An Exemplar of “zZz…”

It’s amazing how quickly 36 hours turns into 20 turns into 10, especially when there’s a lot of stuff to be done.  But against all odds, just about everything is loaded up.  I still have some boxing up to do, but the hard work is over.  For this half, anyway.  The other half starts in about 16 hours.  I imagine I will be amazed at how quick that arrives too.

But, among the things left to pack up is this computer, so I am unplugging.  The next blog entry will be from my new place in Louisville.

See you then.

Uneasy Rider

With less than 36 hours to the move I have to say…holy crap I still have a ton of stuff to do.

And I’m getting sick.

And I may or may not sleep tonight.

Or tomorrow night.

Wakeup Call

So things were going just a little too well as the days closed to the move.  I just hit a raccoon and my radiator appears to be shot, though it’s hard to tell with no light.  Taking it to the dealer tomorrow and hoping they can get it fixed Thursday or Friday at the latest.

This does put pretty much everything I’ve worked for over the past two months at risk.

*headdesk*

Tommy Bahama Set Sail St. Barts – Laid Back

One of the bigger enablers for a perfume enthusiast is the semi-ghetto establishment known as TJ Maxx.  Unfortunately for me (and my wallet), for the past year I’ve worked next door to one.  Normally it’s a bunch of crap inside, Colors, Wings, Adidas Rehash 7,652.  The usual bargain bin stuff.  But ours gets some more exotic stuff in every now and then, from YSL to Thierry Mugler to some of the more popular Kenneth Cole products (always for women sadly, I’m snapping up the first KC Reaction for Men I see there).

So I wasn’t terribly surprised when they received about six 100mL bottles of Tommy Bahama Set Sail St. Barts (hereafter abbreviated to SSSB).  Having no idea what to expect I whip out the iPhone and get on Basenotes to research it a bit, and I find top notes of citrus, tequila and lime, a midsection of guava nectar and more tequila, and a base of crushed greens, “salty sea spray” accord, palm wood, and musk.  Tequila gets mentioned twice?  I immediately recall my limited experience with Le Boise, a rather obscure perfume from the Ginestet winery of Bordeaux, France.  It was pretty much wine, and at $110 for a 100mL bottle I could pretty much splash cheap wine on my body and get much the same olfactory response (though quite messier).  It was so bad my dad told me “You smell like an alcoholic,” which I am not and thus don’t want to wear it as that would incorrectly portray me. :P

One of the “party fouls” of TJ Maxx is opening up a box and spraying some on you, but I was damned sure not going to buy it blind, even semi-blind.  So I spray a little bit on and go on my way back to work.  Two hours later I went back and bought it, for the not-awful price of 20 bucks.

The opening burst was a bit too chemical for me, but once it settled down it was a very vibrant lime note, and you can definitely get the “sipping margaritas on the beach” vibe almost immediately.  There is a progression to it, the lime starts to fall away and you’re left with a zesty citrus, salty and sweet all at once, not an easy thing to do and something I commend them for managing to pull off successfully.  From there it progresses to just the base of salt/sugar and maybe some wood, I never find the musk to make that much of an appearance here.  Projection is poor to fair, longevity is decent at about 6 hours for the whole progression.

But it’s leaving me, despite getting mostly a good review.  The stuff is not unpleasant, by any means, but it has been completely outclassed.  My new love affair in this warm-weather, tropical party type scent is Creed’s Virgin Island Water, the baby Creed, still their most recent release (at least for a little while longer until Love In Black actually starts hitting shelves).  It takes the SSSB concept and elevates it to another plane.  It loses some of the zest and instead offers a host of soft woods, and adds a coconut element that I do not detect in SSSB.  There’s really a lot going on in VIW, and it will get it’s own review later on.

What I’m getting at, though, is for $20 Set Sail St. Barts is a fantastic alternative to Virgin Island Water.  Even splitting a 250mL flacon of the Creed I was still out $55 for 50mL.  They each have wonderful things going for them, and should you see it chilling at your local TJ Maxx, don’t hesitate to give it a try.  I think you’ll rather like it.

Let’s Rename It

“The Moment Of Truth” would be a bit more accurate if it was renamed to “Who Wants To Be A Social Pariah?”

Just sayin’.

