Wednesday, January 31, 2007

AOL Health: It's All In My Head As I Read This Load

Women aren't women anymore. We are trivialized as little girls with too many issues that matter not in life and don't really exist. This is on AOL Health today:

Want a Happy Marriage? Be Nice, Don't Nitpick
True Compatibility Doesn't Exist, so Shrug off Little Conflicts
By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Feature Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Thermostat settings. Dirty socks. Toothpaste caps. Our little habits make our spouses crazy. But no two people are ever truly compatible, so quit nitpicking each other, relationship experts advise. Save the battles for the big issues -- and you'll have a happy marriage.

Secrets of a Happy Marriage

Long-lasting, happy marriages have more than great communication, Boon says. "Dr. Gottman brings up something no one ever talks about -- that irreconcilable differences are normal, that you just have to come to terms with them, not try to resolve the unresolvable. On some level, that should have been obvious, but it hasn't been," she tells WebMD.

(We're not really fighting about those things--this is about control. Irreconcilable differences...I haven't heard that term in ages--maybe since the '80s. Which irreconcilable differences do they mean? I think we're touching on how different men and women are. Sexism is back and we call these new "irreconcilable differences" "normal". Let's read on:)

Most marriage therapists focus on "active listening," which involves paraphrasing, validating, affirming your spouse's feedback, says Boon. "That's all well and good and may help you get through some conflicts in a less destructive way. But, as Dr. Gottman puts it, 'you're asking people to do Olympic-style gymnastics when they can hardly crawl.' Many people will fail at those techniques. Research indicates that most people are dissatisfied with the outcome of marital therapy, that the problems come back."

In happy marriages, Boon points out, couples don't do any of that!

(Psychotherapy is out. All that conflict resolution stuff is old. Listening is gauche. I wonder what's in! It sounds like men aren't willing to have to work that hard anymore to keep us happy, and they shouldn't have to.)

Instead, you must be nice to your partner, research shows. Make small gestures, but make them often. "The little things matter," says Boon. "What a happy marriage is based on is deep friendship, knowing each other well, having mutual respect, knowing when it makes sense to try to work out an issue, when it is not solvable. Many kinds of issues simply aren't solvable."

(Women!! Read: He's not going to change and that's NORMAL. So, he shouldn't have to or WANT to change to make you happy, and you should learn to shut up and put up. Little things that REALLY matter are how you put up! If you can't say something nice...)

Learn how to identify issues that must be resolved, that can be "fruitfully discussed," she notes. "Learn to live with the rest. Just put up with it. All you do is waste your breath and get angry over these things that can't be changed. You're better off not trying to change them. Work around them. Commit to staying together, even though this is something you don't like."

(I agree arguing over toothpaste isn't where it's at, but who decides which conflicts are just these irreconcilable differences, and who in the relationship decides which conflicts are little now? Don't try to change them--work around them--meaning, how?)

A long-lasting, happy marriage is about knowing your partner, being supportive, and being nice. Research shows that, "for every one negative thing you do, there must be five positive things that balance it out," Boon tells WebMD. "Make sure to balance the negatives with positives. Your marriage has to be heavily in favor of the positives."

(By being happy no matter what. Say and do something nice and the issue (which is a non-issue from the start) no longer exists. To voice an issue or conflict is now seen as "negative", so stay positive (meaning say something nice or SHUT UP and keep doing those nice things like it's your duty.))

While it sounds easy -- and while it can be easy -- this commitment to being nice is no small matter, Boon says. "You have to do nice things often. But it's harder to be nice when the heat is on, when you're really angry, or when something has happened for the 15th time. Nevertheless, the balance must be heavily, heavily stacked in the positive, to have a happy marriage."

(You mean, shutting up is NOT easy, like, it sends women to the booby hatch?? I think our mothers and grandmothers can tell us all about those years, and about those sleeping pills and shock therapy...)

Also, couples must stay in touch with their special ways of repairing the relationship, Boon says. "It can be humor; it can be whatever helps diffuse the escalating heat. In happy marriages, couples naturally do this. They deflect the anger, and get back on an even keel."

(Just learn to laugh about it (and yourself for being silly for bringing up little things that don't matter). Just deal, because He's Not Going To Change For You and That's Normal--besides, what you're nagging about is NOT NICE. He is being perfectly nice by simply being himself, of course.)

Page: 2
Next: A Happy Marriage Means Respecting Spouse

It's true, research has shown that couples in satisfying, happy marriages have more positive emotions in their interactions -- including discussions of problems, says Shae Graham Kosch, PhD, director of the behavioral medicine program in community health and family at the University of Florida at Gainesville.

Kosch has been married (to the same man) for 32 years. She has counseled unhappy couples just as long.

(They know what they're talking about. They're experts at taking crap in their own lives.)

"Most marital conflicts don't ever get resolved," she tells WebMD. "There are always issues around in-laws, children. Solving the problems doesn't really matter. What's crucial is keeping things positive. You have to accept the other person's perspective, have an appropriate discussion without getting critical or blaming."

