Imaginary Perfumes for (Un)Real People: HAWKE

There are basically a whole ton of perfume samples for me to talk about here, but I’m kind of bored with both the indie and the mainstream/niche perfumery world at the moment, so I thought I’d do a series of ‘imaginary perfumes’, in which I make up the blends myself for real and fictitious people. In the sense that that imaginary perfume is how I envision that person should use. And well, that came out creepier than I want it to be. Great.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ll be sticking with the tried and true pyramid of top, heart and base notes. Refresher course on what the notes are –

Top: fleeting first impressions, as the top notes are usually made of light molecules.
Heart: what you’ll smell after the top notes have dissipated, they also help to round out the base notes, influencing how the base notes will react.
Base: the notes that will anchor your scent and help to bring about depth to the scent.

Today’s choice of victim? Hawke from the Dragon Age 2 video game.

Am I a little obsessed with the DA series? Probably. But is it a crime? Not yet at least.

Depending on the dialogue choices you make in the game, Hawke’s personality will change accordingly. There is the Diplomatic!Hawke who’s basically all goody-goody, then Snarky!Hawke, who lives up to his trait, and Aggressive!Hawke, which I’ve never really played as because I’m not aggressive and my characters are seldom aggressive either.

But for this perfume blend? My Hawke is snarky and irreverent, but has a soft spot from his friends and family and the downtrodden in general. But let’s not forget, Hawke is a badass normal person who has taken down the Arishok, which was frigging hard in-game to kill. But the resulting title, The Champion of Kirkwall, is a lovely thing to gain.

Anyway, moving on before I recount the whole Tale of the Champion a la Varric style, let’s just get to the choice of notes for the character.

Top: Cinnamon and tobacco leaf and smoke
Heart: Leather and tonka bean, with the slight kick of caramel
Base: Dragon’s blood and amber resin

Explanation: the top notes were basically chosen because the first impression you’d get from my Hawke would be the fact that he favours fire spells a lot (yup, my Hawke is a mage), hence the smoke. And he should only be experienced in small doses because you’d be irked by his irreverent personality, hence the cinnamon notes (remember the cinnamon challenge?).

Leather was chosen to reflect the armor that he’d wear. And the sweet notes (tonka bean and caramel) was used to show his gentler side. Tonka bean has a similar scent to vanilla, though it is more complex than just plain vanilla. Which hopefully his messed up romance with Fenris. It’s kind of sweet how devoted they are to each other, pining mutually for 3+ years. (wtf, hawke?)

Dragon’s blood is a duh, basically because it’s the Dragon Age series, you know? Yeah, I know, totally lame. But it works as a base note, and with amber resin, it’ll give a warm solid strength to the whole scent, hopefully?

In my mind, this scent works, but in real life, I don’t know if the selected notes will mesh well together…? But hey, this is a first attempt at analysing the character and coming up with choices that will reflect them. Maybe I’ll get better in time??

Not sure who the next character/person will be, maybe by next week, I’d have picked up a new perfume to talk about or something.


I am easily amused

yeah yeah, I know no one cares about this like I do, but c’mon, 100 is a milestone! and so many big-name youtubers are appearing, plus it’s an hour long. say whut. because seriously, dude, I have been awaiting this for a frigging long time, since YGS 99 was really quite a while back.

Also, kudos to the person who made this because the first time I heard it, I couldn’t help laughing through the whole video. Yes, Dragonforce has super repetitive lyrics and songs, basically. But it’s such a guilty pleasure to sing along, yelling loudly and headbanging to everything!

Things I Love Thursday

Sometimes after writing about how much you hate yourself and everything because everything sucks, you need a reminder that hey, there are some good things in your life. Kind of. Otherwise, how do you force yourself to keep functioning, if not for the lies we tell ourselves in the mornings and in the depths of our souls?

One of the most enjoyable gigs I went to, even though I was awkward and by myself. But yeah, in the crowd of people dancing and jumping and basically living to the same beat, you are not alone, in that tiny moment, you are part of something. Something you desperately want to be part of, kind of.

