We Will Sacrifice Our Children to Fire

This is the last of the panels in my possession from the Valley of Gheionnim series. If you follow the tag for Gheionnim you should be able to see all five posts.

Below is the corner of a thing I am quite happy with at the moment. It emerged out of a page I was making for submission to a zine project (for my friend Tony Burhouse). The page evolved into a Geranium Lake Properties panel (which will be posted as soon as I figure out what to call it), a map, and this thing which right now is working under the title “An Invocation for the Kelp Forest”.


© 2017 lcmt

My other plum salsa recipe

I have been thinking of making plum salsa since I wrote this post. To get an idea of what should go into plum salsa besides plums, I looked for and found a couple of recipes on the internet, one from Martha Stewart, one from allrecipes-dot-com. Once I felt that I had a firm grasp of the plum salsa concept, I made two decisions. Lime juice, yes. Cilantro, no. Then I went grocery shopping. No list.

While making the salsa, I glanced at Martha Stewart’s recipe a few times, but I departed significantly from her instructions.

I started with two large black plums, a type with pale flesh, not red. Both plums seemed firm, but when I cut them, one was firm and tart, the other was sweet, and mushy under the knife. I also used approximately a third of a white nectarine I was eating before I started cutting up the plums. I chopped the nectarine and plums into small pieces. I didn’t measure the pieces. I was in no hurry. I chopped according to my mood. I was feeling patient and serene. A Time Team episode played in the background. The familiar voices of the archaeologists were soothing to me, with a small pang of melancholy for Mick Ashton’s departure from this side of our perceivable existence.

Almost forgot to say, I peeled the plums and even the hunk of nectarine. Yep, I was feeling patient.

Martha Stewart’s recipe calls for a “small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped”. I had a large cucumber, I used two-thirds of it, and I didn’t fret about the seeds. I enjoy eating cucumber seeds, it’s one of the small joys in life. I chopped that two-thirds of a cucumber in the same manner and mood as the plums.

I added one tomato from a variety called Indigo Apple that I had picked up at the Cal Poly tomato plant sale. The tomato was a lovely eggplant color, but small because of the stunted growth of the plant, which was entirely my fault, not Cal Poly’s. This will undoubtedly be the only Indigo Apple tomato I will eat this season. The plant isn’t dead yet but that’s no thanks to me. I chopped the tomato in the same manner and mood as the plums.

No cilantro. I am indifferent to cilantro so I didn’t buy any.

One green tomatillo. In contrast to cilantro, I am enthusiastic about the tomatillo. Chopped in the plum manner, slightly smaller pieces.

Two thirds of a Mexican green onion, the white part. Diced more finely than the plum manner.

One whole white jalapeno pepper, diced more finely than the plum manner.

One half of a green jalapeno pepper, diced more finely than the white jalapeno. I stripped the seeds and ribs out of the jalapeno peppers before dicing. The green pepper was smallish.

A half teaspoon (approximately) of powdered ginger. I could not be arsed to finely grate fresh ginger, I don’t pretend to be Martha Stewart. (Plus I enjoyed saying “I could not be arsed”, which I culturally appropriated from natives of the British islands.)

A packet of zero-calorie sweetener was laying on the counter so I threw that in. Do not thow in the paper packet, discard packet, use sweetener. Or sugar, about 2 teaspoons should work.

Add less than 2 tablespoons of lime juice. I am never telling you the age of that bottle of lime juice. It was waaaaay past its expiration date. It was so far out of date, I felt compelled to boil it the day before, then let it cool. I would have used a fresh lime, but my huge American supermarket would only sell limes to me in 1 pound bags. I refuse to buy a pound of limes when I need the juice of one. I should plant a lime tree. Lime trees are tougher than tomatoes, right? The tree would probably survive.

Some granulated (but not powdered) garlic of an undetermined amount. I use granulated garlic so often I don’t measure it any more, I just shake it in. You may chop fresh garlic if you prefer, use however many cloves as you like, the result will be your fault. I did actually have garlic cloves on hand but I had exhausted my my patience for chopping.

I also shook in a little bit of salt, pepper, and a couple of my favorite seasoning mixes. Whatever seemed like a good idea at the time. Not much, just a bit for luck.

I tossed the mixture enough so that all the ingredients could meet and greet, but no more than that. I put the salsa into a lidded container and popped it into the fridge for an hour. Martha Stewart tells us that the mixture needs at least an hour for the flavors to blend. I see no reason to disbelieve her.

Then I cooked some ground turkey in a skillet, with salt and pepper, not much salt, because the ground turkey I get from my huge American supermarket is always slightly seasoned. I dumped the turkey right from the skillet into a bowl with hot turkey on one side and cold plum salsa on the other.

Yeah. That worked.

(Are you all envious of me at this point? You should be.)

In our house, we call this a once-in-a-lifetime meal, the result of circumstances and ingredients that are never going to come together again. Below is a handy printable version of the recipe for your own use.

The Valley of Gheionnim



Tiamat’s Gutboard (top image)

Four years after Jack Loki first met the Friendly Neighborhood Haruspices, Wm. Yost began a series about Jack’s prophetic journey through the Valley of Gheionnim. The series began with a haruspication made by an entity named Tiamat Choureau, who used a kiGamnch gutboard.