(See? Straight from the horses mouth: solving the problems doesn't matter. You're powerless and it's really all your fault. Read on...)

Other tips from Kosch: Men in good relationships don't react emotionally during conflicts. Men in bad relationships are more likely to withdraw from the discussion. They might actually leave the room, look at the ceiling, or tune out the conversation.

(And women are CAUSING their behavior by not dealing with them as they are and being happy about it. Don't blame the men, though. We hear it on Disney all the time that it's the woman's fault if he runs away!)

Wives in negative relationships also get entrenched in their particular viewpoint and ultimately feel greater anger and contempt.

(WE also CAUSE ourselves problems. Being entrenched in our own viewpoint, we are too UNWILLING to see things his way (and THAT'S what needs to be changed here). Desiring conflict resolution--or even seeing a conflict where there never was any--causes anger because non-issues never get resolved. So the moral of the story is, don't bring stuff up. Be a good girl and a good marriage will happen to you--wait--doesn't that make women all powerful over the destiny of their marriages? We're not subhuman--we're most powerful when we're silent and nice and committed to being happy, goddamnit!)

Your attitude toward your spouse plays out over the long haul, she adds. "Couples that have good marriages retain their mutual respect and understanding of each other -- even during discussions of their differences -- will stay together much longer."

(It's nice to know that our newfound ability to brush everything under the rug by calling them idiosyncrasies can impress our masters well and help please them longer.)

The Myers-Briggs personality test has helped many couples tune into their own psyches -- whether they're a thinking or feeling type, decisive or perceiving, or flexible. Those insights into themselves help their relationships. "It's a nonjudgmental measurement. It doesn't say that anyone is too rational or overly emotional. We all have these characteristics; in some people they are more dominant."

(Enter Myers-Briggs! Psychotherapy is out, Metaphysics and Jung are in!! Let's not tell the world about how Jung had his own sexist views on what defined the perfected male and female psyches in his day and age (Can you guess? Age of Reason, of course!! LOL!!). It isn't NATURAL for a woman to be an overbearing Thinking type--did you know that? That means she's being a man and that isn't nice at all! Leave thinking to men because it's what men do, not girls.)

Most importantly, for a happy marriage, be committed to seeing your partner's perspective, she tells WebMD. "Have a willingness to understand, make changes in yourself, and find some method to get out of negative communication patterns -- negativity that just escalates. Sometimes that couple just can't move forward. They develop what I call 'manure-colored glasses.'"

((Edited to say) What is this "negativity that just escalates"? Could that ever translate to meaning "no cause or responsibility for domestic violence"? Is this "let him win a debate (have a willingness (a feminine trait according to the enlightened) to yield or get beaten up" and law of attraction says it's your fault, not his?)

One trick that works: Discussing conflicts while talking on the phone, rather than face to face. "That removes all nonverbal cues. She won't see him looking at the ceiling; he won't see her rolling her eyes. It keeps things more positive."

(Ignorance is bliss!)

Page: 3 Next: Step by Step to a Happy Marriage

"Conflict is common, and a healthy dose of conflict is OK," says Terri Orbuch, PhD, a research scientist with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She's also a family therapist and the "Love Doctor" on a Detroit radio station.

(Normal is the new common. Conflict is common and NORMAL. The conflicts you imagine as being real or mattering to anyone else aren't bad for you--they're HEALTHY because they're normal. If you feel bad about these little no-things, you need to relax and forget about them! No one cares!)

In her research, Orbuch has studied one group of couples for the past 16 years. "How you deal with it, that's what matters in a happy marriage," she tells WebMD. "You have to fight fair. Stay calm. You cannot be at problem-solving best when you're angry. Come back to the situation when you're not, and you can have a whole new perspective."

(This is why you need Myers-Briggs: most women are FEELING types. So that's the problem--we're not like men who THINK. If you're a thinking woman, you need to feel more to be more balanced (like a woman *should* be according to experts). But if you get emotional, men shouldn't have to listen to you. In fact, feelings have no part in the natural logic that says you're going to lose in a fight if he refuses to take you seriously. Might is right. Being angry won't get you anywhere because you're the weaker sex (and there's nothing wrong with that kind of "knowledge" at all...said the serpent).)

Also, pick your battles. "You can't have a conflict over everything. We call it 'kitchen sinking' -- bringing up things that happened five, 10 years ago," says Orbuch.

(If it never got resolved, it's because it DOESN'T MATTER. Get over it so you can be AOL Healthy!)

For a happy marriage, here's how to deal with conflict:

Bring it up in a nonthreatening way. "Be nice. No name calling," she advises. Bring up specific issues or behaviors, rather than personality qualities. In a happy marriage, there's no attacking the person. "Bring up the specific time, how you felt about it, then people can change the behavior," Orbuch tells WebMD. "Otherwise, they don't know what to do about it, they're boxed in." Use "I" statements. Instead of "you're a very messy person' say 'I'm really bothered when you put clothes on the floor." Such statements show how you feel about a specific behavior, and that's important in a happy marriage, she says.
Try to stay calm. Studies show that the calmer you are, the more you will be taken seriously, she says. "Take a breath, count to 10, breathe. Try to be nonthreatening." Take a break. "If you're going back and forth, if you find blood pressure going up, take minutes or seconds," she says. "Don't take hours. If you take too long, it festers in the other person, they've had time analyze it; you're dismissing their feelings opinions, dismissing them." Don't bring it up at night. Choose the right time -- not when people are tired, hungry, when the kids are all around, when you've got a deadline at work. Those are not best times."

