Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Now on Clouds

Just a quick MASH note for you, today, luvvies.

I made a SoundCloud profile.

Even better than that, I posted some SONGZ on that bizness.
 I'll be honest with you: I have no clue, really, how SoundCloud works, but I am there, and you can look there, and see me, and feel me, and vibe me, and whatever. But you can't feed me figs, because it it just a computer profile and not a person, and you can't feed computers food or they won't work any more.  If you wanted to feed me figs, you'd have to do that in person.

If you want to feed me figs in person, message me first to make sure I'm okay with that. Because I might not be. That kind of depends on you. Like your essential is-ness. Your gestalt.

I should also tell you that I am working on a new song, tentatively titled Cooties of the Heart.  (!)

If you would like to be one of the first people to lay ears on it, you should come out to this year's inaugural Rival FM listening party, which will be at that uniquely cooperative den of hippies we know and adore as The Riverwest Public House, on Sunday, February 3rd, at 7pm.

Here's the link to my SoundCloud:

Do me proud and favorite some songs for me, and follow me, and post all sorts of links on yer FaceSpace and all of that stuff that one does on SoundCloud.

But no figs.  We already talked about the figs, yeah?

Well, okay then.

xoxoxoxoxoxox (etc.) -Laur
↑ My, aren't we brazen?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Apparently, Octopi Are Just Where I'm At These Days.

T-Boz has recently figured out that you can turn anything into a hyperbolic display of enthusiasm simply by add the suffix "tastic" to the end of any word.  So, naturally, when he saw the steampunky new tentacle earrings I made to go with my outfit for the Umali Awards earlier this month, he said, "Mama! I like your fancy earrings.  They're OCTOPUSTASTIC!"

Indeed they are, son.  Indeed they are.

A somewhat blurry closeup of the finished earrings.

Faux gauges! They're fauxtastic!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

As promised, here is the first of my tracks for Rival FM.  This is the one that came in 5th in the top 5.  I'll post more as I get them all YouTubed up.  (Oh, that sounded dirty!) xo-L

Xmas [Letter] in July. Okay, actually June.

 -Okay, so this post is going to be all information-y, and I hope you can forgive me.  Think of it, if you would, like one of those annual xmas letters that you always get from your aunt with all of the photos of awkward kids in sweaters and braggy statements about how awesome the family is doing, only maybe without any sweaters or awkward kids or references to God's Love.  (And not much bragging.  Maybe a tiny bit of bragging, but I promise to keep it under control.)

Just this month, I made a conscious decision to be okay with the fact that my blog posts of late are infrequent. I looked back at the last few and realized that I'm posting mostly around once a month (although sometimes only briefly), and for now, I'm going to give myself permission for that to be enough for me. You, o lovely readers of mine, probably haven't even really noticed, because this is my blog and not yours, and you probably check in with me infrequently, anyhow, since I have been blogging infrequently. But for me, it's been a stressor. (Don't worry, though. It's only been a little one.)

 I have given myself permission to stop stressing out about blog frequency, and I will tell you why. I have decided to stop stressing out about blog frequency/quality/length, because I've decided that it will be more useful to devote the next year or so to frying a couple of much bigger fish. Namely, I've decided to devote more of my stupidly limited work time to a couple of large writing and musical projects, in hopes that I might reap larger rewards from finishing them (Not necessarily meaning financial benefits, btw, although in my fantasy land, that would be nice. Mostly, I'm thinking about the satisfaction of completing a piece of substantial writing.) Unfancily, what I'm trying to say is that I'm writing a book. I'm also making a push to finish the half-finished album of songs I've had bouncing around in my brain/computer for ...oh...ever. Aaand, I'm making a web series. But that's really it. I swear. Mostly.

It feels really pretentious to type those things with the intention of publicly publishing them. I don't know why I feel this way, or if I am the only person who feels this way, but I sometimes experience a cringing, apologetic embarrassment when I have to tell people about myself, because I sound like such a hipster cliché. The other day I had a getting-to-know-you meeting with the new manager at my arubaito, and I sat there struggling with myself over what to edit and what to share.

