In the Pink

It’s all Janet‘s fault. She sent me a video of Snape dancing to a Scissor Sisters song, and I had to play too. Plus, I was suffering from writer’s block brought on by the extremely clunky and not user-friendly Audi website.

And so I uploaded my face, and a different image of good ol’ Severus Snape, and made a video of my own, which, in the words of a good friend, is “fucking hilarious,” – and oh, it so is.

But it’s also got me thinking about how much I’ve always wanted to dye my hair pink (see icon added to corner of blog). Another good friend pointed out that since I’m not working in corporate America, I actually CAN dye my hair pink, but I’m kind of chicken. Actually I’m a LOT chicken.

But still.

Oh, and…for those of you who are curious. Here’s the link to the video.

Trees of Glass, and other Personal Adventures

I’ve been playing hermit while I’ve been sick, and it’s only this weekend that I began to get stir crazy, largely because while I did find a stack of unread books, most were mystery-thrillers, and I just wasn’t in the mood for murder and mayhem. I did find a Barbara Delinsky novel called Looking for Peyton Place that I read in fits and snatches in the bathroom to make it last all week (this worked for a change). It was an enjoyable novel, and when I revamp Zenitopia later this week, it’ll be one of my reviews.

Yesterday, because I had things to mail, and needed to pick up some bubble mailers for things I have yet to mail, we ventured out to the post office, where I had a lovely conversation with the woman who helped me, and was gracious enough to find the last sheet of DC superhero stamps for me, when I told her I use them to send mail to soldiers in Iraq. “Here,” she said, “Let me find you the baseball stamps, too. They’ll love those.” I have a meter, but I like to use pretty stamps whenever possible. I also bought an array of Valentine’s Day stamps, including some with chocolate kisses. If only they were scratch-n-sniff as well.

* * * * * Begin Shameless Plug * * * * *

Speaking of writing to soldiers. Whatever your stance is on the war, the fact is that there are men and women serving overseas (not just in Iraq) who either don’t have family to send mail, or have family that won’t or can’t support them. Imagine being that far from home, and not being able to connect with family and friends in any meaningful way. If you like to write letters, or send surprise packages, consider checking out Soldiers’ Angels – they’re a non-profit, non-partisan organization that allows you to adopt a soldier, not just for Christmas, but for their entire deployment. All you have to do is send a letter weekly, and a small package (and if you’re not the gifty type, there are cool websites with pre-made parcels) once a month. I spend more on COFFEE than I do on that.
* * * * * End Shameless Plug * * * * *

Back to my babbling. Today around six I started getting really stir-crazy. And I’d finished that book. So I yelled up the stairs to Fuzzy, and he said that despite the warnings about ice storms, the roads were pretty clear in our part of the metroplex, and sure, a trip to Barnes and Noble would be fine with him. So we ventured forth, and I spent $66 for $144 worth of stuff, thanks to my spiffy Reader’s Advantage card, and three gift certificates from Christmas. I came home with a spiffy new laptop lapdesk, so I don’t have to overheat my laptop by resting it on pillows when I blog from bed (like now), three books (2 hard cover), 3 magazines, and 3 boxes of stationery. Of course, we had to stop in the cafe on the way out, and I enjoyed a Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte, which is available for the post-Christmas, pre-Easter season. It’s my favorite drink of theirs. Really. And I’m not just saying that because it was my first coffee in eleven days.

As we got into the car, I heard a strange clicking sound, and after looking around, I determined that it happened every time the wind blew. After more investigation, and conferring with Fuzzy, it was determined that the trees in the curb strip between the parking lot and the street had frozen while we’d been shopping, and were now shining like crystal, and clinking like so many marbles.

We drove home through a forest of trees made of glass, and were greeted by dogs all too happy to see us. We settled on the couch with popcorn and puppies, watched Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, which involved much mocking, (“Look, Fuzzy, it’s 80’s Metal Band!Klingons!”) but was a cozy couple of hours nonetheless, and now, now I’m breaking in my new laptop and watching From the Earth to the Moon on DVD, because it’s one of those series that qualifies as a “comfort film” for me, and Fuzzy’s upstairs blowing up aliens or something like that.

All in all, a good day.

You Can’t Kill a Vampire with a Knife

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Okay, quiz over.
Last night, I went to bed with Count Dracula. Not the novel, and not an actual count, and no, Fuzzy wasn’t snarfing my neck or anything – he was at work til the wee hours, actually – but the perfume from – guess where? Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

I’ll review it in a moment. Meanwhile, I’ve got the name of the movie Blood and Chocolate in my head, and the phrase blood in the sea is bubbling to the surface of my consciousness again, and I’ve been thinking maybe it’s time to just write a vampire story after all. Even if it doesn’t have mermaids or sharks in it as well. I’m not sure if I’ll use the actual Dracula – I mean, he’s been done to near death.

