Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Amouage: Planning My Trek Down the Silk Road

Image: JHP Design

During my sniffing trip last Summer in San Francisco, we made it into Jacqueline's Perfumery that features rare and vintage perfumes that is located down the street from Neiman Marcus. Even though I wasn't terribly impressed with the customer service I did get a whiff of Lyric by Amouage. It was a fleeting smell that stuck in my head and I kept wishing rather selfishly that she had shelled out the 260 bucks for the bottle.

The hesitation was understandable because we share the preference for pure parfums or extraits over edp or edt. If we are going to invest in perfumes, why not hold out for the best purity. Amouage seems to be an exception though. Often Heather and I would speak of Lyric in day-dreamy, unfinished sentences.

I would see 10 ml vial decants on Ebay for them and was wondering if I should really pay 60 bucks for 10ml. I broke down for Christmas and bought myself a vial only to find I accidentally ordered Epic. How did I do that. It was purely my fault as I saw a fragrance ending in "ic" and pushed the confirm button. This is filed under the heading, "Why Mommy Can't Read?"

When I received the decant I put a tiny, tiny droplet on the top of my hand and was amazed at the strength and longevity - not to mention the breathtaking beauty of Epic. Pepper, tea, spices do this intricate dance amongst the damask rose floral and it really does take you on this intoxicating journey down ancient silk road. It is a grand perfume that I will wear tomorrow night for New Years' Eve. This is not a work or perfume you go about your day with. I am not sure if it is a sexy perfume except in the context you imagine yourself captured as part of a harum on your journey along the silk road. It is more a special occasion scent or a scent to daydream to (or dream to). Epic is a commitment of most of your day. It is a statement perfume saying that you chose this occasion to wear the most precious and exotic ingredients expertly put together.

Since rose perfumes are great companions to culinary garlic in meals, it is a pairing I should try with this.

My memory of Lyric didn't jibe with its origins at a Perfumery stated by the Sultan of Oman using precious materials from the Middle East. Lyric seemed to me to be very French and western more so than Epic.

It's longevity may make the price a bit more tolerable -- a 100ml bottle is $300.00. For $59.00 you can have 10 ml from a seller on Ebay, Mudassir. He also has a direct store which he prefers we use and what a nice selection he has. It looks like I found a great source for fumes with him. He has kindly offered me a sample of Amouage Reflection (which is awesome because it seems it will be a nice addition for the coming spring) with today's order of Amouage Lyric. So I will be adding my reviews of all three Amouage fragrances soon. Now, if only I can manage to try Amouage's Attars...

Chanel: A Redemptive Tale

My journey through the world of Chanel almost was cut short. One day in the late Spring and Summer when I was beginning my journey to become a perfumista, a co-worker brought a bottle of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle to me. She had the bottle for several years and she never really liked it. Being that I was so eager to collect perfumes, she thought I may like it enough to offer it a new and more appreciative home.

That next morning before work, I dived in and applied it to the wrists, earlobes, inner elbows, and between "the girls" in a daring move to give it an honest try. At first my impression was that it was interesting, but not necessarily in a good way. Was it a nuttiness? It was just this odd scent palate different from the Dior's and Guerlains I had tried.

I was determined to keep on course despite the worry that this could go bad while I had to work. As the day progressed my fears were realized as the fragrance turned on me and I felt progressively confused, angry, and scared that I would be trapped in this long-lasting scent. It was a scrubber which took 4 trips to the bathroom sink to remove the smell that cried out for a tomato juice bath. It took awhile for me to not look at a Chanel label without a mix of revulsion or fear.

A friend lent me EDTs of No. 5 and No. 22, and I found them both to be very pleasant -- especially No. 22. No. 22 was just prettier and more sparkly in a wrist vs. wrist test. Then I bought a small bottle of vintage No. 19 Parfum when I couldn't find No.22 on Ebay. No. 19 is very close to my heart. No. 19 made me pine for other Chanel's with its sophisticated leatherish notes I know that this could be a signature scent if not for the brutal fact that it is discontinued in that form. It is cruel to oneself to decide on a discontinued and rare scent as a personal scent. If you do you make heartbreak certain. No. 19 parfum smells full-bodied and wonderous on me. It meshes with my chemistry.

On a suggestion of posters on Perfume of Life, I have also tried Egoiste Platinum and the Original Egoiste -- both for men. Those vie with Eau Sauvage by Dior that I love wearing.

One night I smelled Coco ( minus the Mademoiselle, of course) on my dear friend and thought it very fetching. This Christmas Santa got me a .25 oz of Coco after showing my mother-in-law around the Neiman Marcus counters. This has the potential of being my signature scent even though folks will claim that the vintage version is superior. At some point, I have to let go the notion of finding the elusive version that I may end up never really finding and just appreciate contemporary and available versions of perfumes. When I wear Coco with its warm, rich spiciness that has a sophisticated reserved nature. Coco makes me think I live in a mansion overlooking an incredible view wearing Chanel clothes with a fabulous haircut. Someone observed that Chanel fragrances are very aspirational. While Caron is said to be for the Countess, and Guerlain for the kept woman -- Chanel is for the independent, modern woman with impeccable taste.

Guerlain has Guerlainaide, Chanel does seem to have a bit of what I call Chanelaide that gives Chanel a feeling of a certain pedigree. Guerlain is a romantic mystery that belongs as a muse for an artist at the turn of the century laying naked on crumpled sheets. Caron is more of a precious, bejeweled and blue-blooded, perfectly lady-like with china doll features. Chanel has a verve, confidence that is charismatically handsome with a bold bob, crisp white shirt, and a pilot's cap. Guerlain has wine that was brought up to warm up a cold, artist's flat. Caron is just a touch of champagne that is worth a weeks work in a bottle on an ornate and formal dining room in an old castle. Chanel is a woman delighting the surrounding men in the room with ribald and intellectual talk over an old scotch in a room reminiscent of a banker's club.

Since sampling Caron fragrances at Jaquelines in San Francisco, I know I could never be a Caron girl. For the longest time I have felt very much like a Guerlain girl and that is where my heart is, but Chanel appeals to my mind as well as my nostrils.

This is only the beginning of a wonderful relationship with Chanel.

Then there is the House of Amouage... oh dear god..that is an entire new post.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

San Francisco Sniff-o-polloosa Part I

On Saturday, September 12, 2009 my friend Heather and I met up with a Perfume of Life Perfumista, Bergamot (Rachel) in San Francisco's Union Square. Our goal was to smell as many perfumes as we can in one afternoon.

We started out and ended at Neiman Marcus where there was a Creed, Tom Ford, and Guerlain. The Creed counter had a list of over a hundred fragrances Creed has which is overwhelming. The two Creed fragrances that stood out on the paper strips was Flourissimo and Fantasia de Fleur. The Flourissimo was the one created for Princess Grace for her wedding and it was a wonderfully pretty white flower scent. It had an old school vibe to it like a Diorissimo but brighter. It was like Diorissimo because it wasn't a sexy scent, but very well behaved -- surprising since it has a naughty tuberose in it. I could wear this in the Spring and times that I would wear Diorissimo. Fantasia de Fleurs by Creed, was by far my favorite Creed. It was created in 1862, so it is an old school fragrance. It was an over-the-top floral with musk but it was really beautiful to me. These fragrances are available online for 65 bucks or so, so I may end up adding them to the collection at some point. There was 2000 Fleurs, but it was merely a "meh" for me, which was wild because I do like over-the-top florals.

