Sunday, January 29, 2012

Guys!! Come to this reading in Boston

I'll be back in Boston in a couple of weeks for work and to attend and host a reading at Grub Street. The featured reader is Frances McCue, whom I picked to win the 2011 National Book Prize in Poetry for her collection, The Bled. You should come! Here are the details:

Friday, February 10th, 6:30-8:30 pm, at Grub Street headquarters (160 Boylston Street, 4th Floor) 
Join Frances McCue, winner of the 2011 Grub Street National Book Prize in Poetry for The Bled (Factory Hollow Press), for an evening of poetry and conversation. Frances will be visiting us from Seattle for the weekend as part of the national book prize festivities. At 6:30, Frances will read from her work and take your questions about the poems and about the craft of poetry in general. Following the reading, there will be a wine and cheese reception and Frances will be available to sign books. This event is free and open to the public.

You can read more about the book (and the two finalists) here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Woody amber" vs. amber vs. amber that happens to be woody

I am not a chemist or a perfumer, so probably not the best person to write this post, but it doesn't seem to have been satisfactorily answered elsewhere on the Internet, so here goes: What's the difference between "woody amber," "amber" and an "amber" that happens to be "woody"?

"Woody amber" is a term used to describe a class of synthetic molecules with a sharp smell sometimes described as being reminiscent of rubbing alcohol. Woody ambers, like synthetic musks and other large aromachemicals, tend to be perceived differently by different noses. Some people are completely anosmic to them, others are highly sensitive. People who are sensitive to woody ambers usually describe them in auditory (high-pitched, screechy) or tactile (spiky, abrasive) terms. Molecules that fall into the "woody amber" category include Karanal and Ambrocenide. They are sometimes simply called synthetic ambers or synthetic ambergris. (Amber and ambergris are also different things; woody amber materials are usually considered to be a substitute for ambergris, not the amber accord described below.) Aside from having a smell of their own, woody ambers are often used as intensifiers to make other materials more diffusive and longer-lasting.

"Amber" is a much older term used to describe an accord (familiar blend of notes) rather than a single note or material, usually a combination of vanilla, resins and/or balsams.

The confusion, naturally, arises from the fact that "woody" is also an adjective that means what it sounds like: smelling like wood. And a perfume with a natural amber accord could also easily be woody (including cedar or sandalwood, for example), leading people to describe it as a "woody amber." But an amber with woody notes is not the same as a "woody amber note." Both valid descriptions, but they mean different things.

Perfume is stupid sometimes.

Interestingly, I don't see this term used often by women perfume bloggers, but it's used all the time in the Basenotes community, perhaps because woody amber materials are more commonly used in men's fragrances. Here's what one Basenotes writer had to say about them:

Honestly, I don’t like Chrome. But it’s a perfect, easily available example of a textbook “woody amber” scent, so I think I need to put it on here for historical significance and as a useful reference. 
If you think about it, even esoteric groundbreakers like A*Men and Le Male are grounded in traditional perfumery, using age-old notes like patchouli and lavender in interesting new ways. Even Green Irish Tweed, with its game-changing hyper-synthetic Allyl Amyl Glycolate/Dihydromyrcenol/Ambrox aquatic mix, was grounded with traditional chypre ingredients. 
What Chrome did was to take Creed’s legendary aquatic chemical mix and take it to its extreme. By topping this mix with a lavender overdose and a bunch of other synthetics, they created a distinct smell, the polar opposite of traditional perfumes. Aside from some lemon in the topnotes, Chrome doesn’t smell like anything classic. Instead, it’s more of a chemical buzz than an identifiable smell. Some compare this smell to ammonia or lemon-scented Windex. To others, it’s the smell of an over-heated swimming pool, its chlorine fumes hanging heavy in the humid air. It’s also known for smelling like super-saturated rubbing alcohol or the smell of hot metal or flint. Many people don’t even think of this mix as an intentional accord, thinking of it simply as “that men’s cologne smell” or “that smell that makes me sneeze”. However you perceive it, this is what’s known as “woody amber.” This, of course, is a terribly misleading term, because it doesn’t smell like wood or amber. It’s also generally not included in note lists (though some scents lately have called it amberwood, which I think is a name they’re trying to call this mixture now), so it’s very rarely discussed, leaving it as a weird elephant in the room of men’s scents. 
More than any other mix of notes, this “woody amber” mix has come to define modern mass-market men’s perfumery. Sometimes, it’s an artful metallic buzz (like in Terre d’Hermes), while other times it’s combined with pepper and sweet citrus or fruit to give a masculine hum to otherwise too-sweet topnotes. But, most commonly, it’s a familiar base to hundreds of unremarkable modern men’s scents. 
So, in the interest of informed discussion, I urge everyone to go out and spray some Chrome and really get to know its weird smell so you’ll fully know “woody amber.”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A photograph within a photo