She was all, "So, Lauryl! Tell me about yourself! What are your long-term career goals? What do you like to do?" Oh god. Has there ever been a harder question to answer? I want to be honest (or, as honest as I felt I could be within the frame of reference of a Christian non-profit community service organization, so, you know, no mentioning my pro-choice activism, I guess.), but I don't necessarily want to overload the poor woman. The plain facts is that I like to do a lot of stuff.

"Um..." I stumbled awkwardly, "I make art, I mean...I was a drawing major in college?  And I do freelance illustration work, but like, I also do performance art? And I' a band? Two bands, actually...and I like, well I do some community events organizing, but also I'm a writer... so, yeah, I guess, long-term. Um. I'd like to make art in some capacity and write, and, like, have that be a real job ...that I do.  And get, like, um, paid for it, maybe. That would be nice."*

*"Get paid for it"...HA! Unspoken but obvious subtext: "So I don't have to keep working at this shitty place."

Man, was that a John Cusack moment or what?

It's not as if I'm the only person I know with artistic pretensions, so I don't know why I have such a hard time talking about them without feeling like a cartoon. Do other people feel this way, too? Maybe 4 years of art school have made me overly sensitive to bullshit artspeak, I dunno.

But enough about my neuroses! Let us instead discuss My Art!*

*Speaking of my neuroses, I was told by a friend the other day that she really appreciates my Facebook posts because I "let it all hang out." Not sure if that is a good thing.

I've been making a dedicated push to spend time working on songs lately, and I've been really happy with my progress. I've now got three songs that are pretty much finished, and I've got about a dozen more that are in some sort of half complete state. Lauryl Sulfate & her Ladies of Leisure had a really nice little profile on in March, and that was pretty sweet, although, I'll be honest, a little awkward for me, since I don't consider most of the new suite of songs to be performance-ready yet.

The most recent and most exciting musical news is that I've been participating in a new project here in Milwaukee called Rival FM, which is basically a very friendly monthly song writing competition. Artists submit tracks, then everyone meets at a bar (the totally awesome Riverwest Public House, which is one of the only two co-op taverns in the country!) and votes on which ones they like the best. The winning songs are published online via the Rival FM website, and the winning artists are invited to submit a song for the next month.   I'll post the tracks here as I get them all on YouTube.  

The really great thing, for me anyway, about this is that it gives me a deadline to work from.  I don't necessarily perform best under unrealistically tight deadlines, but I've found that neither do I do so well with no deadlines at all.  One song a month is a reasonable rate, and with just that much fire under my butt, I've had some real breakthroughs with songwriting.  I've also found some really great collaborators to work with, which really, really makes all the difference when you're trying to get shit done.  After a long stretch of time recovering from collaborative heartbreak and trying to go it alone, it really feels amazing to be finding myself surrounded by such a warm, positive creative community full of amazing, talented people.

My hope is that, at this rate, I'll have enough tracks for a complete album within the year.  Then it will be time to start thinking about performance!

Oh, and also, I have a new, new collaboration in the works, which I can't tell you that much about yet, because there isn't much yet to know, but also because I want to seem EXCITING and MYSTERIOUS.  I will only tell you that the name of the new project may or may not be PHONEHENGE.  And, as everyone knows, henges are full of EXCITEMENT and MYSTERY!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

SSP Alert! or In Which the Authoress Sings Her Own Praises

I'm going to take just a few minutes here to throw in a plug for my band, Lauryl Sulfate & Her Ladies of Leisure, because we're going to be doing a song at the Riverwest Follies on Saturday, March 3rd*. Molly Snyder, who is a rad mama bandmistress in her own right (LINK!), has written a supersweet article about me and my musicalish exploits for OnMilwaukee, and I'm pretty siked to share it here. I also really liked this related blog post that Molly wrote, about giving yourself permission to be rad. ALSO! I haven't played out in a while, and I'm really excited about it. I am working with the très awesomesauce LOL to come up with a hella boss act for the Follies, and if you're in Milwaukee, you should come and watch us. I don't want to give too much away, but I will tell you this: There may be cardboard pizza! I will rap! Someone may do the Roger Rabbit! If we can figure out how the balls to do it! And other rad shit!

