Friday, March 2, 2012

Long Post is Long: Perfume, Book Review, and Puppy!

I've been remiss in blogging lately. Like, in two years. I cannot dedicate myself to it, not when time is so unbelievably restricted. Right now, I have approximately two times per week when I can write, and both are for about two hours. Not without interruptions, mind -- laundry being done, dogs in and out, texts from work, etc.

I recently discovered that my favorite novel of those I'm writing -- there are those of you who just laughed so hard -- only stands at 16,500 words. And it's not even a connected 16, 500! Well. That just about took the wind out of my sails. Whenever I read that someone's typical timeframe for writing a novel is three months (the number I hear most) or six months, my stomach clenches. Based on current calculations, I'll finish this novel in another nineteen months.

At least I can say that I've got four short stories coming out within the next four months. Go, me. And there are, oh, twelve unfinished shorts on my hard drive right now (all backed up! I know everyone remembers the Giant Devastating Total Crash of last year; I've learned my lesson). Sometimes I work on one, and in my secret heart of hearts, I believe it's a Hugo winner. I believe it could appear in Asimov's. I believe it could be one in a collection that rocks the world. And then I look down and see my forearms streaked with deep scratches rapidly becoming light scars, and I think I'll always be a dog groomer.

By the way, that four hours per week is not always well spent. I spent quite a bit of Thursday's session just staring out the window, wondering if the hawk I saw last week would appear in the same tree again.

This was supposed to be a post filled with reviews! All right, here goes:

I'm a perfume addict. I adore tiny sample bottles of perfume from small companies, often scents that are made to order and by a single person. But one thing I've found too often in the micro-perfumery world (I just made that up) is that the scents are too heavy, with bases too oily (*cough*BPAL*cough*). I like a clean, pure scent, nothing cloying.

And then I heard about CB I Hate Perfume over at Art of Darkness (one of my very, very favorite blogs). The scents had intriguing names, but I've been fooled before by a name. Still, "Wild Hunt"? And... are you ready... "In The Library"? MUST. HAVE.

I ordered those two, along with "Lavender and Tea." The verdict?

New favorite perfume company. By a longshot. Lasts all day -- and my job is hairy, filthy, sweaty and gross. They're also quite what one would expect, based on the names. "Wild Hunt" has a bit more grassy scent than loamy, damp earth, but still, if, like me, your favorite place on earth is deep in a shadowy forest on a cool morning, you're in luck.

If your other favorite place is in a book store -- preferably a used book store; oh the smell! -- then "In the Library" is your scent. This somehow perfectly smells like the pages of a well-loved book. I swear, I smell like a book when I'm wearing it. Paper. Slightly aged. With a hint of leather. Warm. Maybe musky, in a bookish way.

Lavender and Tea is my favorite of this lot, though I switch every day. It's not flowery at all, perhaps because the tea notes temper the floral.

My co-workers are an exceptionally honest lot. :) They tell me I don't reek, and the scents are nice. So there you go. I've got my eye on a few other scents from CB, but they'll have to wait until the funds are secured. Could be 2013, at this rate.

Book review time:

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes was a title I'd been hearing about for a while. I follow Angry Robot on Twitter (the publisher), and it sounded intriguing and as if it was doing well. It's a gritty, noir-ish story about a woman who's been animalled -- that is, much like in the Golden Compass, she's got a spiritual animal companion tethered to her. Unlike TGC, the only ones who receive an animal are those who've committed murder. Doesn't matter if it was a mistake, an accident, if you were high, if you did it to protect yourself... Kill someone, get an animal.

Of course, those who are animalled are ostracized (heh) from general society. Zoo City is a slum in South Africa where the zoo's (as they're called) live. Our protagonist is a rough-around-the-edges girl surviving in this new world with her Sloth, trying to earn a living with her special skill. Did I mention that all zoos possess some sort of special skill? In her case, she can find lost things. Can't remember where you left that blasted stuffed dalmatian your kid adores? Call her; she'll follow the psychic thread and find it.

It's this skill that gets her involved in the disappearance of a young pop singer, one half of a brother-sister duo that's topping the charts. She's never tried to find a lost person before, and the whole situation is shady, but the money's a big draw. So she's drawn in to what eventually becomes something far more dangerous than she ever bargained for. She's also got a kinda-sorta boyfriend who just discovered his wife may not be dead after all, and a lot of bad attitude. Sassy, this one.

The story was gritty, as I said, and fast-moving. The writing was solid, and there was enough adventure for two novels. Which was also kind of the drawback: the book's divided into two parts, and though, in the end, all the threads are neatly tied, it felt like two different stories. Something jarred about the second half, and I couldn't quite get past it. Still, I've got no complaints overall. A very enjoyable read, with extremely timely detailing and excellent "research."

And now, a picture of Eva, who is four months this week:


We loves her.

Next week: We start puppy class! A fun, frolicsome time in which RS demonstrates her extreme level of competitiveness by showing up to class with the entire syllabus memorized and her puppy already knowing everything! Seriously, I've been teaching her everything we're supposed to learn in class. So we'll graduate number one. Because that's how I am. I HAVE TO WIN. EVEN IN A CLASS WHERE THE PRIMARY GOAL IS SOCIALIZATION AND LEARNING TO SIT.

You just know that she'll rampage all over the place in class and not do a damn thing I tell her. It'll be a total embarrassment, and we'll be banned from ever going to future classes. That, or Number One! No middle ground for us!

Long post is long. Thanks for reading, all one of you. ;)


  1. 1. Oh, dear. That puppy! *swoons*
    2. Fucking hilarious. "That, or Number One! No middle ground for us!" ROTFL.
    3. You HAVE been remiss! But, good god. I do understand the time crunch.
    4. I will check out those perfumes. I just ordered Red Poppy from Demeter Fragrances. Have you tried them?
    5. Extra-delicious post. I ate it all up. Yum-yum.

  2. I haven't tried Demeter fragrances in a very long time. Thanks for jarring my memory; I'll be checking them out right now to see what's new. VERY interested in Red Poppy.

    I eat you up. Yum-yum.

  3. Damnation and hogwash, I am NOT your only reader; someone else has Posted Before Me.

    Glad for the update on howz u b.

  4. I´ve missed one of your posts?! I hate my phone! ****ing thing won´t show the entire list of posts and lately I only check in during bus travels... Will stop doing tht =)

    Time, time, time... But super-cute puppy! Of course you need to win! I keep accepting Academy Awards and Nobel Prizes in the mirror while brushing my teeth -- don´t go for second best, baby...

    I keep old favourite scents that aren´t manufactured anymore, and then I mildly panic when they slowly change over the years -- such a spooky way of experiencing the passing of time =)

    On one of the post-its in one of my self-evolving piles it says "Zoo City". And now you´ve reminded me. So maybe then. Mebbe but prolly not =( Time, time, time.

    Lovely to hear from you!

  5. Pretty puppy!

    I read Lauren Beukes Moxyland. (I think her previous book). I liked the world and characters she created, but didn't feel the ending resolved things well enough for my tastes. I'm glad to hear Zoo City might have improved on those items.