Tom Ford has always been interesting to me. Once I smelled his White Pachouli from the bottle and absolutely hated it and then I tested it on my wrist anyway. White Pachouli settled down and I ended up liking it, not liking it enough to buy, but at least I left with a better impression. The Tom Ford counter at Neiman allows you to try their Private Blend EDP fragrances seperately or in combination. Heather tried Champaca Absolute and Velvet Gardenia, and I tried Tuscan Leather. These are intended to be unisex scents and we found that they had a masculine character to them. They stood out to be very high quality scents. That Monday morning at work, I wore Tuscan Leather to work and it was a really nice warm, smoky, sweet leather scent of a worn expensive leather couch. In some reviews they accuse this as being linear, but it does start out sweet then gets into a more smoky leather. One wonders if I pair Tuscan leather with Champaca Absolute or Velvet Gardenia if it would offer more complexity. Online, some say to pair it with Tobacco Vanille to make it more smokey like that boys club with its solid wood paneling, overstuffed leather sofas, a roaring fire from a fireplace out of Citizen Kane's mansion, aged cognac, cigars, amber tiffany bankers lamps, and carpets with deep, rich colors.

For some reason I cannot get it out of my mind. I am going to see if I can try a poor man's version M7 from YSL which is another leather to love. Chanel 19 is suppose to have leather notes, and I never noticed that but if true it would explain how I love it so.

More from my trip in the next post...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hand-Me-Down Treasures

A good friend gave me some vintages that she got from her late grandmother that she had no interest in keeping. They are now taking their place of honor on the vanity in a cool dark place.

1. L'Aimant by Coty (1927): According to this was created by Francois Coty and Vincent Roubert. Haven't gotten to this frag, but smelled it out of the bottle and it smells very pretty. Apparently, L'Aimant is still in production, but this one seems to be from the way back machine.

2. Mademoiselle by Louis D'or (1963): According to Cleopatra's Boudoir's ebay guide, Louis D'or created at least 5 perfumes in 1963. Those perfumes were: Amour, Ceil, D'or, Mademoiselle, and Reve. I ran across a Trois Perfume set with three different perfumes: Automne - Hiver - Ete. Then I did a search on Ebay and found Autumn Moon, which says it is Louis D'or - Paris, but also has on the label Northridge, CA. There is another gift set I found on Ebay that has six perfumes: Zorba, I'm Loved, Eternal Love, August Moon, Madam Loubarry, and Golden Louis. This one I have not tried yet. That plastic stopper is not the easiest to get open. Funny that I thought that this was created by Louis Dior, but when I took the photo I was able to magnify the label to find it was Louis D'or. It looks like I will be the first person to review this on the Internet.

3. Mari de Lise by The Louangel Group (1950-1960): According to BabelFish, Mari de Lise means, "Husband of the Dye Stick". In Ifa Divination: Communication between Gods and Men in West Africa, it says, "From that time on, because the dye did no sacrifice, when a cloth has been dyed, someone else wears it, and people say, "Don't you see the work of dye? Dye is the husband of Cloth,"And they take a staff to stir dye and then lean the staff against the Dye's neck." I am not sure what to make of the name.
There is absolutely no information on Mari de Lise on the Internet, so it is either really, really rare or for some reason it never caught on. Mari de Lise is created by The Louangel Group of New York. They made a men's cologne in the 1960s called Aries. According to Perfum Intelligence, this house launched a perfume in 1950. I will let you know what I think. I will try this one over a weekend so I am not caught at work by a fragrance that doesn't work. My guess that this house was one of the many that popped up after the war to take advantage of the new affluence. Looks like I will be first on the Internet to review this one.

4. Miss Dior Eau de Cologne by Christain Dior (1947). Finally a perfume that I am familiar with as I have a mini splash bottle of this. Before I was a Guerlain girl, I thought I would be a Dior Dame. Somewhere I had a classic CD blazer I bought in the 1980s and the fragrances so far suited me. I have only tried Miss Dior once, but I found myself comparing this to the flowery, pretty Diorissimo and J'Adore L'Absolu and sexy, bedroom fresh, Eau Sauvage unfairly. This is a scent that needs to be appreciated for itself and I am not sure I gave it a fair shot, now I have enough to do that.

Coming in the mail is Balmain's Vent Vert, which was also born in 1947 and from what I read of both could be interesting to compare. There are good reviews at Bois de Jasmin, Now Smell This, Perfume Smelling Things, and Perfume Shrine. You can also check out what folks say about it at

5. Shalimar Eau de Cologne by Guerlain (1925) (in Pouchet et du Courval round disc shaped 3 oz bottle with cone stopper) I have a mini bottle of Shalimar that was in my set of Seven Guerlain perfumes. There was a hesistation to try it, because it seems that people often speak of Shalimar like more of a cautionary tale than of one of Guerlain's gems. The house of Guerlain always surprises me in the best ways and each time differently, whether it is Mitsouko, L'Heure Bleue, Chamade, and now Shalimar. There is no doubt that when putting on Shalimar that you need a light hand, but this is a beautiful oriental - not vamp oil like you would think by people's attitudes toward it. In another post I will do more of an indepth review, but I loves my Shalimar.
When I told my friends on Facebook I was trying Shalimar on, an older male friend said it brought on memories of his mother. My response was that if you are collecting and use vintage scents there is no avoiding bringing someone's mother or grandmother into it.

6. Emeraude de Coty .40 oz (1921) (in an art deco bottle with a green and gold screw bakelite cap The maker "Coty" is embossed in the glass beneath the bottle.) This is a spicy confection of a perfume that was really well received here by myself and hubby, but I need to wear it again before reviewing, because there may have been remnants of Le Dix I was picking up. Le Dix will be reviewed later as well. I say confection because there was a sweetness to it and hubby thought he sensed the hint of chocolate. One thing I noticed was that there was something in it that reminded me of L'Heure Bleue's medicinal note, but it wasn't medicinal but more like a mint, but not really mint. Was it the aldehyde? That's it! Next time I try this it will be after a shower and I will pick this puppy apart.
One of the things I do is imagine the woman who would wear this in the perfume's heyday. Is Emeraude Betty Boop in a Komono?
Check out fragrantica and basenotes about Emeraude and the consensus is that only the vintage Emeraude is worth trying.
7. White Shoulders cologne 2 fl oz by Evyan (the bottle is like this but with a gold cap) (1935) A boyfriend I had in the 1980s, said he loved White Shoulders, but at the time it seemed too powdery and too old. It just wasn't me at the time and I really wasn't into perfume. This was not the perfume to flip the switch. Tresor, would be the first to capture me in my 20s. This is not the White Shoulders I remember. Apparently, the Elizabeth Arden version is not like the original Evyan. So I will give this one a try and let you know my impressions. Basenotes says that the top Notes are: Neroli, Tuberose, Aldehydes. The middle notes are supposedly: Gardenia, Jasmine, Orris, Lily of the Valley, Rose, Lilac. The base notes are Sandalwood, Amber, Musk, Oakmoss. If these notes are true I am bound to love it as you know I adore Tuberose, Gardenia, Jasmine, and Lily of the Valley. What can go wrong? Check out what the folks at Pink Manhattan had to say about White Shoulders.

8. Oscar de la Renta Parfum (1977) In 1977, I was 11 years old and had no idea of perfume. No one in my family wore it except my dad wore Old Spice. This is a bit green behind the years compared to my parfum loves. An out of the bottle sniff revealed a scent that is pretty nice indeed. This Oscar de la Renta's first fragrance that is eponynous, Oscar. Being a child of Sesame Street, Oscar would not be the name I would name this scent, but I haven't review it yet. Snort.

