Monday, February 7, 2011

Errors, tragic and otherwise

  • It kills me when I see someone wearing a skirt or dress or coat with a flap in the back and they haven't snipped the strings. I remember when my mother told me you have to snip those, because I'd been walking around in the dress all day, while visiting my college of choice for an interview. I was mortified. Luckily, they overlooked it and accepted me. (But not, I might add, for early admission as I'd hoped.) Anyway, the point is, this is a thing you have to learn, and they don't teach you in school. #failuresofeducation
  • People who aren't perfume people always describe perfumes as "musky." Now, many perfumes contain some element of musk, but the vast majority of perfumes I wear are not especially musky; musk is far from the most prominent note. So I can't figure out what they are responding to, what is reading as musky. Woods? Amber? Base notes in general? Anything that isn't obviously flowers or vanilla? What do you think, folks?
  • This is a very interesting review of The French Exit, which finds many parallels with Alice in Wonderland, a connection I don't think anyone else has made (in print, at least): "Alice’s cake says, 'Eat me,' and doing so makes her grow very tall – part of her serial distortion disorder. The narrator’s cake, however, seems to be stuck in the conversation between Alice and the Hatter, about Time, what he is like, and how little Alice knows of him, and the distortions she, the narrator, suffers from are as much of meaning and reality as of her physical self."
  • I went to AWP, but didn't make it in time for the panel. I hope feminist ass was kicked without me. (By which I mean, I hope ass was kicked in a feminist way, not that feminists were kicked in the ass.) I came home with a stack of lovely new books, including the new Birds LLC titles, Ordinary Sun by Matthew Henriksen, and a double-sided Poor Claudia chap by Paige Taggart and Justin Marks.

19 comments:

  1. If you don't like perfume in general, then you really might not like animalistic scents, since those are the potentially most offensive. I am not a perfume person, but my sense of the generic scent would be flowers like jasmines, not musk. If you pushed me further, I'd say spices come in second place. Perfumes (in my imagination of them, not when I am not smelling them first hand) smell predominately sweet with a little pungency to me, like jasmine and lemon.

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  2. Saying perfumes are musky is probably a little like saying books are depressing -- a cold reading that discourages you from continuing the conversation.

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  3. J, these days the vast majority of musks are synthetic and very clean-smelling rather than animalic (in fact they're prominently used in scented laundry detergents), as actual musk from deer is a restricted material. In any case, you're right that a randomly chosen perfume is likely to smell sweet and floral rather than musky.

    S, that is an excellent theory.

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  4. I had a shaving cream that came with something else I bought and it was pretty strongly "animal," with a scent that lasted all day and did not even wash off easily. It was undoubtedly synthetic but not at all clean-smelling. Maybe it was clean compared to real musk.

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  5. Do you remember the brand by any chance? I'd be curious.

    There's a unisex perfume called Musks Koublai Khan from the niche line Serge Lutens, and it smells like a cross between clean sheets and the armpit of a dirty shirt.

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  6. It is Edge Energy with masculine scents of musk, cedar, and leather. Yuck.

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  7. Aha, leather ... because nothing says man like dead animal hide.

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  8. "clean sheets and the armpit of a dirty shirt"? Why have I not tried Muscs Koublai Khan?

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  9. If you like smelling your man's dirty laundry, you simply MUST.

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  10. If I think of a "generic" perfume scent, it's probably some Avon version of musk. It invariably conjures images of glass bottles on a dressing table in front of a mirror in a bathroom.

    (If I think of spice flavored perfume, I immediately think of patchouli, the signal scent of an entire generation. Oh the memories...) :)

    Elisa, it was fun meeting face to face at AWP. I've written about AWP in my blog, here, if you care to have a look.

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  11. People probably say a perfume is "musky" like they say a song "flows." Only word they can think of in relation to the practice.

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  12. Maybe we should create a list of vague descriptors that people who don't know a lot about a given topic or discipline will tend to use, e.g.

    architecture => "space," "organic"
    wine => "sharp"

    Others?

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  13. Beer is "hoppy."

    A poem "rhymes."

    A novel "entertains."

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  14. It's worth distinguishing the vague thumbs-up from the vague thumbs-down. For instance a show is either edgy or hard-to-identify-with, or (for a different kind of show) either realistic or "middle-American," a serious book is either dark (good) or depressing (bad), a concert either had flow or didn't connect (like a power-cord), an IPA is either hoppy or bitter, either malty or like PBR-esque...

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  15. Yes, yes, vague down for wine is sharp, but vague up is "fruity."

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  16. Sarang, I love that about the vague thumbs-down vs. the vague thumbs-up. It's absolutely right on.

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  17. I was at AWP and just missed you at your table but I bought French Exit and love, love, love and am rerereading it now.

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  18. Oh! Sorry I missed you! Thanks!!!!!

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  19. The big one is "baby powder". For certain friends of mine, everything I hand them smells like baby powder. It's baffling. It doesn't seem possible. What is it in so many perfumes that translates most expediently as "powdery"?

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