*You should go, duh. This is me inviting you. Yes, I mean you and not some other you who's reading this blog. It's at the Falcon Bowl, which, you know, is awesome. I am not sure yet what time it starts, but I am sure that info could be readily Googled.

If you're feeling supporty, you can throw some love at the LOL by liking us on Facebook, and that would make me and the Ladies feel really special and warm inside.

And. really... feeling warm and special? Is that not why we're all put on this Earth anyway? So, what are you waiting for? Like, like, like!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lauryl the Brave, Protectress of Castle HuffPo, Why Russians Never Get the Blues, and Other Stories I Tell Myself About Myself

"'You're' is a contraction of 'you are', whereas 'your' indicates ownership! Furthermore, I find the conservative position on corporate deregulation to be dangerously simplistic, you blood-sucking freak!"

NOTE: This post was begun on the day of the official start of the Scott Walker recall petition period, which, as you know, is just closing today. I just finally went back and finished it today. Apologies about the quasi-outdatedness of it. I hope you enjoy it, regardless of its Total Lack of Timeliness. xoxo-Laur

I'll tell you what.

I was all psyched to come out to le local coffee shop and blog the shit out of this evening, because it has been simply forevs, and I've been a-hakerin' to write. But now that I'm here, on this fine November 14th, the day before my birthday, the anniversary of my nativity, I find I am almost TOO EXCITED to type a even a single obscure-yet-witty-pop-cultural-reference. Almost.

It's not because it is almost my birthday, although that's cool too.

Nope, I'm SUPER FUCKING EXCITED because tomorrow is the FIRST DAY OF THE SCOTT WALKER RECALL PROCESS! YESSSSSSSS!!!!! (Fist pump! Snoopy dance!)

I know, I know. You're all like, "Chill, Laur! We have 60 days of signature gathering ahead of us, and there is no guarantee that this shit'll actually work."

True enough, friends, especially with whack ass stunts like cyber-attacks on United Wisconsin's website and people claiming that they're going to "infiltrate" recall offices so that they can illegally destroy signatures. But I still can't help feeling that special holiday feeling. It's not unlike the way I get super jazzed for Halloween in about mid-July. I know it's a big job, but I think we can do this. I really do.

Unfortunately, this means that what EZ lovingly refers to as my "internet autism" could get even worse, at least for a while.
He is not wrong, btw.
I have come to realize that I'm am Internet Knowledge Addict.

I realize how incredibly pretentious that sounds, but I really don't mean it that way. I'm not, like, sitting around all day absorbing chess strategies, working up formulas for measuring black holes and studying the complete works of Dostoyevsky. Well, mostly not. Although, I did read a really great short story online last night; The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, by Ursula K. LeGuin. I'm going to link it, so you can read it. It's really short, so you should go read it as soon as you're done here, and then go argue about the meaning of it with some Ayn Rand fans on Goodreads or something. Go ahead, have a ball! Oh, but finish reading my blog, first, m'kay? (And then friend me on Goodreads, because I am a dork.)

Hello, my name is Lauryl, and I'm an internet compulsive.

If there's a song I like, I can't just like it. I have to look up the video on YouTube, google the lyrics, check WhoSampled to find out what all the samples are and then look up the album that the original, sampled song came from on Amazon to see how much it is selling for. If I'm in the mood for cake, I must google pictures of cake. If I'm feeling crafty, I'll go poke around on the Martha Stewart website and try to figure out how to punk up all of the projects. If I'm depressed, I go to Regretsy and laugh at all the shitty art. Then I eventually end up on regular Etsy, mooning over things I can't afford and don't have time to make myself...and then I start looking at my own poorly maintained and barely seen Etsy page and feeling inferior, and then I get thinking about pottery, and then I get distracted by the Wikipedia article on haniwa horses...