Anyway, we got to meet Alice Nine guys after the show (sorry, they want to be known as A9 these days, but in my heart, they will forever be Alice Nine, because I loved their music then. And I’m not exactly familiar with their later work.) And yay, I managed to shake their hands and damn, they’re actually pretty tall… unless wait, they were wearing like elevated boots or something. Yeah… I didn’t manage to see their shoes because they were standing behind a table… And of course, impeccable makeup even though it was after the gig.

Also, I got band merch! A Midnight Galaxy t-shirt & totebag, an artbook and they threw in a rubber bracelet and a pin for free as well. I did wanted to get more things, but I’m not made of money unfortunately. Though I regret not doing so now…

The tavern songs in Dragon Age Inquisition reminded me of Skyrim… but still they are lovely tunes to hum along to, and sung by a singer with a beautiful voice. Out of the 10 tavern songs recorded, I’m especially enamored with this one, Sera was Never and Nightingale’s Eyes. The DA:I soundtrack is also pretty awesome, I want to learn the main theme on the piano.

And Russell Howard’s Good News is back with season 10! :D More mocking of news events as well as some interesting news stories.

I got the next installment of The Littlest Lovecraft in the mail the other day~ It’s based on The Shadows over Innsmouth, which also inspired the plot for the video game, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth :D

Meeting up with the chums tomorrow~ which is always fun, though a part of me thinks I’m losing touch with some of my other friends because our schedules collide… which is less fun.

Also, there are no piano lessons to teach this Saturday! :DDD Because it’s the fifth week of the month, and the school’s policy is 4 lessons per month regardless of how many weeks there are in the month.

owning up

When I was a little kid of nine, armed with hand-me-down notebooks and sparkly pens, I told my mother that I wanted to be an author. I wrote crap, basically, stories influenced by whatever I had watched on tv and read in books, a sort of mashed up plagiarism, since I liked Chinese period dramas with all the old school martial arts (with all the fanciful attack names) and Western medieval fantasy books. I illustrated them as well, with really bad renderings of girls with lame flowing hair and really strange looking hands and feet. Even to this day, I can’t draw hands, especially fingers, and drawing realistic feet are still out of my capabilities as well. I usually just tell people, especially my piano kids, that I will only draw stick men. And crappy stick men, at best.

But even as I got older, the days turning hotter, and hotter (never colder because what seasons do we have here, amirite?), I told people that I wanted to write for a living. My mother was still supportive of my choice in career, albeit very doubtful of my ability to actually get there (which she was right to do so, because I’m a twentysomething person who is still a sad sad office monkey with extremely dusty dreams of being a writer).

I sat at the cool kids’ table in primary school, with my no-longer-hand-me-down notebooks, not bullied for being an unapologetic nerd, because I was basically declaring that I liked doing composition homework for fun when I said I was writing stories. The same went for my secondary school days, where friends told me that they wanted to read my published works. By then I had amassed quite a lot of notebooks, with half drawn out plotlines and half developed characters.

It feels like I’m doomed to constantly start and restart everything sporadically, and the cycle continues ad nauseam.

To be honest, I know what was the main problem behind everything. Sure, procrastination was a demon, my lack of urgency was another. But the main thing that probably bogged me down was the fact that I didn’t really have a story to tell. There was nothing that I wanted to really write about, or at least there was no genuine story bursting out of my soul, and I had no real passion that needed to be told to the larger world. I had ideas, sure, cobbled from here and there, like how I was influenced by whatever I had watched or read when I was a child. Even now, I am that child still. The lack of actual story held me back, it didn’t really matter if I had the writing chops or if I wrote like a drunken otter. It didn’t matter because there was nothing to write about. Perhaps I am a hollow person, despite all attempts to seem otherwise.

Another issue was that I found myself drawn into the small gritty details of research. Every time I wanted to write something, I ended up with yet another thing to research about, and while I procrastinate on researching on whatever topic I needed in order to write, the actual process of writing fell even further on the backburner. And once more, I sacrifice another notebook to the futility of achieving a far away goal.

These days, I scarcely dare to dream of writing. Nah, I’m too tired to write, I tell myself, grim-eyed, as though I faced a thousand battles and came through scarred and rugged, when my fingers are hardly callused from typing, when all I have typed are emails to various agencies chasing them for one item or another, or crafting unentertaining tweets to amuse my friends. I end up distracting myself with video games and sitcoms because what else is there in my life currently?

