Mapache (100x100)

Kitchens are like sword-and-sorcery

Cooking is all seat-of-the-pants and improvisation. Half the time, I start chopping ingredients before I'm quite sure what it is I'm making. You have to be flexible and adapt to the available ingredients and tools. It's like swordfighting in that respect.

Baking, however, is like sorcery. There is a precise, detailed incantation you must follow to the letter even if it makes no sense, for it is the accumulated wisdom of those who have come before you and paid horribly for their mistakes. Miss even one tiny detail, and those delicious brownies will instead become a savage, eldritch horror that shatters sanity and scours taste buds.
Mapache (100x100)

Reversing the Wheel of Time

Echoed from Words: the typings of a madman:

Gordrog finished his chant. Traveling to the distant grave had taken all day. There had been hours of preparation. The candles had been placed at the precise locations to funnel the spirit of the dead back into its abandoned body. The incense had been checked to be just right. The skull of power had been polished and placed upon the ground. The long chant had left his throat dry and cracked. Now, as he uttered the final black syllable, lightning tore open the sky and struck the grave before him with an ear-splitting roar.

In response, a leathery hand shot out of the ground and pulled back downwards, establishing its grip. Inches away, its twin did the same, and together they pulled free the rest of the mummified corpse, clods of earth crumbling away. The hollow sockets turned towards Gordrog, silently demanding his reasons for reaching across the veil.

"In life, you undertook a great task, old man, but you overreached your grasp, and death took you before you could finish. I, foolishly, have followed in your trail and run it to its end, but I will not be stymied. By the black arts I have summoned you to the lands of the living to complete your work. Do you accept the terms of your binding?"

The dead man faced Gordrog for a moment, then his shruken jaw ground against his skull and rasped out a single parched word. "Advance."

Gordrog stepped forward, but the corpse shook its head. "No, I want an advance."

"Huh?" The necromancer was at a loss for words.

"An advance. Hundred thousand. If you're bringing me back from the dead for this, demand has gotta be outrageous. Sales are gonna be through the roof."

Gordrog could get the gold, though he was loathe to spend it. Still, it would pay itself back many times over. "Very well, but I get to be your publisher."

"For the lands of the living. I keep rights of first publication in the realms beyond."

"Done." As he clasped the dead man's hand, a smile spread over Gordrog's face. At long last, he would know how his favorite tale ended…
Mapache (100x100)

Empire Wine

Echoed from Words: the typings of a madman:

"This," said the sommelier, "is a bottle of Empire Wine." He held the thick crystal bottle up to the light, turning it slowly, and the glowing liquid within coursed like yellow fire and molten gold. "Only seven were ever made, and three have already been drunk."

"And after tonight, there will only be three more to drink," said the first rival.

"You know the destiny that lies within, yes?" asked the older man of the two younger men. "Of all who share a bottle, the Fates will conspire such that all but one soon find death, and the survivor inherits all the others ever had or would have had."

"That is why we sought you, at no small expense," said the second rival.

"Pour, and let us be done with this," scowled back the first, and the sommelier did. The two glasses stood shimmering, patterns blazing through them, somehow dancing from one glass to the other. Even in two vessels, it was one wine. In angry silence, they each raised a glass and drained it in one long pour, leaving the cups faintly glistening with the fading magic of the wine.

"What did it taste like?" asked the sommelier.

"Bitter and rancid, overpowering and unforgettable," replied the first rival.

"Perhaps that is the burden of power, and the realization that not everything you want will bring you happiness," commented the older man.

"Perhaps, or perhaps it is your own death rushing to meet you," countered the rival.

"And how did yours taste?" the old man inquired.

"Sweet and suffocating, yet fading away into nothingness."

"Perhaps that is the release of death," opined the wine-taster.

"Perhaps, or perhaps it is everything I have sought and he has denied me."

"We shall see. Time shall take its course," smirked the first rival.

"Yes, it shall," growled the second.

And with that, they each left by a different door. After they were gone, the old man sniffed the bottle carefully, then tilted it so the last forgotten drop landed on his tongue, and it tasted exactly like it smelled—Victory.
Mapache (100x100)

You can't handle the tooth.

Echoed from Words: the typings of a madman:

The beaver is North America's deadliest predator. It can fire its explosive front teeth up to thirty meters with unerring precision, and each one packs enough force to down a grizzly bear. Grizzlies are their primary diet, and a beaver can devour a bear carcass in under fifteen minutes. It is hypothesized that this voraciousness evolved to keep other beavers from stealing the kill. A typical beaver eats an entire grizzly every two to three days, due to the need to fuel their hyperactive metabolism.

During winter, beavers hibernate in most areas, getting up about once a month to sleepwalk to a nearby cave and eat the grizzly bear contained within. (Waking a somnambulating beaver is certain death.) The cave often collapses afterwards, due to the seismic destabilization caused by beaver tooth explosions. In areas where global warming has disrupted natural winter patterns and it is no longer cold enough to support hibernation, angry beavers roam the countryside in winter, detonating random targets out of rodential rage. Taxis are particularly popular targets, as their checkered coloration offends the beavers' sense of sight.

In summer, beavers take to the skies, cruising aloft on high-altitude winds by means of their broad, sail-like tails. They scan the terrain beneath them for clumps of trees, which they topple with their teeth, sending dozens of trunks at a time cascading into nearby streams and rivers to dam them out of spite. Early North American loggers used to follow airborne beavers and opportunistically collect the fallen trees they left in their wake. This was a highly dangerous occupation, as the beavers occasionally turned on their followers, raining down fiery death upon them.

