Still too much to crack.

I'm deferring the story yet again. Things are proceeding more or less apace here, but the list of things that must be done is long, so long, and the story I want to tell is one that I want to do with care.

Those of you who know academics know how wacky our end-of-semester schedules can get. I can tell you that my semester ends at about 8 p.m. on December 30, when I reach my family's house after coming back from the Academic Mayhem.

All nine candles are burning tonight, and I have a little mountain of used candle-ends. What does one do with the ends of all these candles?

And though the day was bleary and dispiriting, the clouds dissipated sometime after dark and Orion made his appearance over my house. "I'm ready for my close-up," I heard the sly sky say. I didn't catch a marvelous picture, but the conditions were also less than ideal. From a dark field and with more knowledge (and, I'd bet, a better lens) things would have come clearer. And so, since my starting point wasn't amazing, I decided to let the computer play with it a bit: hence the wacky blowout (courtesy of my streetlamp) in the bottom left. Experimentation: yes.