July 26th, 2008


Survey of Sol 3 by Kess Tarqillan

Testing voice-capture.
Testing stylus.

Begin report from the ruins of Sol 3, colloquially known as Earth by its former inhabitants. This is Kessanda Elyne Tarqillan, colloquially known as Kess. Heh. Apologies to whoever must transcribe this. One gets a little silly out in the black between ruined worlds...

Kess Tarqillan, xenoarchaeologist with second survey of Sol system, targetting Sol 3. Psychometric, like all the best xenoarchs - others can inspect artifacts, but we, by touching them, can see their history. Remember things as if we were there. Of all the planets on the Sol system, Sol 3 has the greatest density of ruins, leading many scholars to hypothesize that this, not Sol 4, was the birthplace of the human race.

I arrived on Sol 3 twenty of their days ago, settling down in an area particularly rich with ruins. The initial survey team had extracted and logged some sixty items before my arrival; I knew that my duty was to examine them first, but I like to get a bigger picture of the world before I begin studying its artifacts. And what a fascinating world, this Sol 3. This Earth. Twisted strands of fused metal and shimmering broken glass like accidental mosaics, wild and artifice all in one...

I have dallied enough on this planet's surface, though. I must get to work.

I settle on my haunches, examining the wealth of human artifacts spread before me. What to begin with? A box? This woven fiber? Those glittering stones? What will reveal the most to me? What will tell your story, lost planet?

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Way hey and away we go...

Art here by haikujaguar, not for auction.
  • Current Music
    Sir-Mix-Alot - Baby Got Back
Blogathon 2008

Survey of Sol 3 - heart and key

I close my eyes and let my hands drift over the tables of artifacts, waiting for that pull that indicates psychic residue. Almost immediately, my hand is drawn down to a necklace - a pendant with the image of a heart, with a key suspended.

There are many ways to trap a heart, my love.

The fashion used to be for robin's eggs or stones; the fashion used to be for hiding one's heart in a dragon's lair or a maiden's bedchamber. It was well-known that hiding one's heart made one immortal - look at Koschei.

Look at me.

But a heart is nothing so simple as all of that, my love. It is not all meat and life. It is not just of the body. It is of the soul.

Are you cold, my love? Here; a blanket.

Your heart, still beating, though ever so slow; your heart, trapped within glass and held to my breast. Do not look afraid, my love. I give you eternal life. You did say you wanted to stay with me forever.

There are so many ways to trap a heart. Smile. This is not as messy as it could have been.

I pull away and drop the necklace, shuddering; it falls to the floor with a delicate *clink*, but is undamaged. I wonder what it would take to open it, and what would happen if I did.

I wonder if, somewhere, absent his heart, he yet lives.


Heart and key necklace
by shrijani of Delanuit.
"Sterling and fine silver, "mineral glass" watch crystal, and a digitally altered photographic print of an illustration from the textbook Graded Lessons in Physiology and Hygiene by Krohn-Crombine, published in 1912. I put it on an adjustable black leather thong, but it can be hung on anything that will fit through the jump ring. The key is one of my sterling silver vintage replica keys, the "Diary Key" style. Both pieces are meant to be somewhat rustic, so even though the pendant has a modern style, it's supposed to get dinged up. The watch crystal is strong, but it is breakable, so the buyer should know not to fling it onto the pavement, just like they wouldn't do a watch, etc. :)"

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Going slowly so far, due to many, many where's-the-colander type interruptions.
  • Current Music
    Track 02
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Survey of Sol 3: Thrice

Still shaky, I reach for the artifact closest to me; as I pick it up, another clatters to the floor. They are two of a kind - small tins with chains of plastic and glass. They rattle as I pick them up, and I open them carefully. Within: small metal keys. Plastic cards. One tube of colored wax. Three individually-folded papers of the sort they used for money. One small, glittery clip.

I relax, close my eyes, and let the memory come.

She stands in the corner of the club, holding Alice's purse as well as her own, watching Alice laugh and dance. Watching Alice surrounded by guys, as always. The colored lights played over her friend's sweat-slick body, turning her pale blonde hair the colors of candy floss.

Thea, in the corner, like always.

She sat at a freshly-vacated table, fingers fiddling with the glass beads on her purse. She'd made it herself, hers and Alice's... she'd been in a frenzy of creation since -

Since -

The breakdown. That was what they were calling in.

Thea squeezed her eyes shut, the bass-heavy music thumping at her from her seat. If it was a breakdown, she wanted to break back down. She didn't *fit* here anymore - clubbing with Alice, working at the mall. Not talking. Never talking about any of it, for fear of being sent back to the looney bin. The only thing she could do was draw, or paint - try to capture her memories before they finished slipping away.

Every day, a little more slipped away. Clockwork men and rainbow's daughters, talking animals and women with interchangeable heads and -

And that was what felt like home now. The madness of that lost country. Not these highways and restaurants. Not this club.

Beneath the table, she brought her heels together.



"Click Your Heels" and "Emerald City" tin purses by NiftyBabe313. Decoupaged Altoids tins, glass-beaded or faux-pearl-beaded handles, ribbon. Perfect size for IDs/cash/cards, keys, lipstick, other small treasures.

Adam is holding Tor-tori in a position that makes it clear that she has no dignity whatsoever. Aww.

Frank the Rubber Chicken is once again the mascot for Team Venture. The theme song of Team Venture is "Baby Got Back".

Team Venture is little in the middle, but we got much back. Just so you know.

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  • Current Music
    Track 02

Survey of Sol 3: Lady on the Rocks

I smile as I place the tin purses gently on the table behind me; the vision went no further, but somehow I got the distinct feeling that the girl would be all right. That she had found her home.

