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BPAL, movies, etc.

Happy birthday to elwe and mamomo! May you both have wonderful days and fantastic years to come!

And happy New Year's Eve to all!

I've updated my list of favorite links once again, FYI. And I also have a few random thoughts to share...

Re: Recent Films

* The Golden Compass: Thumbs Down
Despite a ridiculously large budget and significant star power, this film lacks thoughtfulness, coherence, and emotional impact. It reminds me of later Lucas films, tripping over its own effects and, in the process, losing its soul. I've read the novel, and the film seems like a rapid-fire Power Point presentation that captures its events while missing the actual story.

* I Am Legend: Thumbs Down
Richard Matheson's important novel was adapted in a much more sobering and sophisticated way in 1964's The Last Man on Earth. (I just watched it again for comparison's sake, and despite a couple of brief moments of cheesiness, it holds up remarkably well. I recommend it.) Although Will Smith's acting is fine, the script sacrifices the book's haunting ending for a saccharine, predictable "feel-good" conclusion, and the overuse of cartoonish CGIs completely undermines the viewers' sense of empathy. Rather than feel for and fear the victims, I wanted to laugh at them. I appreciate Matheson's excellent novel more than Philip Pullman's book, which is why my hopes were higher for I Am Legend than The Golden Compass, and why I left with an even stronger sense of frustration from this film.

* Sweeney Todd: Thumbs Way, Way Up
I had great expectations going into this movie, and they were met and exceeded. As we might expect from Burton, Depp, Bonham Carter, Rickman, and company, this is a beautifully crafted film. It's a joy to see this kind of storytelling transferred so effectively to the big screen. I can't praise it enough; if you don't mind characters breaking into song or slitting each others' throats, I highly recommend it. :)

Re: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
As some of you know, I am a fan of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. I first became interested in BPAL when I learned they had an entire line of scents based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. I soon discovered many of their perfumes had literary inspirations, and since then they've added lines based on Neil Gaiman's work, as well. What's not to love? Because I know several of my friends are also BPAL fans (and some of you have been my enablers, as a matter of fact), I thought I'd do an end-of-the-year summary of my experience with their scents thus far.

My Very Favorite BPAL Scents (I Have Big Bottles of These)

A quick note, FYI: in general, I love pumpkin, coffee, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, mint, dark chocolate, musk, patchouli, and incense. I am allergic to tree-related and tobacco scents.

A Picnic in Arkham
Miskatonic University: The scent of Irish coffee, dusty tomes and polished oakwood halls.

Shub-Niggurath: The lust incense of a corrupted Astarte. A blend of ritual herbs and dark resins, shot through with three gingers and aphrodisiacal spices.

Bewitching Brews
Jack: The scent of warm, glowing jack o'lanterns on a warm autumn night: true Halloween pumpkin, spiced with nutmeg, glowing peach and murky clove.

Elixir XI: Oof: Sinus Pain Relief (It works!)

Sin and Salvation
Vice: Voluptuous and indulgent! A deep chocolate scent, with black cherry and orange blossom.

Limited Editions
El Dia De Reyes: The Day of Kings, the Celebration of the Magi. In Mexico, on January 6th, children place their shoes by their windows. If they have been good during the previous year, the Wise Men tuck gifts into their shoes during the night. Hot cocoa with cinnamon, coffee, and brown sugar.

Gingerbread Poppet 2007: Warm, cozy gingerbread spiced with nutmeg, clove and cinnamon.

BPAL Imps I Have Available to Trade/Share

Bewitching Brews
The Coiled Serpent: A potent yogic oil that stimulates the kundalini, provokes spiritual awakening, and releases the energy seated in your root chakra.

Santa Muerta: Santa Muerte, Saint Death, is not a harbinger of doom and symbol of entropy. She is the Queen of Mercy, a source of motherly comfort, and a symbol to all sweethearts that love lasts even beyond death. She is a vision of beauty in her own right: glittering rings adorn every bony finger, she is draped in a cloak of the finest satin, and her grinning skull, beneath her cowl, is crowned by a bejeweled tiara. A deep, resonant scent, both comforting and soft: lovers' roses, solemn chrysanthemum, dark vetiver and dazzling cactus flowers.

Funereal Oils
Nocturne: An olfactory serenede. A somber, contemplative scent -- dreamy and subdued. Deepest violet touched with lilac and tuberose.

Thanatopsis: A deep, solemn earthen scent containing pine, juniper and musk.

Robin Goodfellow: Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone.
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,
Puts the wretch that lies in woe
In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night
That the graves all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate's team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic: not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallow'd house:
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.

Dark musk, moss-covered wood, ragwort, heather, and sage.

Love Potions
Muse: A light, invigorating floral and citrus blend. Tuberose, lotus and jasmine with a hint of lime.

Sin and Salvation
Scales of Deprivation: And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. Thin, dark, and shadowed. A scent that offers no sustenance, comfort or satiety: lemon peel, white sage, frankincense, lavender fougere, sandalwood, vetiver and labdanum.