Yes, I do mean near death. You can’t kill a vampire with a knife, after all, and one of his normal abilities is crumbling into dust. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go read the original Bram Stoker novel again, and pay special attention to the ending.

And now the review.

Here’s the description of Count Dracula from BPAL’s website:

He must, indeed, have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier of Turkeyland. If it be so, then was he no common man, for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the ‘land beyond the forest.’ That mighty brain and that iron resolution went with him to his grave, and are even now arrayed against us. The Draculas were, says Arminius, a great and noble race, though now and again were scions who were held by their coevals to have had dealings with the Evil One. They learned his secrets in the Scholomance, amongst the mountains over Lake Hermanstadt, where the devil claims the tenth scholar as his due. In the records are such words as ‘stregoica’ witch, ‘ordog’ and ‘pokol’ Satan and hell, and in one manuscript this very Dracula is spoken of as ‘wampyr,’ which we all understand too well. There have been from the loins of this very one great men and good women, and their graves make sacred the earth where alone this foulness can dwell. For it is not the least of its terrors that this evil thing is rooted deep in all good, in soil barren of holy memories it cannot rest.

The essence of nobility, brutality and true Will made flesh and propelled through the eons by an ever-burning hatred: black patchouli, neroli, tonka, cinnamon, bitter clove, leather, black musk, coffin wood and fiery ginger.

In the imp: It smelled a bit like chocolate and pipe tobacco, but there’s no chocolate in it.

Wet, on skin: The clove and leather really come out on my skin. Can’t smell the cinnamon, but have read some people amp cinnamon.

Dry, on skin: The woodiness comes through, making it less sweet. It’s really a very masculine scent, but nice to wear to bed.

Overall: Just enough lingered til morning that waking I almost wondered if I’d had a fanged visitor in the night. I’d love to have Fuzzy, and every other man in my life, try this and it’s cousin Quincy Morris, as both are very cuddly, sexy, male scents.

Alone (BPAL Review)

Today was a grey day, but rather than being cold it was just on the edge of chilly – the kind of winter day when the thick cloud cover softens the light and warms the temperature, and a storm threatens at the periphery of the sky, but never quite reaches the boiling point.

It didn’t rain, but it was a lovely day anyway. Physically, I was in my studio a lot, writing about cars. Mentally, I was in a garret in Paris, or a beach house on a cliff, and the wind through the trees only enhanced the mood. Outside my bedroom window, earlier, the pool water was choppy, much like the ocean gets on such a blustery day. I amused myself pretending I was on the esplanade of a cold-water beach, and even bundled myself into a cotton blanket and took tea poolside.

The fresh air was what I needed after being sick for a week and a day, though I’m edging into wellness, finally. I’m not yet up to walking round the block – kind of need to breathe for that – but for sitting in the balmy, breezy air, and sipping spicy chai, and watching the dogs root around in the ivy-covered corners of the yard, I was fine. I sat near enough the edge of the pool that my feet were just touching the water – it was cold, but I didn’t care – and had a lovely hour of quiet, even closing my eyes at one point.

I was strongly reminded of all the times I visited the beach in winter with my mother, and all the times we sat at the yacht harbor, after walking to the end of the pier and back. For a moment, the sense memory was strong enough that I could smell sea-salt.

And speaking of scents, the one I’m wearing today is another Black Phoenix offering called Alone.

Here’s what their description says:

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then – in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life – was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

A hectic, frenzied pinpoint in desolation: booming, bleak, and dark with the horror of loneliness and reluctant solitude. Patchouli and cardamom with bright mandarin, labdanum, muguet, red sandalwood, angelica and gardenia.


Here’s my review:

In the Imp:
Chai tea with something darker, that’s the patchouli, and something citrussy – the mandarin.

Wet, on Skin:
Patchouli mostly, with the mandarin and generic spiciness coming through.

Dry, on Skin:
Oh, lovely cardamom, and flowers I can’t identify, and the mandarin is softening a bit, but the patchouli’s backed off, and is a sort of grounding note.

Add this to my “I want a bottle” list, or rather I would, but this was a treat – the last third of an imp as a freebie with a forum order, and the actual scent’s discontinued.

Snape to It

If you play in the Potter-verse at all, you probably know that today is the birthday of one Severus Snape – the character, not the actor behind him. In honor of the day, I’ve snarked at the dogs, worn black, and swabbed my friend Janet‘s self blended Snape perfume on each wrist. I’m too congested to actually review it and pick out notes, so go bug her about it, but I do like it.

I’d hoped to update some of my SnapeFic but instead I’ve been trying to beat strep throat (throat is no longer sore, just dry and scratchy to the point where I sound like the bastard love child of Rod Stewart and Kim Carnes), and writing car reviews for my new job. I’m sort of intrigued by the Honda Fit just now, especially as we’ll be seeking a second car sometime this year.

