Calling All Abysmal Readers

31 October 2014

That’s right, I said it.

It’s around that time of year when I put together next year’s calendar. I should probably figure out a more efficient way of doing it, but it’s almost as good as hand-written.

My question to anyone who would care to respond in the comments (and please do) – what, if anything, of calendar paraphenalia would you like to see available?

  • wall calendars? solar? lunar? solilunar?
  • day planners?
  • 365 day calendars? what theme? calendar trivia of the day?
  • app?
  • online calendar converter?
  • anything else come to mind?

I appreciate the feedback. If only I had the diabolical mind of a marketing executive placed in the reanimated corpse of a MadMan. Oh, now there would be the scream team of a lifetime.

13 Days of Holy Days

30 October 2014

13 Days of Candy, Costumes, and the Horror? Yes Please.

My two favourite times of year in this part of the world (either the Anishnaabeg territory on Kitchissippi on Turtle Island, or Ottawa, Canada, North America) are late autumn and winter solstice.

I’ve sorted out a running narrative for a 13-day holiday, which works with theAbysmal Calendar, and with northern hemisphere holiday and traditions.

These include harvest festival elements: pumpkins and decorative gourd motherfuckers, bats (as the sun sets earlier and earlier, we encounter the crepuscular earlier and earlier), spiders who weave their eggs to carry until next year; wiccan traditions, the witch, cauldron, black cat, broom; new year’s traditions, the thinning of the veil between the underworld and ours, and so ghouls, zombies, the undead, revenants, etc. are the costumes of choice.

Looking at existing holidays and observations around this time, it seems that there are already a number of commemorations for those who have passed at this time.

to whit:

Oct 30
Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions is an annual day of remembrance for victims of political repression in the Soviet Union.

All of those millions and millions of souls, killed in the purges, the pogroms, the gulags. If these days are meant to commemorate the dead, let us remember them, greet them as they pass, and wish them well until next year. They’ve been through enough in life, no need to be impolite in death.

Oct 31
Halloween, and with the Neopagans, the beginning of Samhain, the New Year.
All Saints’ Day, aka All Hallows aka Solemnity of All Saints aka Feast of All Saints aka Hallowmas is a ritual in several christian churches (the dates also vary), which acknowledges all saints, both known and unknown. This, too, touches on communication en masse with the other side, beyond the veil.

And getting inappropriately drunk in inappropriate costumes is the modern descendent for some reason.

Nov 1
Although this is technically All Saints’ Day, the observations begin the evening prior. Also, there are other observations at work here.

Dia de los Muertos, day of the Dead in Mexico, and many other countries. Although this is a three-day celebration, it fits together with our feasts of the dead. the celebrations include outings to the cemetery to pray for passed friends and family, decorate the tombstones, and colourful, skeletal decorations.

Nov 2
All Souls’ Day
A Christian day of prayer for the dead, typically ones family and relatives.

Nov 3
Nov 4

Nov 5
Firstly, this is theAbysmal mid-quarter day, and as such, is an international holiday. Just saying.
Secondly, it falls on Guy Fawkes Night in the Uk, NZ & Nfld, where that dear mad fellow whose mask is all over the Internet and streets these days, decided to bomb the British parliament. This has tones of an “underworld” although more criminal than spiritual, and in the case of mental illness, then it is the depths of the human mind.
Let’s celebrate him for the mask that levels the playing field.

Nov 6
Nov 7

Nov 8
Remembrance Sunday (at least in the UK) falls anywhere from here to Nov 14 depending on the year. It commemorates the British who fell in wartime.

Nov 9
Dia de los ñatitas
Day of the Skulls, the Bolivian day of the dead festival.

Nov 10

Nov 11
Remembrance Day (British Commonwealth)
Armistice Day (NZ, FR, BLG, SRB)

Where the war dead of the British Commonwealth are remembered.

This is the final day of the 13, and certainly there are dates without commemorations, and likely many commemorations that I have missed.

