it was a short day for me.

Bizarre for an anti-social type like myself, but I somehow got invited to three parties today. One is our neighbor across the street, who came over while we were working in the vegetable garden to invite us. I'm so unused to being friendly with the neighbors that when he started talking about a party, I assumed he was going to ask if his guests could park in our driveway! D'oh! I was mentally framing an excuse about how we needed to get our cars in and out so that wouldn't work, when I realized that he was inviting us. How nice! He also complimented our garden and Jane, which is an easy way to win favor with me.

Speaking of the garden, it's looking good. Which sounds vain of me, but really isn't because the garden has been growing on its own, with no help from me in the past couple of weeks. Lisa watered the plants while we were away, and when we got back we were amazed by how big everything had gotten. The tomatilloes and summer squash went nuts. They are huge! One of the summer squash is about to spill over onto the driveway, and it had squashes ready to pick! I meant to take a photo of the squash on the vine, but I forgot. Next time for sure.

The tomatoes aren't humongous like the tomatilloes and the squashes, though almost all of them are fruiting. Only one isn't growing as well. I think it's Marianna's Peace but unfortunately I forgot to write down which tomato plant was which before I put them in the ground. I can't remember how long tomatoes take to ripen, but I'm hoping that we'll have edible tomatoes by the end of the week. The squashes sure ripen fast. Last night Georg made this insanely yummy stuffed squash with our first ripe zucchini. They're special round zucchini called Eight Ball. They're coming in slowly now, but I bet by late summer we'll be foisting zucchini off on everyone we know.

So what else is going on around the homefront. Jane is great. Sweet as pie and shedding like crazy. I've been combing her every day and still, if I rub her sides little clouds of yellow hair drift off her. It's so gross!

Thirteen is about the same. At first I thought the swelling on her leg had gotten worse while we were gone, but I think actually it just looks bigger because her fur is starting to grow back. She's panting a lot, even when it isn't hot, which gives me some concern. But she seems happy and her limp isn't any worse. Tomorrow morning we have our first appointment with the canine acupuncturist.

bpal review: mi-go brain canister

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This limited edition was part of the "Springtime in Arkham" series. The Mi-Go were a crustacean-like race who captured human brains and took them back to their home planet in canisters. The bottle came with a tiny squishy brain, how cute! Alas, I only have a decanted imp. I bought one for Nellorat the Lovecraft scholar, and snagged one for myself at the same time. I wish now I had gotten Cthulhu for myself too.

Mi-Go Brain Canister. "A soothing yet stimulating blend of pink pepper, peony, jasmine, mango, kiwi, pomegranate, pineapple, white ginger, serene white tea and light musks."

Bottle: Fruity and juicy. I can smell mango and pineapple & probably other fruits too, but I don稚 recognize them.

Wet: I can still smell the fruit but it痴 kind of perfumy. That must be the jasmine. We saw jasmine plants at the farmer痴 market yesterday, and the smell was beautiful and incredibly strong, but not quite like this. I guess the perfume notes don稚 smell precisely like the real thing (Graveyard Dirt excepted). I壇 love to grow jasmine, put it next to our path so we壇 smell it every time we went into the garden. But we don稚 have a sunny window inside for it during winter. Besides, I'm terrible with houseplants. I guess we could grow it as an annual but that seems wasteful.

Drydown: The perfumy tone dissipates quickly, leaving a nice feminine blend with a hint of musk. It痴 similar to Pink Moon but much more 杜e.� I don稚 smell tea or ginger, but they池e probably what痴 keeping from the fruit and floral from being too sweet or cloying. I知 not getting pink peppercorn at all. Which is too bad. I was hoping it would have a spicy note.

Lasting: After three hours it痴 soft, sweet and so well blended I can稚 pick out any particular notes. Also quite faint.

Repurchase: No, but I値l use the imp.

This is pretty, if it were a regular catalog scent I壇 buy a bottle, but it痴 not special enough to be worth limited edition prices. I have a few fruity scents on order & I値l just hope one of them is as nice & light as this.

bpal review: dorian

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Last night I got to sniff Lisa's BPAL collection. And I was amazed to discover that yes, Graveyard Dirt does smell exactly like high quality potting soil. I wore Embalming Fluid to a party yesterday, but the party was outside and the mosquitoes were terrible and I doused myself in bug spray, which overwhelmed the perfume. Now I'm wearing Dorian. Of which I ordered a 5 ml bottle from the lab, but then I couldn't wait and got an imp from someone on the forums.

Dorian. "This blend is an artful deception: a sweet gilded blossom lying over a twisted and corrupted core. A Victorian fougere with three pale musks and dark, sugared vanilla tea."