Unapologetic

Nothing says “I’m a hopeless incompetent that can’t see past my own nose” quite like cutting education to balance a budget. Thus dumb kids, through no fault of their own, grow up to be politicians who, in a flash of dazzling idiocy, also cut education so they can balance the budget.

Actually it’s probably already happened a couple of times. Does a great deal to explain the state we’re in, and precious little to modulate my rage.

Ambient

Consider this:
92% of the world’s population
feel that their lives could be better.
what about you?
If you could do anything,
anything at all,
what would you do?
What are you doing now?

Imagine that
you could live your life,
knowing that it could not be better,
and never feeling that you would rather
be doing something else,
be somewhere else,
or be someone else.

Now consider this:
some people actually live that way
and so could you.

Contemplate this:
What if 90% of the problems you encountered in your life
were mere illusions and only existed in your mind?
In your everyday life
whenever something annoys you,
stresses you, makes you mad, or makes you sad,
consider if that something really matters.

Will you even remember
how you felt in one day, one week, one month, one year,
or what about in ten years?
So when the people you work for pressure you, and fail to understand you, does it really matter?
And when they call you on the phone,
screaming and yelling,
does it matter and should you really allow that to influence your life?
It’s all about choices.

Clinique Happy – Perfume For Ninjas

Happy was one of the initial three fragrances that started me on this journey (along with Unforgivable and Armani Code). Happy and Code were on the Amazon Top 20 in men’s fragrance and me, not knowing where else to start, took that list and started hitting up stores and crossing fragrances off the list.

My thought process at the time was that Happy was unlike anything else I’d tested; that is, it was much more subtle. The orange juice gives you a clue of what to expect inside, and I’ve written previously on Basenotes that it captures the image of a ripe orange better than an actual orange does, and this is coming from a Miami native. The name makes me laugh, because it was the first time I came to the realization that I may be a homo. Happy For Men? Really? I’m not all that happy for men.

Iga Province, 1596. Fuma Kotaro dozed in the aft end of the ship. His goal was clear; he would kill the greatest ninja that ever lived. He felt the man’s presence before hearing him and awoke instantly, his hand reaching for his nihonto. It was one of his subordinates.

“We have fifteen minutes.”

Kotaro nodded his assent and started searching through his bag, making preparations.

According to Basenotes, Happy features top notes of Kaffir Lime, Kalamanzi Fruit, Mandarin, and Yuzu, with assorted green notes in the middle, set on a base of Cypress, Cedar, and Guiacwood. However, the composition is a little too tight to pinpoint any note in particular. In a word, happy is light. The base isn’t particularly prominent, and so the whole thing has a sort of ethereal quality.

Kotaro and his band of ninja pore over the map, quietly discussing the plan for the evening. Assignments and marks were given, and the rendezvous point was set; meet on shore within an hour.

“Give the command,” he muttered to the tall, bearded man standing to his right. The man nodded and went below decks. The rest of the band of ninja went above, to the deck, watching the Tokugawa-owned ship that they had been pursuing slow and gradually come to a stop in the inland sea.

Below decks the bearded man lit the fuse and quickly headed for the deck on the aft end of the ship. When the fuse hit the explosives, the belly of the ship was ripped open and they began to sink into the tranquil, but ravenous, sea. Patrols on the enemy ship watched with alarm. As the water reached the deck and spilled over, the ninja calmly donned masks and snorkels, allowing the sea to take them under.

To call the scent ethereal, however, is to maybe mask the main issue with it. This scent has no projection. It has no lasting power. It’s great for a scent to be inoffensive, but there’s a point where you can probably just do without it altogether. To be honest, I haven’t worn it as anything other than a layering agent, which it does rather well (I typically layered it with Calvin Klein Euphoria). But it’s otherwise just a kiss, a whiff of orange, and then it’s gone.

Kotaro silently scaled the side of the ship. His target was finally trapped, with no way out. Hattori Hanzo, the legend in the flesh. He peeked over the side of the ship and spotted a sentry on the opposite side, his patrol taking him out of sight. Fuma Kotaro reached down, his hands grasping a shuriken. With a grunt, he loosed the weapon at an angle, the four-pointed shuriken whistling and suddenly making a bank to the right. He heard it connect with a muffled thunk and the man let out a surprised yell, flailing wildly and falling over the side. Fuma raised an eyebrow and lifted himself over the side, taking cover in the shadows of the deck. The confusion raised by the drowning man would present the perfect opportunity. There was one ritual to complete before the death, though. Kotaro reached into his robe and pulled out a small bottle of Clinique Happy For Men. He tilted his head back and poured fully half of the bottle over his body, allowing the liquid to coat him from head to toe. He opened his eyes and crept below-decks while the pandemonium on the other end of the ship distracted the guards.

