Branching Out

To be honest, I’ve been neglecting quite a fair bit on my collection of indie perfumes and instead focussing on commercial and niche lines mainly because nothing in the indie world has been exactly exciting to me while I’m still trying to explore mainstream and niche perfumeries because there are just so much that I’m unfamiliar with.

I used to dismiss commercial perfumes as mass produced cookie cutter scents, where all the companies cared about at the end of the day was their profit margins and sale targets. And I didn’t think too highly of celebrities who churned out their own fragrances one after the other just to make more money and sell overpriced crap to their fans. Yeah, no one would sell me a pair of rose-coloured glasses.

While my line of thinking probably has quite a few ounces of truth, it simply doesn’t do justice to all the fragrance houses out there, and it certainly demeans all the perfumers who devote many, many years to study and hone their craft.

One such perfumer that I admire would be Christopher Sheldrake, who has collaborated on almost every Serge Lutens perfume, if I recall correctly. He has also worked on several Chanel perfumes, though I have yet to make much headway into their products. (I just really can’t like the aldehydic floral scents that seem to permeate the entire line. It’s not simply a Chanel thing, I don’t like other companies using the same scent structure too.)

So far, I’ve smelled 15 of his creations for Serge Lutens, and while I was not immediately enamored with everything that I smelled, I must say that nothing has been a dud. In fact, most of my favourite scents and the things on my wishlist are his creations, even the Chanel ones, like Chanel 31 rue Cambon and Coromandel.


Things I Love Thursday

Well, it has been a pretty good week so far! Getting along with everyone at work and stuff~

Went down to town to sniff at all the perfumes, and mainly to buy my Chergui… except *dun dun dun*… they were out of stock! Ended up trying to plan for my next big purchase, since the lovely sales assistant told me that it wouldn’t be back in stores for quite some time.

Yup, I’m totally not ashamed to be spraying everything and hoarding the tester strips. It’s totally serious research, okay. But yes, this was considered a thick stack, even for me, but having knowledgeable SAs with fantastic service really makes my day.

It is also impossible for me not to drop by Kino when I’m in town, and here are the haul of the day~

Here’s the new edition of Drug and Drop, because Clamp decided to rename Legal Drug… for no particular reason?? Idk man, Idk. But I think it’d be so weird because I have the 3rd book of Legal Drug and I really can’t wait to see if there’d be any differences between the two books, or if it’s merely just a title revision.

I also got this on a whim while I was standing in line and I spotted this near the cashier, which is probably why the staff chose to put such items on the counter. To tempt people like me.

Aaaaand here is the random figurine that I got~

The Sixth Doctor, portrayed by Colin Baker, and it’s kind of random, but I somehow thought it was fitting that I got this one out of all the other possible choices.

Arrogant, careless, dramatic, self-absorbed, driven and stubborn, the Sixth Doctor instantly believed himself superior to almost anyone he encountered. Yet he also possessed a streak of cowardice and pessimism. He would often browbeat others into submission with his savage wit and his grammarian’s interest in language. […] Despite his bluster, the Sixth Doctor did possess great reserves of compassion. His gentler side began to blossom largely as a consequence of travelling with Evelyn Smythe, a university lecturer whose verbal dexterity was on a par with his own. (Taken verbatim from here obviously because I’ve never watched classic Who in my life.)

Cry is playing Bioshock: Burial at Sea! :D I can’t play Bioshock personally because I’m terrible at FPS and my hand-eye coordination is abysmal, but I really want to unravel the complication that is Bioshock. I think it has quite a compelling storyline, especially with the mindfuckery known as all the infinite universes and parallel timelines and the characters’ various attempts to change the present after seeing the future by travelling to the past.