The next item to catch my eye and wandering hand: a painting propped up against the back wall. A woman in a forest. I squint at the lights around her... that's strange...

There is something strange about those woods. Mama told me. She said the ones out back of our house are fine, but to never go into the ones out by the edge of town. She says the whole town's gotten strange since the big blackout that took out all our 'lectronics. The eempee, she said.

I don't remember the eempee, or this town being hooked up to any other towns anywhere. Mama says there used to be an interweb hooking the whole world together. She smiles when she talks about the old days of microwave ovens and computers - but it's a kind of smile that makes me think that she doesn't miss it all that much.

But that's not about the woods, or the lady in the woods.

Who listens to their Mama *all* the time? Not me or any other kid I know. I *try*. But sometimes she says things like "don't go in the woods", and so you just *have* to go into the woods. You have to explore. You have to find out what the big secret is.

The thing about the woods is that as soon as you enter them, it's quiet. *Really* quiet. You can't hear the Madison twins playing in the field not fifty feet away. You can't hear the lawnmower. Nothing but little rustly forest sounds.

And it's dark - trees so thick overhead that the sun can't come in.

So how could I see where I was going?

There were these funny lights. Round and floaty, like really big fireflies without wings. They bobbed in the air around me and darted ahead, like they wanted me to follow them. And of course I did. What's the point in exploring and *not* following stuff like that?

I walked for a while; without the sun, I couldn't tell how long. I ate berries that the lights bobbed at, and drank water from springs that burbled up out of nowhere. And then we came to the pond. And the lady in the pond.

She was beautiful. Not like Mama. The lady on the rocks was *too* beautiful, too perfect, too cold, and her smile was wonderful and terrible. Her voice was low. I remember that. I don't remember what she *said* to me.

But I remember her laugh. And then I don't remember anything else.

The twins found me in the middle of the field. I slept for about a day and a half.

Sometimes I swear I can hear the lady's voice on the wind or in my dreams.

But I have never gone back to those woods.


"Lady on the Rocks" by The_Resa; as Teri Sue Wood, Resa wrote and drew "Wandering Star", one of the best indie comics of the 90s, and "The Cartoonist", which was also great fun. Resa says, "When you go walking in the forest in the early evening here in the
North Pacific Rain Forest, you sometimes stumble upon the most
interesting people. It is, however, not always wise to try and speak to
them, particularly if they have strange, floaty lights about them. Oh
no. Best to keep moving. As those kinds of folk tend to play the most
unpleasant practical jokes. Bid now -- because I'll not only doodle on your envelope, but I'll throw in a free Wandering Star CD. Whoo!" Watercolor paint as underpainting, with
Derwent Watercolor pencils sketched on top. 10 x 14 on 2 ply bristol.

Blogathon 2008. 24 hours of spontaneous fiction for BARCC.

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A reminder: All storybits are completely spontaneous. I have no idea what I'm going to write til I sit down and write it. Please excuse typos; between all the linking and digging out artifacts and, well, writing, I have no time to edit!

Survey of Sol 3: Cayuga Lake

The shawl is warm to the touch. I set it aside and pick up something glittering at me from the wooden table. A necklace.

I found the beach glass on the last day of my family's vacation on Cayuga Lake. They'd been squabbling the whole time. My brothers were cranky, and my mom never wanted to go to begin with, so it was pretty much just me and my dad having fun - and only when the rest of the family wasn't around. Dad would go fishing. I went swimming every day. The first few days, my mom watched me over the top of her paperback... when I showed that I wasn't going to drown anytime soon, she stopped watching. And unlike home, my overcrowded house on an overpopulated street, I actually got to be alone. I would bob in the lake, letting the water just cover my ears. Just enough to drown out the sounds.

Peace and quiet.

I don't know where the beach glass came from. I don't think the lake could have worn it down like that. Maybe it was someone else's summer treasure, lost on a swim.

But I swear, when I touched it - I could feel waves, real waves. I could taste the salt water. I swear I could hear the ocean.

I never showed my brothers. I never showed anyone. I hid it in the little cloth bag I kept found beads in, hiding its muted green in the sparkles of crackles glass and pretty stones - a place my brothers would never look. I kept the bag in my pocket or my purse for years, reaching in to stroke the beach glass whenever I was stressed; it never failed to calm me down. I put it in a little glass bowl on my dresser when I was grown, still with that motley collection of beads.

My son never could feel the ocean in it.

But my granddaughter can.

"Cayuga Lake" necklace by Spoothbrush - Beach glass, freshwater
pearls, glass beads, serpentine, aventurine, carnelian, jasper,
sterling silver. 20", plus the lovely dangles.

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It's so quiet. Everyone is hardcore writing.

The cats are wandering around being very "PET ME, HUMAN!", even Max, who is curled up in a sunbeam right now.

Half of the women here are wearing Wyrding Studios jewelry; I'm wearing my Shayara necklace, and FigmentJ has a Kate-made quartz point, Jennifer has an OMG pink necklace, and EustaciaVye's is fiery twisty copper.

Survey of Sol 3: Fate

I think I hear the ocean as I set the necklace down, letting the stones trail over my fingers.

The next item is a box... dark, with a shimmer of gold. I draw it out and trace the sigil on top. It is unfamiliar to me, and I access my database, searching the languages lost to time and wreckage, but this is older still than Sino-English and Russian. It is remembered only as a sigil itself. A rune.

It is silent and secret. No shaking this box to deduce contents. No child on Christmas Eve, I. I made the box myself, and I won't tell you what with. I gathered clay at midnight. I painted the rune in gold.