This date in particular is important to certain Canadians. When the poppy to commemorate the day go sale, they spread like wildfire, showing up on everyone’s lapel (I always lose mine. I buy 13 of the things every year). My personal beliefs, which I have heard echoed elsewhere, are that WWI was the true birth of the Canada we’ve come to know. It was a birth out of bloodshed, and it truly feels like the ceremonies in Canada are a mournful acknowledgement of the blood on which our country nourished itself.

something like that.

and the Canadian government just decided to go to war, while laughing and patting one another on the back. It seems the solemnity of the occasion is lost on them.

theAbysmal Holidays

At any rate folks, enjoy the holiday season, and remember, with theAbysmal Calendar [TM], you too could have 13 days of trick or treating, costume themed events, and painting the whole town black and orange. One other thing to consider, is that the way theAbysmal Calendar breaks down into 28 periods of 13-days, this holiday period happens to fall on the first 13-day period of the last House of the year. To whit:


Year 1 House 6

30 October 2014


Year 1 Month 11

26 October 2014


Pablo’s Magnificent Molé

23 October 2014

Sweet, Spicy, Complex flavours – but it makes a lot, so why not?

I realized (i.e. read a recipe) that I was doing the Molé partially right, but not really. If you assemble your ingredients, then it’s a matter of roasting/toasting/charring them, tossing them in a variety of grinder/blenders and coming out with a very smooth end product.

I go rustic, because I have an immersion blender. It’s a long list, but I didn’t find it all that intimidating.

6 guajillo
10 ancho
8 new mexico
2 chipotle
1 habanero

2″ piece of canela
1 TB Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp allspice berries
1 tsp anise
1/4 tsp clove
1 TB coriander
1 tsp cumin

2 TB sesame seeds
1/3 C blanched almonds
1/3 C shelled pumpkin seeds

Bready Thickener
2 tortillas (stale or not)

5 roma tomatoes
1 yellow onion
1 head garlic

1 plantain
1/3 C dark raisins

1/4 loaf sugar
1 ounce Mexican chocolate (high cacao content, no sugar)
1″ Canela
1 tsp vanilla

1) stem and seed. On a griddle/cast iron pan toast chiles on both sides, about 1-2 min.
2) soak chiles in several quarts/litres of hot/warm water. Let them reconstitute about 20-30 min. Although, longer won’t hurt anything. Retain the soaking water!

1) toast on the iron, cool, grind in spice mill.

1) toast the sesame taking care not to burn the seeds
2) toast the pumpkin seeds
3) toast the almonds

Bready Thickener:
1) toast the tortillas. Tear up into little bits.

1) dry roast the vegetables with the skins on. Move them around so they get good and cooked. Remove when the skin is blackened and the flesh is soft.
2) Cool, peel onion and garlic. Remove charred bits from tomatoes.
3) Cut onion and garlic into quarters.

1) soak the raisins in 1/2 chile soaking water to reconstitute
2) peel and cut the plantain into rounds. Fry in a little bit of oil until brown on both sides.

Work in batches starting with 1/2 C chile-soaking water, and the raisin soaking water. Add more as necessary throughout this and the cooking process. With a food processor, a blender, or any number of other grinding type devices, work the ingredients into a fine pasty paste of a sauce. I believe there is some pushing it through a fine sieve, but I don’t have one of those (nor do I have a crappy sieve).

1) heat the oil over medium heat in something big.
2) add the mass purée to the pan, a stick of canela, vanilla, and a bit of sugar and heat until bubbling.
3) add chocolate and stir it in until it melts.
4) adjust seasoning with sugar/salt.

remove from heat, let it cool down.

Now, you can save this bit. That’s the beauty of it. It’s a thick paste, which you can thin out when you need it for something. Typically, you use the water you’re cooking your meat in, however, you can use chile-soaking water, vegetable broth, or just about anything else that you figure might work. Who am I to say?

Year 1 Lunation 11

23 October 2014


Salsa Hiuancaina

17 October 2014

Peruvian spicy cheese sauce.
Very few people I’ve met are averse to some version of cheese and potatoes. As for potatoes, no one knows them as well as Andean people, so I turn to this Peruvian cheese sauce.


2 mirasol peppers (dried aji amarillo)
1/4 C walnuts
3 garlic cloves
8 ounces creamy feta
1/3 C achiote oil

1. stem and seed the peppers. Place them in 2 C warm water until they’re soft, about 20-30 min.
2. peel the garlic, roughly chop up the feta.
3. put the peppers, garlic, feta and 1/4 of chile soaking water into a blender, food processor or the like. Puree that stuff. Add a bit more chile-water if you need to thin it.
4. Slowly add the oil in a slow stream while blending the sauce.
5. Serve with potatoes!