Spring Ceramic DM™: WINNER POSTED! - Page 50
  1. #491
    Quote Originally Posted by BardStephenFox
    Seriously though, most of the people I know always thought it was funny to watch those Pace Picante sauce. The ones where the old cowboy would say "This stuffs made in New York City." Then the chorus from the rest of the cowboys, "New York City?" Then the last cowboy would say "Get a rope." Maybe it wasn't broadcast all over the nation. Anyway, we all thought it was funny because Pace is generally rather bland. It certainly isn't the best salsa out there.
    Yeah, I've seen 'em. And thought they were funny. I buy Pace for those days when I'm feeling lazy. but homemade is so much better.

    Zhaneel

  2. #492
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    dang, now Im hungry.

    I did spot the stories and mailed my judgement to Piratecat. You guys keep amazing me!


  3. #493
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    Quote Originally Posted by orchid blossom
    Actually, my chili isn't really chili. It's peppers, onions, garlic, a few herbs and spices. (right there, sounds a lot like salsa, no?) Then beef. All cooked. So that's why I said it's like salsa with meat. Real salsa, and I'm talking good stuff, I can't usually eat cause my tongue feels like it's going to burn off.

    (Sorry for the ot posting. I'll stop now. Maybe I'll go try to write a story about Muses.)
    Ah, the wonders of a sleep deprived and addled mind. My apologies.

    I was trying to make fun of the Pace salsa commercials. I know they were trying to indirectly mock one of their competitors, but their product isn't that wonderful either. The fact that they felt the need to do that by trying to disparage the NorthEast portion of the country kind of torqued me out to where I remember not even touching their products for a full 8 years. Obviously, my humor did not carry over so well. There is no reason why Salsa from one portion of the country is inherently better than any other salsa. Salsa is a lot of different things! For those that are not familiar with the wonderful world of assorted Salsas, check out some of the recipes online and make your own. In fact, here is a link for you: Assorted Salsa Recipes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhaneel
    Yeah, I've seen 'em. And thought they were funny. I buy Pace for those days when I'm feeling lazy. but homemade is so much better.

    Zhaneel
    Pace finally has a Cilantro Salsa that isn't bad. But, there are many, many companies with better Salsa out there. Heck, we have a half-dozen local brands that I can think of off the top of my head. But, this really is sidetracking the thread. If people are really that interested in Salsa, the crucial "Red or Green" question, Mexican food vs New Mexican food vs Tex-Mex, and all sorts of assorted sundries, we could create an [OT] Thread in the appropriate forum.

    And if any of you are ever out in Albuquerque, drop me an email and I will be happy to show you the selections of local cuisine.

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    I might hold you to that offer in august

  6. #496
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    Quote Originally Posted by BardStephenFox
    Ah, the wonders of a sleep deprived and addled mind. My apologies.
    I wasn't offended, not to worry. That's the downside of messageboards and messaging in general. No tone of voice, crooked smile, weird laugh at the end of the statement to let you know. I was just pointing out that my chili is about as chili as it is salsa. (I'm a picky eater, most people don't recognize my food as what I claim it is. lol)

    I remember those commercials too. I found them funny, but unconvincing. Why couldn't they make good salsa anywhere? What bugs me are products that try to sell themselves by saying thier competition is terrible. I still can't stand Pepsi, cause for so long their slogan seemed to be, "Coke stinks!"

    I actually love people's regional pride. I may be living in NY now, but I'm originally from Wisconsin, and there are still foods I miss. Lake to Lake Mild Cheddar cheese, (sadly now swallowed up by Borden's) Milwaukee Baby Dill Pickles.... Godfather's Pizza, burgers at The Penguin.

    Crap, now I'M hungry.
    Last edited by orchid blossom; Saturday, 24th April, 2004 at 09:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maldur
    I might hold you to that offer in august
    Cool. Though, our next baby is due in August. But still, if you are in the area, drop an email.