9. Chanel No. 5 (1921): When borrowing two spray EDT of Chanel No 5 and No. 22, I fell in love with Chanel 22. When I couldn't find an affordable Chanel No. 22, I found No. 19 and we lived happily ever after. This No. 5 I have is an eau de cologne which was supposedly discontinued in the early 90s. This EDC should be similar to the EDT, but people have said that the era No. 5 the cologne comes from is very special and I should be in for a nice surprise on this one. The No. 5 I tried just fell flat in comparison to No. 22 and I still hope someday to get my hands on it. It is so precious I will be able to get to know this classic and over time grow to love it. Maybe some day I will get over this mad crush over No. 22. This is all very remarkable when you think I had such an aversion to Chanel after that unfortunate Chanel Coco Mademoiselle incident.
[Last night again I tried No. 5 after Vent Vert wore down and the No. 5 again fell flat. I may need to get a small bottle of parfum before I pronounce No. 5 a gonner. Also troubling is there seemed to be a tiny bit of what was bothering me in Coco Mademoiselle.]

10. Chanel No. 19 EDT splash (1971): According to and Perfume Smelling Things, Chanel No. 19 was born in 1971 when I entered kindergarten -- Bois de Jasmin has it at 1970. Like I said before, I loved No.22 first, but came to love No. 19. I already own a parfum version of No. 19 and I love it, so getting an EDT version is going to be interesting. A comparison test is needed.
It must be the hyacinth note that gets me as my dear Chamade has hyacinth as well.

This boon has clarified for me that I am destined to wear perfumes from yesteryear. So far scents from before I was born like me and I like them. I have found the most kindred spirit over at The Vintage Perfume Vault. Amelia is a fellow Northern Californian, who writes brilliantly about the lesser known vintage scents and has already given me ideas what to hunt for.
If anyone wants to add their comments and perhaps date this bottles for me, please feel free to have a try. Check in for more reviews as I try them.

My Perfume Shrine

My vintage scents: House of Balenciaga

Le Dix (1947)
One day I ran across a really cool parfum bottle that looked like a Roman column on Ebay, so I googled Le Dix to see what it is all about. First of all I go to, and find out that this is a 1947 scent designed by Francis Fabron, who also designed L'Air du Temps (1948) by Nina Ricci, Baghari (1950) by Robert Piguet, L'Interdit (original) (1957) all fragrances that are on my wish list. The photo that basenotes has for Le Dix is closer to what I initially bid on Ebay for, but ultimately lost. Not to be deterred I found a smaller bottle of Le Dix pure parfum for a good price ($10.55 plus 2.50 shipping). When the bottle arrived as seen by this photo, I snuck a whiff of the bottle and found it to be full-bodied fragrance, but wasn't ready to wear it.

Yesterday, I took Le Dix for a run. With new scents that I do not know well, I save them for the weekend so I do not get any nasty surprises at work like I did with Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle. Happily my Le Dix experience was very, very nice. via Now Smell This blog, says this is a Floral Chypre.

Perfumeintelligence says,
"Created by Frances Fabron of Roure, a soft rich floral parfum with top notes of bergamot, lemon, peach and coriander; heart notes of rose, jasmine and orris on base notes of vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, rosewood, musk and civet..."

Ozmoz describes it as,
"Delicately flowery, Le Dix unveils a fresh top note of bergamot and lemon.The heart blooms graciously with an accord of ylang ylang, rose and lily of the valley.This refined bouquet ends in a finale of iris, civet, musk and vanilla. Woody notes of sandalwood and vetiver give the fragrance extra elegance and self-confidence."
Angela on Now Smell This, senses the top notes “aldehydes” and “violets”, notes that are not listed in Ozmoz. Bois de Jasmin, agrees with Angela, saying that Le Dix has been referred to as Chanel No. 5 with violets. Since I just received No. 5 edc, I may see if the comparison is really valid or I may wait and get a parfum version of No. 5 to get an apples to apples comparison.

My vote is with Angela, since I do not really pick up the lemon or bergamot in the opening, but do definately get the violets and the aldehydes somewhat. I do pick up a sweet fruit, so perfumeintelligence's inclusion of the peach makes sense. The sweetness is not cloying to me. I am going to have to try this again to notice the opening more as I put it on when I was in a hurry to get somewhere. When I was at my destination the heart was opening up wonderfully. At first smell, the richness and volumptuous nature with its woods and musks, I thought that this is singularly Fall and Winter scent, but it does have some summery feel as well. It is a different side of Summer, whereas there are more citrusy, beachy, and tropical fragrances to open up and celebrate Summer, Le Dix can be the end of Summer scent that anticipates the harvesting of fruits but not in a gourmand way. It is more like the time in Summer that everything that grew in the Summer is coming to its own as the season takes its last gasp. Then I get surprised with whaffs of leather. It was very warm yesterday going to a playdate for my son, and the fragrance held up. It will be interesting how it reveals itself in the cooler seasons.

The scent lasts a great while. I put it on yesterday morning and it lasted throughout the day and into twilight. I refreshed a bit on my chest and it is still amazing mid-morning. It is turning out to a scent of the weekend.

While Le Dix can be dressed down, it has enough sophistication with its leathers, woods, and florals to be dressed up. This won't be the last we hear of Le Dix. This is merely a first impression.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


The other day I spent a day with Chamade, a 1969 perfume by one of my favorite perfume houses. On one of the forums Chamade was listed as a perfume that would suit someone who wore Arpege by Lanvin. At first sniff of this tiny little bottle I knew it was love. It was at once rich and bright. According to, the top notes are hyacinth and jasmine. This Ylang-Ylang, Blackcurrent buds, and Galbanum. The basenotes are vanilla, woody notes, and balsamic notes. Fragrantica says it has, "The main notes are Turkish rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, lilac, blackcurrant buds, lily of the valley, galbanum, sandalwood, vetiver, musk, amber, iris, and Tonka bean." Perfume Shrine confirms the Lily of the Valley (Lily of the Valley which I love in Diorissimo). There is nothing that isn't absolutely lovely about the fragrance and it is true that the real magic happens about an hour in. One feels like wearing jazzy silk in a chaise lounge in a Parisian apartment boudroir with the sun beaming in. It also seemed so right to hum the Greatful Dead -- maybe because it was born at the height of the sixties. It is my happy place scent. At work I brought my tiny little bottle and the bottle fell from the co-worker's hand and it spilt so the entire office area was infused. While reduced what little I had, it was a blessing as the smell just made me feel incredibly lucky. Lucky is being able to share the scent and turn the area I worked into this amazing scent. It was sunshine. It was named after a fast, drum beat. There was a flutter, an undulation to the fragrance that made my heart flutter. It is considered a green floral with a warmth. As it dried down my co-worker thought it was powery in a good way like a newborn smells. To me, Chamade was a journey and a long one because the perfume lasted for almost the entire day. It was a beautiful trip.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuberose causes a Fracas

Last night after work we stopped at Sephora and I rolled on some Fracas on the top of my hand. Fracas doesn't take to everyone's body chemistry, but it took to mine in a amazing way. The rest of the night I would smell the top of my hand and I would not want to take it away. Tipping my head back I would just let my lay on top of my nose and the hand would seem to just melt. Fracas has been described as a buttery tuberose and it seems out of the class of tuberose scents, this fragrance the sexiest. It is not a mere floral.

Diana Rigg, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Dita Von Teese, Martha Stewart (?!?), Madonna, and Iman are among the women who have worn the perfume.

I do want to try other tuberose fragrances just for kicks: Carnal Flower, Saks Fifth Avenue for Her, Tubéreuse by Caron, Tuberuse Couture 17 by Parfumerie Generale, Guerlain Bois d’Armenie, Vintage Lanvin Rumeur, Annick Goutal Tubereuse, Balenciaga Quadrille, Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger.