Perthro. The womb of fate. The dice cup of the universe.

Pandora's box has nothing on this, I tell you. This contains fate itself; this contains the moment before the moment of change. It is mine. I have trapped it, me, in this box that I display brazenly on my desk. No one knows. No one would believe it.

No one has yet noticed that things don't change quite the way they used to.

No one will ever find the key.

Rune-embellished box by Tisana - the top is pebble-textured; the bottom, stamped. It has tiny feet and a mock keyhole.
In its former life, it held Altoids.

Team Venture is distracting me with speculations on what they'd like to do to Clive Barker, seduction-wise. This is Slipjig's fault. Sponsor him!

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Survey of Sol 3: City of Light

I shake the box experimentally, but hear nothing. I set it down with a sense of unease.

The next artifact fairly jumps out at me, bold silver and blue. I touch it and am immediately drawn in.

The Luxor is quiet. It is never quiet - has never been quiet, not since it was opened, since the shaft of light from the tip of the pyramid first pierced the sky, drawing bats from miles around.

Even the damn bats are quiet.

She is cold, without her jacket. Six gates so far, this journey through the underworld - gates at the pirate ship, at the circus, the castle. Finally the pyramid, glittering with gods the builders never understood and should never have summoned.

Her jacket. Her necklace. Her boots. All her armor. All her tokens of office. She stood before the statue of Anubis, feeling small and cold and so very tired, but knowing that her sister was so close...

She cocked her hip and glared up at the jackal head. "What do *you* want?" she demanded.

"I'm So Tired of the City" by SweetEvangeline. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 6"x6".

Short post because we broke for lunch, but... this is part of the Inanna-in-Vegas thing I started during June's Wind Tunnel Dreams. Gods help me, I'm going to have to write this.

Quote from Team Venture: "Captain America is such a bottom."

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Survey of Sol 3: Skelefairy

The next artifact is preserved in a glass bottle, painstakingly sealed with wax It is a skeleton hooked to a butterfly, or so I thought at first...

The fairies began celebrating Halloween. Not Samhain - they'd always celebrated that. But Halloween. It wasn't long after they came out and started flitting about in public that they started in on Halloween.

It was partly an affinity for candy (especially saltwater taffy), but partly they just liked to dress up, I think. They were fairly limited in their ability to costume. The wings, you know. I'd seen fairies cut slits for their wings in handkerchiefs and fly around as ghosts, but the fabric invariably interfered with their ability to fly. So mostly they went in for body paint and minimal accessories.

There was one year they were almost all skeletons. White-bodied fairies with black lines carefully painted on - with felt-tip pens, I think. Spooky little things, whirling around and squeaking "trick or treat" even in June. It got pretty annoying.

I trapped this one in my front garden. I think "trick or treat" are the only words it knows. It's made itself a little nest with taffy wrappers.

How long do fairies live?

Skelefairy by Spooky! Glow-in-the-dark polymer clay.

My arms are not happy.

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Team Venture is gonna have a Gay-Off, I think.

Also, Team Venture *heart*s Australian Joe!

Survey of Sol 3: Emergency Bag

I shake the dust off the next artifact. It is a shoulder-bag containing some clothing, a small electronic device, and a set of odd oblong items.

The sirens were sudden and deafening, lights flashing across the sooty sky, and I was momentarily disoriented. Another test?

The double pulse of the siren told me no. This was for real. A strike, about to hit.

I grabbed my tote bag, the one Mom sewed. I couldn't think. You're supposed to have an emergency bag. You're supposed to be *prepared*, and I wasn't, could never be - I grabbed shirts, underwear, a set of pads, my link, everything I could think of, and I ran for the shelter -

And everything went white -

Be prepared! Reversible tote bag and cotton flannel menstrual pads, both by Spoothbrush.

Sorry so short - unexpected interruption in flow. Is cool now.

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Thanks for highlighting me, Day of Blogs!

Check here for more awesome people to sponsor! Ten bloggers, one house! All crazy!

Survey of Sol 3: Face

I feel a pang of sympathy as I set the bag aside. Poor child. Can anyone ever truly be prepared?

The next artifact is curious indeed. I pick it up and turn it gently in my hands. It is... a false face, white, lined in red.

She used to wear the mask only on stage - a simplified face for simple productions, Noh plays. The plays did not call for emotion, expression - just this almost-featureless face.

She took it home, wore it on the train - and found herself relieved by her anonymity. No one edged close to her. No one made overtures toward her. If anyone looked at her, they likely thought her a little bit mad - worn jeans, t-shirt, sandals, and a white-and-red mask, long dark hair framing that so-white face.

She started wearing it every day, feeling safe behind her mask. The world began to go a little bit mad, all the radios and television screaming warnings; she wore the mask more and more, until she simply never took it off.

Until it simply became her face. World dissolving around her, and her safe and secure behind her emotionless, almost-featureless face.

Mask by the amazing ArtfulRuin of the Maskwood. Papier mache, gesso, acrylic paint, acrylic felt, elastic cord; 1 of 5,
but because each mask is handmade, each is one of a kind. Felt-lined
for comfort - this isn't just beautiful, it's very wearable.

The really annoying thing about ScribeFire is that I can only see about half of what I'm writing. :P

Quote: "Rubber chickens and nudity. Yep. That's Blogathon."

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Survey of Sol 3: Encoding Memory

The next necklace has a strange buzz to it. When I come into contact with it, it nearly shocks my fingers. There's something... artificial in here. Electronic. Frizzed a bit by whatever went down here.

Reluctantly, I stroke my fingers along its almost-clear cubes, and fall in.