Bottle: Mostly I smell vanilla and sweetness, but tea is a definite undertone.

Wet: Yum. Musk, tea, and sweet vanilla. It smells creamy too, I wonder if there痴 a milky note in it, or if that痴 the vanilla?

Drydown: As it dries the musk moves to the background and I get black tea and vanilla with a dark edge. I really love this. It痴 interesting how different it smells from Embalming Fluid, although both include tea and musk. Embalming Fluid is light and clean, while this is rich and sexy. I can稚 stop smelling my wrist.

Lasting: The more it dries, the more the tea dominates. After several hours it's sweet, tea, and vanilla. It痴 wonderful. I知 2 for 2 now on tea-based scents.

Repurchase: Without a doubt.

Overall: I知 so glad I have a whole bottle of this on the way. It痴 a little too creamy for this weather but I think it will be perfect for autumn. Not that it smells 殿utumnal� in any way, just that the rich sweetness will be better in cool weather.

Some fun things about our vacation:

  • The Shake Shack, at Madison Square Park, serves the best hamburgers I've had in years. Maybe ever. I hear it can get crowded, but it had been raining so there was hardly anyone there. But they had a guy drying the tables, so we were able to sit down and eat. The best of both worlds!
  • Nellorat mentioned that one sign of a true New Yorker is when they are not only totally comfortable finding the right subway line, but they even know which part of the train to get into, to facilitate the next connection. In contrast, for years my method of navigating the subways has been to follow someone who knows where they're going. Which felt really lame, and could be bad if I ever got separated from that person. So I got a subway map and started paying attention. By the time we left I felt like I could have gotten around by myself if necessary.
  • The Fluevog store. They had shoes Zappos doesn't carry, like the ones I bought. (Which by the way, thank goodness I bought them, so I had shoes to wear to the funeral.) I also looked at a pair of flats in the same style as my Twiggy boots that Georg bought for me, but they were black with yellow straps. They were on the sale rack and the guy offered to knock another $10 off if I bought both pairs, but I decided against it because the colors just didn't work for me. I wish now I had tried on more styles.
  • Sarah's Travel Tip: if you forget to pack shaving cream, hair conditioner works just as well.
  • The Max Ernst show was amazing. A tremendous range of work, and I really felt like I learned a lot about Ernst. The Chanel show was also very impressive. And well organized, unlike the Dior show we saw at the Met a few years ago. I remember it being an unpleasant experience to view that show, because it was badly laid out and terribly crowded. The clothes were great though. But anyway, the Chanel show. I thought it was going to be only Coco Chanel but there were also a fair number of designs by Lagerfeld. Which mainly served to point out how quickly Lagerfeld designs age. They had Lagerfelds from ten years ago that looked terribly dated, and Chanels from seventy years ago that looked completely current. The only Chanels that looked at all dated to me were the flouncy chiffon gowns, and the casual dresses from the 20s.
  • Le Pain Quotidien was a yummy little bakery near our hotel. We shared a basket of wonderful bread, with jams and hazelnut spread to die for. I am still thinking about that hazelnut spread. It was like Nutella without chocolate. If I lived in New York I would eat there every day! Lucky for me, I could never afford to live on the upper east side, so I'd walk dozens of blocks to get there, to balance out all the bread and pastries and hazelnut spread.
  • I don't look like a tourist!! A woman chatted with me in the bathroom at Whole Foods & clearly thought I was a local. Yay, even carrying a camera bag didn't make me look like a tourist.
  • Kang Suh, the Korean restaurant we went to on Sunday night. Somehow we ended up walking over 2 miles to find the place, but we tried to look at it as an adventure rather than a hassle. And it was an adventure: on the way we browsed the Lush store, and walked past some interesting looking places. (I still wish we could have stopped at the self-described "Best Glatt Kosher Shwarma In Town"!) Kang Suh was recommended by the Village Voice as "the best sushi value in midtown." Well the sushi was great, but if that's a good value, I'd hate to see what they consider a bad value. The Korean food, on the other hand, was excellent and a good value even by my standards. A bit confusing though. There wasn't much accommodation for the few non-Korean patrons: they just plunked down a half-dozen dishes of mysterious things, and rushed off. I tried everything except one dish that was super red from chilis, and it was all yummy. The manager did take pity on Georg and showed him how to prepare his entree, which was a big bowl of rice topped with greens and raw fish. The manager showed Georg to add a spicy red sauce and mix the whole thing together. It was really good.
  • Lamest "dumb tourist" remark I made all week: "Hey, check out the kids in zoot suits!" In reference to two Hasidic boys. What can I say, they weren't old enough to have the curls and I didn't recognize the clothing. All I saw was two kids wearing matching hats and oversized pinstripe jackets. In my defense, at least nobody heard me. And it wasn't as stupid as asking the owner of the 2nd Avenue Deli for a roast beef and swiss, which I did the first time I ever went to New York.

bpal review: follow me boy

| 3 Comments

A bunch of imps arrived while I was away, so I had my pick of new scents to try tonight.