So I have been thinking of turning our guest room into a boudoir/tea room/parlor. Our guest room already has a vintage feel with a vanity with a circular mirror and ancestor photos from as far back as 1870s. I am lobbying hard to get the old television and stereo out and replace it with antique seating we have in storage. Since the room has a window facing east we can put indoor fragrant plants like a fragrant miniature rose, tuberose, and lily of the valley in the room.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Quan Yin

I adore this marble, jade, and Calcite crystal Kuan Yin statue. Kuan Yin has a special significance for me as she is the goddess of family, fertility, compassion, and mercy. I love what she symbolizes and we do have her in our home already, but you cannot have enough Kuan Yin because she takes away negative energy. She is water, she is life.
Great Compassion Mantra

Instructions on how to practice the Great Compassion Mantra (Da Bei Zhow) of Kwan Yin
By Vajra Regent DongShan Wu-Tsen

1. Light incense and place beside shrine;
2. Prostrate 3 times to Kwan Yin;
3. Offer one (or more) glass (es) of water which Kwan Yin will bless;
4. Invite Kwan Yin to come to you and appear;
5. Bring the palms of your hands together in the prayer-mudra;
6. Invite all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to come and be present.
7. Recite the following chant:
Lu Shian dza zo,
Fa Je Mung Shin,
Dzu Fo Haj Whey Shi Yao Wen,
Swey Tsu Dje Shang Yun,
Tsong Yi Fong Yin,
Dzu Fo Shien Chuan Song.
Na Mo Shian Yun Gai Pu Sa Mo Ko Sa. (3 times)
8. Recite the following lines to purify your speech and apologize for the pronunciation errors made by you during this practice:
An Sho Li Sho Lie, Mo Ho Sho Li, Sho Sho Li, Sa Po Ho (So Ha).
9. Recite the Kwan Yin Great Compassion Mantra 3, 5, 7, 21, 49 or 108 times.
10. Recite the short mantra 10 times:
Na Mo Kwan Yin Boddhisattva.
11. Finally, drink the water blessed by Kwan Yin. This water now has healing powers.
12. Dedicate this practice of the Kwan Yin Great compassion Mantra to the benefit and enlightenment of all beings.

My Favorite Flowers

If I had to do my wedding all over again, I would have had an evening wedding with all white fragrant flowers: gardenias, tuberoses, moon orchids, lily of the valley, stephanotis, brunfelsias, plumaria, Atractocarpus, Echinopsis, water lily, Magnolias, jasmine, Pacesetter rose, daffodils, hyacinths, white iris, white french lavender, white lotus, hydrangeas.white carnations, swan lake sweetpeas, and Casablanca lilies (!!!). There is something so elegant about white flowers on white tablecloth and place settings. Combine this with lighting from candles, white chinese lanterns, and white mini lights and it would be beautiful. On each table there could be a white quan yin statue to symbolize compassion and family love. It would still be at Stern Grove in San Francisco, because that location was absolutely beautiful. Do not get me wrong, my wedding was beautiful, romantic, and fun. The only regret was the flowers that were predominately pink and not very exceptional. The only flowers that I liked were the potted white roses, but that was my idea -- not the florists. The florist I chose was terrible as my bridal bouquet started falling apart. Later she tried to convince me that a sonya rose she used was peach rather than pink. White on white just avoids these shades of color problems and it is just more adult and classic.
I am also thinking that I could do a fragrant garden of all these flowers above, plus a moondance rose, 'Mme Legras de St Germain' rose, 'Rosa Mulliganii' , Wincester Cathedral rose,
Fair Bianca rose, Madame Hardy rose, White Buddleia "white profusion" or butterfly bush. White sage, white geraniums, white cymbidium orchids.

In our front shaded yard: Aruncus, Chelone, Dicentra, Astilbe, Gallium, Epimedium, Lamium, Tiarella, Lily of the Valley, Primula, columbine, and Viola. Also, laydown sheet and rock moss and various ferns.

It would be cool to have garden that was part moon garden, butterfly and bee garden, part fragrant garden, part fairy garden, part shade garden in mostly white flowers. I could also do my succulent garden and herb garden.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Looking for the Moon

In my obsession to find a signature scent, I have been lurking, or stalking Ebay for deals on yummy perfumes. I have already scored about 3 small bottles of pure Diorissimo, the siren fragrance that pulled me into this torrid affair. Diorissimo, even in EDT form, is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. It is how perfumes are supposed to smell. Diorissimo is all about the Lily of the Valley, which is associated with the month of my birth and Mother's Day.

Another Dior I am waiting for, but tried a tester for was EAU SAUVAGE Eau De Toilette. This citrus chypre, and has notes of lemon, rosemary, petitgrain, basil, jasmine, rose, iris, oakmoss, vetiver, and musk. It is designed for men, but since its birth on the year of my birth, 1966, women have been wearing it as well. It is very Summery for me and very sexy. It is like borrowing your man's big shirt. Another scent I am waiting for from the house of Dior is a vintage Miss Dior. Yesterday, I received J'Adore L'Absolu a newer scent from Dior. L'Absolu is a more floral version of the popular J'Adore. This scent is very pretty and work appropriate as it is a very gentle floral even in EDP form.

L' Instant from Guerlain got the most immediate response by my hubby for it's vanilla note along with the honey florals. It is a comforting scent and gives me the feeling that Guerlain will be a house I will explore more deeply. I am still awaiting an EDT of Mitsouko that I bid on by mistake and hope that it will be a way into this magnetic fragrance that I despirately want to experience in the EDP pre-formulation state. It still stings losing a bid on a collection of 7 Guerlains to a snipe. Those 7 are on my wishlist: SAMSARA (1989)- spiritual, serene-inspired by a woman whose inner beauty captivated its creator. Created by Jean - Paul Guerlain, MITSUOKO (1919)-mysterious, assertive--dedicated to the elusive heroine in "Madame Butterfly". Created by Jacques Guerlain, EAU DE COLOGNE IMPERIALE (1853)-fresh, invigorating--commissioned for Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III. Created by Jean - Paul Guerlain, SHALIMAR (1925)--sensuous, seductive--inspired by the love of an Indian Emperor for his cherished wife. Created by Jacques Guerlain, EAU DE GUERLAIN ( 1974 ) -- Vibrant, Inviting. Inspired by the sun - kissed region of Provence, France. Created by Jean - Paul Guerlain, Jardins de Bagatelle ( 1983 ) -- Festival of White Flowers. This carefree celebration of sunlight and happiness evokes the joy of a lover's rendezvous in a moonlit garden. Created by Jean - Paul Guerlain,
CHAMADE (1969)--feminine, assured--translated as "The wild beating of the heart". Inspired by a womans confident nature. Created by Jean - Paul Guerlain.

My way of dealing with the pain was to get a bottle of Chamade by Guerlain.

There is a real anticipation for Arpege from Lanvin. I got a vintage 1.5 oz bottle of this scent that is considered a classic scent in honor of mother and child. Could Arpege be my signature scent? We will see.

Another highly rated fragrance that I ordered is FRACAS by ROBERT PIGUET . Hopefully, it will do well with my body chemistry. A test today on my hand seems promising as I cannot stop sniffing the hand. It is an 1948 fragrance that is an evening scent to be applied judiciously. It's main note is tuberose, a scent that is considered to be narcotic and aphrodisiacal (That's what I'm talking about!). It is indicated for impotency and frigidity and to induce relaxation. Woohoo!

Only one perfume is left in bidding mode: LE NARCISSE NOIR Vintage Mini Perfume Tester CARON. Le Narcisse Noir is another evening scent that was worn by one of my favorite writers, Anais Nin.

"He left me at the gare St. Lazare last night. I began to write in the train to balance the seven-leagued boot jumping out of my life with the ant like activity of the pen. The ant words rushed back and forth carrying crumbs: such heavy crumbs. Bigger than ants.
'Have you enough heliotrope ink.", Henry asked.
I should not be using ink but perfume. I should be writing with Narcisse Noir, with Mitsouko, with jasmine, with honeysuckle. I could write beautiful words that would exhale the potent smell of women's honey and men's white blood." - Anais Nin, The Diary of Anais Nin, vol. 1 1931-1934

Christian Dior, Guerlain, Lanvin, Caron, and Robert Piguet are a good start.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fragrance Fetish Unleashed!