Maybe I’m wrong, and there is some other, redeeming quality to the stuff. But inoffensive has it’s limits and when all is said and done, I’m not all that happy.

Kotaro unsheathed his katana, his prey now within striking distance. Where subterfuge and surprise had failed before, there was only one option. He knocked. The door slowly opened, and Hattori Hanzo and Fuma Kotaro locked eyes for the first and last time. Kotaro exploded forward, the katana taking Hanzo through the chest.

As Hanzo died, he never even smelled the oranges.

The To-Do List for 5/25

  • Finish writing the Clinique Happy review (it’s a good one, trust me).
  • Start a new project, designing my own WP theme.
  • Clean
  • Move to Louisville

You know, in no particular order. :P

YSL Kouros – Handle With Care

In the fragrance world few scents are as hotly debated as Yves Saint Laurent’s 1981 classic, Kouros. On Basenotes it’s more or less a constant stream of asinine chatter. People repeat what they’ve heard, or take a mindset going in to smelling a cologne before actually trying it. For Kouros, the buzzword is “urinal cakes”. Whoever was…clever enough to come up with this association has skewed a lot of people’s opinions.

See, I look at the list of notes and I don’t see urinal cake anywhere. Eucalyptus, laurel, bergamot, artemisia, castoreum, clove, carnation, cinnamon, geranium, jasmine, incense, patchouli, amber, civet, oakmoss, vetiver, leather, and musk. Hmm, didn’t see urinal cake anywhere. What I suspect is going on is people are getting the eucalyptus note, and one of the animalic notes (castoreum from beavers, civet from the cat of the same name), and it’s combining to trigger that scent memory of urinal cakes. To stop there is to miss one of the greater “powerhouse” fragrances you’ll ever find, though.

It’s somewhere between clean and dirty, classy yet extremely sexual. Acclaimed NYT fragrance writer Chandler Burr and I don’t agree on much, and Kouros is no exception. He calls it “is as wearable in the 21st century as 19th-century spats,” which is fine considering he was putting it up against Musc Ravageur and Rose Poivree, scents that are three to four times more expensive. I’m not sure what Mr. Burr is expecting out of it, if you’re wearing it during high noon in an August heat wave it will rise up and kill you. The circumstances to wear a fragrance are as important as the juice itself, and this screams evening wear, for low to moderate temperatures.

What we’re coming to, with the 80s powerhouses like Drakkar Noir and Azzaro Pour Homme being less common on the street, it’s becoming fresh again; that is, Kouros is transcending the 1980s animal-house stereotype and becoming something rather unique in 2008. Just about every designer house under the sun is churning out fresh scent after tired, worn-out fresh scent. Between this and Quorum (another powerhouse circa 1982) I’ve got enough manly-man-man scents to last the foreseeable future. But no scent in my wardrobe, not one, has gotten me more compliments from the opposite sex than Kouros. Beautiful strangers, college girls, family members, college professors, the whole gamut.

This is not to say that you will have the same luck I’ve had with it. Kouros, if applied incorrectly, can kill an elk at 100 yards. You need to apply lightly, with the amount applied inversely proportional to the temperature (KY translation: wear less when it’s hot outside, k?) The only way I’ve found to wear this stuff is to spray in front of me and then walk through the cloud. Two times will do, three is probably one too many. What you’ll find, applying this way, is that it takes on a different complexion than spraying point blank (feel free to experiment at home, out of the company of others if you don’t mind).

Even with this diffused spray, you are wearing one of the great sillage monsters of our time. Even if you can’t smell it, it’s nothing more than olfactory fatigue, others around you can smell it just fine, I assure you. Longevity is good to the point of sometimes wishing it would go away so you can wear something else. It’s still detectable on clothing some 48 hours later.

Now remove the phrase “urinal cake” from your mind. You need to experience it for yourself; I was expecting it and didn’t find it. One of the great truths in perfumery, and one of the most quickly forgotten, is you should wear what you like, and not what popular opinion dictates is good and bad. If I listened to the community at large, my wardrobe would be missing about half of my favorites.