Knowledge, in general, is mostly a good thing, but I'm the first to admit that amongst all of the valuable and worthy things I've learned on The Internet, there are quite a few coprolites mixed in among the gems.* For instance, who really needs to know that one of the girls from MTV's Sixteen and Pregnant recently lost custody of her kid? Nobody but her mom, who is probably caring for said kid right now, poor woman. Or, did you know that Justin Bieber is being accused of fathering a child with one of his fans? Of course you didn't! Because who the fuck cares! And yet: I POSSESS THAT KNOWLEDGE. I am now a Level 5 Useless Celebrity Gossip Mage.

*A coprolite is a fossilized piece of dinosaur shit, by the way. That particular...uh, nugget of knowledge comes courtesy of my dinosaur obsessed 4-year-old. I am practically an amateur paleontologist now. Por exemplo: Tyrannosaurus Rex ("Tyrant King" in Latin. What a magnificent, beastly moniker!) is a member of the suborder theropoda, which is characterized by all of its members having three-toed feet. Other theropods include Allosaurus, Spinosaurus and the mighty Giganotosaurus, which was like a T. Rex except EVEN FUCKING HUGE-ERER! "Theropoda" is greek for "beast feet." BAM! I didn't even have to google that shit.

Some Useless Knowledge is, in reality, Useful Knowledge, because it helps me Totally Rock at crossword puzzles, or it helps me and my beau to Wipe The Floor with The Competition at Trivial Pursuit, or it helps me to, like, be a well-rounded person who has historical context for current world events and discuss them thoughtfully and thoroughly or some shit like that. And some useless knowledge is just plain delightful to have tingling around in your noodle like some kind of delicious chocolate brain phosphate. Like THIS.

Dammit, now I really want a chocolate phosphate.

But I will tell you, some knowledge I really just need to stop putting in there. Sometimes I cannot stop myself from reading articles about horrible, depressing, unspeakable tragedies, like Michele Bachmann.

And sometimes...okay, oftentimes...I cannot stop myself from clicking on the link to the comments section of these unspeakably tragic articles. With the notable exception of floods, famines, fires and genocides, is there anything more truly tragic and devoid of humanity than an internet comments section? Every time I read one, it takes a little piece of my soul and buries it in a landfill somewhere,where it will remain forever without properly biodegrading and becoming part of the cycle of life again. And every time I can't stop myself from replying to some jackass xenophobic paranoiac (who has apparently turned off the spellcheck on his keyboard AND forgotten that he can google things like, say, rape statistics pretty easily, instead of just making them up on the spot), it's like someone went out and murdered a sea turtle with a plastic six-pack ring, only that turtle is my heart.

Intellectually, I understand that a person who believes that all liberals eat children and piss on Bibles is not a person who is going to care about my [relatively] well-researched statistics. In my brain, I know that homophobic chach-meister dudes who think that Eli Roth is an unsung genius are simply not mentally prepared to understand any aspect of the term "rape culture". And I know that all the reason in the world will never dissuade the armchair corporatists and temporarily embarrassed millionaires and fundamentalist creationists and dubious, doubting climate skeptics from their mission to insult a random stranger online. BUTDAMMITSOMETIMESIJUSTCAN'THELPMYSELF!!!!!


Today, I was listening to Wisconsin Public Radio, because National Public Radio is way too cool for this cat. Talk of the Nation was on, and this particular episode featured an interview with David Bellos, the director of the Translation and Intercultural Communication program at Princeton. Bellos was saying that what he finds most frustrating about working as a translator is that people mistakenly believe that language can be translated with perfect accuracy. He says that in fact, perfect accuracy is not possible, as languages cannot be translated on a 1:1 ratio.