In my 20's I discovered Lancome's Tresor (1956) from a friend of mine in college. To me then the pink liquid was bohemian romance in a bottle, but I was not very knowledgeable about scents. In the mid-90s, I picked up another Lancome, Poeme (1995), which seemed more warmer and spicier. It was the end of the 1990s that I picked up Lancome's Oui (1999), which was a more fruitier and fun offering. The 2000s, I held off on fragrances as I went back to school, worked at home, and became a mother. When I look back, I am afraid I may have overused these fragrances and I apologize.

Since I have been back to working outside of the home, I have found myself in a fragrance-friendly workplace. Our employer bought a Sephora fragrance sampler for a co-worker, which brought three of us women to the store to try on scents. It awoke something in me, but I was fully pushed over into obsession when my employer shared a spritz of Diorissimo Parfum. Oh, my. Since you cannot get Diorissimo at Sephora, I tried Dior L'Adore and found it delightful on me as well. There are samples of Vera Wang by Vera Wang (nice), Magical Moon by Hanae Mori (little too strong -- need to try it but pull back on the amount I dab on), Bvlgari by Bvlgari, and somewhere I have Marc Jacobs Daisy.

My nose has put me in a disadvantage as I cannot smell very well unless it is on my skin. The parfum needs to cook on my skin for me to judge if it will work. Since I have only used EDT versions of fragrances, I need to get used to applying sparingly the parfum (not hard when the pocket book only allows small bottles).

The Internet has been a great source for getting up to speed on fragrances. I am on the trail of Mitsouko by Guerlain before it was re-formulated to replace the oak moss. The intense descriptions of this 1919 fragrance intrigues me. Dior's Eau Savage is on my list to get even though it is a men's fragrance. This fragrance would round out my collection with a citrus-green that was born on the same year I was -- 1966 (another source has it 1956). My surname de plume was Savage once and it is a good choice for Summer so it is naturally on the list. In looking around, I found a limited edition version of Dior J'Adore L'Absolu, which is supposed to be an improvement on J'Adore and an alternative to buying an ultra-popular scent.

So on the way is a bottle of Christain Dior J'Adore L'Absolu and a bottle of pure parfum of Diorissimo. On Ebay, I am bidding on a Lot of (5) Guerlain Mini Parfumes. The five are Shalimar, Champs Elysees, Samsara, Mitsouko and Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune. Each bottle is full and holds .17 fl. oz. except for the Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune which holds .25 fl. oz. Another lot is SHALIMAR PARFUM - 0.17 FL OZ 5 ML, SHALIMAR EAU DE TOILETTE NATURAL SPRAY - 0.5 FL OZ 5ML, SAMSARA EAU DE TOILETTE - 0.17 FL OZ 5ML, CHAMPS-ELYSEES EAU DE TOILETTE 0.17 FL OZ 5ML, MITSOUKO EAU DE TOILETTE - 0.17 FL OZ 5ML. I am also bidding on a Mitsouko By Guerlain Women EDT Spray NIB 1.0 oz RARE. Among the 3 bottles of Mitsouko I am hoping to find the holy grail of pre-reformulated bliss everyone is talking about.

[Lost the first group of mini-bottles by 50 cents! doh!

With any luck, I will have three Diors and some Guerlain to add to three Lancomes. Will I be wearing the Lancome fragrances? They are Eau de Toilette, so you get more alcohol than what you would get in a parfum. The Eau Savage is EDT, so I guess I won't be completely abandoning EDT. I guess I will rotate them and see if they stand up to the Diors and hopefully the Guerlain.

My fragrance fetish may not be the most healthy vice, but as I am giving up the last of my vices for a diet -- I need something to replace them. Spare amounts per day shouldn't be a problem and if it is oh heck, it makes me happy and it appeals to my nostalgic nature. It makes me feel more optimistic, feminine, and finished. Parfum is just another layer of clothing. Parfum is like having a piece of finely crafted chocolate, silk stockings and lingerie, and a shot of really good liquor in a vintage apartment in Paris reading Anais Nin's diary.

My current obsession connects me to my great, great grandmother, Salome who would get the latest perfumes and fashions from Paris back in the late 1800s and early 20th century. Her sister, Mary Jane, who was married to the famous photographer, William Rulofson would go to Paris and bring back these fragrances and clothes. Salome was a down-to-earth woman who loved to ride horses, but always smelt wonderful.

Speaking of smelling wonderful, I tried L'INSTANT DE GUERLAIN EAU PARFUM, and it is very dreamy with its honey, magnolias, and amber. Some say it is heavy for Summer, but just smells wonderful on the skin to wait for cooler weather. Dabbing a little from the sampler on my wrists, I walked in the room and my hubby commented how nice it smelled.

So, Guerlain works for my chemistry so I am hoping to get the following in my collection:
  1. SAMSARA (1989)- spiritual, serene-inspired by a woman whose inner beauty captivated its creator. Created by Jean - Paul Guerlain
  2. MITSUOKO (1919)-mysterious, assertive--dedicated to the elusive heroine in "Madame Butterfly". Created by Jacques Guerlain
  3. EAU DE COLOGNE IMPERIALE (1853)-fresh, invigorating--commissioned for Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III. Created by Jean - Paul Guerlain
  4. SHALIMAR (1925)--sensuous, seductive--inspired by the love of an Indian Emperor for his cherished wife. Created by Jacques Guerlain
  5. EAU DE GUERLAIN ( 1974 ) -- Vibrant, Inviting. Inspired by the sun - kissed region of Provence, France. Created by Jean - Paul Guerlain
  6. Jardins de Bagatelle ( 1983 ) -- Festival of White Flowers. This carefree celebration of sunlight and happiness evokes the joy of a lover's rendezvous in a moonlit garden. Created by Jean - Paul Guerlain
  7. CHAMADE (1969)--feminine, assured--translated as "The wild beating of the heart". Inspired by a womans confident nature. Created by Jean - Paul Guerlain.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Pro-life" Terrorism

Dr. George Tiller was assassinated today because he provided couples a safe way to end a disastrous pregnancy that they most likely wanted. Couples who face such procedures in late term do it with such unbelievable grief and suffering, and nobody has the right to judge that. Carrying such pregnancies to term is psychologically awful and puts the woman in danger. Pro-lifers rarely care about the woman, as they favor laws that place the life of the fetus higher than a woman's life.

Someone who claimed to value human life, ended it today fueled by the rhetoric on the right.

While you hear statements from the more mainstream pro-life groups that they do not condone such violence, their rhetoric over the years makes this violent act inevitable. If you go to the websites like "Army of God" they say things like, "A great day for the unborn children scheduled to be murdered by Babykilling Abortionist George Tiller. George Tiller reaped what he sowed and now has been cast alive into everlasting torment and fire for the innocent blood he has shed.
Psalm 55:15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them."

From a discussion board on Les Femmes, "The loss of Tiller himself is as great a loss to women as the death of Hitler was a loss to Jews."
From Chicago Ray, "And as sad a it is to say, his murder will save the lives of thousands and thousands of innocent babies in which he remained ONE OF THE VERY LAST DOCTORS still performing brutal late term murders of fetus's."
tankertodd a poster on, "I can’t escape the conclusion that killing Tiller was the right thing to do. I am uncomfortable with this conclusion because it’s dangerous. But nevertheless, it was the ethical thing to do."

Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue states, "George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions."

When you judge doctors as murderers, you open the door to people saying that they are saving babies by taking doctors out. When you continue the rhetoric after many doctors and clinic workers have been killed, maimed, and threatened you have no respect for human life. On the other hand, no pro-life person has ever been harmed. In fact, as a clinic defender I have stopped angry people from attacking clinic visitors by calling them murderers in front of their children.