Limited Edition
Midnight Kiss (inspired by Shojo Beat): Eternal desire, unquenchable passion: red musk, cocoa absolute, Nepalese amber, red sandalwood, aged patchouli, nicotiana, and blood wine.

BPAL Scents I Hope To Try

Incidentally, I also love and highly recommend the related soaps offered by Black Phoenix Trading Post. My favorite thus far is the Lovecraft-inspired "Al Azif Soap."

Through bare trees
I can see all the rickety lean-tos
and sheds, and the outhouse
with the half-moon on the door,
once modestly covered in
summer's greenery.

Through bare trees
I can watch the hawk
perched on a distant branch,
black silhouetted wings
shaking feathers and snow,
and so can its prey.

Through bare trees
I can be winter's innocence,
unashamed needfulness,
the thin and reaching limbs
of a beggar, longing to touch
but the hem of the sun.

- Lisa Lindsey, "Bare Trees"



( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 31st, 2007 02:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the film reviews. I wasn't planning on seeing the first, was interested in the second but not so much now, and am evenly more eagerly anticipating the third after your endorsement.
Jan. 1st, 2008 04:02 pm (UTC)
You're most welcome! I hope you enjoy Sweeney Todd as much as I did. :)
Dec. 31st, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC)
We have a choice of two musicals today. Disney's "Enchanted" and Burton's "Sweeney Todd." How am I to choose between two such similar offerings? LOL!

Of the imp's ears I ordered "Muse" and "Psyche" were the keepers. And the ones I was sure I was going to love, like "Eden" and "O" were oh so wrong for me. Thanks for sharing your favorites here, it might help me narrow down my next order. My problem is getting lost in reading the descriptions for hours, lol.

I love that poem! *adds to favorites*
Jan. 1st, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
How am I to choose between two such similar offerings? LOL!


You know, my first BPAL orders were very similar; I got imps I knew would be perfect for me, and they didn't work at all, with the exception of "Sin," which was good, but not fantastic. After lots of experiments (thanks in large part to the free imps they send with orders, and trading with other people), I realized that their foody, spicy scents were what I really loved. I would never have guessed! I know exactly what you mean about getting lost reading the descriptions. They're so imaginative and so much fun, I think half the joy of BPAL is reading their website! I just love, love, love the fact they link to the writers/writings that influence them, too.

I'm so glad you like the poem! :)
(no subject) - neurotica_girl - Jan. 3rd, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eldritchhobbit - Jan. 5th, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 31st, 2007 05:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the birthday wishes - I hope you have a safe and happy New Year's!

I've been behind on my moving viewing lately, but I did catch The Golden Compass the other day. The thing that annoyed me most, although it wasn't surprising, was that they cut out a lot of the religious/metaphysical points of the book as well as much of the darker subject matter. If they make the sequels, I don't know how they're going to do it because it'll be a lot harder by then to cut out that subject matter and still have anything to work with.

Still, I loved the cast enough to overlook all the negative points, and I've given up on any fantasy movie (children- or adult-oriented) of ever having special effects that aren't distracting. LOTR raised the bar, but no one's caught up with it yet.
Jan. 1st, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
Considering how mediocre the box office take was, there probably won't be a sequel so it's all a moot point.
(no subject) - eldritchhobbit - Jan. 1st, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eldritchhobbit - Jan. 1st, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 31st, 2007 06:02 pm (UTC)
Muse sounds like my kind of scent, I'll have to try it! Those are lovely poems.

Dec. 31st, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
And all this time I thought those references to BPAL were about online payments (a la PayPal)... I'm so hip sometimes, it hurts.

Happy New Year from scorching Melbourne! It was 41+ Celsius on NYEve and today's meant to be about 40. I'm having an ongoing love-affair with my a/c.
Jan. 1st, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)
I thought those references to BPAL were about online payments


I'm sending cold wishes your way. Stay cool down there! (Aren't you always?) And happy 2008!
Dec. 31st, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
LULZ your icon.