  8. #498
    Round 2-4
    Zhaneel versus RangerWickett

    Vritra's Return

    Devang had always had a problem with authority. It was one of the first things that brought him to the attention of the Brothers of Vishnu. They are always on the lookout for bright men, and often those who rebel at being commanded do so because they feel they are better than their commanders. Devang was one such. Though he was a poor man’s son, he had a quick wit and willingness to use it. Much to the dismay of his commander in the Indian National Army. Devang was constantly getting into trouble, as he subtly and not so subtly pushed the limits of what he was allowed to do as a low level grunt with very little hope for advancement due to his caste. He would do such things as chewing gum in line for role, and when told he wasn’t allowed to do that unless he brought enough for everyone, he’d bring enough for everyone the next day. Devang never did anything bad enough to be severely punished, though he was assigned to cooking duty more than any other grunt. But these things were noted in his file and eventually a visitor from the Brothers came to see the troublemaker himself.

    All of the grunts were lined up for the inspection of the Brother, who was posing as a high level colonel. Devang was obvious, instead of turning with a somber face he made a horrible face for a brief moment, thinking the official wouldn’t see. But the Brother did see, as he was able to see more than just where his eyes were looking, thanks to the grace of Vishnu. He did nothing, other than note the further rebellion. After all the grunts were dismissed, he asked to be able to interview a few of the men. The commanders in charge of the facility were more than willing to bring in those asked, though the Brother detected a little nervousness when Devang’s name was mentioned. And one commander let a brief smirk cross his features, obviously thinking that Devang might be in trouble and relishing in it.

    The Brother went through the first couple of interviews; it was easy enough to come up with questions that didn’t matter. He was on autopilot, thinking over all of the notes in Devang’s file and what small amount he’d witnessed here. Finally, Devang was brought into the small room the Brother was using. As a rare treat, Devang actually looked respectful, which was expected as the Brother outranked him both militarily and through the caste system. The Brother nodded to the escort, who left them alone. With a whispered plea and small gesture, the Brother beseeched Vishnu to change what the recordings of this place would be.

    “Devang, I wanted to talk to you. You seem to be a smart man, yet you waste your intelligence with stupid pranks,” the Brother said, eying Devang for a reaction.

    Devang’s head snapped up and his mouth opened to deny it, before the years of deference caught up to him.

    “I am sorry, Colonel. I know not of what you speak, though if I did I would work hard to correct my mistake,” Devang said, his eyes downcast.
    “Come now, Devang. Speak plainly with me. You like to cause trouble. Why?”

    Devang looked up, a spark of hatred forming in his eyes. “As you wish, Colonel. I cause trouble because there is not much else to do. There are no enemies to attack and the days are filled with boredom. At least when I cause trouble, I get a smile or a laugh and so do my fellow men. And then I have something to do, punishment though it may be. And as they dislike me causing trouble they attempt to vary the punishments to find something I don’t care to do. I, however, like the variety, so I refuse to let any one punishment get me down, sir.”

    “Ah, so instead of putting forth your effort to become the best you could be for the Army, you waste our time and your own with stupid pranks. Shame upon you and you may never reach enlightenment that way.”

    “And what would you have me do?”

    The Brother raised a single, elegant eyebrow. “It is not what I would have you do. It is what Vishnu would have you do.”

    Devang was at a loss for words. Most people who the Brotherhood was recruiting experienced the same thing. All was going along normal in their lives, and then someone told them a God from India’s past wanted something of them. The next reaction was equally predictable.

    “Vishnu is a part of our history. I doubt very much that he would want something of me, or that you, Colonel, would be the one to bring his word.”

    “Devang, whether you believe it or no, Vishnu exists still. He did not disappear just because the majority of India pushed Him into the Buddhist lore. As does His consort Sarasvati, and Shiva the Destroyer, and Kali the Bringer of Death. All of them and more. They exist and they still mark our mortal plane and do their work.”

