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Currently reading Bill Bryson's “A Short History of Nearly Everything,” which I find both fascinating and kind of a refresher course on geology, biology, evolution, the ecosystem, you name it, but with a wealth of new information. So there's this word he used that I can't get out of my head: ambergris; an oil from a whale's digestive system most commonly made when he/she eats something like a giant squid. Giant squid, by the way, although huge enough to fill a swimming pool with almost no room left over, were never seen actually alive (until just recently, a few years after the publication of his book). They washed up on the shore here and there but no one had ever seen one in action. Ambergris is used to make perfumes. How disgusting.
Anyway. The author has a footnote after this paragraph, saying the next time you spritz on some Chanel No. 5 consider you are really using some eau de sea monster.

I was telling Liz and Cavan about this, both of whom had gone with me to Indian food buffet for lunch, then to work so I could make them a couple of drinks. While were there Annie made sure I'd invited Liz to the Girls Night Out thingie on Wednesday. I'd hoped it was just going to be an intimate dinner with a few lady friends, then calling it an early night and getting some sleep so I wouldn't be hung over on my thirty-first birthday. At one point Annie pulled Liz aside and whispered something to her, to which Liz responded “Oh, you know she hates that kind of shit.”
So now I'm all paranoid that they're planning something involving a limo or male strippers or humiliating me in public in some way. I do, genuinely, hate that kind of shit. Especially at my age. The last thing I want is for anyone to made a production out of my birthday, because not only does it seem juvenile, I'm not fond of being reminded over and over again of the date.

Don't get me wrong — it's nice to know someone remembers and wants to make it special for you. But when all seven or so people you see on a regular basis want to make it special on five different days in a row, it gets tiring. I'm 31. I'm 31 again today. Hey, now I'm 31 and 4 days. I'm 361 days away from being 32.

You get the idea.

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