Random weirdness for the week of Dec. 19, 2017


With Christmas nearly here it surely must be a merry feeling to many there isn’t a huge ugly red box outside Po Lee Lin’s Santa-themed workshop any longer. OK, at least not that big red box. Instead, the pieces of what used to be her 9.4-meter-high Santa’s mailbox outside the workshop are now being stored in a large red container a short distance from where the box stood before being removed in late November. City officials and some residents said the mailbox, officially removed because it lacked a proper permit, was unsightly and out of character for the industrial seaside area. And we gotta admit it’s hard to call the current setup unsightly since it’s not like casual observers will see much of anything during the next month of total darkness here…

And for those into a seriously dark Svalbard Christmas, one of the endless year-end “best-of” listicles has a haunting holiday offering. “The 10 best new audio drama podcasts of 2017,” according to The Comeback (apparently a sports fan website that also dabbles in pop culture), features at number four “The White Vault,” a six-episode audio drama featuring ” the collected records of a repair team sent to Outpost Fristed in the vast white wastes of Svalbard and unravel what lies waiting in the ice below.” The site says it will appeal to fans of “The Thing” (no indication if they mean the original in Arctic or remake in the Antarctic) or “The Terror,” since As you might imagine, something very bad happened and over the course of the season, we get bits and pieces that start to add up to something rather frightening.” The production value is praised and “the lengths they’ve gone to create an atmosphere, as well as a good story, are impressive…”

Finally, since the Doomsday Vault continues to be maybe the best source of material for madness in the space, it got a strong recommendation from the folks at Gizmondo suggesting “How to Avoid Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Coming in second out of a listicle of five was “Get a job at the “Doomsday Vault.” Why? “Perhaps most excitingly…even though the actual vault is embedded 100 meters underground, its dramatic, metallic entrance protrudes out of the icy wilderness almost exactly like the Rebel base on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. It’s the perfect location for achieving total quarantine over the next couple of weeks, while maintaining the cheery familiarity and nostalgic glow of a desolate Arctic wasteland. Alas, the vault’s website isn’t advertising any current vacancies, though they’ll definitely need the occasional cleaner, cook, or snowspeeder pilot from time to time, so it’s always worth a refresh. Note: Governance fans will be delighted by the sheer volume of policy documentation downloadable from the ‘Resources’ section, which is the agronomic equivalent of the Jedi Archives.” For the less ambitious we recommend option four: “Binge-watch Star Trek instead.”