Weekly Wrap 317: Does the Solstice herald a good new year?

Sydney Harbour at sunset: click to embiggenMy week Monday 20 to Sunday 26 June 2016 saw me emerging from the mysterious illness, and starting to get back into work. Still, I made good progress on most work fronts, even if there’s nothing much to report


This is the final episode of what I’ve called “series 4” of the Edict. There’s a new series and a new schedule from 1 July. I haven’t announced that yet, however, except to say that there’ll be one episode during July. Stay tuned for details.

Media Appearances

Articles and Corporate Largesse

None. For obvious reasons.

The Week Ahead

I’m spending this week in Ashfield, in Sydney’s inner west, but Monday will be a day of travel: errands to Enmore and Lilyfield, then the long commute up to Wentworth Falls and back. Why? To collect some documents I need for my neverending tax compliance catch-up.

Tuesday will see me working with those documents.

On Wednesday, there’s a lunchtime briefing by VMware in the SydneyCBD, after which I’ve got a meeting related to a SEKRIT media project.

On Thursday I’m recording an interview in the morning, then heading to the Sydney CBD to get a haircut, pre-vote for Saturday’s federal election, and get a democracy sausage.

Friday will be a mix of research, writing, and more tax compliance work, depending on my mood at the time.

There’s also geek work scattered through the whole week, but I won’t go into the details here.

Saturday is federal election day in Australia. While I’m not sure what I’ll be doing during the day, the evening will doubtless be spent watching to election specials on TV. It’ll be a close result, by all accounts, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Further Ahead

While the following few weeks are still be be organised, I can say that I’ll be going to theGartner Security & Risk Management Summit in Sydney on 22-23 August, and the AISA National Conference in Sydney on 18-20 October.

[Photo: Sydney Harbour at sunset, photographed on 22 June 2016 while crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge.]

Weekly Wrap 316: Coughing as the Solstice approaches

Sydney, five minutes before dawn: click to embiggenMy week Monday 13 to Sunday 19 June 2016 was miserable. Why? Was it a cold? Was is a throat infection? Was it a gut infection? Was it all these things? Who can say?

I got nothing done, apart from some excellent lying in bed coughing. I do not recommend this as a way of life.

Media Appearances

Podcasts, Articles, and Corporate Largesse

None. For obvious reasons.

The Week Ahead

On Monday, I’ll be producing an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, and then celebrating in a private ceremony the Winter Solstice and the Full Moon. This will continue into Tuesday, because the Solstice itself is actually at 0834 AEST, well after the 0700 AEST sunrise.

The remainder of the week will see me in Sydney, working on the seemingly-endless tax compliance work, as well as the much-delayed geek-for-hire work. That’s enough for now, right?

[Photo: Sydney, five minutes before dawn, being the view of the Sydney CBD on 11 June 2016.]

Weekly Wrap 159: Solstice, silence and sound

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stilgherrian/9112287422/My week Monday 17 to Sunday 23 June 2013 was marked by the Winter Solstice, as (almost) illustrated above, a certain amount of radio silence, and much sound.

The Winter Solstice was something that, in the past, I’d celebrate regularly in a private ceremony similar to Sunreturn. I’d sometimes write reflective pieces about that, as I did in 2005, 2008 and 2009. And yet nothing along those lines has appeared for four years. I think that’s significant, and that will now change — although I won’t elaborate on that.

Nor will I elaborate on the fact that I haven’t uttered a word on Twitter in more than a week, and generally left messages pile up unless they really were urgent, except to note that sometimes a little quiet is beneficial. Most of the world could handle a bit of STFU now and then, actually. Maybe I’ll elaborate on that little observation at some point. Or not.

Actually, I’ve written previously about how (faux) urgency in poisonous — and in looking up the link to that post just then, I discovered this observation about Kevin Rudd’s management style. It’s not just Rudd who needs to think about that stuff.

And the sound? You’ll find out at 2132 AEST tonight. There is a clue: “CN”.


