Thursday, July 27, 2006

Terre d'Hermès

Mark was in Spain since Sunday and arrived yesterday. He bought me the most adorable scent while there, Hermès "Terre d'Hermès" created by one of my favourite noses, Jean-Claude Ellena.

The scent is an ode to Vétiver, one of my favourite fragrance notes. Vétiver lends a rooty, earthy, rainy character to fragrances. "Elemental" would be the word to describe it. And no wonder this one is called "Terre". That's indeed what it is: the smell of earth at its best. Wet earth after a rainshower in Brazil. A very pungent, tropical aroma, almost metallic, and somehow sharp - in a most pleasant way though! One of the nicest smells for me... Full of memories, fragrant memories of childhood, and growing-up years.

It is mostly used in fragrances classified as "masculine", however I do not agree very much with such classifications. I believe fragrances are genderless. You wear what you love, doesn't matter if intended for a man, a woman, or a baby even. But that's my point-of-view. No wonder I've been wearing Guerlain's "Vétiver" for years now. Still some people see it as "weird", believe it or not.

"Terre d'Hermès" is a fantastic alternative to my beloved "Vétiver", mixing its dominant notes with patchouli and woods. One can distinguish a hint of citrus (a bit like lemongrass maybe) right in the top and middle notes, which confers a crystalline, sunny trait to a primarily "harsh" and very distinctive note, smoothing down the overall composition. Think about a little Murano glass leaf filtering the sun rays and shattering into a million of tiny, delicate rainbows. The drydown melts into a pleasant, woody and almost sparkly mix of wonders, like those fragrant tiny rainbows. Its "final" colour? Emerald green, like the Rain Forest, with some gold foil patches here and there. Transparent. Aqueous. Refreshing.

This makes a great scent for all seasons: Summer, Winter, anytime. Staying power is great too; it literally lasts for hours on end. If you love this kind of earthy, clean smell, this is definitely worth a sniff.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Keroro Ending Song - my favorite!!!

Isn't it super kawaii???
Just LOVE that song and now I need to find the Romaji lyrics!
The song is called PEKOPON SHINRYAKU ONDOU, a Summer ending song for the series.
I have the CD, and the lyrics in Japanese, but not Romaji, unfortunately...
(And I cannot read Japanese, boo-hooo!!!)
If by any chance anyone has it, please let me know, OK?

Domo arigatou!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Scruffy O'Bear: A True Story

This is a picture of me and my beloved Scruffy O'Bear, a present of Mark before we got married!

He tells all the story of Scruffy in his blog here! All details and so on... Later on we realised that he was not really a bear, but a dog. The last name remained of course, because it sounds very Irish and Scruffy was already used to it, he he!

When Mark sent it to me in Rio he also made an album with lots of pictures of him, Scruffy and Owen called:

"The Grand Adventures of Scruffy O'Bear - Being a Tale of Fun and Larks in the Seaside Town of Brighton..."

Lovely! The pictures are great, however they were taken with a disposable camera and the scans, as you will notice, are far from perfect, a bit grainy in fact. The originals are perfect though and I have them here, of course! The little story Mark wrote is also very cute and funny! You can as well see the pics as a slide show, however on the slide show Mark's captions with the original little story are not available.

Now let's face it: how on Earth could I not fall in love after such a present???

Friday, July 14, 2006

Swing Girls!

We got yet another fantastic film from CDJapan (where on Earth would I be without them?): "Swing Girls".

It is an exhilarating, charming little comedy, with great, funny moments and you can just feel good while you watch it. And the feel-good effect will last for some hours afterwards, that's for sure!

There is one specific scene involving the girls and a wild boar that is just completely different from everything you have ever seen in a comedy, and absolutely hilarious and unexpected. Surreal, I would say.

The family scenes are also woth a mention, and the little girl that plays Tomoko's sister is a joy to watch.

The actors are excellent. Actually all the musical pieces in the film have been performed by themselves, and not dubbed at all, which is just very impressive. They have been taking music lessons for several months beforehand at the Yamaha Music School - whose headquarters do play a role in the film - since not many of them knew how to play an instrument (in real life). I think it's just brilliant how talented they are.

The DVD is a little gem, packed with extras, everything superbly produced, masterly directed and beautifully acted. In one word: perfect. Mark loved it too, since it's not a chick-flick, but a film for everybody. If you love great comedies, please try to get a copy of this! It's not to be missed!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Last night we watched a very good Korean horror film, "Acacia", directed by Ki-Hyung Park, same director of "Whispering Corridors". It is a fantastic film, with beautiful photography and music. A little work of art.