They are some who are calling today assassination of this Doctor as talibanistic, domestic terrorism fueled by Christian belief system, and I do not disagree. This is one of the many reasons that I was driven away from the Christian faith. Modern Christianity is not about Christ anymore and is more about hatred and gaining worldly power, than working for the poor and working against greed.

There are progressive and moderate Christians but they have no power and enable the extremists. With their countless jihads against LGBT, Science education, Sex education, birth control, I am having trouble finding positive contributions by the Christian. The bible should never be more important than treating your fellow human being with respect and equanimity. These people just need to stop, stop hurting our country.

If you oppose abortion, do not have one and work to make birth control freely available. If you oppose birth control, then do not use it, but make sure others who do not share your views have access. Unfortunately, most pro-lifers think birth control is abortion too.

If you oppose abortion, then support single mothers who have children out of wedlock.

Don't believe the Pro-lifers who are trying to distance themselves. There is this vast network on the right that whip themselves up with plastic fetuses, photos, and fetus fetishism. There is no difference between the pro-life movement and the KKK who whip up sentiment against blacks and jews via Hitler-fetishism and then people are motivated to act on the hatred.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Exploiting Children to "Save" Marriage

Why must folks who claim to be for family values exploit children to protect their narrow and religious vision of marriage? Why do their appeals to fear always feature children? Do they have no shame?

A new way of thinking? Goodness, who thought new ways of thinking was so dangerous? If "new thinking" is that families come in many sizes and types, what is the danger in that? If "new thinking" is to celebrate differences, what is the harm in that? Promoting love and commitment between any two people is a good thing.

The only confusion is created by people who refuse mind their own business and let gay and lesbians enjoy the same rights as they freely exercise. Confusion is caused when parents think that the worst thing that could happen to a child is to either have no opinion about homosexuality, are okay with homosexuality, or becomes homosexual. They are so afraid that acceptance would turn their little darlings gay, when most gays I have known came from strict, conservative christian families.

There is no confusion when you say that many men and women meet and fall in love with each other. Some men fall in love with men. Some women fall in love with women. There is no confusion when you teach your children that there are all kinds of families. Confusion happens when a narrow view is taught to them, and it conflicts with reality. Most families are not typical, traditional nuclear families.

It is far better for our kids to be brought up respecting all parents regardless if they are gay or straight. Our kids classmates will have same sex parents, single parents, mixed race parents, foster parents, and divorced parents. All of those families have equal value, and that is the lesson kids need to pick up.

I think it is terrible to implant in a child's mind that "new thinking" or acceptance of the reality is somehow dangerous. I hope my son entertains a lot of new thoughts and challenges traditional assumptions. I hope he has better things to do than work to deny a group of citizens their rights, and will work to protect the rights of others.

One of my measurements of being a good mom is to raise my son being comfortable enough with himself to be able to make others feel good being themselves. He will know his mother supports gay and lesbian rights (as I support rights of workers, women, immigrants, children, and those of color) even though she is a straight, married mother because fighting for equal rights for all citizens is the right thing to do.

Reality-based thinking hold that gays and lesbians being able to marry will have zero effect on heterosexual marriages or the institution of marriage. The result will be more couples will choose committed relationships and that is a good family value.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

San Francisco Film Festival: Nomad's Land

By Denise K. Castellucci
Going through the San Francisco International Film Festival catalog is a daunting task when you have to choose only two films. Nomad's Land or Sur les Trace de Nicolas Bouvier (In the Footsteps of Nicolas Bouvier) stood out as one of the films that stood out to me with its evocative quote from author Nicolas Bouvier, "One thinks that one is going to make a journey, yet soon it is the journey that makes or unmakes you."

This beautiful documentary is in first person as Swiss filmmaker Gaël Métroz goes alone without a camera crew to capture the danger and beauty of landscapes and people on his journey. His goal is to trace the footsteps of the author of "The Way of the World" by Nicolas Bouvier. Bouvier was another Swiss man who traveled in a Fiat Topolino from Geneva, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka, and over to Japan in the Fifties.

As Métroz traces Bouvier's trip to Iranian and Pakistan cities it is clear that much of the charm and romance recounted in Bovier's book have morphed into a violent locales unwelcoming to Métroz. Behind a gauzy curtain up in his hotel room Gaël hears endless gunshots and waits for the next jeep out.

By taking the opportunity to follow the Nomads out, Métroz veers off the path of Bouvier letting the trip take him rather than taking a trip. He takes many leaps of faith in the generosity and hospitality of the regions many tribes of nomads.

The first person point of view is extremely powerful and has the effect of immersing you in the highs and lows of his journey. You feel the exhaustion, elation, sense of awe of the enormous landscapes, and the heart-stopping remoteness.

I felt sadness at times when he would capture places like an Iranian marketplace that retains the exotic beauty, but where women are conspicuously absent. A young European treads lightly through these cities, how could I, an American Woman, ever hope to follow his footsteps? So, I am grateful that he makes this trip and captures the beauty as well as the precarious nature of the modern Middle East, butdespair that much of the planet's exquisiteness remain elusive to me because I am a woman. As a mother of a son, I hope that my son has the opportunity when he is older to embark on such a journey even though worry would be my companion.

This film works on so many levels. Technically the photography captured the colors and the features of the locals and its people with incredible sharpness and intimacy. It is possible to see and hear, but you almost could feel, taste, and smell through his lens. Competing with the incredible visuals was the poetry of Métroz's narration and Bouvier's words. I wished that I could understand French, so my eyes would not have to choose whether to watch the action on screen or read the subtitles.

Nomad's Land is also a meditation on the nature and philosophy of travel. It retains the nostalgic notion of travel where the journey tells you when it will end, instead of having an itinerary of what you will see determined by what little time we get off from work. Instead of rushing through a destination so one can say they climbed the Eiffel Tower or walked the Great Wall of China, travel can be a slow, patient surrender to the part of the world unfamiliar to you. In a time where we have Google Earth and can see almost every inch of the planet, there are opportunities to be kindred to explorers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but without the Western ethnocentric point of view of the quaintness of natives. One can explore untouched areas of the world and view its inhabitants as wise teachers, protectors, and spirit guides on your journey. It is a journey that respects the rhythms and traditions of others who follow the rhythms of the earth.

Métroz embraced and was embraced back by a part of the world where they are supposed to hate freedom. What you learn from Métroz's lens is that these people are happiest when they are free to roam away from the cities and into open landscapes and crevices of hills. The urbanized and modern parts of that world drive some to smoke hash, and feel the great anxieties in cities that imprison. It is violent and breeds extremism. It is when you are with the nomads and visit the tribes that the extremism softens, the people blossom into generous people at peace enough not only allow a westerner in their midst, but a westerner with a camera.

Métroz says, "These temptations not to return too often plagued me, convincing me to make a film which, as the writings of Nicolas Bouvier, especially recalls that "travel is not an innocent activity… it is an experience of which one never heals." When one comes back, one is never the same."

As Métroz allowed his journey to change him, the film has the ability to change you. According to this film's website, this film will be pressed to DVD. I am hoping to add it to our collection of films and recommend that you do too. The film is also a great inspiration to read "The Way of the World" by Nicolas Bouvier.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

All Hail the Harlequin Frog

I would like to introduce you to the South American Carrikeri harlequin frog. This fiery skinned frog was rediscovered after laying low for 14 years. It lives in the mountain forests of Columbia. The bad news is that the same researchers who found this Carrikeri harlequin, had trouble finding other harlequin frogs in the region.