For instance, in Russia, there are different words to describe every shade of the color blue. Sky blues and midnight blues and cadet blues, teals and ceruleans and indigos all get their own unique word, which is not unlike English. But in Russian, there is no blanket term, "blue". So, when a translator needs to translate "blue" from English into Russian, they must choose the best word to use for themselves. Which blue to use? It's up to the translator to figure out how best to preserve the original meaning, as they have interpreted it.* Bellos goes on to say that every use of language, even when we are speaking our own language to another native speaker, is an exercise in translation. You are translating your thoughts, choosing your words, and someone else is reading or listening to them, and interpreting what you say.

*Another good example of how the 1:1 ratio does not work is the Yahoo Babelfish translator. I find it delightful in its interpretive inaccuracy. Sometimes, I like to take a block of lyrics from a famous song, translate them into another language, and then translate them back into English again. Then I post them on friend's Facebook walls. Because I'm online way, way too much.**

**For instance, here are the lyrics to Closer, by Nine Inch Nails, translated from English to Dutch and back again: "I want to fuck you of an animal keep. My whole is existed has been marred. YOU become me dense to god!"

I admit to being a Word Nerd, living in the warm bosom of a family of Word Nerds. We're a Word Nerd Herd. I love learning new words, and coining new words, and stealing beautiful words from other languages, and playing with words I already know until they're just perfect, or just perfectly something else. But it makes it difficult, sometimes, having all this language floating around in one's head, because to a lot of people, I am uninterpretable. And a lot of people on the internet, with their weird, garbled half-constructed commentary, are uninterpretable by me.

Language can be such a terribly imperfect tool. How can we ever hope to use it to change someone else's mind about anything, let alone something important, like love, sex, ecological awareness, human rights, compassion, when a lot of us who speak English are not even speaking the same language? Especially when there are so many people that are not even fluent in their own native tongue.

Online, one lacks the benefit of looking for nonverbal cues from other people. No sarcastic grins or silly eye rolls to indicate joking sarcasm. No softening of edges. Plus, when you're not face to face with another person, it is so easy to just unleash the full force of one's anger about a given issue, isn't it? There's little to no mitigating knowledge about the other aspects of a person's life. That's how it can happen that another mom and I can end up in the internet equivalent of a knock-down, drag-out because she can seriously get up the huevos to say to me (a friend of a friend, mind you, so that we might very well get along in real life, but we only know each other through Facebook posts) that my nursing in public is the equivalent of showing people my tits to get Mardi Gras beads. (Yes, that convo actually happened. And I will shamefacedly admit that, though I usually don't rise to such silliness, I kind of snapped; I packed that snowball right back up and verbally facewashed her with it. I do not say this with pride. I'm a little embarrassed that I let her get to me.)

The question is, would she have said that to me, in just that same way, if we'd been debating public nursing at a party? I doubt it. And would I have felt a need to respond in kind? Probably not. Normally, when we meet people in real life who are overly forceful about their opinions, we find it kind of off-putting. Online, though, everyone's an expert, and nobody has to empathize, because the other person is just a construct of letters and punctuation. It makes it a lot easier for us to march blindly forward without other people inconveniently interrupting our personal, internal bildungsroman.*

*Is this an ironic statement to make in a blog, which is typically all about "me, me, me"? I dunno. Maybe. For what it's worth, I make it a point in my life not to take my point of view for granted, though I am not always as successful at it as I hope to be.

In this light, the invention of emoticons and acronymics like "LOL" not only make perfect sense, they are an inevitable result of a life lived increasingly in text. They're an attempt to reach across the ether, the no-contact version of a human touch. :)

I really wish that I could have rewound that breastfeeding argument and found a way for me and the other woman in question to discuss things without all that heat. Ideally, I would have liked for us to be a little empathetic.