I don't see it as much as a "horror" film, but rather as a drama. It tells the story of a childless couple longing for a baby. Since the baby doesn't come, they decide to adopt. The Father is a ob-gyn consultant. The Mom works as an art critic, exhibition judge or something like that.

They visit an orphanage and she sees the drawings of the kids, and is intrigued by a drawing that looks very much like Edvard Munch's "The Scream". As an art critic, she is fascinated by that and asks to meet the kid who drew it, an adorable 6 year-old, called Jim-seong. She decides to adopt him and the kid goes to live with his new parents.

In the end, she ends up getting pregnant and having another baby boy. Jim-seong starts to feel rejected and becomes very troubled and somber, which is quite understandable. He is jealous, his parents seem to have eyes for the new-born only, and do not seem to care very much about him. He then becomes attached to a dying acacia tree in the garden and claims that the tree is his "real Mother". At the same time he befriends his little neighboor, a lonely - and somehow precocious - 8 year-old girl, Min-ji.

But one day Jim-seong disappears and the family starts to live a nightmare of guilt and loss. More I must not tell, but the film grows increasingly sadder and a wee bit creepy as well. The images are beautiful though, everything looks like a dream, like a picture book. It is a deliberate tribute to Munch and his colours, and fantastic, dreamlike scenarios.

The acacia tree is an old symbol for innocence, purity and immortality. It is an evergreen. According to the Egyptian myth for example, Seth killed Osiris by locking him into a golden sarcophagus and setting it afloat on the Nile. The sarcophagus ended up in Byblos, and a beautiful acacia tree grew all around it, as if to protect the god's body. That acacia tree being so lush and fragrant, it was used to build a pillar for the King's palace, until Isis finally found it and broke it as to release her husband. Horus himself was born from inside an acacia tree, in one of the versions of the myth. Therefore, the acacia is associated to rebirth, immortality, and triumph over death - similar to the Phoenix. It is a key symbol in Freemasonry also. We would spend more than a week perhaps just to mention all myths and traditions where the acacia appears as a symbol of immortality, and rebirth.

In relation to the film though, its symbolism has been very well captured and treated, albeit with a modern twist and inserted into a family drama. Worth checking it out. It's a beautiful, melancholy piece of cinematography.

Monday, July 03, 2006


I am just back from St. Vincent's Hospital, where I had my 2nd MRI since I was diagnosed in 2002. It's very noisy inside that tube, even with the ear plugs, but not at all uncomfortable. You get a bit dizzy though.

I got out, Mark went to collect the car and picked me up, and then I sang: "My brain has just been photographed, la la..."

Mark's answer to that: "Yeah, assuming that they could find a brain..."

He is SOOOO nice, no???


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Another Takeshi Kitano's tonight...

... and it was "Kids Return" (aka "Kidzu Ritan"), a lovely coming-of-age tale. Great as everything Kitano does, and with Hisaishi's soundtrack - always excellent. The story is about two high-school bullies, Shinju and Masaru, and how they grow up, and things do not go exactly as they expected. It's a funny, and touchy movie at the same time. I could identify very much with the characters, in the sense that when I was young I had all these dreams (becoming this and that, doing one thing or another, and so on) and in the end, it did not come out exactly as I had planned.

Shinju and Masaru, and their shy colleague Hiroshi, try to do their best (as a boxer, a Yakuza's man and a taxi driver respectively) and things just do not seem to work as expected. They are still very young though and can easily make a new start. It's a fun film, light and well-acted, albeit slight melancholy. A must-see.

Bye bye Brasil...

Tonight Brasil was eliminated (in the World Cup I mean!). The French won the game. I was supporting Brasil of course, but did not get very sad or anything. I like watching the games but I am not a soccer person. I don't care about football, but it was fun.

I liked to see Brasil and France playing because the players in general were quite friendly and civilised. A bunch of real gentlemen! That's nice to see... Probably because they all know each other in their everyday job, playing for those clubs and so on. It was good to see them embracing each other, and being all friendly in the end. But we must admit that Zidane fella is a super-cute player! Aaaaahhh, he looks soooo lovely!

There is one thing that freaks me out in those games though. They have this thing of exchanging the jerseys in the end, and it's all sweaty and yucky! I get a bit "nervous" when I see that exchange of jerseys (and bodily fluids, gyaahhh!)... See, I could not be a football player if I were a guy (actually I would probably be working in "Queer Eye for a Straight Guy" instead...). I mean I would be very embarrassed by that ritual. Mark says he would not care at all because "everybody is sweaty and stinky in the end"... Yeah,yeah, but you know your own sweat, another different thing is someone else's... Not nice, I think...

Blah, I am just digressing and being silly maybe... (As usual!)