(Some good points...so when's a good time?)

Consider your spouse's point of view, if you want a truly happy marriage. "I'm a true believer in this," says Orbuch. "Studies show that every single action has a different meaning depending on if you are male, female, your race, your background. That is important to remember in conflict resolution."

(How interesting...we're pointing out differences more and more now, aren't we? Let's stop listening to each other. Let's figure out our relationships by thinking about them in a new light. Try stereotyping people based on gender rather than by listening to the specific needs of the individual, because that would mean having to listen and work things out--that's old and ineffective. So let's timewarp about 50-150 years back. Just go with his point of view, not yours. "I'm just being a guy"...why isn't this good enough rationalization?)

Her research "has shown, time and time again, that conflict is not important, that how you manage conflict, how you handle it over the long haul, really is important to a happy marriage," Orbuch tells WebMD. "I'm a big believer in direct, meaningful communication -- but you have to choose the right time."

(So when is the right time? Of course, there IS no problem here. What is this problem I keep imagining? If it was really that important, it would have been dealt with a long time ago, but PLEASE--NOT NOW. And don't bring it up 5-10 years from now, either, because by then it wouldn't only not be nice, it wouldn't be fair).

Also, compromise is necessary in long-term relationships, she adds. "But each partner has to feel that it's reciprocal. One can't feel that they're making all the compromises." When one spouse makes all the compromises, it's uncomfortable for both -- not just the one giving in.

(We need to learn to yield to our men for OUR OWN happiness. It's not NATURAL for a woman not to yield. Can't you feel it? You would if you were a real natural woman.)

"You have to remember there are ebbs and flows in relationships," Orbuch says. "There will be times when you're making the compromises. But there will be other times when your partner is making them. As long as in the long-term things are reciprocal, that's what is important."

(Bottom line: Women must yield to men first (and drop it. LET IT GO if you want to be a good and nice person)! One day, he'll be nice in return. Have faith in your man no matter what. "There will be other times when he'll yield back"--it's karma, you see. As long as both genders yield to each other over the course of your many lifetimes, it doesn't matter what the real issues are because they're no such thing as reality anymore.)

Published Nov. 11, 2004.
Medically Updated May 30, 2006.

SOURCES: Susan Boon, PhD, social psychologist, University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Shae Graham Kosch, PhD, director, behavioral medicine program, Community Health and Family, University of Florida at Gainesville. Terri Orbuch, PhD, research scientist, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Monday, January 29, 2007

White Roses

(Image: Chanel No.22 The Perfume of Romance 1964 ad) This is love, sugar to my craving. I don't know what happened because I didn't like it at first sniff but I'm blissed out in olfactive heaven! Thanks to a generous and lovely perfpal, I was able to test Chanel No.22 in eau de toilette form tonight.

It's exquisite, the perfect midway point between sophisticated and all out romantic-sweet. It settles down very softly on my skin. The EDT is very true to parfum, which is good because the parfum is not available in the US. I find the EDT even sweeter than parfum and somehow rosier, but it's still high in quality, airy light and powdery soft. I can see how some classic lovers would object to how sweet it is but for me, it's just right; No.22 has turned into my favorite perfume to date--my white rose holy grail which I'd sought after forever!

I wish EDT lasted even longer than it does because I love it so, but considering how scarce No.22 seems to be getting, I'm not complaining. I found some gorgeous white refillable cases for EDT and cologne online--I wonder what the cologne is like, too, although I don't think it's being made anymore. I hope No.22 is not being discontinued. Is this why No.22 has been called "the forgotten Chanel"? That would be horrible since No.22 is loved (intensely by me now) and has a great reputation among perfume lovers. I recently came across some delightful Japanese perfume blogs where No.22 was talked about lovingly, too, and it was interesting to read on one blog that No.22 is associated with New York as well as Paris since No.22 was exclusive to these cities for a long time.