I've always been comfortable living in text. Prose is one of my preferred mediums of expression and it is often the filter through which I most comfortably and naturally enter the world. When I write, I feel clear-headed, sure of myself, safe, smart, and saved from the awkward pauses and verbal sprinting and cautious ums, dudes, and like, y'knows that pepper my verbal communications. Sometimes, when I am excited about something, I talk so fast, I actually run out of breath. Communicating via text is sometimes a great relief for me.

But I don't know if I am quite ready for the rest of the world and all of their maddening improperly placed apostrophes to join me here in Textville. (She said, revealing her snobbery. Mea culpa.) I don't know if everyone is quite ready to join. I'd like to daydream that all of this new text-based communication will eventually create a whole new society of better writers, and maybe it will, but maybe being brilliant with a bon mot isn't all that important of an achievement. Maybe the thing I'm really not ready for has less to do with my snooty attitude towards grammatical imperfections and impenetrable, poorly constructed sentences (although I do hate that, urgh! ), and more to do with the loss of empathy that comes with the lack of contact.

I mean, there are people out there, right now, just sitting around their computers, looking at YouTube videos and calling the thirteen year old girls in them "whores" for lip-synching to Beyonce. You know I'm right.

And I'm sure that a good deal of them are the exactly the mentally unbalanced trolls we imagine them to be, sitting in the dark in a pool of sweat, masturbating to a picture of JarJar Binks , their hands covered in Chee-to powder from the empty chip bags that litter their sad, cat-pee smelling apartments. But I'll bet a lot of them are fairly normal, somewhat clueless people who just think they're having a larf or two. ("Dude, it was a JOKE! Gah, you feminazis have no sensa humor!") Sometimes, I'll even see a friend who I know is a nice, good person post something online that makes me go, "Ummmm..."

I know none of this comes as a revelation to anyone, but for some reason, I have such a hard time ignoring it. I think I'm hard-wired to defend underdogs wherever I may find them. Blame my entire middle school experience, I seem to be constitutionally unable to let a person think they got away with bullying someone else. I'm like a really crappy, nerdy superhero that never physically rescues anyone. Buffy the Troll Slayer. It's bad.

So, what to do about it? I've decided that for now, the only thing to do is to go on a diet from internet comment sections. I'm adding it to my New Year's resolutions list, along with my vow to eat one raw vegetable every day (because I don't) and to say "Happy Birthday" to people on Facebook when I see that it's their birthday (because it is nice to wish people a happy birthday).

So far, I've been doing waaaaay better on the vegetables and the birthday wishes than I have on not-reading comments sections, but I'd like to believe that there is hope for me yet.

If not, I'll just have to drive a stake through my computer.

Or, as they say in the Netherlands:
I will float a prop by my computer and killing only such as Buffy, the assassin of the vampire.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Where's My Goddamned "Blame it on the Rain" Cassingle?!

"Where's my BOY London jeans, dammit?! And somebody drench me with a blast of Sun Ripened Raspberry body splash, stat! I am a huge fucking star and I will never be forgotten!"

Dear bloglets, I realize that I have been disappointingly sparse in my blogly offerings as of late. Maybe it's only me who's disappointed in my lack of bloggishness, but maybe it's you, too. Maybe you think that I have not actually been writing at all, but in fact, I have. I'm actually pretty much always writing. According to my blog queue, I have something like 64 posts on this thing, but, you'll notice, I've published naught but half of them.
I dunno what to tell you. I sometimes go through long periods of intense pickiness wherein I never seem to resolve any writing to my own satisfaction. What ends up happening is that I'll get six or seven almost finished posts all in a row that never see the light of day. It's my own, verbally explosive version of writer's block, I guess.
My personal self-improvement project right now is trying to devise methods of pushing through this habit. So, while I work on that, I thought I'd offer a few imperfect, unfinished, older blogs. This one is from the summer, I think. It's just a trifle, really, but here it is. I hope that you like it like you'd like a little Andes mint that you stole off a co-worker's desk. Tiny, but sweet.

xo-The Laur

Today I went to a shopping mall with my offspring.