She strokes the chain around her neck, little memory cubes spaced evenly around the bloodstone spheres. It's a nervous habit, almost a compulsion. The cubes are new tech, not entirely trustworthy, but she's come to depend on them already. She uses one now:


Cube clutched in fingers, she falls into memory. Happy day from her childhood. Playing in the sprinklers. Sun and blue sky and lemonade. She sighs and relaxs, releasing the cube.

Next cube. Focus:

This one is blank. She wracks her brain for something to put there, something beautiful and true...

Problem is, once encoded, the memory's excised from your brain. Only accessible via cube. Supposedly, that wasn't supposed to happen.

You'd think that, knowing it, she could stop. But no.

Next cube. Next ray of light. Telling memories like a rosary, again and again.

Necklace by Stoker- and Rhysling-nominated poet, playwright, and interstitial artist Upstart_Crow. Bloodstone and stone-cube beads. 16".

Team Venture says you can do side bends or sit-ups, but please don't lose that butt.

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Survey of Sol 3: Mermaid

The sense of the ocean I felt from the Cayuga Lake necklace returns in full force when I touch the next artifact. It is blue and glimmers softly in the afternoon light.

She pulled the cowl from her head, letting it settle around her slim throat. He had grown accustomed to her wearing it... she was always cold, and even the slightest layer helped. Beads glinted from the cowl and from her long green skirt. She'd never stopped accumulating shiny things. She'd never given up the sea, not entirely. There were seashells scattered around the apartment, and seaglass wrapped in silver around her neck.

She had chosen the land, and chosen it for him.

He would never have asked it of her, had he known how much it would hurt her.

She walked gingerly over to the window, every step like knives through her delicate legs; she leaned against it and pined for the sea.


Knitted lace cowl by EmilyTheSlayer, for slightly chilly days that don't call for the full bulk of a scarf.
Yarn is Knitpicks Gloss Lace, 70% Merino wool, 30% silk, in Mermaid.
Pattern is Ice Queen, from www.knitty.com, by Rosemary Hill, with
permission by the designer. Cowl has glass seed beads in various blue
and green shades. Care instructions: hand wash cold water, lay flat and
reshape to dry.

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(Holy crap, Larry, thank you.)

My shoulders are ow. :P But we've had ice cream now, son we're happy. EustaciaVye's singing Ludo songs. Rafaela's reviewing my last Bad Movie Night.

Oh hai!


Survey of Sol 3: Biscornu

I set the cowl down, solemn - touched by the mermaid's sacrifice. I hope that she and her mate found a way to be happy.

She does her spellwork every day. Embroiders runes and paints signs and sigils. She chalks signs of protection over her door and paints them on her floor.

She touches everything three times on her way to the door. She carries talismans and traces her symbols in the air. Steps aside for men in dark coats. Clutches the soft, rune-embroidered biscornu in her pocket when she's nervous, tracing her fingers over the runes over and over. Strength and success, power and healing, growth and enlightenment. Writes them everywhere, in the hopes that repeating them will cause them to sink in and become part of her.

Biscornu by Frogger_the_Mad. This would make an exceptionally lovely pincushion.

Apologies for brevity. We're having song-and-dance numbers over here.

We have been asked if we would like to be served chicken marsala and black pepper fettucine by a cute boy in a French maid outfit. The answer to this question will always be yes. Team Venture votes yes.

Team Venture is singing the Doom Song.

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And go vote in Wired_Lizard's poll. Also, sponsor her!


Survey of Sol 3: Raven's Light

I shake my head as I set the rune-embroidered biscornu behind me, and reach for the nearest thing that calls out with hope, with positive emotion behind it - a painting of a girl. Or - not quite a girl.

She rushes through the dark, outracing the old man, cradling the ball of light in her hands. Her great black wings are outspread, wind rippling around them: Raven, trickster-child, tired of being in the dark. Half of the good Raven does, Raven does by accident, and so it was with this - sick of the dark, Raven stole the light, and now we all can see.

The paint rises from the page, and he strokes it, outlining the wings and the light and her sweet face. He is a collector of ravens and legends, much as he can be. He is a lover of the trickster, or would be if he could. If there is a way to call her forth, he will find it. Maybe if he had something Raven wanted to steal, but what would Raven want? A trapped heart, a ball of magic, a mermaid's voice? How to draw Raven's caprice?

She smiles down at him from the wall, serene because she's gotten her way.

"Raven's Light" by Jnanacandra. Acrylic on watercolor paper; 24"x18".

Remember to support the other members of Team Venture, too!

Team Venture's new band name is Vaginal Hummus.

Blogathon 2008. 24 hours of spontaneous fiction for BARCC.
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Survey of Sol 3: Shangri-La

The next item is some sort of musical medium. I feed it through my link, and the music blossoms into me...

The desert swells into being, and slowly I coalesce. I am a thing of fire, licking at the sky; I am a thing of sand and music, hips moving slowly. The playa creates its own magic, deep and wild, all the more potent for its temporary nature.

And I am a spirit of the playa; I am something like a playa elemental, and something like a goddess.

And when it fractures, I will dissipate - but they will each carry a shard of my with them, everyone who hears, everyone who sees.

I am wild beauty and dance and sex, and once you have seen me, heard me, felt me, you will be mine forever.

Playaluv Bootleg, one of a kind, by Fire and Strings!

FIRE & STRINGS is a collaborative project between fire artist / touring musician S00j (aka S. J. Tucker - Skinny White Chick) and fire artist / dancer / instructor Kevin K Wiley, dazzling audiences through a fusion of fire play and improvisational music. Tucker accompanies Wiley's fire play with her live music or spins fire poi along with Wiley, often with drum support, custom electronic tracks, or as the highly-flammable icing on the cake for explosive shows with
other bands. The essence of Fire & Strings is the interplay between song, dance, theatre, and music; brought together with passion for art and beauty.