Friday, January 26, 2007

When Hellenism Freezes Over



























...is when I'll buy into the classics trend. ARTfully, INTELLIGENTly, what other buzz words are there? Oh, yes: RICHly grouped together with the Romanticism trend come Hellenism (Neoclassicism), Nationalism, Traditionalism, England in the late 18th and early 19th century, European aristocracy, blah blah blah...these are what's "in" (it's all part of the '80s trend, btw). Of course, you knew that already. That's why The Secret and Law of Attraction and Newton are back and dress sizes are going way up (and being standardized), the books we're reading are all along those "how the rich really live" lines, Disney's showing more and more images of our differences by flashing us back to the past (golliwog, anyone?), and every country (my mom told me about one going on in Japan, too) has their own nationalistic trend going on right now ("time to redefine who we are as a PEOPLE". Can we say creation of generalizations and stereotypes?!!). The bigger the better, what's more is more, etc...all ironic because Romanticism came about as revolt AGAINST the materialism, the aristocratic social norms of the Age of Reason (Enlightenment period) and the rationalization of nature (you mean, like using nature as a reason to keep certain people stereotyped as being lesser somehow?). Not that I'm gungho about the so-called romantic sensualization of violence against women depicted in Romantic art, either, but I love The Killers, so...Anyway, I thought time had come to let my romantic side come out in full force and redefine which types of perfumes are the most romantic of all, but I'll just say I'm wearing Chanel No.22, which I guess could smell romantic, being floral and all. What's OK to do with things isn't good to do with people, and yet we go on labeling and judging and dividing people into groups...why? Let's make this new millenium of OURS different from the past--make it a peaceful one that reflects our values.

It's freakin' 9F (feels like -5F) in NYC.
Music: TARSHA "Dirty" (from 'Prophecies' CD)

(Image: Painting by Eugène Delacroix. The Death of Sardanapalus. 1827-1828. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Woods

There's a reason I waited this long to write about my favorite woody scents; it's because there are so few that I love. It's not that I find them too masculine (because woody notes have traditionally been marketed as masculine scents thus far) but that they're heavy if the mix isn't right. Woods like many base notes make any combination of notes deeper. For me, the balance of woods with other notes has to be perfect or the heaviness wears me down. Here, too, I have very particular likes and dislikes depending on the type of wood, the particular yield of oil and also the type of extraction method which changes the scent of the oil, and in the end, it all comes down to the individual blend, the composition which is unique and transcends genres.

This week, I'm rediscovering Chanel No.5 but in eau de parfum version, and finding it very dry-woody (lots of patchouli) compared to the parfum which I find softer with more vetiver and moss. I'm starting to see No.5 as a woody floral more so than a powdery floral (but it's both, like Caron Nuit de Noel, Lanvin Arpege or Madame Rochas which were modeled after it). I still find it funny to call it Floral because to me, it smells more powdery than flowery (but most Aldehydic Florals/Soft Florals smell powdery to me), and by the time the heart notes start to bloom, the woods also turn up and never let the flowers take center stage and sing. Maybe this structure's too disciplined for me: I want an emotional moment (a lush heart) that doesn't ever climax with this scent. Nevertheless, I can enjoy it for what it is: a highly disciplined blend of Lanvin Arpege and N'aimez que Moi is how I'm feeling it today. The top notes smell a little sour to me now, like Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps. The dry down is rather musky when the rosy woods settle down, but not like No.22 which is skin musky (like the dry down of Marc Jacobs)--No.5 dries down heavier on the patchouli, making it a warmer, less clean musk.

Hilary Duff In Love: This is a new infatuation of mine even though I didn't like it at first. I found it harsh and I still think the quality is mainstream (a bit generic) but the scent has grown on me and I think I want a bottle now (although it now competes with No.22 for "next to buy"). It's not a completely unique scent (not that I care) and resembles many others (like Britney Spears Fantasy, Burbery Brit Red) but the combination of tart fruits and "dirty" ambery woods with a touch of Ralph Hot coconuttiness hiding somewhere is taking me someplace nostalgic in my mind, although I don't know where or what, and I don't care. It's a happy, earthy warm Fruity Oriental Gourmand that doesn't take things too seriously.

Serge Lutens Daim Blond: Serge Lutens is a great line full of high quality, interesting blends. I used to find them extremely heavy and they are, but they're hard not to love if you're a diehard perfume lover. Daim Blond is no exception, and I really admire this leathery scent for not being too dry and bold but rather smooth, deliciously Gourmand-like and oomphy rich with sweetness and depth but just enough minimalism and modernity so it's not a fussy scent. However, it does the opposite of what I want in a scent; whereas I need a scent to stay sweet, it turns sharper and less sweet over time, turning greener and soapier, more shrill by the minute. It's got just enough boldness for when I'm in my sweet woodsy mood.

Caron Farnesiana: Although the scent is a predominantly sweet, ambery-almond-like (a bit spicy like cinnamon) Oriental, the pungent sandalwood peeks out at the end, making this a smoky-warm, incense-y perfume of nirvana bliss. It's sweet enough to call Gourmand even if Caron aficionados want to pretend this word Gourmand never existed. It's not really flowery even though there are very sweet, low-pitched tropical flowers in it (they smell syrupy in the mix) and it's sort of a darkened, strange scent, not a real straightforward type of sweetness, either. In the end, I'm glad the sandalwood is there to override the baby powdery musk which truth be known annoys me from the start. A classic blend of innocence and hedonistic decadence, Farnesiana is like wearing dessert with liqueur drizzled on top, and if fruits were involved in this hookah, they yield a soft and rich aroma like dried dates and prunes.

