A Surfeit of Salmon – and some links

There are two things we’ve really had enough of this December. One is storms and rain. Here in Northern Germany, December is always a stormy month. I don’t even put any outdoors Christmas decorations up anymore, because in past years there would always be one or two storms in December to tear them down again and send me scrambling all over the garden to pick up plastic Christmas balls. This year is particularly nasty, though. It basically hasn’t stopped raining and storming for three weeks now.

The other thing we really have enough of is smoked salmon. Since my Dad is still working part-time, even though he crossed the pension age threshold years ago – take that Richard David Precht – my parents still get Christmas presents from my Dad’s business partners, though not nearly as much as in the glory days of the early 1980s. And next to perennially popular gifts such as calendars, packages of smoked salmon are one of the most common corporate Christmas presents. I’m not sure why smoked salmon is so popular. Okay, so smoked salmon used to be something of a luxury, but it hasn’t been in a long time now. Besides, it doesn’t keep that long and can be really messy, if the plastic packaging is damaged. Perhaps companies just switched to smoked salmon, because wine and hard liquor, which used to be very common in the 1980s, are no longer politically correct.

At any rate, my parents always have a lot of smoked salmon in December. This year, they got even more than usual, because a week or so after the first (expected) package of smoked salmon showed up, an unexpected package appeared as well. And those packages are huge. And since my parents can’t eat it all on their own – especially considering my mother doesn’t even like smoked salmon – I always get a generous share. Which is fine by me, because I happen to like smoked salmon. Nonetheless, I have been eating the stuff almost every day for the past week or so and I won’t be sad when the last of it is gone.

And now for some links:

At Genreality, Ken Scholes goes into the differences between writing novels and short fiction in response to a currently raging discussion I blogged about here.

Jay Lake has a post on the advantages and challenges of writing sequels.

Kathleen Valentine posts a few accounts of St Nicholas Day traditions practiced by the descendants of German settlers in Pennsylvania. I found these fascinating, particularly since I recognize the echoes of some German and Dutch customs such as our own “Nikolauslaufen” (explained here) and the Dutch Zwarte Piet characters in these accounts.

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