ASUS 1000HE Netbook as Kindle Clone

Thanks to Paul Biba at Tele-read for the tip that you can press ctrl-alt-arrow to rotate the screen on a 1000he and use the netbook as a Kindle-like device. The navigation is hitting the pagedown and pageup buttons. Here I am checking out Susan Jacoby's new book, The Age of American Unreason over at Google Books. Google Books is great, but you don't get all the pages. E-books have this book for 15.95. My friend, Michael Twittered to me that there is always Project Gutenberg, but that is great if you want to read an old classic like The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. Clearly, if I want to read something a bit more recent it is cheaper to just buy a used book over at Thrift Books, Biblio, or Amazon and pay $4-$5 bucks.

Don't get me wrong. My preference for books are used paperbooks. Recently, I bought used paperbooks and there is nothing more nostalgic for me. One of my fondest memories when I moved to Menlo Park back in the late 1970s is finding this great used book store that would by back your books and gave you store credit to get more. Nothing motivates a young person to read more than being able to pay for books with one's meager allowance and be able to earn more books by bring fully read books back. Of course, they went out of business.

There is something tactile and social about physical books. You can feel and smell the pages and underline passages and make notes. You can share your book with friends and they make great gifts. If somehow an electronic pulse knocks out all of electronica in the world ala Dark Angel, you still have physical books to keep you company and entertained.

That being said, I think it is cool that my netbook can be repurposed to become an ebook reader. The awesome thing about ebooks is that like used books, you are not killing new trees for entertainment. Making paper and inks does have an effect on the environment. One issue is storage of books. Books take up a lot of room and ebooks could help unclutter our homes.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Daybreak Stroll in Dithyrambia

From time to time I will search the webs for anything dithyrambunctious or more properly dithyrambic in style or spirit. One item of dithyrambic curiosity is a screen print of mixed media called, Dithyrambic Aspirations by Bret Pfeifer. This work is housed on the Office of Urban Air conditioning. There are on-going essays by Aaron Jones about what defines success, terra impenetrabilis or surfaces of our paved planet, our relationship with fossils and their fuels, urbanity's siren sell to affluent suburbanites, and predatory neglect in the inner city. His art echoes the themes of his essays although my favorite of his work is "Berber Woman." Speaking of Berber... I just bought a used copy of The Seven Addictions and Five Professions of Anita Berber: Weimar Berlin's Priestess of Depravity (Paperback).

My first question to Bret Pfeifer was about his use of Dithyrambic for the title, and how he defines dithyrambic.

The title 'Dithyrambic Aspirations' comes directly from my own creative process. I seem to have a never ending flow of creative aspirations that remain stagnant due to new more exciting thoughts, ideas, projects. It is as if the creativity feeds on itself in a cyclical process never producing any real product. Once I understood this I began to revel in the process of creativity rather than the final product.

Life is dithyrambic, it is a continuos flow of the unexpected, never ceasing. In this case creativity is dithyrambic, flowing without regard for anything else but the creative process.

When my eyes sank into the piece, Dithyrambic Aspirations, my first impressions that it works visually and feels like a comment about business or urbanity with what looks like high-rises, date stamps of 2008, and what could chemical reactions. I wondered what Bret was trying to accomplish with this piece.

"I am an architect by trade so the building-like forms refer to my 'creative profession'. Architecture is seemingly very creative....but to me, it is one of the creative endeavors that holds back the development of one of my ideas, thoughts or projects. Architecture is one of the only creative processes in which a real tangible product is delivered, although, throughout the 'process' of architecture the original idea is so tainted by the real-world constraints that the creative process removed.
The date stamp refers to the idea actually setting a date and developing one of these ideas into its mature potential. This of course diminishes the importance of the 'process' and places that importance on the product, which kills the creativity.
This piece is partly me as an artist making piece with the fact that creativity and commerce are directly in conflict, to pursue one depreciates the other. I would much rather retain the creative process.

I would like to thank Bret for graciously answering my questions. We will be sure to let you know when his website goes up. I wish him well.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Lunch in Dresden

In the Summer of 1984, one of the places I stopped was Dresden, Germany for lunch after a tour of the city. The tour was punctuated with the tour guides judgmental snarl, "This was BOMBED by the AMERICANS!" We were a bus of 60 American kids that were in the late teens, born in the mid or late 1960s. It was a real temptation to take it personally, but excuse me for saying at the time, "We were not even born yet, give us a friggin break!" We would get similar sentiments from another East German tour guide on our tour of East Berlin. She would claim that they left the ruined buildings up as a monument to the Allied bombings. Right.

What I remember of lunch was that they had this liqueur, digestif of sorts that smelled like it could run a car. Don't get me wrong, I love liqueur, especially lithuanian honey liqueur, or rasberry liqueur. A tiny sip confirmed that I had no business with the stuff and I handed it over to one of the guys on the tour that seemed less discriminating. Passing on the digestif would happen in Prague. It just seemed to be the right thing to do.

The East German guides did have a point. Our country did firebomb the hell out of Dresden. In fact I was reading Vonnegut on the trip and he actually spent time in a bunker while it happened. It was horrific. In 1984, we had Reagan as President who was certainly hawkish and calling the Soviet Union the Evil Empire. The thing is, despite the verbal digs, they needed our cash and so they let us in.

My story of my short time in Dresden came up when I thought of artist Otto Dix, an expressionist from Dresden. I bring up Otto Dix, because he is a great example of how art was affected by World War I. Dix was also a part of was called by the facists as degenerate art, which I prefer. Otto Dix comes up because there is a show I want to go to, but can't, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art called, Shell Shocked: Expressionism After the Great War, Today.
Extraordinarily resilient, German Expressionism was profoundly changed by World War I (1914-1918), which first enthralled and then devastated the “generation of 1914” throughout Europe. The young German artists initially welcomed the “Great War” as a grand adventure. But this euphoria soon yielded to pacifism and outright political protest in opposition to a war that was taking a heavy toll in such unprecedented battles of attrition as the Somme and Verdun. Departing from the arcadian landscapes and anguished probing of the individual psyche of early Expressionism, artists now conveyed political protest and communal utopia visions of a new humanity.
These artists lived through WWI and were surrounded by maimed vets, war widows, economic decline, and the whole world punishing them for the war itself. Dismemberment, distortion, death, and destruction were familiar to these artists and they faced it head on in their work. The work is often described as grotesque, but it is really is a time where all you had left was to portray the world how it felt to many. There is a German proverb, "“A great war leaves the country with three armies - an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Unlocking The Heart of Adoption

It has been a wonderful experience being friends with Sheila Ganz, who is a birth mother and filmmaker extraordinaire. I had the pleasure of working on the website of her first film, Unlocking the Heart of Adoption, for about 7-8 years. Unlocking the Heart of Adoption is essential viewing for anyone who is adopted, adopting, planning to adopt, or has relinquished or plans to relinquish a child to adoption. This film unflinchingly deals with experiences in adoption that do exist, but are not found in most adoption films.

You must go to her website and for as little as $39.95 buy the DVD for yourself or for friends you know that are touched or want to be touched by adoption.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Bastard Fairies: We Are All Going to Hell

Warning this song does contain profanity. Pause if this offends you. These folk are called Bastard Fairies, an indy band. I am liking their version of "Brand New Key" with the ukelele band.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Don't Trust Anyone Making $250,000 or more...

Think Progress found this little gem on CNBC. It seems to this particular anchor that this AIG problem cannot be solved by those making less than $250,000. I know a lot of smart, experienced people who have been laid off who would love to be making $100-150k a year right now. Many are settling for jobs that make 12 bucks an hour, so I am sure AIG and these ruined companies can get help. It seems to me and a lot of folks that it was people making more than $250,000 that got us into this mess in the first place. It is clear from the past year, we cannot trust these people who make more than $250,000 with our public dollars. They have to earn back our trust.