On organization called Tamms Year Ten is trying to change conditions at the Tamms supermax prison in Illinois. One of their projects involves soliciting requests for photographs and drawings from male prisoners kept in solitary confinement. The February issue of Harper's includes some of the inmates' requests:

I would love a photograph of a woman sitting by a lake fishing, with an empty chair next to her, with a cooler of beer. And have a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the background! I'd prefer the photographer take the photo from a boat out in the lake! Also, I'd prefer a woman that's over forty! 
A photograph within a photo of me + the lakefront. A photograph within a photo of me + Navy Pier. A photograph within a photo of me + wild lions. A photograph within a photo of me + wild wolves. A photograph within a photo of me + Chinese dragon, for next Christmas mailing of cards. Please place me in the right, upper corner of the photos within a photo + make copies of them. 
A gray & white (mix) "warmblood" horse(s) in an outdoor environment -- shown in action, such as rearing up or jumping or climbing. I'd like the photo to convey freedom, strength, and the wisdom of nature. If possible, taken in a cold environment so that clouds of hot breath can be seen. 
At sixty-six years of age I try to use a little humor: I want a picture of a trash can with the lid half off and two eyes peeking out as the trash can rolls down the hill toward an incinerator with the caption: I seem to be picking up speed I must be headed toward a bright future.

Something I find interesting: It's easy to imagine a talented photographer or artist fulfilling these requests to complete satisfaction. However, if I imagine an equally specific request for a poem or even a novel, it seems that the written work would almost always disappoint.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The saddest songs of all time

These two songs are currently in a dead-lock tie for the saddest song I've ever heard. Notice the common theme: utter and complete subjugation/desperation ("I'll do anything for you"/"I would be anything that you wanted me to be").

"For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti" by Sufjan Stevens



"A Favor" by Okkervil River (more on this in an upcoming Coldfront feature)



Same goes for this forever runner-up: "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" by The Smiths



Give me your tired, your poor, your most wretched songs of all time.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Things you are probably doing wrong

I'm fascinated by common misconceptions of any type, like how so many people think blood is blue until you get cut and the air instantly oxygenates it (totally believed this for decades; I think they actually teach it in high-school science classes). Now I'm trying to think of a list of common products or tools that everyone uses incorrectly. Here's what I've got so far:
  1. Deodorant: You've heard me bang this dead drum before, but it bears repeating: You're supposed to put it on at night!
  2. Aluminum Foil: Apparently you're supposed to use the dull side for some tasks and the shiny side for others. Never mind, the current consensus is it doesn't really matter. Anyway, most people don't set up the box correctly. Yes, there is a correct way to set up the box so the foil doesn't come flying out (same goes for plastic wrap). Full credit to John for being the one to figure that out.
  3. Monopoly: I've been playing Monopoly wrong my entire life. Maybe this is why I hate it.
Aaaaand that's all I've got. That's where you, Dear Reader, come in. So enlighten me, please, what am I doing wrong?

P.S. Just in case you haven't heard my favorite Saran wrap joke, it goes like this: Guy walks into a psychiatrist's office, completely naked except for a layer of Saran wrap. The doctor says, "I can clearly see you're nuts."

P.P.S. Just in case you haven't listened to Bossypants "on tape," here's a good joke from the audiobook (maybe the real book too?): Two peanuts are walking down the street, and one of them's a salted. (According to @excitedstoat, the actual source is Monty Python, or at least it's the older of the two.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Abandonment

My computer's all backed up. Sheesh.

Here are a bunch of bits from a file titled "Unfinished," unopened since 2009 (until just now).

***

WAITING FOR SOMETHING ONCE

I read an index of first lines. Still the “way in” eludes me.

Why do I feel that I can picture, like a memory, the moment my father quit smoking? My mother was pregnant. He was standing in the snow.

My friend’s wife is having twins. But you’re just a kid, I thought, though he’s older than me.

Once my medical history was “unremarkable”—not just not remarkable, but unable to be remarked upon. Now my heart skitters up at the littlest thing: footfall downstairs. Raccoon in a tree.