(Images: www.parfumshik.ru, www.hilarynet.org, www.scentmonkey.com, www.parfyym.pri.ee)

Sexism Kills

Sorry the article is a bit dated but this is one of the reasons I don't want to live in Japan anytime soon: Japan, Land of Rising Poverty

That ought to teach women to marry and be obedient to their men and not piss them off. And now, a message from John & Yoko circa 1972 (although the original phrase was coined by Yoko in 1967)...

John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Woman Is the N-- of the World

Woman is the n-- of the world
Yes she is...think about it
Woman is the n-- of the world
Think about it...do something about it
We make her paint her face and dance
If she won't be slave, we say that she don't love us
If she's real, we say she's trying to be a man
While putting her down we pretend that she is above us
Woman is the n-- of the world...yes she is
If you don't believe me take a look to the one you're with
Woman is the slaves of the slaves
Ah yeah...better scream about it
We make her bear and raise our children
And then we leave her flat for being a fat old mother then
We tell her home is the only place she would be
Then we complain that she's too unworldly to be our friend
Woman is the n-- of the world...yes she is
If you don't believe me take a look to the one you're with
Woman is the slaves of the slaves
Yeah (think about it)
We insult her everyday on TV
And wonder why she has no guts or confidence
When she's young we kill her will to be free
While telling her not to be so smart we put her down for being so dumb
Woman is the n-- of the world...yes she is
If you don't believe me take a look to the one you're with
Woman is the slaves of the slaves
Yes she is...if you believe me, you better scream about it.
We make her paint her face and dance...

Yoko Ono: Voice Piece For Soprano (1961)

Conceptual Art by Yoko Ono

Glass Keys To Open the Skies With (1961)


A Box of Smile, New York, NY (1971) 6x6x6 cm. A chrome Box of Smile engraved “To Ernest From John and Yoko". The box opens to reveal a mirror inside.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cathars

History, the more I look into it, is sad. I imagine thousands...no, millions of people getting violently suppressed (murdered, wiped out by genocide) by the Catholic Church because they couldn't mesh their pagan roots and spiritual beliefs (values) with the times, so to speak. The more I read about the root religions where all this racist Gnostic/Rosicrucian stuff came from, the more I realize that the early religions weren't so different from the Japanese pagan ones that I'm familiar with, with deities that were more demonic than good. The misunderstanding with the Western world about these deities might be that they were meant as metaphors or allegories, not demons to actually worship in Luciferian practices. Perhaps some cults did make human sacrifices and whatnot--but many pagan groups were mindful of "good"; in fact the Cathars who practiced Catharism were a (relatively) peaceful people and believed in karma and reincarnation--but they were anti-materialism and basically had sprung out as a group against the materialism of the Catholic Church. Not all beliefs in karma and reincarnation are meant to attract your sportscar, your dream house and 76 virgin concubines after all. Maybe the Law of Attraction depicted in the film isn't the same Law of Attraction that people of the East believe in.

Nirvana is no different than heaven if we're reaching for the same "place" in our minds. Where do morals fit into the picture? Why do we try to do good while we're here--what's the point? If traditional (to our Western world) morals die and all we have left is reason, would we still have human rights? How correct are human rights if you're a believer in complete freedom? How could one institution (such as marriage) be both freeing for some (offering security to women and children) and enslaving for others (keeping people bound where they don't want to be)? Theories, when applied to real life, can be good for some and bad for others, which is why you can't make the whole world happy with one belief system. So, should we apply Einstein's law of relativity and all be moral relativists? It's all very complicated, and just plain sad. I don't know what the answer is...:-(

But I do believe in a form of Law of Attraction, which is that we reap what we sow, though I don't believe this on a material plane so much as I do spiritually. I just don't see owning riches as a sign of good mental conditioning or goodness at all, and therefore nothing to be proud about. So I may think materialism is ugly if not morally wrong. I also don't believe that Law of Attraction and karma in and of themselves make us callous and unfeeling of those who have attracted horrible fates into their lives. That would be the same as Christians saying people who don't accept Christ deserve their fate, which is hell. Likewise, Jews don't celebrate the death of those their ancestors have killed, although some traditions might seem that way to those who don't really know. Jewish Passover seders I've attended have all incorporated moments of silence for the "enemies" who had died, reminding ourselves that we should all be our brothers' keepers regardless of different backgrounds and faiths. So, at the core, humans aren't so different from one another. We do good because it feels good to do good for the most part...which creates another problem, even a global one...

I have Japanese friends who say the West has no right imposing human rights on countries where they "don't want any". Are we overstepping our boundaries when we go into a country and tell them they can't stone their wives or promote child porn? Or should the West leave these cultures alone to figure it out for themselves so to speak, until they can attract more "humane" ways of thinking? What do you think of anarchy and complete lawlessness?

Law of Attraction in the minds of most followers at its core can be a positive message of being good to others, so that we create a better place while we're here, and we can hope for great riches (or at least the opposite of starvation and suffering which may be the reality) either in this life or the next. Love--there's nothing more important than this, and I believe most cultures did in fact teach this, as I believe Love is secular and we all have this inside (although Judeo-Christian religions try to teach that love is learned behavior, not just a feeling, or Eros). However, I can't ignore the fact that these root religions preceding the Rosicrucians denied the Jewish Old Testament in their teachings, which may have inadvertantly developed into antisemitism in the hands of racist cults that corrupted the Eastern teachings for their own purposes. In any case, I sense something strange about this film, especially since it's 2007 and churches are seeing this year as some year of completion. Likewise, theological circles are discussing "Roman fever", whatever that means.