Jan. 1st, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It seemed appropriate, somehow. ;) 'Tis by proverb.
Jan. 1st, 2008 12:28 am (UTC)
Have you seen Beowulf? Because you HAVE to see it, if not. And even if you have, I HIGHLY recommend the Imax 3D version - I was really blown away by the artistry of the 3D version.
Jan. 1st, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC)
I've had it on my Netflix queue ever since Gaiman started talking about it on his blog. It came out at a bad time for me to catch it in the theater, which is frustrating, since I wanted to see it on the big screen. I should check to see if it's still playing anywhere nearby (it's not in town)... I really would like to see it in the 3D version.
Jan. 1st, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
I have a bunch of the BPAL scents. My favorites are Bliss (which smells like chocolate to me) and Regan, which is vanilla-based. I really don't like patchouli. I have an imp or Antique Lace, which I'm partial to as well. I find I like the vanilla and flowery ones the most.
Jan. 1st, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
I've been surprised at how much I love the food-based scents. I haven't tried Bliss yet, but I bet I'll love it. El Dia De Reyes smells to me like hot cocoa with cinnamon, and I just adore it.
Jan. 1st, 2008 05:13 am (UTC)
Happy New Year. THanks for the film reviews. I still have to see the two other movies (or not).
Jan. 1st, 2008 07:41 pm (UTC)
Happy New Year to you, too! I loved your review of Sweeney Todd and completely agreed with it. :)
Jan. 1st, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC)
Sweeney Todd is one I'll be waiting for the DVD release on, though one I'll look forward to. While Helena Bohnam Carter is talented actress, The Corpse Bride revealed that she cannot sing.
Jan. 1st, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
I think she's been training very hard since Corpse Bride. She hits all of her notes, and then again Mrs. Lovett's character doesn't have to be exactly a songbird; a harsher tone works fine for her, considering the rest of her character. Neither Depp nor Rickman sing like pros either (they're competent, but they obviously don't make singing their "day job"), so her voice doesn't stand out much. The younger characters sing beautifully, though, and the contrast is more interesting, like they meant to do that, than jarring. It's definitely worth watching, either in the theater or on DVD. I find I'm saving more and more films for DVD these days; with the quick turnaround to DVD and the ease of using Netflix, it's just much easier and more comfortable.
Jan. 2nd, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
I saw the Golden Compass with friends and didn't hate it. I think I was a bit too distracted by Nicole Kidman to dwell on the faults, and my friends were transfixed by Eva Green. I also haven't read the books recently. And my memory... I knew the movie wasn't what it should have been, but I still enjoyed most of it for what it was: pretty. Except that the end was an abomination.

I keep wanting to order from BPAL, and one of my friends listed several of the Good Omens scents on her wish list for Yule. I have a hard time justifying spending that much money on smelly things. I so want to splurge. So many of them sound interesting that it's hard to find ones that sound right. What does Sin and Salvation really smell like?
Jan. 2nd, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
For some reason, Nicole Kidman's performance came across as stilted and two-dimensional to me. (And I don't have anything against her. I thought her role in The Human Stain, for example, was very well done.) I did like the casting of Eva Green - she looked very much like what I expected of Serafina Pekkala - and Sam Elliott and Dakota Blue Richards seemed very well suited to their roles, as well. The end definitely was infuriating. I agree 100%!

If you want to try BPAL, I definitely recommend getting imps first. It's just too pricey to buy full bottles, when you're not sure if you'll like the scent. The great thing about imps is that they always include free ones with imp orders, so you get more than you pay for, and there are also lots of ways (on the BPAL forum, on dedicated LJ communities, etc.) to trade imps you don't like for those you want to try. For most imps, you can get 6/$19.50. There's also a place on the BPAL forums where people sell, instead of trade, imps they've tried and decided against, and you can usually get those for around $2/each.

Sin and Salvation is a whole sub-category of scents here. Are there any in which you're particularly interested? So far, my favorite is "Vice," which smells to me like a chocolate-covered cherry, although every once in a while I get a far-off whiff of orange, too (like one of those chocolate oranges that you have to bang on the counter in order to separate the wedges). I also like "Sin," which smells very much like anincense shop to me in a good way, heavy on the sandalwood and patchouli. If I were to get another big bottle, that's probably my next choice.
(no subject) - bouncybabylemur - Jan. 3rd, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eldritchhobbit - Jan. 3rd, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 3rd, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
Limited Edition
Midnight Kiss (inspired by Shojo Beat): Eternal desire, unquenchable passion: red musk, cocoa absolute, Nepalese amber, red sandalwood, aged patchouli, nicotiana, and blood wine.

I love Shojo Beat. I get it every month and I dive in like a mad woman. I am gonna have to try this scent. Musk, patchouli, amber... it sounds right up my alley.

Love Potions
Muse: A light, invigorating floral and citrus blend. Tuberose, lotus and jasmine with a hint of lime.

This sounds pretty cool too. I love the scent of lime. I make this ritual ointment that is a combo of rose, lemon, and a hint of lime. It is one of my favorites.
Jan. 5th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, cool! There are several Shojo Beat limited edition scents. You can see more here.
Abbie [wordpress.com]
Jan. 19th, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
I still haven't seen Sweeney Todd yet...I really need to fix that.

But do you know how much this post excites me?! I love fragrances!! These sound so exciting. Thanks for all the information!

You're allergic to tree-related scents? :( No cedar wood smell for you? For some reason that makes me sad.

Many of these trees were my friends.
Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
I'd love to know what you think of Sweeney Todd! The female lead is the same actress who plays Bellatrix Lestrange, you know. :)

I'm so glad you liked the fragrance information! BPAL is wonderful. I love just reading the descriptions, not to mention wearing the scents!

I'm afraid I'm deeply allergic to lots of things, including the tree scents. When I was in Tennesse, I was taking up to 11 allergy shots per week, just to avoid asthma meltdowns. Luckily, the air quality is better here, so I'm breathing a little more easily. I love trees, and live in the woods, so I can't compound what I'm already exposed to with tree-scented fragrances. :( I do adore trees, though. Ents, too. :)

I am tragically behind on my email - apologies! It's good to hear from you. I hope all's well.
(no subject) - Abbie [wordpress.com] - Jan. 23rd, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eldritchhobbit - Jan. 30th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Abbie [wordpress.com] - Jan. 31st, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )

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