Follow Me Boy: "A houdoun recipe dating back almost 150 years. This blend is favored by prostitutes, exotic dancers and others in the sex industry for its power to attract, seduce, and enthrall. Ensures financial gain and increased profits."

This may be the first one I've tried whose description doesn't include any ingredients. I got this because it was described as honey and lemon, but I知 not getting that at all.

Wet: Powder. Not baby powder, but lady痴 face powder. The old style that your mom had in a pretty round box with a pink fluffy thing to apply it. I don稚 smell lemon at all. It痴 strong: all I did was dab it on each wrist with the wand (and get a little tiny bit on my finger while opening the imp) and Georg can smell it across the room.

Drydown: The powdery smell is dissipating and something else is emerging. Sweet, herbal, and floral, maybe jasmine? Plus there痴 something dark and musky in there, though I don稚 think it痴 actually musk. Georg doesn稚 smell the musk, though he agrees that it痴 not as powdery. And he can稚 smell it at a distance anymore. Whew.

Lasting: After about an hour and a half, I detect lemon! The face powder is gone, now it痴 sweet and herbal and floral with a bit of lemon. Not citrusy lemon juice, but lemon cake with powdered sugar. That sounds crazy but I was honestly getting a 斗emon pound cake� vibe from this. Coincidentally we had dinner at Starlu tonight and they had lemon pound cake on the menu. So we ordered it. And I can definitively say that I was wrong; my wrists smell nothing like lemon pound cake. It still smells nice though. (And the cake was excellent.)

Repurchase: Maybe.

Georg summed it up well: 妬t痴 nice, but it痴 not as good as that hot one.� He meant Wanda and I agree. Though I like the drydown better than the first hour. I値l have to remember to put this on well in advance of going out anywhere.

senor nutty 1992 - 2005

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On Tuesday, the day of Aunt Honey's funeral, Sean called to let me know that Señor Nutty had died that afternoon.

Nutty had been in bad health for a while. He had heart trouble and had recently suffered from pneumonia. A few weeks ago he was so bad off that Sean's wife Pam called me and suggested that Thirteen and I come visit Nutty while we still could. He was happy to see us, but so weak he could barely lift his head when Thirteen tried to kiss noses with him. Pam had to carry him outside so he could go to the bathroom, and hold up his body to help him stand. Sean said that he later rallied enough to walk up the front steps by himself, but never fully recovered.

A couple of weeks ago Sean wrote a nice post about Nutty and Sean's other two dogs. I can only add a few thoughts of my own.

Thirteen, Nutty and Lina were all rescues and grew up together. Nutty had belonged to our next door neighbors, who seemed like nice enough people except for the nearly criminal neglect of their dogs. They left Nutty and another dog outside on chains wrapped around their necks, no collars. More than once we had to rush outside and save Nutty from choking to death because the chains had gotten tangled and the other, much larger dog was dragging Nutty around. Poor Nutty had throat problems all his life because of that.

The first time we ever took Nutty into our house was the night of a hurricane. A giant tree fell on his doghouse, actually a wooden crate on its side, which was miraculously not crushed. We ran outside to see Nutso in the rain, backed up as far as he could on that chain, barking his head off at the tree on top of his doghouse. The neighbors weren't even home so we brought Nutty inside and cleaned him up. We reluctantly gave him back, but soon after they moved away and abandoned him. He evaded animal control, took up residence on our front porch, and was ours as soon as we were sure the neighbors were gone for good. I remember Charles (our roommate) and I wanted to call him Stanley, but Sean insisted on Señor Nutty. Which was a far superior name, so well done Sean.

Nutty was one of the laziest dogs I've ever met. Even when he was young all he wanted was to cuddle and be petted. And he was so damned cute that he always got what he wanted. I used to lie on the couch and let him stretch out on my stomach, lying on his back so I could scratch his tummy. I didn't let Lina, Thirteen or now Jane sleep on the furniture, but I never had the heart to refuse Nutty.

When Sean and I split up, I took Lina and Thirteen and he kept Nutty. Over the years we got them together as often as we could, and they always loved spending time together. Thirteen was the oldest of the three, and I never would have guessed she'd be the last one standing. I'm really glad she had that chance to see Nutty last month.

If anybody else dies, could y'all please not tell me for a few days?

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