I’m currently on a quest for new stationery, so if you have any you want to get rid of, or any that you love and want to recommend, do let me know. I’ve joined the Letter Writing Team at Soldiers’ Angels so in addition to sending mail to my two officials each week, I’m also sending letters or cards to at least one unofficial and sometimes to people who’ve requested TLC (or had it requested for them). That’s a lot of letter writing, but it makes me happy, and it’s kind of fun.

And on that note: I have a mug of chai waiting to be sipped and cold chai is pretty gross.

Kali (BPAL Review)

Received an imp of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s KALI as part of a mystery pack of imps I bought on the forum. Here’s my review.

Kali, the Black One, is the fearless Goddess of Destruction, Creation, Energy [in her Shakti aspect] and Dissolution. Also named Kaliratri [Black Night] and Kalikamata [Black Earth-Mother], she is the fiercest aspect of Devi, the supreme mother goddess. Kali is a protector Goddess, the destroyer of evil spirits and guardian of the faithful. She, along with her consort Shiva, represent the unending cycle of death and birth, sexual union, creation and destruction. Kali annihilates ignorance, maintains the natural order of the world, and blesses those who strive for spiritual awareness and knowledge of true holiness with infinite tenderness and motherly love. The constant, unending Work of Creation is called the “The Play of Kali”. This perfume is a blend of the sacred blooms of cassia, hibiscus, musk rose, Himalayan wild tulip, lotus and osmanthus swirled with offertory dark chocolate, red wine, tobacco, balsam and honey. — Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

In the imp:
Chocolate, pipe tobacco, and something sweet.

Wet: Oh, there’s the wine, and the sweet seems honey-ish now.

Drydown: I can’t pick out individual floral notes, but I can tell they’re there, and the chocolate and tobacco have softened a lot.

Overall: This imp had leaked a bit in the package despite being taped. As I was opening everything, I was trying to figure out that enticing smell, and it was this. I’m still brand new to bpal, but I’m thinking this will be a favorite. I really like it – it’s a very grown-up scent, but can still be either feisty or flirty

Horse Pills…

…seem an unlikely form of medication for a condition that involves a sore throat, but horse pills are what I have, nevertheless. It’s only been two days of medicine taking, and I still feel blechy. My ears don’t hurt quite as much, but swallowing is still really painful, and I just feel achy and off-kilter. I’ve slept more in the last two days than I ever do in a week, normally.

The dogs keep guarding me, pressing their small furry bodies as close to me as they can, and growling if I sneeze or cough. They’re not accustomed to me being horizontal for this long. Fuzzy, of course, relishes any excuse not to have to be awake.

The bright spot in the weekend was the arrival in the mail of the DVD of Superman Returns, accompanied by a “mystery pack” of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab imps purchased from a delightful member of the BPAL Madness forum. I think they smell good, but until I can actually breathe, I won’t be certain.

Nothing much else to say tonight. Gonna go eat something soft and soothing, and then go back to sleep.

Friday Fill-in

Shh! Yes, I know it’s Saturday.

Filched from Janet.

1. Sea urchin is the grossest thing I ever ate.
2. I like to put peanut butter or brie on my crackers.
3. I crave cheesy salty snacks at night.
4. I always add apples to my pancake batter.
5. When I think of comfort food, I think of Stouffer’s Macaroni and Cheese, baked til there’s a thin crust of cheese over the top and everything’s all bubbly underneath.

Confined to Quarters

It’s official. I DO have strep. I blame Fuzzy for bringing it home (his co-worker caught it from his wife, who had scarlet fever), and giving it to me, though he doesn’t seem symptomatic at all. Spent the morning getting the back of my throat prodded, buying drugs and mushy sore throat-friendly food, and had a croaky chat with my mother.

Am now going to go back to sleep, as I’m confined to quarters til Monday.

And I have nothing to read.



Have been nursing a sore throat (again) for two days – determined however that this time it’s most likely strep. Oh, joy. Being sick sort of makes everything around me feel surreal and disconnected, as if I’m looking at someone else’s picture book, or seeing someone else’s movie. Everything exists in a sort of watery haze.

It was, therefore, appropriate that Fuzzy and I watched Lady in the Water tonight. We’d missed it in theatres, and so brought it home with a free coupon from Blockbuster. I expected a weak thriller. I got a beautiful, haunting, moody, fairy tale. Shyamalan calls the tale a bedtime story and explains that he based it on made-up bedtime stories he shared with his children. As always, he’s crafted a wonderful mood, a delightful modern fable. If I had kids of my own, I’d totally buy the book for them.

My brain isn’t functioning enough to add more to this. Have a good weekend everyone.