I watched the latest Studio Ghibli film a couple of days back. I cannot say that it was absolutely amazing, because there were moments where I felt that the film was a tad too draggy and I could not muster much interest in the romantic subplot nor was I entirely invested in the main characters. I did admire his devotion to creating a masterpiece (in a sense) and his eternal dream, and the notion of creating something so beautiful and seeing it being destroyed for something as petty as war. Yes, I think war is petty, and all it does is create a cycle of pain and suffering, and no one really benefits in the end. Not the people who sacrifice their lives in the frontline, not the survivors who go home and constantly relive the traumatic experiences, not the civilians who lose their homes/livelihoods/families and must learn to rebuild everything from the beginning. It’s too idealistic to claim that you’re fighting a war for peace or justice or whatever pretty notion when you know that the real reason is probably human greed or hubris or something equally nefarious.


I can’t be the only person who’d start composing a tweet and then instead of hitting post, I end up tapping hard on the backspace key and erasing everything, or scrap a blog post or text message. There are so many times I’d rather stay silent and unheard than rock the metaphorical boat.

The knowledge that nothing is entirely private anymore makes me more paranoid than I should, considering that I don’t exactly have any sort of terribly outrageous thoughts or inflammatory opinions. But yet I still censor myself, just in case someone who reads whatever I’ve written and takes offence even though the writing in question might not even be targeted at them. The fact that we’re constantly being monitored, whether it’s through all the security cameras everywhere tracking my motions or the information collected by various browsers, reminds me that nothing is secret anymore and every little move you make could potentially be noticed by others. 

There are so many things I want to say to different people, but I can’t. Too worried about how I’d be seen, too scared to throw down the cards and show my hand, too tired to engage in arguments that I can’t win.

Want: Serge Lutens; Chergui

A fire fanned by the wind, a desert in flames.

As if bursting from the earth, Chergui, a desert wind, creates an effect that involves suction more than blowing, carrying plants, insects and twigs along in an inescapable ascent. Its full, persistent gusts crystallize shrubs, bushes and berries, which proceed to scorch, shrivel up and pay a final ransom in saps, resins and juices. Night falls on a still-smoldering memory, making way for the fragrant, ambery and candied aromas by the alchemist that is Chergui.

Things I Love Thursday

*cough* whole backlog of posts coming through… oops *cough* Today’s TiLT is short and musically dominated.

I might not be a giant fan of Alice Nine, but shit, jrock band passing through my town and having a show, okay fuck it, I have the cash, I’m turning up. Not going to be a sad loser this time around, because I’m going with a hardcore Alice Nine fangirl, which will totally make things more exciting because I tend to feed off people’s energy, like a proper social chameleon. (Like if you’re excited, I’ll probably be dragged along with your momentum because I don’t have any of my own, haha.) At least that’s what I’m hoping for :D We only managed to get the normal tickets… even though I camped at the website and waited for midnight when the ticket sale started. I guess the VIP tickets were snatched up by the fanclub or something along those lines… and us plebeians have to make do with the normal tickets and bring binoculars or something D:

Kate Covington, also known as Erutan on Youtube, ran her Kickstarter sometime back and I’m so glad to have backed it because her music is absolutely beautiful. Can’t wait to get my hands on the physical copy of the album~ :D

Went with 2/3 of the Socially Awkward Chums to catch the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra on their 100th Anniversary World Tour. And they were damn amazing. The conductor was frankly really energetic and his conducting was a joy to watch. They had a pretty solid repertoire, from the evocative Bugaku composed by Toshiro Mayuzumi, which painted a sci-fi dystopian landscape in my mind, and I had some pretty vivid scenes inspired by the various themes of the piece. Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major is a perennial favourite of mine, and would always bring me to the brink of tears. I remembered the first live version I ever heard was a few years back, when Midori came to perform with the SSO, and I sat overlooking the stage and I remembered crying at how beautiful the notes were, the sweet haunting melody and the beauty of Midori’s techniques… damn, I don’t think the Tokyo Philharmonic topped it, but then again, how can it ever compete with a memory? The last piece was Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring… which was unsettling and really quite… nauseating to me. Not that the orchestra performed it terribly, on the contrary, they were really brilliant, and brought out all the unsettling nuances of the piece…

Lastly… I just subscribed to this guy recently because I was convinced by this parody of his!

new blood

Two new temps joined us yesterday, and I hear that there might be a third coming along some time soon as well. The grapevine suggested that we were getting interns, but apparently our source was not an accurate one, because these two new girls were fresh poly graduates waiting to enter university and they had already done their various internships elsewhere.