I somehow thought it would be a super awesome idea to walk to Bayshore with both of them in the behemoth double stroller that I second-handed from a friend specifically for long walks such as this. I say "somehow thought" because I also mistakenly believed that the weather would be as mild and lovely as it has been of late, and that therefore the hot, blinding sun would not be so hot and blinding, and that my oversized, charcoal grey slouch sweatshirt that makes me feel like I'm either Jennifer Beals in Flashdance or Heidi Klum on her day off would be appropriate for the mild, lovely weather that I mistakenly thought we were having. Needless to say, but I'll say it anyhow:

It was hot. I was sweaty. I looked nothing like Jennifer Beals or Heidi Klum, even if you imagine for a moment that they gained a whole lot of weight.

When my hot, sweaty self and my two offspring arrived at the mall, I did something else stupid. I went to Bath & Body Works.

I used to love Bath & Body Works when I was, like, fourteen. That is when they first came into being, I think, which should tell you something about my age. I ALSO used to love shopping at Contempo Casuals. How's that for dating myself? My favorite thing to do back then was to listen to my cassingle of the "Tom's Diner" remix by Suzanne Vega and DNA, go shopping at the mall, and buy clothes that made me feel like I was on Club MTV with Downtown Julie Brown. Wubba, wubba, wubba!

Anyhoo. I haven't set foot in B&BW since forever. But my dad's wife, T, loves to shop there. (I guess she never got burned out on it like I did when I was a tween who couldn't let $20 bucks from mom sit in my pocket for more than an hour without dashing out to buy some honeysuckle body splash. UGH! My stomach recoils at the thought.) I can pretty much count on getting a B&BW gift basket from her every x-mas. This year, she got me a basketful of a scent called "SLEEP", which is some sort of aromatherapeutic concoction involving lavender and chamomile. It reminds me powerfully of this set of scratch-n-sniff stickers I had in my sticker album as a kid. (Another relic of its era, the Sticker Album. I've tried and failed to find one for T-Boz. Do kids really not collect stickers anymore? I guess they're all too busy on their newfangled Sega Blaster Systems and their iPops and what-have-you).

The stickers had cute little cartoon lady piggies doing cute stuff, like eating a giant dish of mint chocolate chip ice cream, or taking a bath in flowers. That one with the flowers in the bathtub? It smelled really, really good. In fact, it smelled just exactly like SLEEP Aromatherapeutic Lavender Chamomile Bubble Bath from Bath & Body Works.

So there's an endorsement for you. Shop at Bath & Body Works! Smell like an adorable cartoon ladypig!

I have heard that scent is the sense most powerfully connected with memory, and it seems that this is true, because when I ran out of SLEEP bubble bath, I decided that I simply must get some more.

I took one step through the door of Bath & Body Works before I remembered why I do not shop there anymore. I really feel like I'm not crazy on this one. They used to have a lot of things that smelled nice, didn't they? (I especially seem to recall this lime-scented soap that was totally delightful; sharp and bitter and bright, just like a real lime.) But now...

Half of the shit in there smelled like the rotting corpse of Willy Wonka.

I guess, seeing who their base demographic is, they've aimed more and more of their marketing at them. I guess 14-year-old girls just love smelling like Strawberry Shortcake just took a shit on their face.

I also guess that I'd forgotten the part where I developed a nasty sensitivity to perfumes at some point during my mid-20's, right around the time my migraines stopped just being bad headaches, and started moving into the trippy, "Hildegard of Bingen thinks she sees god" zone. I was only there for ten minutes, but by the time I left, my left temple was throbbing, and everything I said reverberated in my ears like I was talking into a tin can. UGH.

But I got the bubble bath, so that's good. Tonight I'm gonna ladypig it up!