Are we trying to implement socialism here with this film? What is socialism, really? Is it the same everywhere or like karma, dependent upon how the theory's applied? How would America implement it if we were to in some shape somewhere down the line as we all move forward to globalization, like it or not? Oh, and by the way, I am "attracting" a million dollar record deal and a new perfume every day for the rest of my life as I write.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Today's Indie Music News

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The second single 'Ten Stars Away' from Tarsha's new album 'Prophecies' is being featured on The Hairball John Radio Show this week. In addition, Hairball John reviewed Tarsha on his site, describing the new album as "Passionately Powerful... a real force to be reckoned with." I really love this artist's music and this new single is destined to be a classic metal ballad. Please request artist TARSHA "Ten Stars Away" here!

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Sali Oguri's groovy-rockin' sexy little number, "Come On Up" from 'Pink Manhattan' CD has entered the New Wave Top 10 chart on Broadjam! Check out the latest chart action by clicking on Top 10, link to ROCK to New Wave. Please support the CD by linking to CDBaby and pick up a copy in time for Valentine's Day. ;-) Thanks for your continued support!

Chanel N°22

I have a strange relationship with No.22. I always thought it was boring (as well as a bit strange) but tonight I'm liking this Chanel. It's so flowery for me, though, in this particular retro gardenia way I usually avoid. It's also increasingly violet-sharp (but not unlike Caron N'aimez que Moi which I love). At first, it's very similar to No.5 to my nose, being a hyperpowdery, aldehydic, perfumey classic scent. They say it's white floral but to me, it's rosier and maybe more purple in my mind than white floral (but I love the idea of wearing white roses), a bit soapy, sour and fizzy sharp, except when the tuberose comes out to sweeten it. Mostly, it's abstract and powdery, and seems softer than No.5 because of the vetiver-incense base. It maybe a little less aldehydic than No.5 but to me it's more tart, definitely sweeter (vanillic, too, I think), a little greener (I get violets--sharp--also, hyacinth or lily of the valley) and I get a green tuberose-gardenia-sweet floral ending in No.22. It may smell old-fashioned now but it must have been considered very modern in its day.

For something similar but more contemporary, I think Dior Pure Poison or Guerlain Insolence (maybe Juicy Couture as well) come close in overall effect. Closer still to No.22: Pavlova (also launched in 1922!), Guerlain Liu, L'Ame Soeur, Estee Lauder White Linen, Lise Watier Neiges, Nina Ricci Fleur de Fleurs, Lanvin Arpege, YSL Rive Gauche, in some ways Serge Lutens Datura Noir or Un Lys, MPG Secrete Datura, L'Artisan La Haie Fleurie, Piguet Fracas, Frederic Malle Carnal Flower, La Base and many green (flowery or evocative of a garden of) retro tuberoses, but only because of the drydown note. No.22 is really an Aldehydic Floral, meaning perfumey and finely powdered, and while No.22 is not particularly memorable or distinctive imo, it's kind of sweet and nice. I may still be in my soapy rose-violet phase, maybe getting hooked as I write. Musky ending is not unlike Marc Jacobs.

Here are the notes from Now Smell This blog:
Chanel No.22 (1922)
The top notes are aldehydes, white roses, jasmine, tuberose, lily of the valley, lilac, and orange flower. The heart is orchid and ylang ylang, and the base is vanilla, incense, and vetiver.

(Image: www.basenotes.net)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Secret, Classicism and Beauty

Are you concerned at all about this Law of Attraction thing? As well-meaning as followers may be, more people are finally starting to expose it for being the racist, sexist propaganda that it is (the theory being "you deserve your fate no matter what" combined with "you can do whatever you want" = survival of the fittest or Natural Law), but when I use a search engine and type in "Law of Attraction", I don't see the connection to the Rosicrucians, Nazis or Blavatsky root race theory come up (blatant racism! I can see how the caste system works in India--no, thanks!) and I'd hate to see history repeat itself just because people seeing through these new rose-colored glasses don't know where this could lead (I should have seen something like this might come up after the tantric sex trend (Phallic Worship (serpent worship)) popularized through the mouths of celebrities).

We can see clearly that Beauty and Fashion follow the same theories in visual form, to constantly remind us of this manmade CONCEPT or PARADIGM of racial hierarchy. Perfumery is no different, and now I finally understand why androgyny is considered cool (even in the perfume world--take note, fruity or gourmand lovers). The perfected Aryan according to Blavatsky is neither male nor female but back to the former metaphysical, androgynous state. Isn't it a convenient teaching to RATIONALIZE racial stereotyping, sexism and hate? So that's what being hip is all about--just remind yourself that anything good and happy and sweet, connected to sunny places where brown people live, or yucky real femininity (the kind that's not the female, or quieted, version of a man), is unhip and worst of all, un-Aryan. This is what good taste (or, if you prefer, correct taste) is about: thus, foie gras. Duh!