Ms. Fabulous S.J. Tucker says, "Comes in a very dusty blue sleeve with a 'man' symbol (a la Burning Man) and an eighth note drawn in the top left corner, includes a "Pyrophiliac" sticker with the Fire & Strings logo and website address. This artifact is straight from the Black Rock Desert, from whence it apparently rode, a stow-away... It is the last of its kind."

Title: Fire & Strings: Playaluv 2007


1. In the Name of the Dance (SJ Tucker)

2. Firebird's Child (SJ Tucker)

3. We Are Shangri-La (Fire & Strings)

Team Venture loves S00j!

Team Venture has an official Cuban making us official Cuban coffee. Life is good.

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Survey of Sol 3: Tambourines

I am almost in a daze, music thrumming through my very Self, and I pick up the next things my hands graze...

The woman spins back into being. This shouldn't be possible - she shouldn't be invading this reading. But here she is, and she gives a low, intimate laugh. "I told you you would carry me with you," she smiles, and she picks up a tambourine, rattling it playfully. The ribbons follow her movements as she whirls, tapping it in a rhythm that resonates deep down into me. I find the other tambourine in my hands - yes, even in the reading - and I find the beat, I dance with her, her swirling skirts brushing against my pelt, hands in the air and then hands around bodies -

This, too, is a dance, and the tambourines rattle out a beat that we follow.


Hand-inked and painted goat hide tambourines by MNFiddledragon - rose and candle, and lunar swirl. Water soluble acrylic inks
worked in such a way that the hide is dyed - similar to a "tattooed"
hide. Tambourine is playable! May contact artist if you have any
questions at all.
Lunar swirl tambourine metallics may rub off as metallics sit on top of the hide rather than dying the hide.

Jennifer and I were dancing with these earlier. But, um, not quite like that. *laugh*

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Survey of Sol 3: Potions

I pull myself away from the reading, gasping. That isn't supposed to happen. I'm not supposed to be part of any reading. This strange blending of visions, the intertwining... I am meant to stand apart, to be objective.

I close my eyes; I center. I breathe.

After a time, I allow my hands to venture forth again, and I select another artifact, or tangle thereof.

The tiny bottles jangle together on their chain. She strolls through the checkpoint, smiling at the guards. Don't look at me, she willed. It's only jewelry. Not worthy of notice.

She feels the tingle of the guard's scan, and is blank and pleasant for him. She smiles prettily, and he grunts and nods her through.

She strides through the walled city - not too quickly. Finds the house. Finds the man. With one deft movement, tucking her fingers under into her cupped palm, she shatters two of the tiny potion bottles on her bracelet; they combine as they sink into the ground beside his window with the tiniest of sizzles.

From there, she does not stride. She runs. It's a nasty mixture, and the dogs will be after her in under five minutes. Best to be well away. Get the paycheck. Keep moving.

Potion bottle necklace and earrings by Shrijani of Delanuit. Earrings are labradorite; necklace is carnelian, labradorite, bloodstone, base metal, sterling and leather cord. Sold separately.

Team Venture is caffeinated. Wooha.

Max is being an absolute love. He's curled up on Elayna's bean bag chair, watching all the action and basking in the kittylove. I am covered in cat fur.

The first third is over! It's all uphill from here....

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Survey of Sol 3: Booties

I set the tiny bottles on their hooks and strings down very, very gently. Once certain that they're secure, I pick up a tiny pair of socks...

Annelise gave a short, gruff laugh. "Please. They've been forecasting the end of the world for ages now. Our whole lives, almost."

"The warnings are getting more frequent, though," Ellie replied quietly, hand cradling her belly. She was barely showing - only she and Annelise could tell, or if anyone else could, they hadn't mentioned it. "And more specific. The threats -"


"It's like San Francisco all over again."

Annelise shook her head, hands working almost absently at the little brown bootie. A band twisted up and around the side, and she traced it with her finger. "Ellie, that'll never happen again. Remember the outcry? And they got that terrorist cell."

"The nature of *cells* is that there's always *another* one." Ellie sat heavily. "Lise? I'm scared."

"They're not going to nuke us, honey."

"Are we doing the right thing?" Ellie stroked the gentle swell of her belly again, naked fear in every gesture. "This. Having a baby now..."

"They've been saying the same things our whole lives, Ellie." Annelise set down her knitting and hugged Ellie from behind, resting her head on Ellie's. "The time will never be right. It'll never be perfect. But we have to go on living."

Brown wool knitted baby booties. Yarn is Mission Falls 1824 Wool, 100%
superwash wool. Pattern is Little Coriolis Sock from New Pathways for
Sock Knitters; Book One, by Cat Bordhi, with permission by the
designer. Please note that these are slightly asymmetrical, as the
Coriolis band twists in opposite directions for each sock. Care
instructions: machine wash cold, tumble dry low. Handmade by EmilytheSlayer.

Arms hurt. *is stubborn*

Thing is, it's so easy to get distracted. This is a quiet party, but a party nonetheless!

The last time Ewin saw me, I was gaunt. Both she and FigmentJ agree that I look so much healthier now.

Ewin did a bootie dance. :)

Blogathon 2008. 24 hours of spontaneous fiction for BARCC.
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Survey of Sol 3: Scent

I wish I could get more from these booties. I wish I knew if their child was all right. I must have faith - that felt quite some time before the third nuclear war. The child could have lived a long and healthy life. I must believe that it did.