Media Appearances


Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday I attended a media roundtable hosted by Websense at Establishment in Sydney. A rather elaborate morning tea was served.
  • Also on Wednesday I attended the launch of IBM’s Truth Behind the Trends whitepaper at Arras Restaurant in Sydney, which doesn’t seem to have its own website. Still, I photographed the menu, the butter and my entrée, but not the main course. You’ll cope.
  • Since Saturday 8 June I’ve been using Vodafone’s new 4G network while in Sydney, and their existing 3G network while in the Blue Mountains, with a Samsung Galaxy S4 handset that they’ve loaned me. I’ll be writing about my experiences some time this coming week.

The Week Ahead

I’ll simply note that there’s plenty to write, and plenty to do in this last week of the financial year. And then there’s a new financial year, which brings possibilities…

There will be tweets and suchlike starting again from 1100 AEST today.

[Photo: Pas de Deux, a cloud and a crane photographed shortly after the moment of Winter Solstice in Sydney, Australia on Friday afternoon. Sadly the contrast is pretty bad, ‘cos it was just a quick snapshot and I didn’t have time to play with the exposure.]

Winter Solstice Meditation 2009

Photograph of poplar trees at Newington College, Stanmore, Sydney, through the morning mist

Once more around the cycle. As I did last year, and almost every year, I paused a moment yesterday to mark the Winter Solstice. It is the same, but different. Once more around the cycle…

Rather than a fragile tealight flame, this year I have a robust church candle. Another cold, damp day, but the Solstice is at 3.45pm instead of 9.59am. This time it’s actually raining. A gentle raindrop pattering just manages to drown out the distant noises of city traffic.

Sitting in almost the same spot as a year before — not exactly the same, because the ground is wet and foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds — my awareness is heightened about what’s changed, what’s the same.

Last year, we’d only just emerged from a long drought. This year, everything is greener, more healthy. The poinsettia is still in flower, a bright, deep red, rather than dying petals on the ground. This year, the heavy jets are taking off, not landing. Just as bright, just a shiny, just as loud, but taking off for — literally — new horizons. New possibilities.

As of course am I, and soon.

After another year in the same home, I’ve gotten to know the daily sounds and rhythms. Without turning, I know the roar behind me is not merely a heavy jet taking off, but specifically a Boeing 747. The engines have a distinctive higher-pitched whine mixed with their roar.

And they’re the loudest thing in the sky. Usually.

Some 300 metres away, a rainbow lorikeet darts and skims home. Even though it’s just visible as a silhouette in the distance, and silent, I know it’s a lorikeet from the way its wings move in flight. Similarly, a sulphur-crested cockatoo gliding through the mist to land on the nearby school sportsground is distinguishable from its close cousin the corella, simply by its gestures in flight.

A child’s balloon — electric blue and oh so shiny and bright! — appears from nowhere and scuds over the house just as another 747 — white and oh so shiny and bright! — roars overhead, just as the rain eases off. I’ve always loved watching these heavy craft taking off into the west, especially at dusk. Even in the 21st Century there’s still a sense of wonder about starting a new journey, is there not?

Just as this particular jet banks and turns to choose its outbound path, seemingly at random but in fact chosen according to a pattern which shares the noise of takeoffs amongst everyone living below the flightpath, a bright patch appears in the sky. A little break opens up in the otherwise even grey cloud bank precisely between me and the Sun. And the 747 chooses to break through the clouds precisely in that very spot — spearing the emerging possibilities as accurately as a hunter’s spear.

I check the time.

It is precisely 3.45pm.

Precisely the Solstice.

And then the rain starts again. The break in the cloud closes gently. Another lorikeet, much closer, squawks. Just once. And he’s gone.

Another time around the cycle…

Winter Solstice Meditation

The exact moment of Winter Solstice was 9.59am Sydney time. The week was far too hectic to organise a proper ritual of Sunreturn before dusk last night. Instead, in an impromptu meditation, this crisp Saturday morning sees my tiny pearl of tealight flame battling an irregular, gentle breeze.

I protect it with my cupped hands, and smile. I can always re-light it if it blows out. No-one will notice the ceremonial faux pas but me.

Breathe. Listen…

Continue reading “Winter Solstice Meditation”