We, taxpayers, sacrificed and gave them bailout money to fix the problem they created and they turned around and gave 218 Million dollars in bonuses (and gave Paulson's ex-employer Goldman Sachs $12.6 billion). The money can go to salaries for people to work through the problem, but times of high salaries and bonuses are over. The time for slipping billions to your friends are over. When the government owns 80% of you, it is time to get paid like a government worker. To say no one would take these jobs is false.

It is time to make an ultimatum to those who still work at these corporate welfare queens that they work for the taxpayer now. If they do not want their jobs, then there are plenty of people who will take their places. We can hire a lot of smart people for the price of one, overpriced and over hyped executive with entitlement issues. Maybe it is time for them to stand in the unemployment line and feel the pain that their choices inflicted upon the world, and let the rest of us take their places.

People have been accusing Obama as wanting to redistribute wealth while we have been witnessing the greatest redistribution of wealth to financial, energy, and military contractors in the past 8 years. It is time to redistribute it the other way for the best interest of our country.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dithyrambicology: Historical Dithyrambic

"In Paris appeared The Black Book, a novel by Lawrence Durrell, who gave promise of outdoing Henry Miller in the form that admirers call the dithyrambic novel and that others call plain old-fashioned pornography." - Time Magazine, Dithyrambic Sex, Monday, Nov. 21, 1938

Quote of the Day

Bacchus, n.: A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse for getting drunk.
Ambrose Bierce

Aristophanes, The Frogs

Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax,
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax!
We children of the fountain and the lake
Let us wake
Our full choir-shout, as the flutes are ringing out,
Our symphony of clear-voiced song.
The song we used to love in the Marshland up above,
In praise of Dionysus to produce,
Of Nysaean Dionysus, son of Zeus,
When the revel-tipsy throng, all crapulous and gay,
To our precinct reeled along on the holy Pitcher day,
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax.
That is right, Mr. Busybody, right!
For the Muses of the lyre love us well;
And hornfoot Pan who plays
on the pipe his jocund lays;
And Apollo, Harper bright,
in our Chorus takes delight;
For the strong reed's sake
which I grow within my lake
To be girdled in his lyre's deep shell.
Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax.
Ah, no! ah, no!
Loud and louder our chant must flow.
Sing if ever ye sang of yore,
When in sunny and glorious days
Through the rushes and marsh-flags springing
On we swept, in the joy of singing
Myriad-diving roundelays.
Or when fleeing the storm, we went
Down to the depths, and our choral song
Wildly raised to a loud and long
Bubble-bursting accompaniment.
All the same we'll shout and cry,
Stretching all our throats with song,
Shouting, crying, all day long,


It's All About the Frogs

A tesla coil can make a frog levitate. It is probably not as fun as it looks.

Conventional Wisdom hath said "a frog can be boiled alive if the water is heated slowly enough—it is said that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will never jump out." Not true. Frogs are smarter than that and will jump out. This untruth has been used to describe us humans who will slowly poison our earth, and only react when disaster happens. Could frogs be smarter than humans?

Apparently George W. Bush had a taste for torture that predates his presidency -- frog torture, and crows are no better.

How to make Origami Frogs and a japanese frog shop.

Bored? Frogcam.

Peace Frogs has a pretty cool franchise idea, for 30k they can set you up with a vw van that is painted groovy and is a retail store. Cool way to live if you didn't have froglets.

The Frog Store is around just in time for my birthday! Your garden needs Garden Frogs! Wear Frog T-shirts! Human-sized copper frogs.Enter Frog Nirvana.


Buddhadeva Bose

The rains have come, and the frogs are full of glee.
They sing in chorus, with voices loud and lusty,
They sing in primeval joy:
There is nothing but fear today, neither hinger nor death.
Nor the wanton stones of fate.

Cloud-like the grasses thicken,
And in the fields the clear eaters stand,
And the care-free hours of the day
Are passed in insolent singing.

In the sensual rain there is ecstasy of touch.
How luscious is the mud, how young, how soft!

They are neckless, though their throats are swollen;
They are embodiment of the song's seventh pitch.

O what sleek bodies-cloud like yellow and green!
Eyes staring upwards in glassy transparence,
Like the sombre stare of a mystic
Seeking God, in deep meditation.

The rain is ceased, the shadows aslant.
Hymn-like rises their singing, solemn in silent skies.

As the day pants and dies, the loud shrillness faints,
And the darkness is pierced with a sleep-begetting monophonic

It is midnight. We have closed our doors and are comfortably in bed.
And the stillness is broken by a single tireless voice.
It is the final sloka of the mystic chanting.
The croak, croak croak of the last lonely frog.

If you "Go Galt", I'll "Go Marx"

Just so you know I am not in the habit of criticizing books I haven't read. I do make an exception for Ayn Rand's books. Throughout my life I have run into fans of "Fountain Head" and "Atlas Shrugged" who breathlessly tell me about how they love the books and how Ayn Rand blew their mind and inspired them to be objectivist libertarians. For awhile there, my hubby and I belonged to a political discussion group with some of these rabid fans. From what we were able to gather, Ayn has constructed fiction that rationalizes greed and social Darwinism. If you are unable to make economically optimum choices for yourself, or accumulate wealth at others expense, then you deserve to be poor and become a leech on society. In this fantasy world, there is a class of highly productive, creative wealthy people who are victims of those who are not. These people decide to go into hiding to avoid an oppressive government. Taxation to the Galtists is slavery.

Taxation to me means I am making money. Good thing. I am glad to make money so I can hopefully help pay to keep our government going.

When you talk to these people they completely ignore that they thoughtlessly take advantage of government they despise so much. Individuals and commerce depend on safe roads, public safety, drug and food safety, our military, our educational system, and our infrastructure. This all costs money. They some how think that individuals or the private sector will take care of all of these things. You can fill volumes about the failures of individuals or the private sector to do the right thing and take care of the needs of our country. The market has failed this country over and over because they are concerned more about profit than the best interests of their fellow citizens or our country. Individual consumers are powerless to change private markets, but citizens can press their governments to regulate markets in their favor. This is why we need to regulate markets and tax citizens to pay people to enforce regulations.

Now that Obama is president, there is a movement of "Going Galt" because they see that Obama is taking away money from the talented and giving it to the unsuccessful. They claim that the bailout is what gets them angry and I am angry about that too. I am angry we have to bailout a greed-motivated system of booms and busts run by people who are culture says are the creative job making elite who deserve tax breaks.

Where we disagree is the Galtists do not want government to invest in our infrastructure, our people, and our future. They rely on this fantasy that private markets are the answer to everything, even if it was private markets who caused this disaster. If government did anything wrong is that they listened to the Galtists in holding back needed regulation to keep private markets from self-imploading.

I believe objectivism based on the old Calvinist and Social Darwinist individualism hurts our country, because it is based on fantasy. It institutionalizes greed over the common good creating a nation of winners and losers that has little to do with merit.

None of us pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. We all get where we are with the help of others. We deliver our goods on roads and bandwidth paid for by our tax dollars. We stay healthy by paying people to check the safety of our drugs and food. We get whatever skills from our teachers, and are protected by our police officers and fire fighters. What we decide to pool our money for tells the world and history what kind of people we are. Government is us, it doesn't seem like it is because citizens are not doing their jobs keeping our government in check.

Rich people are no better than poor people. In fact, people who are not rich often are far more productive, creative, and resourceful than rich people. Without workers, rich people would have no means in delivering the products that make them rich. Without workers, rich people would have bad lawns, dirty houses, and would have to parent their own children.

We are all human beings who should be able to have the dignity of shelter, health care, food, education, and if they can - work. Our country is healthy when more people get a part of the economic pie instead of the wealth being hoarded by the top 1%. We need more socialism that works for all the people. If we go on strike, we need to strike for worker's rights and fight for our tax dollars to be spent investing in the American people. We need to spend our taxes on education, health care, infrastructure, renewable energy, science, and art.

What we spend on is who we are.