I pick up a small tin. My fingers graze the protrusions on its cover, and I twist the lid off. What lies within is a great deal of brown powder - and a scent that surprises a smile out of me, redolent of spice and incense.

The woman anoints her palms with the zukoh, the body incense; she moves on to her temples, and breathes deeply. She is surrounded by scent - clove, cinnamon, some mysterious essence. It grounds her. It calms her.

She gracefully sweeps forth her right arm, describing a semicircle on the ground before her. Scent rises in her trail, as does magic - a shimmering wall rising before her. She completes the circle and raises her cupped palms.

What she does within is a secret, guarded by the circle. But when she steps forth, hours later, she trails magic and spicy scent behind her in small elaborate whorls for hours, and her smile lasts all day.


Tin of zukoh (body incense) by beetiger of Mother's Hearth Incense. The tin is made in India, but the scented powder is Vicki's own recipe. It is meant to be rubbed between the palms or into pulse points as a purification and a personal scent. This is deliciously spicy! Seriously, I opened the tin and all of Team Venture went "Oooooh." If you love scent, you must try this. BPALerinas, I'm looking at you.

Shane is here with dinner. Sadly, he is not wearing his French maid outfit. We'll deal.

Blogathon 2008. 24 hours of spontaneous fiction for BARCC.
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  • Current Music
    Track 11

Survey of Sol 3: A light against the darkness

The scent follows me as I choose the next artifact. My fingers brush something cool and nubbly, and I lift it - a stoneware vase? No - space for a single small candle. I see that, and then I am there....

He lights the candle from a wooden match, shaking it out; he carries the candleholder to the window. All up and down the street, the neighbors are doing the same. He reflects that that's always the way of it - bomb or fire or EMP, and before the shreds of paper and shattered glass are even cleared off the street, they're lighting candles. A memorial. A light against the darkness.

It's his wife's favorite candleholder. Her sister gave it to her one year for Christmas, and she's always treasured it. She lit candles in it at the table for romantic dinners; she toted it into the bathroom when she needed to destress.

Well, he sure as hell needed to destress now. And he still hadn't heard from her. Her office was only barely within the blast radius. Just barely, just by a block. She could have made it out. It was only six hours - she could be in decontamination. She could be okay.

He pulled the chair up to the window and watched the street - watched the flickers of light in his neighbors' windows, and watched for cars.

Handthrown stoneware candleholder by LadySea. Glazed and accented with copper and silver. Includes base as shown and tealight.

Pictures don't do it justice. This is quite beautiful.

My back hurts. :P

I am turning off the internal editor. This is not all genius - but the thing here is the feat of endurance.

Blogathon 2008. 24 hours of spontaneous fiction for BARCC.
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Survey of Sol 3: Sea dragon

The next artifact tumbles into my palm as I set down the candleholder. I chuckle - this little fellow was hiding inside!

To lure a sea dragon, one needs:
* a stand of kelp.
* small fish infused with magic - just enough to make them glow to the sight of a magical creature.
* candied ginger. Why? No one knows. But the sea dragons cannot resist the lure of candied ginger.

Treat the fish with an infusion of candied ginger, infusing them with a glow of power as you do. Release them into the kelp. They will be dazed; you will not need to do much to keep them around.

Wait patiently. Sea dragons are rare. But one will come to you.

When the sea dragon arrives, scoop it up with a net and plunge it immediately into ice water to shock it into position. Cast it in silver as soon as possible. Thus your sea dragon will be preserved in perpetuity.

(The legends of sea dragons being a cure for impotence are purely myth. Or at least wildly exaggerated.)

Cast-silver sea dragon by Scott Lefton, on a silky blue cord.


Survey of Sol 3: Self-portrait

I am drawn equally to two paintings. When I touch them, I fall into them both - two reflections of the same soul.

Split reflections of pain and of hope - paint dashed, swirled onto canvas. First fear - first the feeling of being *trapped*. Trapped within the body, frightened, but



out from the prison, into the light, into the green and growth...a heart to come, a life to come, no longer imprisoned. A life of freedom. Control of self.

"Which one is a self-portrait?" her friend asks, fingers trailing along the edge.

The artist shrugs, setting a paintbrush down. "Both of them. Different times. Different feelings."

"Imprisoned Within, Yet I See the Sun" and "Unifier of Opposites" by FlutterbyChild. Acrylic on canvas, 11x14.

I would have written more for these. But I feel that they speak so eloquently by themselves that I don't want to impose too much on them.

And yes, they are both self-portraits.

This is a benefit for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

Blogathon 2008. 24 hours of spontaneous fiction for BARCC.
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Blogathon 2008

Survey of Sol 3: Baseball

I pick up a package that contains a pennant, a shirt, and various other things. Examining it, I fall in...

Play-by-play announcer Gary Burmeister: And Jackie Thompson steps to the plate. He's mired in a slump, Dan.

Color Commentator Dan Stein: Indeed he is, Gary. He's two for his last thirty-six, and hasn't had an extra-base hit in a month.

Burmeister: And the pitch from Fernandez is a called strike on the outside corner.

Stein: When Thompson's in his groove, he'd never let that pitch go by him.

Burmeister: And the next pitch is a slider, and Thomson hits a weak grounder to second. Carter scoops it up and throws to first, and that's the second out of the inning.

Stein: And that's - Gary what the hell is that?

Burmeister: Looks like a - tentacle of some sort, coming up at first, and *ho*ly shit, it's sucked up the first baseman!

Stein: What the fuck is a tentacle doing out there?

Burmeister: More important, what the hell is that thing *attached* to the tentacle?

Stein: Oh dear God...

Burmeister: I think God just left the fucking building, Dan.