    Devang looked at the Brother as if he had gone crazy. This was also normal. “I am not a Colonel is this army, though I used to be. My name is Ranjit Issar, and I am a Brother of Vishnu. The Brotherhood of Vishnu attempts to do His work here on Earth and prevent the schemes of Shiva, Kali and the asuras from harming innocents. You have been selected to be offered a place in this brotherhood. The Army is no place for you. You are too intelligent to be a grunt, but you are not of a high enough caste to advance. The best you could hope for is to avoid bringing more disgrace upon that a high ranking officer would offer to sponsor your children into a higher level caste. You are welcome to that fate, if it is what you desire. But if you desire more, you will join the Brotherhood of Vishnu and be challenged for the rest of your life.”

    It was too much for anyone to take in fully upon hearing it for the first time. This was exactly what the Brotherhood was counting on. Given the intelligence necessary for the agents, it was necessary to keep them off guard so they were pliable. It was a fine line to walk, because presenting too much outrageous information would just render the potential agent a nonbeliever. Too little and the potentials began to engage their logic and disbelieve the information they were given. Fortunately, Ranjit was an experienced recruiter and could easily gauge the appropriate pushes and when to give them. Devang played right into his hand.

    “I have always felt I was meant for more. Maybe this is what I felt. I will join you, Brother Ranjit Issar.”

    “Good, then you will go back to your quarters and speak of this to no one. The Brotherhood of Vishnu is a secret kept from most of the populace who wouldn’t understand what we do. You will receive a transfer request shortly. Take it, and come to meet your destiny.”

    With those words, Ranjit turned and walked out of the room. As he did so, he released the hold he had over the recorders. Devang followed slowly and made his way back to the barracks. The transfer request came early on the morrow, just when Devang had begun to wonder if he had dreamed the experience.

    #

    Over the next couple of months, Devang was trained in all things a Brother of Vishnu would need to know. He was made to learn how to read, something he’d been denied much of his life. Devang learned much of the history and mythology surrounding the old Gods. While it was hard to tell truth from embellishment, the Brotherhood had an extensive library for comparison and more texts than Devang had though possible to exist. Devang was also trained in the proper ways to honor all the gods, for even Shiva needed worship sometimes to deal with asura that went against Shiva’s plans. He helped out on several small missions, learning the ropes and how to recognize the presence of the other world in everyday life. It was fun and challenging, as Ranjit had promised. Devang did not act out any more for his mind was occupied with other things. So it went for several years.

    Then something big happened. Reports made their way to the Brotherhood about a disturbance in the northeastern jungles. The water had changed to blood in one of the rivers that ran toward the holy Ganga river. While the blood was not yet defiling the Ganga, it was only a matter of time. Christian missionaries were hailing it as one of the indications of the Armageddon to come. But the Brotherhood knew better. And knew too that it was their job to protect India and stop the spread of this defilement.

    A team of four, one for each hand of Vishnu, was put together. Devang was one of the men chosen. All four were cunning and well trained. Traveling to the outer edge of the forest was easy. Gaining entrance into the forest was also easy for the Brotherhood, though news correspondents and various religious cult members were having trouble getting past the security detail sent by the Indian Army. Devang suppressed a smile as they made their way past. He had never regretted his decision to leave the boring life.

    Even though the trees blocked out much of the light it was hot inside the jungle. More than expected, and the air was oppressive. There was definitely something from the beyond at work here. The team hiked through the forest slowly and carefully, noting what little details they could. But it wasn’t until they reached the river of blood did they truly find anything of note. It was a truly frightening sight. Bright red blood filled the banks of the river. The tang of iron was heavy in the air. No animals could be seen near the river, they were all avoiding it though there were well marked water paths. Not that Devang could blame the animals. All four members of his team were fighting the urge to be away from this defilement of nature. But they forced themselves toward it and took samples for analysis. No fish could be seen, which made Devang wonder if they were all dead from the lack of water and accessible oxygen or if they had been proactively removed by the same magic that placed the blood there in the first place.

    After the samples had been taken, the team conferred and decided to split into two. The source of this magic was unclear, and they would make better time if they were able to walk up and down the river. Devang’s team followed the river north, on the eastern bank, while the other team would travel south, hopefully finding a boat to cross to the western bank. No one really wanted to swim across the river.