The Utilapu Benison (bottom image)

No well-brought-up jackalope would dream of beginning a quest without formal permission for departure from their loved ones. This set of paglakaw nga mga papel was drawn up by Jack’s fiancée, Alice Aroumbeyski.

The Tezaris Map


Sometimes Azza-Jono leaks into our world.

The above image is a reproduction of an artifact know as the Copy of the Tezaris Map, named after Konstantinos Tezaris, who made a drawing of a map from Azza-Jono. The Azza-Jono map and the Tezaris drawing are lost or unavailable, their locations are the subject of several unverifiable theories. The following is the text of an undated letter from Edmund Streller to Paul Calhern. It has been generally accepted that the Copy of the Tezaris Map was the document included with this letter, but there is now some questioning of this assumption.

Dear Paul,

Jack Toomey has kindly informed me about your accident. I must say his list of your injuries was quite dramatic and I hope he was indulging in hyperbole, as he is wont to do. Effie and Celia join their wishes and prayers to mine for your speedy recovery, and even Nicholas came out from under his earphones to express his sympathy. Effie and I hope very much that you and Birgit will be able to join us for our usual Solstice bacchanal. Effie has the whole week planned, but she is ready to modify any and all events to suit your convalescence. If by that time you have left off convalescing and are perfectly recovered, I urge you to summon any small skill you have for the arts of hypochondria. Nothing makes Effie happier than fussing over the afflicted. My smokehouse manager told me yesterday that he expects at least one of the steg hams to be ready for the Solstice. I know your doubts about genetically anachronistic meats, but please seize this delicious (and kosher!) opportunity to have those doubts delightfully assauged. Please inform Birgit to prepare for one whole day of pickling nectarine chutney and plum salsa. Effie’s goal is to make a supply that will last at least six months for a family of four, taking into consideration that our family of four consumes nectarine chutney and plum salsa at a level that is significantly higher than average. Birgit may file a complaint, but it will be to no avail. The only way to avoid this day of labor is for Birgit to reveal her secret recipe for the seasoning mix.

Along with the news of your accident, Jack finally sent me the artifact he promised to show us, way back when, at that memorable luncheon in Houston. It is not the original Tezaris drawing, as he had claimed, although Jack now says he never claimed he had the original drawing. He insists that this is a Xerox copy made by Konstantinos Tezaris himself, of his drawing of the map. It is impossible to verify that kind of provenance, but I find I do not care. So unlike me! I am afraid my habitual cautiousness has been swamped by my excitement over the map itself. There are so many details that are not in the Ashmolean reconstruction! The Ashmolean map, with its splendid silver ink on purple paper, looks rather empty in comparison to this humble black and white document.

You and I have long reserved doubts about the Ashmolean’s choices for their interpretation. It has been proven that Konstantinos Tezaris was in control of the map’s stewardship when he was at the Antikenmuseum, and his notes mention nothing about the color of the paper. Purple paper in the style of Medieval illuminated manuscripts is an extreme characteristic well-worth noting. The lack of such a notation is unbelievable. In reference to the ink, Tezaris was very specific about the arsenic content of one of the inks used in the printed parts of the map. He also wrote that later additions were made by two people, with squid ink. No silver ink appears anywhere on the map! Of course, the Ashmolean has chosen to ignore Tevaris. The controversial photographs that accompanied his paper on Azzite funereal rites is held very much against him, to an unfair degree. Did I mention to you that I met Otto Krafft-Schuman two months ago? He was a mentor of sorts to Tevaris. They were quite close. He still gets choked up about Tevaris, even though it has been years since the death. He is at least 90 years old, but he is very clear-minded and remarkably mobile in his wheelchair. (He could give you lessons, with your two broken legs.) He is a wise man and has no illusions about the general unevenness of Tevaris’ body of scholarship, but he says Tevaris is absolutely sound on the matter of the map.

I am sorry that I will not see you at the UOMP convention in Lucerne next month. Jack Toomey will be there but he does not get my jokes the way you do. You know how I hate explaining the punchline to obtuse people.

Effie sends you kisses. We hope to see you at the Solstice. Get well soon.

Yours Truly,

Ed

This is one of my contributions to the Azza-Jono collaboration at Ello. The whole Azza-Jono project is collected here for your reading pleasure: https://tablo.io/t-van-santana/tales-from-azza-jono

Silver Lupin Collab


Silver Lupin Prayer, v.2

When my sisters and brother visit the family homestead, one of our favorite walks is Oso Flaco Lake. The walk has three parts: the lagoon, the dunes, the beach. The dunes are covered with a scrubby habitat all the way to the beach. You walk through a landscape densely packed with an array of textures that is fascinating even when the plants are not in bloom.


Silver Lupin Prayer, v. 1

The silver lupin was in bloom this past weekend, the perfect embodiment of its name, with pale flowers and gray green foliage. When they die, the plants leave behind intricate mounds of twisted branches, in every shade of silver and gray. My sister, Nancy Tarczynski, took some photographs of the silver lupin corpses:


She knew I would want to use this amazing source of pattern and line in my work.


Jack Loki Meets the Friendly Neighborhood Haruspices

© 2017 lcmt