Stein: Is that thing... oh my... ia ia cthulhu f'thagn....

Miskatonic Valley Junior Baseball Association fan pack, donated by Puddin' of the Black Phoenix Trading Post! "Each pack comes with a raglan baseball tee (printed with the team and sponsor's logos), a 12" x 5" team pennant (genuine felt!), and a bottle of Miskatonic Valley Junior Baseball Association's Spring Training 2008 scent! This season's scent is brought to you courtesy of Mother Shub's Peanut Brittle Caramel Popcorn - hand-crafted at home by her one-thousand young'uns!"

Winner will choose a team (Innsmouth Guppies or Dunwich Whipporwills) and shirt size - just e-mail me, and I'll send your info to Puddin'.

Baseball-specific portion of this post mostly guest-written by Adam. Thanks, Adam! *kisses husband*

Blogathon 2008. 24 hours of spontaneous fiction for BARCC.
Sponsor me.

And remember to sponsor Slipjig if you want to hear "88 Lines about 44 Fangirls!"

I'm not really able to keep my sponsorship stuff updated right now - too busy writing and fiddling with ScribeFire! But keep it coming, guys, please. I'd like to get us up to $2K by midnight! :)

  • Current Music
    Track 21

Survey of Sol 3: Omega

I shake my head to clear it - how perplexing! And I swear this next artifact wasn't there before. It's rather too large to miss...

The object resists a reading. It is a wooden boomerang in the shape of the Greek letter Omega.

The end.

And it seems to detail the end. I trace my fingers along the carvings - radiation and biohazard symbols. Simplified buildings. Flags and symbols of major pre-collapse countries and city-states - Russia, Turkey, Philadelphia -

I close my eyes and push my way through, and I am there, with the creator of this artifact, in his workshop. His hands shake as he digs symbols into the plywood - histories and warnings.

When he coughs, blood flecks his mask.

In his line of sight, there are three fresh graves.

Trailing off at the end are peace signs. And skulls.

Kaboomerang by Steven Peffley, aka the Scholar.

This one... there are too many carvings. Too many notes. It is elaborate and crowded with meaning, and I cannot possibly get it all down in 15 minutes. This is an amazing work - not just of art, but of *research*. If you win this? Frame the notes and hang 'em on either side of it. Two pages of 11x17 paper covered with notes. I'm thoroughly impressed.

Do click through and check out the other pics. They don't do it justice. But do anyway.

Blogathon 2008. 24 hours of spontaneous fiction for BARCC.
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Survey of Sol 3: Halloween

I pick up the bundle of orange and black and instantly break into a smile.

Annelise smiled indulgently as she placed the squirming baby on the afghan. "I told you it'd be fine."

Ellie shrugged, hugging herself. "I know. But - I worry."

"Perfectly healthy," Lise cooed as she bundled the baby. "Ten fingers, ten toes - and peace talks all through Asia."

"Do you think it'll last?"

Lise hefted the baby into a cuddle. "It never does, El. But it'll hopefully last long enough."

Baby afghan by Carrollee Hevener - very festive for a Halloweeny family! Around 33X30. Orange and black
acrylic (Caron Simply Soft, so it's very soft, not scratchy like some

I am a little past the halfway point, and am having a difficult time. Since we don't have the usual sponsorship system, I have no idea if I'm getting any sponsorships - if I haven't responded to your e-mail and you're not Shazza or Matt, I don't know that you posted; Network for Good does not tell me. Some of the items aren't getting bid up to what they should. And I know that people will swoop in and bid at the last minute, and I know that some people are likely waiting to see if they win auctions before sponsoring. And I know that the amount I'm pulling in (over $1K on the auctions, probably about $600 on straight sponsorships) is *nothing* to sneeze at. It's just that I have been doing a hell of a lot more work this year than last year, and I'm only about halfway to last year's total. (Yes, I know that we're only halfway through. Still.) And there's the rash of people jumping ship because of the post volume. (It's a once-a-year thing, okay?) And... I put in a lot for this cause. Constantly.

So yeah. A little burned out, and wishing I didn't have a Theme. Sometimes I work very well within specific guidelines like this - Wind Tunnel Dreams being a prime example. For Blogathon, though, I think I'd really rather just talk about the stuff going on between us here at Team Venture.


Sponsoring me would make my day. I'm going to go stretch and try to work this out. My back, shoulders, and arms hurt from all the typing, too, and that's not helping.


Survey of Sol 3: Heart

I lift the next artifact, turning it back and forth in the fading light, rubbing my thumb over the raised knotwork. A heart. Not an anatomically accurate one like the first artifact, but the stylized heart shape humans use to symbolize love.

I fold it into my palm and let myself read.

I had it worked into my body armor. Retro stuff was all the hot, the retro-er the better. I let my friends believe that that was the only reason.

Real reason? It was my mother's. And her mother before her, and so on, five or six generations back, I forget. All the way back up the line to wear some little old man gave it to some little old lady, and it was special enough for her to pass it down.

Was it flash? Oh yes. But it was flash that meant something. It was something *really* old and *really* beautiful. And I don't know anything at all about my something-great-grandmother, but I knew that she loved this, and that in a way it formed a chain from me all the way back to her.

Antiqued bronze Celtic knotwork heart pendant (on left in picture) by Cissa of Electric Celt.

The original design was
hand-carved in wax and cast in silver. Each medallion is cast in bronze
using the lost wax process. On the antiqued pieces the detail is
accented with patination that darkens the metal, then the surfaces are
hand-polished to a soft, brushed shine. The bright pieces are very
shiny, and of a color similar to 14-carat gold. A brass split ring is
included to receive a chain or cord. The medallion is 1.25 inch (32 mm)
wide and 1.125 inches (28.6 mm) high.