    Devang’s partner was Partha Ray, a quiet man. Devang had worked with him on one or two missions before and knew he was dependable. They made their way up the river in silence. Aside from the river, the rest of the jungle seemed normal. Somehow the trees were still managing to pull up enough water that they were healthy. While that couldn’t last forever, it was something to note. The groundwater had not been affected, nor had the rain that came and went with regular frequency.

    After about a mile of walking, they came upon a small boy, which would have been uneventful, if he hadn’t been carrying a boar’s head over his shoulder. The boy was small, too small really to be carrying such a weight, but the boy carried it with ease. Though the neck was bloody, there was no blood gushing out of the head, indicating the blood had been drained. There was no body within visual range, but given the condition of the river, both Devang and Partha easily came to the same conclusion. When they tried to question the boy, the received no response. Partha was better with languages, and tried Hindi and several of the local dialects. Partha also tried Mandarin and several Chinese dialects just in case. Nothing. No response. Then Partha tried the holy tongue, taught to only a special few by Vishnu’s consort, Sarasvati. At this the boy suddenly stood stock still and dropped the boar’s head. As Partha continued, the boy began to shake and convulse. Devang readied his weapons in case the boy should turn violent. But there was no need. Partha was able to rid the boy of the asuras influence without harming the boy or causing the boy to reach out to harm them. Which meant either this was the work of a weak asura, or a powerful asura was somehow being prevented from extending its full influence. A quick discussion with the boy revealed very little. He didn’t know what had happened. And he didn’t remember any of the time he’d spent serving the asura. Truth be told the boy was frightened, and rightfully so. Devang & Partha spent a moment to confer. The village was nearby, and the boy had been able to give directions but did not want to go himself. They could contact the other half of their party and wait for them, or they could split up further and one could escort the boy home while one went to the village to confront the asura. They had just decided to wait when an earthquake hit. It was strong and the trees waved in the aftershocks. If there was a river of blood and now earthquakes and people being taken over, there was very little time left. The wait plan was abandoned and they quickly decided Devang would go to the village to confront the asura while Partha took the boy back to a safe location while contacting the rest of their team who would follow as soon as they could.

    Devang ran along the small path toward the village. He took the right fork as indicated and came to the defensive bridge the natives employed. No one was guarding it; all villagers were engaged in various tasks for the asura it seemed. Devang quickly made his way across and gazed around the village. A few people moved here and there, lugging the heads of various jungle animals toward the center of the village. Devang made his way toward the same, staying out of sight of the focused humans. He hoped that the asura was too engaged in whatever it was doing to spread its senses out to detect Devang’s movements.

    As it happened, Devang was able to creep to the center of the village with no troubles. And what he saw amazed and terrified him. An overly large figurine of a golden-green dragon took up most of what had been the village square. It was incredibly long, iridescent scales flashing in the sun. There was no way to tell where the tail ended as the body was wrapped in and around itself too many times to track the coils. And it was wrapped around a small egg. A humming emanated from the figurine, and the villagers were depositing their loads of animal heads nearby. Devang watched as a coil slowly reached out and take the head into the mass of coils, where it disappeared. He started to pray for guidance from Vishnu, but he heard a slow cackle behind him, filled with the sound of locusts flying on the breeze.

    “Vishnu cannot help you. Vishnu is forbidden from harming Vritra with anything made from wood, metal, or stone, with anything dry or wet, or at any time during the day or night,” a female voice said.

    At that moment Devang knew he stood in the presence of a goddess. And with the sound of locusts undercutting every word spoken, and yet he was still able hear the sound of grass growing he knew that it was Kali, Goddess of Destruction and the Mother Goddess in one. Slowly he turned and bowed, laying his head to the ground, avoiding looking into the fearsome black eyes or at which hand Kali might have extended toward him.

    “Kalikamata, Black Earth Mother” Devang said. “I am awed by your appearance to me,” Devang murmured.

    “Pah, you think I had something to do with this and you are trying to figure out a way to stop me,” Kali scolded.