Now I’m approaching the decade when I’ll find out if I have my mother’s debilitating disease. My feelings about this are unfeelings. I don’t allow myself to have them. What is she eliding to spare me? Not the pain, at least.

Everything that happens will seem like the first sign. At a party, I keep hearing my name—or was it just “at least a,” as in, I think about smoking at least a hundred times a day. On the street, the bus, I recognize everyone.

***

In the slow-motion chase scene, when the cheetah finally bites into the antelope’s neck, it’s seductive, even erotic—she goes down so gently. The children all gasp: It’s the cute & the sublime mixed up on one screen. They don’t know who to root for, nature as a whole or the baby animal?

[I wrote this bit after seeing that nature documentary put out by Disney.]


***

He is nonplussed
when I say probably we’re living in a simulation—

someone did the math.
But that’s exactly how he would act,

if he were a projection of a conscious being.
The Harvard Museum of Natural History

dematerializes behind me; the sidewalk
appears, the grass unseasonably green.

Do grasshoppers really have butterfly wings?
Or is this an embellished version

of the world as it was? Unreliable memory …
The museum is boring

[As good a place to end as any. I'm 99% sure I was trying to be funny. Note to self: Never try to be funny in a poem.]

***

[I also found this very old exercise-type poem I have no recollection of writing in which every line ends with the word "fish." D.H. Lawrence and I really are kindred spirits!]

THE FISH

He didn’t want to be the fish
so much as the shadow beneath the fish.
Shadowing the fish.
Learning from the fish
what it’s like to be a fish,
or something like a fish:
a one-dimensional fish,
an epiphenomenal fish.
He had gone to the pond to look at the fish
and found that he could not stop looking at the fish.
There was something very powerful about the fish.
Especially this particular fish—
the leader of the fish.
It possessed a power that the other fish
did not, and that he did not, not being a fish.
He would never be a fish,
could never even hope to be the shadow of a fish,
much less this most powerful fish.
He was practically the opposite of fish:
it felt that way, standing there above the fish
and looking down at them the way one looks at fish.
Embodiment of everything that isn’t fish.
No overlap or intersection between him and fish.
As black to white, as death to life, him to fish.
And in this way, in awe of the fish,
humbled before the fish,
transformed by the fish,
destroyed by the fish,
he came to want to kill the fish.

[Ridiculish.]

Capital my dear fellow

There's a burnt out blotch on the LED screen of my laptop, which is about a year old. Sucks because I specifically bought an ASUS because I heard they were one of the more reliable brands (though to be honest I previously always owned Dells and they all lasted for years and gave me no problems, go figure). I've been putting off taking it in, even though it's under warranty, because I wasn't sure how long I'd have to be without it. I can use my work laptop, but it's tiny and clunky and I DO NOT PREFER IT. Also, for a while there I was working on My New Project (Operation YA Novel) every night and didn't want to break my stride. But then I didn't work on it at all for like six days so I figured I might as well take the thing in. Drove to Best Buy after work and they put the fear in me SO BAD I drove back home to back everything up AGAIN. The important stuff has been recently backed up "in the cloud" (Gmail/Dropbox) and older files (most of my music and pictures, archived writing, etc.) are on an external hard drive and probably at least one portable jump drive too. Still, the guy made it sound like it's likelier than not that they'll either wipe the entire hard drive or just send me a new computer. They offered to back it up for me there -- for a hundred bucks! And I actually considered it, so I wouldn't have to turn around and make another trip, which officially makes me a dick, especially because after reluctantly taking my laptop back, I went into the DSW next door and spent almost $200 on new running shoes (which, to be fair, I have needed for literally four years) and three pairs of black heels (which, to be fair, I really need one pair of, and two of them were on clearance). Ugh, LIFE, you know?

Why does no one love Mates of State as much as me? John actively hates them, as in refuses to listen to them in the car, which is true for me of Tom Waits. There are probably only 20-30 albums that we both genuinely love. SO MUCH FOR COMPATIBILITY.