Each Knotwork Heart comes in a small box and includes a waxed linen cord and a small flyer about the design.

Feeling a little better after talking to the others; a bunch of us are feeling cranky and overloaded with ouch right now. I have my heated shoulder moose on my shoulders right now.

Blogathon 2008. 24 hours of spontaneous fiction for BARCC.
Sponsor me.


Survey of Sol 3: Oracle

Beneath the heart, a chip with another music file. I load it up and lean back in my chair, and and pulled along into its wake...

The woman has a sly dark smile and dangerous eyes. She walks down the dark street with unnatural, predatory grace.

She got something she is up to
She got business to conclude
She is older than creation
And she ain't got time for fools

She enters the bar, but attracts the notice of no one. She pulls a chair out, flips it back, and straddles it - and she looks up.

At me.

Looking for the light
So you think you see
More than shadows on the wall?

I would stumble and fall, were I really here. Her eyes are enormous, and they hold far too much... they hold whole centuries, and I feel that I am in danger of falling in.

The Oracle, and ancient goddess of this world. I look back. She looks forward. And we have met in the middle.

"Vitus Dance" CD by Gaia Consort, donated by viola placer Solcita. All words in italics are from the song "Oracle".

Blogathon 2008. 24 hours of spontaneous fiction for BARCC.
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Feeling much less cranky/stabby. Helps that all of the items have bids now. *decisive nod* I think I was feeling stressed out for the artists even more than I knew...


Survey of Sol 3: Spinning

It's crashing to the floor the jolts me out of the Oracle's trance. My hand falls to a length of yarn, and I'm back in -

She fed the roving into the wheel, pulling the fibers out, foot working the treadle, lost in her trance. Six weeks since the EMP, and no word of the outside world... it was making her a bit stir crazy. Cabin fever, though of course she wasn't confined to her cabin... she had the whole town, but they had nothing but each other. Nothing but each other, and no way of knowing what was happening out there. Spinning calmed her, and it was *useful*; what she had here wouldn't make a sweater, but it would make a scarf, and god only knew if they'd have power back come winter.

She didn't know if they'd all be here come winter. But preparing for winter was better than the alternative. The climate was just now struggling back from that last incident. Surely no one would do anything to endanger it agaiin. Surely the talk of nuclear weapons was just politicians blustering.

She worked the treadle and tried her damnedest not to think about it.

Handspun yarn by DulcinBradbury. She says, "It's a thin yarn in deep pink, mango-yellow and a lighter pink --
colours of sunset. If I recall correctly, the fiber was a blend of
merino wool, camel and silk. It could make a lovely lace piece -- there
might be enough for a shawl." EmilytheSlayer thinks it's make a great pair of armwarmers!

Thanks, people who're commenting - I do not have time between things to talk to you individually just yet! But I am reading and appreciating...

...my slight Southern accent is coming out.

Blogathon 2008. 24 hours of spontaneous fiction for BARCC.
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Survey of Sol 3: wishing box

I sit back, hands spread on the floor, breathing slowly. Recovering from the Oracle, and from my accidental fall into the spinner's mind. It is with reluctance that I pluck the next artifact from the table - a simple box.

My brother thinks it's Mom who puts things in my wishing box, but that isn't so. I meant, I used to think so too. I would write my wishes down on a slip of paper, just like she said, and tuck the paper in the box right before I went to sleep. And the next day, or maybe the day after, my wish would come true. I mean, moms do have powers. I know they totally do. But this was different. Because *every* wish came true. Every reasonable one, anyway. Mom explained that I couldn't have a pony because we had no place to keep it, and that's okay. But I mean like finding my dad a job he liked better, and Mom finding enough money under the couch to buy me a new iPod Micro. But still. I thought it was Mom and luck.

Until the night I couldn't sleep. I was tossing and turning, and finally realized I'd forgotten to write something on my wish paper. So I opened the box.

And the bottom was gone.

There was a tunnel instead, long and dark, and a pair of glowy eyes... a a gravely voice that said "We've been helping you all along. Now it's your turn to help *us*."

I slammed the lid right back on. I don't sleep so well these days.

Get your very own wishing box, thanks to PiscoSubito! 4"x4"x21/2", handpainted, probably nothing nasty at the end of that tunnel.

Me: "My skillset is napping."
Emily: "Sooo, you're qualified to be a housecat."

Blogathon 2008. 24 hours of spontaneous fiction for BARCC.
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Survey of Sol 3: Death is sparkly

The next piece glitters, despite its apparent morbidity - a human skull and bones.

The deathgirls move throughout the city, laughing with each other, safe in their shockjackets, pink skulls glittering on their chests. Their hair tends to be short and punky, and the general aura of their group is of fearlessness. This city is theirs, kidgirls or no. Some might say it's always been theirs.

If one tries anything with you, just ease on by. It's not that any one in particular is all that dangerous. It's that they move in packs, and they always back each other up. No deathgirl's ever totally alone, even if it looks that way at first.

Some of the older folks look at them wistfully. Not that they want to be like the deathgirls in particular - just that they wish they'd had friends like that, a pack like that.

Shiny pink skull & crossbones necklace by Zlana of Zlanarama. And guess what? It's Zlana's birthday! By, like, a few minutes still. So bid on her necklace! And if the necklace doesn't suit you, go shop at her store!

Blogathon 2008. 24 hours of spontaneous fiction for BARCC.
Sponsor me.

And if you sponsor me, *please* remember to e-mail me your donation receipt. Because the e-card doesn't tell me how much you're sponsoring me for.