Merry Silly Season

All hail the Solstice.

It’s the season of the summer solstice down under, and while friends and relatives in the Northern Hemisphere turn up the radiator and pray for Just a little sunlight, please God, before I go insane, over here temperatures in some towns will be up around 120F. The locals are unlikely to be gathering around any lit fireplaces.

Which of course means that the Northern Hemisphere themed Christmas marketing juggernaut makes for an awkward clash between culture and reality: Jolly old men in red suits risk heat stroke while balancing sweaty kids on their knees; liberal dashes of fake snow adorn storefronts, despite the fact that many (most?) shoppers have never seen the real thing away from the TV; families gather to sing Christmas carols with electric candles for fear of starting unstoppable fires in tinder-dry conditions.

Differences aside, it does remain for many of us a chance to catch up with extended family, take a break from work and routine and step back and look at the year past. Small wonder that a few days later many will be making New Year’s Resolutions.

So whatever your climate, or tradition – here’s best wishes to you and yours.

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Advent Ghosts

A few years ago my friend and fellow blogger Loren Eaton introduced me to the tradition of creepy Christmas stories, recounted in the cold as the solstice passed and summer was but a distant memory.

Loren posts links to these at his blog for his Advent Ghosts event – a collection of 100-word stories you should definitely check out.

I thought it was about time I stop making excuses and join in the fun this year.

December 11001

The calendar is encoded, routine. October: Costumed terror, become maudlin. November: Synthetic turkey, vat yams and protein glaze, untouched.

I straighten the false beard and click and creak onto the stage. The Polar set is as last year, backed to forty foot polymatrix viewports. A tourist trap: Polymer snow, a red nosed eThespian and behind all, the creeping canopy of stars. Spectacle.


Our module emerges from darkness. Uncorrected rotation returns unshielded viewports to the baleful glare of a dying star. My armature glows cherry with gamma blast. Memories of laughing children evaporate, like ghosts, one bit at a time.