 

I want to watch every movie I ever had on VHS, in a row.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Jobz

Dear readers, my company is looking to hire a senior software engineer and a technical lead. If any of you live in the Boston area, have 3-7 years of coding experience, and are looking for work, backchannel me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The 34 most annoying things you have to do in the kitchen

I cook almost every day, usually multiple meals per day. I love cooking, but these are the things that make me wish I lived in a slave state, in order of most to least abominable:
  1. Picking bits of eggshell out of the egg white (this might top the list of most annoying things, period)
  2. Squeezing the water out of frozen spinach (I don't think I will ever do this again, in fact. Fuck you frozen spinach.)
  3. Preparing fresh artichokes (Fake out! I've never even done this because I just can't deal)
  4. Cleaning the stove after you've boiled over the rice
  5. Cleaning a burnt pan
  6. Greasing and flouring a cake pan (thank god I never have to do this again)
  7. Getting the corn silk off an ear of corn
  8. Peeling and chopping ginger
  9. Getting the bones out of salmon
  10. Flipping a frittata 
  11. Washing a mesh strainer by hand
  12. Washing a box grater by hand, assuming you've used it to grate cheese
  13. Cleaning a blender
  14. Washing dishes in a glove that has a slit in in, from the mesh strainer, box grater or blender no doubt
  15. Washing and drying lettuce (I don't have a salad spinner)
  16. Getting a pan you rarely use out of its inaccessible corner, and putting it back up again (tie)
  17. Chopping jalapenos and other foods that contain hazardous chemicals
  18. Peeling apples for applesauce (I feel like this gives me arthritis, or reminds me I have it)
  19. Peeling peaches
  20. Peeling/cutting raw winter squash
  21. Salting and draining something in the sink before you can even start cooking with it (thank god I don't eat eggplant anymore)
  22. Trimming brussels sprouts
  23. Pitting olives
  24. Chopping carrots
  25. Cleaning mushrooms
  26. Peeling garlic
  27. Peeling hard-boiled eggs that aren't ready to be peeled
  28. Pureeing soup in multiple batches (Actually doing anything in multiple batches. Batches must die!)
  29. Picking herbs off the stems
  30. Chopping raw bacon (and everything associated with opening the package and wrapping the rest of the bacon back up, which gets slimy grease all over everything)
  31. Refilling the pepper mill
  32. Making coffee and all associated activities (John did this for years, but he stopped drinking coffee recently, so if I want any it's all on me)
  33. Moving the racks in the oven when it's already preheated
  34. Unloading the dishwasher
God, cooking sucks.

Also, making this list has forced me to realize that vegetables bring more suffering into the world than meat.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Jelly Belly Game

We invented a little game last night. You'll need a bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans in assorted flavors (the only reason you would have this is if someone put a bag in your stocking). Dump them in a bowl. One player reaches into the bowl and chooses a bean without looking. He or she then shows it to the other participating players, who compare its coloring to the key on the back of the Jelly Belly bag. The first player then eats the bean and tries to guess its flavor. Without the suggestive power of the coloring, this is often surprisingly hard to do.

Also, we watched a funny little movie called Happy Accidents. It's a romantic comedy with a time travel element!

Friday, January 6, 2012

I can feel it, two ways



Fishes ain't shit

I didn't even know D.H. Lawrence wrote poetry until a couple of years ago when John recited the following poem to me, though his version was a bit different (he ended it with an exclamation point, a definite improvement):


LITTLE FISH

The tiny little fish enjoy themselves
in the sea.
Quick little splinters of life,
their little lives are fun to them
in the sea.


I was searching around online for that yesterday, and found the below, which may be the funniest poem I've ever read. It's kind of magical in that it keeps getting more and more ridiculous, in ways you couldn't possibly anticipate. As such, it beats most poetry at its own game. According to @excitedstoat, D.H. Lawrence and I are "kinda-kindred spirits," though thankfully I have a "more favorable savant-to-idiot" ratio. What can I say? I'm flattergasted.

Witness "Fish":


FISH

Fish, oh Fish,
So little matters!

Whether the waters rise and cover the earth
Or whether the waters wilt in the hollow places,
All one to you.

Aqueous, subaqueous,
Submerged
And wave-thrilled.

As the waters roll
Roll you.
The waters wash,
You wash in oneness
And never emerge.

Never know,
Never grasp.

Your life a sluice of sensation along your sides,
A flush at the flails of your fins, down the whorl of your tail.
And water wetly on fire in the grates of your gills;
Fixed water-eyes.

Even snakes lie together.

But oh, fish, that rock in water.
You lie only with the waters;
One touch.

No fingers, no hands and feet, no lips;
No tender muzzles,
No wistful bellies,
No loins of desire,
None.

You and the naked element.
Sway-wave.
Curvetting bits of tin in the evening light.