So, lovers of Classicism, I ask you now: Do you want to secretly bring back the Age of Reason and racial order? Do you really despise the notion of race mixing that much? Should we go back to accepting our fate based on bloodlines so you all can relax? Perhaps we should also remind ourselves as women that we surely have our proper places, too (that's before we undergo genetic manipulation so we can all be as one). The Enlightenment or Universal Mind was about there being ONE RIGHT WAY with EVERYTHING. We are One...human CHAIN of hierarchy. Men as complete male/female beings in one are gods, and we're free to live as their slaves! Amazing! They call this evolution? It sounds like ancient thinking to me. It's everything I've run away from all my life, the stuff that drove my parents and so many people of previous generations mad!

(Edited to add: Oprah is doing a story about The Secret on Jan.31. I wonder if she'll talk about the Rosicrucian symbols in the movie (www.thesecret.tv) or the genie scene which was taken straight out of the book, Secrets of the Ages by Robert Collier. Stay tuned!)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Foie Gras

My taste in fragrance has taken so many turns over the course of my (almost!) one year of blogging. I've gone from despising to loving the same scent. I've gone from saying no to powdery scents and violets (calling them Lolita scents which I still think they are), to being hooked on them. I've changed my mind about previous loves which today I don't think are all that (but maybe still love for nostalgic reasons). Taste can change...and yet...I still can't like foie gras.

Well, no matter how my taste has so-called evolved over the years, I still don't like chicken skins and meat fats, either, and I'm not about to try to see if my taste will change. However, with foie gras, I still have a mission to understand the hype. I liken it to Guerlain Mitsouko--a smell I dislike about 360 days out of the year, until I get in one of my strange moods and then, Mitsouko becomes a "work of art" in my eyes and just barely wearable.

When I ask about taste hierarchy, I'm not even talking about quality but rather why certain styles are considered to be in higher taste than others. I learned last year in submitting my music to TAXI that even critics listen to music predominantly based on styles (for example, more acoustic or Classical/European instrumentation is called "elegant"). Likewise, I've come to see that racial stereotypes are prevalent in perfumery, such as cold climate flowers considered to be more elegant than tropical--subversive references to racial/geographical hierarchy are everywhere. By the way, the notion that colder climate people are supposedly more evolved (not) explains why I had to suffer growing up in a house that was always cold ("so your brain doesn't turn to mush" said my Japanese parents...and no, I didn't really suffer--it wasn't freezing or anything--just cold!). I've also been brought to light the problem of scent stereotyping ("your taste is black" said one person who was taken aback by my love for tuberose. Does that make tuberose as "cheap" as Dance music is perceived?) Why is Chanel No.5 so popular and considered the pinnacle of elegance in perfumery? Was Coco Chanel's lucky number 5 significant in any way to represent the ultimate woman or what?

When it comes to wine, we always hear that the full-bodied reds are better than the best whites, and that a dirty type of taste is better than superclean. Who decides these trends and why do they seem so etched in stone? Also, why don't people question these decisions? How do you just take them at face value--does our own taste count or are we all too afraid of being uncool? Is what's "best" decided by majority rule or by something else? Everything in trendmaking seems symbolic in some way thus far...and of course, why does there have to be a best--so people won't ever stop competing to be the best themselves? Can a person be the "best" by being aesthetically "correct"? It all makes me wanna scream because I know it's all bullcrap, the same as saying Classical music is simply the best (and I know plenty of people who wouldn't argue this fact!).

Back to perfumery: here, too, the classic French perfumes are revered as being superior (not that I would argue this, ever--never said I didn't sell my soul to the perfume gods), and the type of fragrance considered the greatest is like foie gras: rich and strange. Back to food: Like Mitsouko, foie gras is at once dark and warm and oily, a little eerie how it's fatty like that and it's not at all cheery or sweet. Salt can't save it. I just can't fake it! Come to think of it, why are the fattiest pieces of sushi considered delicacies, too, like toro and amaebi, neither of which I can stomach because as open as I like to think I am, I just think they're too freaking weird?

Fragrance of the Moment: Hilary Duff With Love

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Secret, Blavatsky, Root Race and Law of Attraction

Edited to add: Please read about Law of Attraction, Rosicrucianism and New World Order at this link.

"The Secret" (film) (www.thesecret.tv) appears to be increasing in popularity now as the next big thing, but the reasons for it being popularized now aren't clear to me yet. I have watched "The Secret" several times now at the urging of a friend of mine, and although I think most followers' intention is an innocent, albeit universalist New Age one to free themselves from self-doubt and lead more positive, fulfilling lives, suppression or denial of negative feelings over the longterm can lead to disconnection with reality and callousness to the feelings of others to the point of psychopathic behavior. The film has many "classic" cult moments such as the renouncing of ego to become vessels of higher teachings, the central theme being monism or that the principalities of evil and good being one, therefore all things being permissible. At its best, in the hands of someone seeking inner peace and love, it can be a tool for self-knowledge and growth--at worst, it's the worst kind of propaganda. Monism has historically taken extreme turns into social Darwinism and scientific racism, Nazism in particular. In this writing I will attempt to explain why I see "The Secret" in the ways that I do.