    Devang knew that Kali hated ignorance, and feigned ignorance more. “Yes, you are right. Did you have something to do with this?”

    “Well and good, Devang, for you to come clean. Yes, I helped Vritra expand the boundaries of his prison so that he could make changes. But I do not mean for him to escape. I will help you defeat the demon, if you promise to do me one favor,” Kali said, her voice changed to the sensual overtones of the Divine Mother.

    Devang knew as well as any of the Brothers that to make a deal with Kali was to make a deal with death. But would his death be worth saving all the others lives that the rebirth of Vritra, most powerful of the asura whose coils could encircle the world, would end? Surely one death instead of many was preferable. Devang took a deep breath and answered, “What is it you wish me to do?”

    Though he didn’t look up, Devang felt the terrible smile that lit Kali’s face. “Nothing, really. Just make sure the egg does not get destroyed. And when it shrinks, save it and keep it. Think of it as a memento.”

    Though Devang was sure it would be more than just a memento, he could see no other choice. He was not prepared to fight Vritra, and Kali would give him the key. What harm could one little egg cause?

    Kali told him the secret to trap Vritra once more in his prison. No one, not even the Gods, could kill Vritra, most powerful of the asura. But they could trap him for millennia at a time. But they would have to wait for sunset, which Kali assured him they had enough time, as the breaths of the evening were already on the breeze. Vritra was too consumed with completing his preparations to bother checking for intruders and Kali assured Devang that even if he did Kali’s shroud of darkness would hide them from Vritra’s sight.

    Devang hoped that his fellow team members might show up, but he doubted it. The village was too far away, and he didn’t trust Kali not to make sure that they couldn’t find the route as she wanted something from him. Other members of the team might complicate matters. Soon enough, the sun began to set and the sky burned red. It was neither night nor day for a precious few minutes and now was the time that Devang had to act. He rose from his position behind some firewood and called out.

    “Vritra! Most terrible and powerful of the Asura! I know you and I have come to defeat you in battle.”

    Slowly, ever so slowly, the head of the dragon turned toward Devang. As did the head of every human in the village. “Mortal,” Devang felt the voice more than heard it. “What do you think you can accomplish? There is nothing you have that can harm me.”

    “But there is. I have the greatest weapon against you at my disposal.”

    Devang began to chant the holy words that Kali had taught him. Words were not made of wood, metal or stone. They were neither wet nor dry. And the right words spoken at the time that was neither day nor night would bind Vritra. There was no translation that Devang knew for them, only that they had to be spoken by a mortal touched by Vritra’s greatest enemy Vishnu. Vritra sensed history replaying itself, howling because he’d thought the holy texts that could bind him had been destroyed. Vishnu was not allowed to teach mortals these words, so he knew he’d been betrayed. As Vritra shrank back into himself he saw the dark lady Kali hovering behind Devang, and she winked. At that point Vritra stopped fighting, though Devang knew it not, as Vritra understood that there would a further purpose for him.

    When Devang stopped chanting the clearing was much different. All the villagers had dropped their burdens, and where the massive coils had once been there were a few scattered animal skulls here and there. And in the center was a 25 centimeter high figurine of a golden-green dragon. And to the side was a golden egg, which fit easily into Devang’s palm. It was hard, almost like stone and Devang could not sense the life pulsing inside it. Kali was gone when he turned to look, but Devang kept his promise and pocketed the egg. He also retrieved the figurine, deciding that the Brotherhood might be the safest place for it.

    All this I know, having been told by the Dark Mother herself. My father is deep within the sanctuary of his greatest enemy and I will hatch in good time to free him. Such is the stupidity these mortals possess. Devang has long forgotten where I came from, having convinced himself my egg is just a pretty stone. But beauty can hide so much.

    END

    -----------------------------------

    Zhaneel

    * post roll count doesn't match database

  9. #499
    Well, there you go. Silly Muse wanting to write in India.

    I modified a little mythology, but I took most of it from an online resource which I can link if you all are interested.

    Now... off to dance!

    Zhaneel

  10. #500
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