Who is it ejects his sperm to the naked flood?
In the wave-mother?
Who swims enwombed?
Who lies with the waters of his silent passion, womb-element?
—Fish in the waters under the earth.

What price his bread upon the waters?

Himself all silvery himself
In the element
No more.

Nothing more.

Himself,
And the element.
Food, of course!
Water-eager eyes,
Mouth-gate open
And strong spine urging, driving;
And desirous belly gulping.

Fear also! He knows fear!
Water-eyes craning,
A rush that almost screams,
Almost fish-voice
As the pike comes…
Then gay fear, that turns the tail sprightly, from a shadow.

Food, and fear, and joie de vivre.
Without love.

The other way about:
Joie de vivre, and fear, and food,
All without love.

Quelle joie de vivre
Dans I’eau!
Slowly to gape through the waters,
Alone with the element;
To sink, and rise, and go to sleep with the waters;
To speak endless inaudible wavelets into the wave;
To breathe from the flood at the gills,
Fish-blood slowly running next to the flood, extracting fish- fire;
To have the element under one, like a lover;
And to spring away with a curvetting click in the air,
Provocative.
Dropping back with a slap on the face of the flood.
And merging oneself!

To be a fish !

So utterly without misgiving
To be a fish
In the waters.

Loveless, and so lively!
Born before God was love,
Or life knew loving.
Beautifully beforehand with it all.

Admitted, they swarm in companies,
Fishes.
They drive in shoals.
But soundless, and out of contact.
They exchange no word, no spasm, not even anger.
Not one touch.
Many suspended together, forever apart.
Each one alone with the waters, upon one wave with the rest.

A magnetism in the water between them only.

I saw a water-serpent swim across the Anapo,
And I said to my heart, look, look at him!
With his head up, steering like a bird!
He’s a rare one, but he belongs…

But sitting in a boat on the Zeller lake
And watching the fishes in the breathing waters
Lift and swim and go their way—
I said to my heart, who are these?
And my heart couldn’t own them…
A slim young pike, with smart fins
And grey-striped suit, a young cub of a pike
Slouching along away below, half out of sight,
Like a lout on an obscure pavement…

Aha, there’s somebody in the know!

But watching closer
That motionless deadly motion,
That unnatural barrel body, that long ghoul nose,…
I left off hailing him.

I had made a mistake, I didn’t know him,
This grey, monotonous soul in the water,
This intense individual in shadow,
Fish-alive.

I didn’t know his God,
I didn’t know his God.

Which is perhaps the last admission that life has to wring out of us.

I saw, dimly,
Once a big pike rush.
And small fish fly like splinters.
And I said to my heart, there are limits
To you, my heart;
And to the one God.
Fish are beyond me.

Other Gods
Beyond my range… gods beyond my God.
They are beyond me, are fishes.
I stand at the pale of my being
And look beyond, and see
Fish, in the outerwards,
As one stands on a bank and looks in.
I have waited with a long rod
And suddenly pulled a gold-and-greenish, lucent fish from below,
And had him fly like a halo round my head,
Lunging in the air on the line.

Unhooked his gorping, water-horny mouth.
And seen his horror-tilted eye,
His red-gold, water-precious, mirror-flat bright eye;
And felt him beat in my hand, with his mucous, leaping life-throb.

And my heart accused itself
Thinking: I am not the measure of creation.
This is beyond me, this fish.
His God stands outside my God.

And the gold-and-green pure lacquer-mucus comes off in my hand.
And the red-gold mirror-eye stares and dies,
And the water-suave contour dims.

But not before I have had to know
He was born in front of my sunrise.
Before my day.

He outstarts me.
And I, a many-fingered horror of daylight to him,
Have made him die.

Fishes,
With their gold, red eyes, and green-pure gleam, and under-gold.
And their pre-world loneliness,
And more-than-lovelessness.
And white meat;
They move in other circles.

Outsiders.
Water-wayfarers.
Things of one element.
Aqueous,
Each by itself.

Cats, and the Neapolitans,
Sulphur sun-beasts.
Thirst for fish as for more-than-water;
Water-alive
To quench their over-sulphureous lusts.

But I, I only wonder
And don’t know.
I don’t know fishes.

In the beginning
Jesus was called The Fish.
And in the end.