The film unfolds like a Hollywood version of a motivational program, complete with highly emotional, dramatic visuals (fast edits and movements, flashing symbols), music and esoteric philosophies from the mouths of the world's famous intellectuals (but very few women are represented and the film appears patriarchal from the start, with Rosicrucian symbols exploited throughout). The film says we are one, or that the only true religion is truth (the New Thought motto), that all physical matter is created by our thoughts (manifestation) and how law of attraction (New Age/New Thought philosophy) would grant us in our lifetimes whatever thoughts we produce, positive or negative. These aren't original ideas. If you look up "The Secret" on Wikipedia, it would only mention law of attraction as the source of its doctrine but upon further research, I found out that there was a series of books called "The Secret Doctrine--The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy" written by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy. Her masterwork was written in 1888 at the height of the occult revival in Russia (late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century). Everyone in the "know" read it from Albert Einstein to Aldous Huxley, and the book(s) eventually became a favorite of Adolf Hitler who took the teachings (a large portion of which is Gnostic or Aryan (or Indo-European) root race theory) and used it for propaganda (the ecstatic emotional element of the movement probably hooked people quickly). The rest is history--the Holocaust which would eliminate the Jews--how? By first brainwashing people into believing Jews to be spiritually unevolved, because they would reject monism in favor of traditional morality concerning the existence of good and evil. While "The Secret Doctrine" was hailed for being the most important intellectual work of its time, it's also a work that reflects Blavatsky's own antisemitism in several passages in the books.

"The Secret" film has recently inspired shootoffs such as hypnosis CDs made by followers of the doctrine--one such CD I heard was designed with the goal of taking the listener to an altered state in which to accept the crux of it all: the visualization of a field where you can do no right or wrong, a field in which all is forgiven, precisely at the point where the trance-like, rapturous music begins its rhythmic ascent into euphoria. I happen to like intoxicating trancendental music--good BGM can certainly make an induction to monism seem tempting but if I'm to be honest, I still come out believing that the Great Serpent of Gnostic tradition (aka Lucifer or bringer of the light) will bite me in the ass if I follow it. However, on a high note, I find it highly entertaining to imagine myself breaking free of this pesky belief in good-and-evil existing in the world and in the hearts of man. Who cares about morality when we're talking about mind control? How much easier would it be to just imagine and attract infinite riches, success, fame and your perfect 76 virgin girlfriends? Conversely, we could just blame the Jews for bringing the doom of genocide upon themselves by way of law of attraction, too, or is karma more compassionate than that? Is it time again to address the unhipness of a belief system created by the unhip creators of the Bible so we could all globally stop this Jewish Guilt Problem once and for all? Whatever your spiritual beliefs are, if you're a follower of "The Secret", I would be watchful and aware of where the supporters' money might be going.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dr. King

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

Leader of the American civil rights movement, minister, 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner, peacemaker, promoter of non-violence and racial equality

Here in the United States, the third Monday in January is a national holiday to commemorate Dr. King's birthday. We have a long weekend--have a good one, everybody.

(Image: www.drmartinlutherkingjr.com)

Friday, January 05, 2007

JoJo

I've finally succumbed to the new year. I've got the world's best cup of coffee here and "Too Little, Too Late" on repeat. Have a fabulous 2007!!!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Caron Farnesiana

Caron Farnesiana is a scent I would describe as spicy-sharp-powdery, hypersweet, voluptuous, syrupy, baby powdery. I'd group it with other sharp-spicy powdery scents such as Kenzo Flower and People of the Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo. It also reminds me of the hypersweet musky, almondy (or cherry-like to some) Lea St. Barth but deeper and more refined. On dry down, the warm, smoky sandalwood peeks through. Farnesiana has grown on me, even though it's heavier, sweeter, muskier (like baby powder or baby oil) and spicier (almondy-sharp--think marzipan) than I usually like my perfumes. The beauty of this perfume is the sum of its parts more than the individual notes for me. Being a New Look launch, I think it was supposed to smell "new" but classic/traditional, sort of all-out extravagant yet controlled/subdued, and it does. I think of Farnesiana as a sophisticated, decadent Gourmand, even if florals are supposedly in here (tropical at that), and I find the blend more comforting than suggestive. It reminds me of Viennese tables and Mediterranean desserts, perhaps Baklava which I love in all its intensely sweet, syrupy-nutty-flakiness, and of liqueurs, perhaps brandy, cognac or Frangelico. Being on the heavy side, it's not something I could wear all the time but for special occasions, preferably in the winter, it's rounded and well-mannered yet festive and opulent enough for elegant parties. It's dark, sweet, rich and boozy, with almost a cinnamony feeling, and it makes me want to wear red. It's sumptuous, with a surprisingly unassuming powdery soft innocence for its base.