I think it’s kind of strange for me to be in a ‘senior’ position, in the sense that I (as well as the other guy) have to show them the ropes. And personally, I think that I’m really not good at teaching or explaining things (and weirdly I give tuition, plus I’m restarting my piano teaching career next month, gee, I really inspire confidence, eh), so it feels as though I’m just confusing them with my rambling and haphazard explanations regarding the systems and the different things we have to do. I just have to teach one of them, because the other girl is working under another supervisor, so her duties are vastly different from the things I have to do, though I know some stuff, since I had to pick up the slack the last time the other guy was on leave, and he had taught me the things beforehand.

Both of them are seated in my general vicinity, which I suppose is good, because there’d be more targets for the big bosses to look out for and I’d have two human shields, and there’s one more person to help out because I’m really being swamped with work. But the downside is that I miss being alone~! I miss going for lunch whenever/wherever I like without having to accommodate to their preferences, doing work versus slacking off without feeling guilty… haha, I’m not a good employee (but I’m good at making people think so, which is the important bit, I think, heh.)

So far, everything seems fine, like they’re really nice people and I think I can actually get along with them, since they’re not the obnoxious spoiled types and they don’t seem to be bimbotic clubbers who mainly think about guys and having fun at the expense of work etc.

and I am a material girl

You know, those people who tell you that money can’t buy happiness? They must not have hit rock bottom, never had to live in a state of financial insecurity, not knowing if things are going to be alright, if you’re going to be able to continue attending school, or if there’d be food on the table, if you can afford to pay the bills. They don’t understand how awkward it is to hope that you qualify for financial assistance and then jump through all the hoops so you can get the money to buy some new uniforms or textbooks. There are situations out there that are more dire than what I’ve been through myself, and you know what, if we had more money, we’d certainly be a tad happier because so many problems could have been solved with some cold hard cash.

Money isn’t much of an issue nowadays, I get by most of the time, and it’s not as though I have rent or mortgages or loans to pay off. Sure, I’d love to see more digits in more bank account, but I’m not that desperate, not as much as I was when I was younger. Ignoring the bits in the timeline when my family had to be much more tightfisted, my parents always told us that there was only two results whenever we asked them to buy us something – either ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and the answer was always dependent on a series of variables (their mood/the item in question/their financial circumstances/the weather outside or whatever else they wanted to give as an excuse), and there was simply no point to throwing a tantrum because you’d only make the situation worse. (My mother is very anti-tantrum, she’d just leave you behind and walk away if you even try to embarrass her in public. Things worsen when you get home and she breaks out the cane.) Anyway, I hated it, hated the fact that I had to be at the mercy of someone else’s whims and fancies (even if those people were my parents).

From that age on, I started to equate money with freedom, the ability to do as I wanted and it meant that no one could forbid me from buying whatever I wanted even if it was something useless and expensive because I used my own money to get it. Because I tend to want frivolous crap even as a kid, like a new deck of Pokemon cards or overpriced school bags with cartoon characters and wheels, most of my requests were turned down whenever I asked for them. I’d end up biting my lip in resentment and secretly think to myself that I’m going to buy it myself using my own money, who the fuck (okay, I didn’t use such bad language as a child) is going to stop me from doing what I want. I suppose this gradually developed into my current mentality of ‘here’s an item that I’d like, here’s my current bank balance, oh, they look so compatible, and look, the cashier is just over there’. And I’d just get this heady rush whenever I buy stuff, as though I’m super grown-up and I have the freedom to spend my money however I like, even if it’s a bad idea to do so.

So yeah, call me materialistic, a spendthrift, irresponsible, whatever. It’s my goddamn prerogative to do as I damn please and all you haters can just exit stage left and stop trying to control my bank balance.