I mean, wow, right? I think my favorite line is "I don't know fishes," but there's so much gold (and red-gold, and under-gold) in here, from "Who is it ejects his sperm to the naked flood? / In the wave-mother?" to "Food, and fear, and joie de vivre" to "Quelle joie de vivre / Dans l’eau!" to "pre-world loneliness / And more-than-lovelessness, / And white meat." He truly is an idiot savant. I'm not kidding when I say I learned a lot from this poem (about poems, not fishes). Also, there should be a perfume called Joie de Vivre dans L'eau.

Anyone here a fan of his novels? I think I tried to read Lady Chatterly's Lover when I was like 10, but stopped when it had less sex than I had imagined.

A few other things I have liked recently:
  • The first two episodes of Downton Abbey (yep, hopping on that train)
  • This dialogue of a bad date by Chris O. Cook, possibly my favorite blogger of the year ("Date: Then why do you know what ruching means? Me: Well, I’m an English teacher, so I guess I know what it means because it’s a word.")
  • Liz Hildreth's resolutions ("Sometimes in the middle of the night, I wake up and I can’t go back to sleep and my head is racing with revelations about all the ways in which I’ve neglected the people I love, and all these ideas for changes I could make to be a better person, and I want to start writing letters to people and apologizing and telling them my great plans for redemption, but when I finally fall back to sleep, and I get up in the morning, I can’t call up the same intensity of feeling. I just feel like, 'Whatever, they probably deserved it.' Or 'Who am I, some spiritual leader? I don’t have the energy to change, I just want to write a poem.'")
  • Joan Chandler in Rope, who nails her first scene despite having to deliver the sexist line "I never know when I'm being funny" 
  • Oh! And the scene in Carnal Knowledge where the camera stays square on Candice Bergen laughing her face off for like five minutes. I wish I could find it on YouTube.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Perfume hunting

Every now and then I remember that the best way to find vintage perfumes is in the real world, not online. When you try to buy, say, pre-reformulation Egoiste on eBay, you're competing with a bunch of other perfume crazies who know how much it's worth, so unless you're extremely lucky or persistent you have to pay top-dollar. On the other hand, if you run across an old bottle of perfume at an estate sale or something like that, it's likely that the person selling it has no idea how much it's worth. In fact they probably think it's worth less than it was new, which, in some cases, is the opposite of the truth. So, on these rare occasions, like once a year, I get it in my head to search Craig's List to see if anyone's selling a bunch of old perfume at a garage sale or whatnot.

The last time I did this, I ended up getting vintage bottles of Eau de Joy, Hermes Caleche, and Shalimar Eau de Cologne for $50. The Joy I sometimes wear. The Caleche I swapped away. The Shalimar I still have, but the bottle is sealed. I'll probably sell it at some point. It looks like the oldest of the bunch by far. Today, I did the search again, and saw that someone near my apartment was selling a handful of perfumes, including a "huge" bottle of Yves Saint Laurent Y. From the picture, it was hard to tell what all the other bottles were, but I could see Aramis and Fendi among them. Y is a green chypre, meaning it's almost certainly been reformulated for the worse in the recent past. Aramis is a leather fragrance. Fendi is discontinued. She was selling the whole lot for $50. I figured if the Y and Fendi were in good condition, it would be well worth the cost and the trip, so I made an appointment.

We met in the lobby of the woman's high-rise. I asked if the perfumes were hers. She said yes, but she was moving and only wanted to keep a couple. She pulled them out of a grocery bag and lined them up on a table. I laughed. The bottle of Y was beyond huge. It must have been a display factice -- it looked like about 1,000 ml.  The cap was broken so she'd corked the bottle. I was worried about the condition but it smells fantastic. Ditto for the Fendi (which is similar to Theorema, but much brighter in color, more floral, and a little fruity ... kind of carnation pumpkin pie, with a leather undertone) and the Aramis, which looks newer but not brand new, and will smell terrific on John. I also got a little spray mini of Amarige. I left three bottles behind (Caesars Woman and two things I'd never heard of) and gave her $45 for the rest. Pretty good haul!

I am now the proud owner of a truly obscene amount of YSL Y of uncertain vintage. Here's Luca Turin's description of it:

This is the archetypal green chypre, fresh, scrubbed, prim and proper, made of excellent raw materials, with the slightly screechy feel of silk-clad thighs rubbing together. If this were an actress, it would be Danielle Darrieux. If it were a wine it would be a Chablis. If it were a car it would be a vanilla-yellow convertible Citroen DS. If it were a piece of music it would be the theme of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.

Chypre lovers, please let me know you'd like a taste.