In Pursuit of Perfume: Dior Poison

I almost physically recoiled when I first put this one on. From the name and the almost dangerous looking bottle I knew I was in for a ride, but I was not expecting the “it burnsss usss” reaction from my nasal membranes. It’s definitely not a perfume for wallflowers: it has presence. But while it started out superstrong, the intense bitterness wore off after a while; it was almost powdery smelling at the end, like the tail end of cough syrup.

As for my own reaction, after the initial “eww get it offfff!” I kind of acclimated to it. I quickly realized that there is no reason perfume has to smell pretty or nice, just like clothes don’t necessarily have to be flattering or beautiful. Perfume, like clothes, can make a statement. Poison was so ridiculously different it was like I was wearing an inside joke. When it started to fade, I actually found myself liking it, in a kind of perverse way

After the initial run, I decided I wanted to try it again (it’s growing on me!). It’s not the kind of perfume you could wear every day– it’s too strong and too weird. I get a kind of perverse pleasure out of the way everybody recoils when they smell it. (It would be the perfect perfume to wear when you get dragged out to a night on the town against your will.)

» Breakdown: Orange blossom, honey, cinnamon, coriander, pepper, plum, rosewood, rose, tuberose, wild berries, cistus labdanum, carnation, jasmine, cedar, sandalwood, vetiver, musk, vanilla, heliotrope and opopanax.

» Does it pass The Brother Test? “Bad smell from my childhood.”

» Verdict: So mindbendingly wrong it’s almost right.

Velociraptor Awareness

Throughout history, contingency plans have been drawn up for the Blitzkrieg, nuclear fallout and the zombie apocalypse. Many people have fire exit maps taped to their walls and emergency numbers in their dayplanners. While these precautions are prudent and have kept many people safe, they may create a false sense of security, especially among people most likely to experience attacks by velociraptors.

Velociraptor attacks are third leading cause of death among males ages 27-29, but can strike anybody at any time. Many people are unaware of the the dangers posed by these dangerous creatures. Awareness of the severity and frequency of these attacks and the steps that can be taken to prevent them will go a long way to saving lives.

Velociraptors are dinosaurs. They stand about crotch high (a fact they will use to their advantage) and may be covered with feathers. They hunt in packs, often forming an equilateral triangle around their prey. Velociraptors are extremely intelligent and can run at speeds of up to 25 meters per second. They do not know fear.

How to Increase Your Likelihood of Surviving a Velociraptor Attack

» Learn to recognize the signs of a velociraptor attack. How can you tell? Here’s an easy test: Is there a velociraptor in the immediate area? If yes, you may be under attack. If no, stay wary–a velociraptor may still be nearby.

» Do your research. Many popular movies, books and blogs have perpetrated myths about velociraptors and their attacks.  For example, some velociraptor attack experts underestimate the importance of tire irons–which could be a fatal mistake. Arm yourself with knowledge that could save your life.
For more information, click here and here.

» Plan your escape routes. While this is important for fire safety, escape routes are also necessary in velociraptor attacks. Preplanning is necessary, as calculations waste valuable time in the midst of an attack. At minimum, plan escapes to and from your home, car and work, as well as strategies that can be implemented in enclosed spaces, open spaces or in a crowded area.
For more information, click here.

» Check your home for velociraptor entry points. Solid-core doors and shuttered windows with no outside opening mechanism should be adequately secure. Picture windows, french doors and sliding glass doors can easily be broken and are therefore a potential breach risk. Windows or doors on the second floor of a building are most likely safe. If possible, invest in velociraptor-safe locks throughout your home.
For more information, click here.

» Keep an arsenal at hand. Proper ammunition can earn you valuable time in case of an attack. Assault rifles, for instance, can be handy in the event of either a zombies apocalypse or a velociraptor attack. Velociraptors have been show to be averse to a compound in Concord grape juice. Keep your fridge stocked and your squirt gun in good working order at all times.
For more information, click here.

» Be wary of strangers. Velociraptors often disguise themselves with mustaches, trench coats and Darth Vader voice changers. When meeting new people, make sure to hold a complete, intelligible conversation before befriending them. Additionally, when moving into a new home, make sure the neighbors aren’t velociraptors.
For more information, click here.

» Prepare a velociraptor attack survival kit. This should include at minimum an assault rifle, Concord grape juice, a squirt gun, a flashlight, duct tape, chocolate, your prepared escape routes, and clean underwear.
For more suggestions, click here.

Velociraptor attacks can be lethal, and must be taken seriously. Never underestimate the importance of preparation in the event of a velociraptor attack.  Proper planning will keep you and your loved ones safe. Inform yourself about velociraptor attacks today!

More information about velociraptor attacks is available through the American Society for Velociraptor Attack Prevention.

Screw the Impressionists

Marchesa Balbi; Sir Anthony Van Dyck, 1623

If I learned anything from my trip back East, I know now that I could spend days in the National Gallery of Art, maybe even a week. Just standing in a building with that many amazing paintings just about blew my mind, and I am saddened that we only had an afternoon to spend there. Frankly, I thought the art gallery was much more awe-inspiring than the memorials (except Jefferson’s, of course). The sheer amount of history in the building was mind-boggling.

Catherine Howard; Sir Anthony Van Dyck, 1638

As interesting as the impressionists are (more to come on them later), I am discovering that my taste in art runs much more toward the Renaissance. Especially the Northern Renaissance– Albrecht Durer pwns at life. At the NGA, I was introduced to Anthony Van Dyck, who painted some freaking amazing portraits.

Portrait of a Youth; Sandro Botticelli, 1482

Botticelli is one of my new favorites–especially his portraits. The Birth of Venus is all well and good, but the Youth doesn’t even compare. In person, his eyes, I can’t even describe them. This is why I am not an art history major. I would just stand in front of a painting saying “Look at it! How could I describe this in words? It speaks for itself! QED, degree please.”

The Annunciation; Jan Van Eyck, 1434

The Annunciation; Jan Van Eyck, 1434

There is a painting that I’m not sure whether or not I like, yet I cannot stop thinking about: Jan Van Eyck’s The Annunciation. The Angel’s face freaks me totally and completely out, but the colors on the wings are incredible, and that pattern of dots is intriguing (it reminds me a bit of the cherubim in Madeleine L’Engle’s novels). The construction of Mary’s dress is fascinating, and the sheer amount of work that went into the Angel’s robe, and how that dedication shows when you look at it.

Sometimes I don’t really ~get~ the concept of inspiration in clothes, but I could base an entire wardrobe off this painting. So I suppose something from the fashion world has trickled down to my little brain.

When I am old and rich (hah!), I will have my walls hung with portraits of possibly dead people I never will have met.

Photo sources: Lee Sandstead & NGA.