The Mount St. Helens explosion was initially believed to be a beaver attack, and news reports hours laters were still mistakenly claiming that it had been a rare simultaneous bombing by a beaver pack. Geologists discredited the theory on the basis that beavers are solitary creatures, mostly because they hate everyone, even other beavers. Mating is difficult for beavers, as they need to close their eyes and hold their noses in order to put up with their sexual partner. A typical litter consists of three to five young beavers, whom the mother promptly abandons to be raised by wolves. The wolves find this practice terrifying, but dare not offend the mother, or she will return to blow them up.

Early attempts to weaponize beavers during the French & Indian War failed miserably, as the damn things are so ornery, but the beavers were quite happy to attack the French on their own, as the latter represented the bulk of the trapper population, and beavers had come to loathe anyone who spoke French. Beaver trapping was a highly dangerous operation, in which the trapper needed to release two grizzly bears simultaneously to take on the beaver from different directions, then quickly attack while the beaver's two explosive teeth were still growing back. Accidentally grouping the two grizzlies close enough to be taken out by a single tooth led to explosive death for the trapper. As a result, beaver fur was outrageously expensive, and King George III's beaver-felt top hat cost the Crown the entire GDP of Ireland for a year and a half.

By the time of the US Civil War, the Union employed weaponized beavers against the Confederacy. This was achieved by having brave souls disparage Southerners within earshot of a beaver, claiming that they had heard them speaking in French. Ideally, the beaver would vaporize the Southerners before getting within hearing range and realizing it had been misled. Beavers proved critical in winning the war, but were later banned as armaments by international weapons treaties after the devastation they wreaked in Atlanta. As result, the US developed a synthetic form of beaver musk for use as a munition, eventually settling on the formula called Castor-4, or C4 for short, which is substantially less powerful than actual beaver musk, due to the limitations of the treaties.

At over 25kg, beavers are the world's second-largest rodent, after the capybara.[citation needed]
Mapache (100x100)

Editors used to be ordinary people?

Echoed from Words: the typings of a madman:

Voltraut von Prusser clacked her fingers over the key caps of her laptop. Clack, clack, and it was done—another chapter of Blood Slaves of the Ice Witch lay complete. Sighing, she leaned back and cracked her fingers. From outside, she heard the distant bleating of Steven Brust's goat. Naturally, her mind wandered from her masterful prose to the fresh goat cheese he'd given her on Tuesday, and decided it was an excellent stopping point for lunch. Editing could wait.

The better part of an hour later, her stomach had been bought off for the afternoon with a prosciutto-and-goat-cheese-on-sourdough sandwich and a salad made from the baby spinach that had been in her farm subscription that week. Sated, she popped a pair of Logix® and washed them down with crisp, cool water from the pitcher in her refrigerator door.

Returning upstairs, she noticed the steps were dusty. They would need to be cleaned when there was nothing of higher priority needing doing; 5:15 this evening would be appropriate. Sitting down at her laptop, she typed her password. It was really rather poor of a password, she noted, but her morning's self would have a hard time remembering anything suitably complicated, and sometimes one had to compromise, unfortunate though it was.

Her eyes scanned over her words from earlier. So many typos! Didn't she care about conveying her thoughts precisely? Still, it was a reasonable division of labor, leaving such tedium to the one who felt it necessary. Correcting the mis-steps as she went along, she began to ponder the chapter as a whole. Only ego could delude one into thinking this was "a liberating escape into the fantasy of desire" as she'd put it in her last interview. Truly, this was somewhere between turgid prose and utter crap, but turgid prose sold, so she did her best to move it towards the former and away from the latter. That had to go, as did that. What did she mean here? This gap needed another scene bridging it, so she made a note to add one after dinner, once she was creative again.

Hours passed as Voltraut massaged the text into a more practical form, taking into account the needs and desires of its intended audience. As the clock crept past five, she remembered the dusty floorboards. Somewhere, the goat was bleating again. It was awfully…cute…for an ungulate. In any case, with thoughts like those, it was clearly time to stop editing.
Mapache (100x100)

Chuck Ballooniac's Guts

All scholars of the literary works of Crumbly Snickerdoodle agree that the Holy Grail of their research would be to find a copy of Chuck Ballooniac's Guts, his first children's book about an overweight boy who avenges himself upon his tormemtors. Sadly, all known copies were burned to ashes by the League for all that is Good and Decent. Imagine my surprise when, at a literal fire sale, I discovered two charred pages that bookend this extraordinary tale. With careful handling and digital restoration, I can now present them to you as they were originally published:

(The origin of this bit of madness.)
Mapache (100x100)

(no subject)

I don't normally post to LJ, but this has me so pissed, everyone needs to hear about it. From the email I got:

If lies don't work, then maybe threats and blackmail will.

Yesterday, donors and supporters of Equality California began receiving threatening letters for their support of the statewide organizations efforts to protect LGBT youth and seniors from the "Yes on 8" campaign leadership. These letters threatened to "expose" the donors listed on Equality California's website if they don't donate to the "Yes on 8" campaign and refrain from supporting LGBT equality in the future.

The letter, sent on their campaign letterhead, was signed by four members of the group's executive committee and suggests our donors withdraw their support for their own good. It demands an equivalent donation or else:

"Were you to elect not to donate comparably, it would be a clear indication that you are in opposition to traditional marriage. You would leave us no other reasonable assumption. The names of any companies...that choose not to be published.

...We will contact you shortly to discuss your contribution."

It is signed by members of the Yes on 8 campaign executive committee:

  • Ron Prentice, campaign chairman
  • Edward Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference (the Official Voice of the Catholic Community in California)
  • Mark Jansson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Andrew Pugno, lawyer for

This outrageous attempt to raise money by using threats reveals their true agenda: permanently to harm the LGBT community, our organizations, our allies and our supporters.

I can think of no better endorsement for anyone than being publicly listed as refusing to give anything to these assholes.