These days, I dream more of getting a less crappy job, something that would put more money in the bank, something that would challenge me more in terms of my intelligence.

And maybe, if I were to describe the job I would want, I would prefer to be an assistant to an actual writer. I want to be the researcher for the writer, to help them find the materials they need to write whatever stories dwelling inside them, to read and find out things about the 15th century vases or learning about amputation techniques in the olden days or the characteristics of blackholes. I like that aspect – learning about all the various different things for the sake of learning about them. There might be no real world applications for some information, but still, they are fascinating to read about. I might not be creative enough to spin my own yarns, but perhaps I can be useful enough to someone else who has the talent and patience to do so.

I don’t know, that’s how I feel as a tired (and isn’t ‘tired’ such a cop-out word?) twentysomething, which is different from when I was an idealistic nine year old, or even a hopeful teen. Maybe I’ll feel something else when I’m in my thirties, or even later.

Sixteen92; Halloween Collection

Sixteen92’s Halloween collection is aptly entitled Malleus Maleficarum – a treatise on the prosecution of witches – as the perfumes are named after famous witches in legends/folklores.

ARADIA – the Holy Strega. 14th century Italian witch, daughter of Diana and Lucifer, and mistress of the fairies.
☾ Notes: Tobacco leaf, tonka, crushed cacao pods, aged vanilla, red woods, dried spices ☽
Spicy sweet, almost fizzy opening. I would have assumed there was licorice or anise in this scent, because I thought the fizzy opening felt a bit like cola. The scent quickly settles on my skin, with strong overtones of cacao and vanilla, sweet but not overwhelming. Aradia leans towards being dark and musky, but it’s extremely wearable, and overall, this feels like a warm and comforting scent. It does get smokier and darker as the notes progress, which adds a depth to the perfume, otherwise it would be quite bland.

BABA YAGA – fearsome iron-toothed forest witch of Russian folklore. She lives in a hut on chicken legs and flies in a mortar, sweeping away her tracks with a broom made of silver birch. She is the Bone Mother, the goddess of Wisdom and Death.
☾ Notes: Fiery dragon’s blood incense, sweet woodsmoke, dried herbs, dripping candle wax, forest dirt ☽
Ooh, this one is unique, and quite strong when wet on the skin. Sweet and sourish opening, kind of lemon-ish? But underneath that, there is a strong dirt/earthy note, mixed with wax and incense. It’s not what I’d exactly associate with Baba Yaga though. I mean, this is the creepy famous Russian witch featured in so many folktales, I’d expect something darker and more evocative.

BLACK ANNIS – the iron-clawed, blue-faced hag of English folklore. She emerges from her cave at night to pluck her victims from their beds.
☾ Notes: Absinthe, black honey (vegan), raw sugar, balsam, labdanum, crushed fern ☽
Sharp green opening, so sharp it can probably unblock your nose if you have a flu. But man, those green notes – fern and balsam – are showing up so clearly I’d imagine I was standing in a freshly cut field. The honey note is subtle, in fact, I’d have missed it if I wasn’t so familiar with the honey note that Claire uses in her perfumes. It’s that same honey note featured in Swarm. It’s sweet and smooth despite the sharp beginning, and I could see myself buying a full size of this one if I had extra money.

HECATE – luminous Goddess of magic, ghosts and necromancy, and queen mother of witchcraft.
☾ Notes: Tart cranberry, benzoin, fir needle, dark chocolate, smouldering incense, dry leaves ☽
Yup, cranberries right there in the opening, cranberries and dark chocolate, like a lovely dessert mix, but anchored down with a strong dirt/earthy note.

MORGAN LE FEY – powerful sorceress of Arthurian legend and apprentice of Merlin
☾ Notes: Black patchouli, amber resin, vanilla bean, warm gingerbread ☽
First impression, oh god, ginger. Then oh, it’s gingerbread, but urgh, ginger. Surprisingly warm and comforting though, the gingerbread weaved in with patchouli (a note that I really dislike), and anchored down by the amber resin, acting as a base. The vanilla darts in and out, sweetening the scent further over its spiciness. Also another perfume I’d buy a full size of, if money permits.

