Thursday, May 24, 2007

A rose by any other name

This is not about roses. It is about scents, or rather, my sense of smell and the scents I enjoy. (I figured a Shakespearean reference was better than calling this blog Odor-rama).

There is no other way to say this: I have a strong sense of smell. (This also results in my being more sensitive in the taste department as well but that's another blog entirely). What do I mean by strong? Imagine being able to smell someone's bubblegum, from four to five feet away. Or their lip gloss, or lotion, or hairspray, or the flavoring in their coffee. Or in one spectacular case being able to smell someone's cologne from about twenty feet away while others couldn't smell it from two. You get the idea. This of course creates some problems for me since the world is a smelly place, and frequently not in a good way.

But it does make pleasant scents that more enjoyable. What do I think is pleasant? Glad you asked. (Ok, so you didn't really, but I'm going to tell you anyway!)

Freshly laundered clothes and sheets.
Baby powder.
Suntan lotion.
Bread baking.
Bacon frying-but only while it is frying, afterwards it smells stale.
A distant charcoal grill.
Apple cider heating.
Butter melting on corn on the cob.
A clean dog, or rather, my dog after his bath.
An ocean breeze.
Freshly cut grass, but only if there are no onions in the yard.
Old Spice (my father's cologne/aftershave).
Chloe (my mother's perfume when I was little. I believe it has been discontinued).
Whole bean coffee. I love to stand on that aisle in the store and inhale. If the beverage tasted as good as it smells I would be perpetually wired.
A turkey or whole chicken roasting in the oven.
Freshly fallen snow.
The air right before it rains.
A live Christmas tree, there is nothing to compare to the real thing.

There are others I'm forgetting, it's hard to concentrate when your spoiled little dog keeps whining to be petted. (And there is one thing I deliberately left off). Please feel free to share the scents you enjoy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Rule Britannia

Anyone who knows me more than superficially knows that I have deep abiding love for the UK. This started at a fairly young age. I enjoyed the Beatrix Potter stories, and gobbled up other classics of children's literature that hail from that fair isle. One of my first crushes was on Peter Pan albeit the animated Disney representation of him. And everything just snowballed from there. My favorite music, movies, books, television shows, and plays are filled with British works and/or actors. I even took a survey of British history from 1603 to present in college. It had a cumulative final by the way, all essay. I love the language, and all of the various dialects therein. I find myself wanting to use British English spellings. I love their slang, and turn of phrase. I love the concept of tea in the afternoon, and I love fried toast. I love their dry wit, and their ability to find the humor in sadness and dark situations. There is just something about the British Isles that captivates my imagination. The Celts! Boudica! Stonehenge! The Tower of London! White Cliffs of Dover!

I don't think you can chalk this passion up to DNA, because while England is heavily represented so are Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands. (If heritage held that much sway over me I would be constantly at war with myself). But really, the amount of quality creative output that comes from the UK is amazing. Think about it: Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl, Agatha Christie, the Beatles, The Stones, The Who, The Cult, Noel Coward, Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Michael Caine, Tim Curry, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, James Bond, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Rabbit. All from the UK! Do you enjoy The Office? Based on a BBC show. Trading Spaces? Ditto. Weakest Link, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Big Brother? Ditto. Whose Line is it Anyway? Yep, British. Antiques Roadshow? Yep. Say what you will about his style but Andrew Lloyd Weber changed the face of musical theater. Monty Python is the benchmark of sketch comedy whatever anyone else says.

And ok, I realize that I've been using British and UK interchangeably, and I know that those of Scottish descent/birth take exception to this and my apologies. If it makes you feel better I did my reference pathfinder on Scotland during grad school. And an entire semester's work devoted to that fair country of the British Isles. I told you I have a passion! And I'm not even factoring in Australia, New Zealand or Canada at the moment.

Perhaps it's a size thing; it is much easier to produce crap for the public consumption in a big country like ours. Perhaps it's an age thing; the US is really just a spoiled teenager compared to the rest of the world. Perhaps it is just me. And what has prompted this outpouring of love you may wonder? BBC America. I switched to Directv last week and I am in hog heaven. I'm hooked on Robin Hood. I end up watching at least one show a night on that station. It's dangerous for me I tell you. I already slip into a British accent when feeling silly or sarcastic which is like every other sentence lately. Everyday it moves a bit closer to an obsession as opposed to merely a passion. I give my friends permission to smack me if I start writing colour or theatre or if I ever refer to diapers as nappies.