Things I Love Thursday

Late because I have been spending too much time on Dragon Age. (Too much time?! Pssst, perish the thought. People can put in at least 100 hours into the game and not even finish completing it 100%.)

Took a mental health day just because I can :D some days, you just wake up too late to make it on time for work, so you just call in sick and laze around eating chips and drinking yakult.

First of all, the best thing this week is probably my new PC, nothing can top this because goddamnit, I spent a large chunk of money on this.

This game is really pretty, as compared to the first in the series, Dragon Age Origins. Made in Frostbite 3 Engine, I couldn’t play this until now because of my old crappy system.

I love the series, but gameplay-wise, DA:I is problematic. So VERY PROBLEMATIC. Like, the controls are NOT PC-friendly at all. But I still love the characters and I think the storyline is going to be pretty interesting. I mean, I know some spoilers already but I haven’t spoiled the majority of the game events.

So far, I’m less than 20 hours in, and I’m like, dude, there are a lot of quests. Side quests at least. But while my characters are lovely, (Varric, my best bro returns!), there isn’t anyone who can top Fenris. And now I’m nostalgic for some DA2 just to ship my Hawke and Fenris together again.

Finally started to watch Season 3 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine :D And it does not disappoint at all. I’m still loving the hilarious banter between the characters and omg, all the lame puns. This show is the best since Community went downhill.

Also I’ve caught up with Last Week Tonight! Which basically meant that I sat through like 4 episodes at a go, and idk, too much John Oliver makes it less funny.

The end of October rolls around again, and once again, I’ve bought my ticket to the Singapore Writers Festival. There’s quite a lot of music acts/performances, which aren’t exactly what I’m looking for at a writers festival… But oh well, it’s not like I’m going to attend everything.

Sephora had their members sale and because it was 20% off, I couldn’t resist Fresh’s Hesperides anymore. I think I’ve gushed about how lovely the grapefruit scent is, so clear and citrusy, and just overall a refreshing summery scent.

And lastly, I’m going to watch Alice Nine this weekend~ :DDD

today in a picture

This will probably be the last of the ‘today in a picture’ series because my computer is here~ *fanfare* and I won’t need to do any further major clean ups. Sure, my house isn’t 100% neat yet, and I doubt my room will ever be conventionally tidy/pretty, but hey, I really just need my computer room and all my books to be happy. And okay, I’d be majorly devastated if my perfumes and make up collection were gone, because fuck, perfumes can be really expensive. And flammable.

Huge mess because that’s how I set up a computer, with all the wires and shit. Also, I felt so manly lugging my computer chassis back from the store, because it was frigging heavy, okay.

The default option for the chassis is white, which isn’t exactly my first choice, but it doesn’t really bother me. I’m not really that big of a completionist/full set type of person. Most of my things are cobbled from here and there and I’m too broke to think about having a theme/proper decor.

Another view, because damn son, I finally have a good graphic card to play games at high settings instead of always settling for poor graphics.

And the desktop looks like this, all wires galore. Probably too troublesome to try and hide all the wires, I mean, I tried, buuuuut. Also, I’ve nowhere else to display my nendoroid boxes, so here they are, gathering dust eventually. Even the table is a relic from my eldest brother, and it is flimsy like shit, because typical IKEA fare.

today in a picture

So the new furniture got in this evening, and I’ve set up the computer for my mother’s use. My own desktop will take much longer, considering I haven’t even bought my CPU parts. I like putting Would I Lie to You on as background noise while I putter around, arranging books. Also, that Acer laptop is dying – battery no longer works, so it has to be plugged in 24/7, the Wifi is spoiled, so it needs a LAN cable to connect to the internet… both aspects destroy the purpose of having a laptop in the first place.

And this is how the new bookshelf looks. There’s still space to stuff more books, yay~ There’s some kind of logic as to how the books are arranged, but I’m afraid it will only make sense in my head…

today in a picture

How vain am I? Well, take a look at my battle station and you shall know the depths of my depravity. But seriously, I think I need to pare down my make up collection. I have too many indie eyeshadows that I don’t bother using because you know, the no-makeup makeup is easier to pull off when you’re a lazy person.