The atheists and earthists out there (wish we had a hand sign we could flash right now) know today is the last crucial day of our year. It's the winter solstice. Today at noon the sun will be as close to the horizon as it will get. The length of day will be an anemic 9 hours and 32 minutes. There's a total of 59 more minutes of visible light that compose our day, which means we will experience 13 hours and 29 minutes of complete darkness tonight. (Again hand signs of props to all our vampire peeps out there ... what up undead! yo!)

And of course, it being December 21st, to accompany our paltry sunlight we'll see bands of rainfall throughout the day. This time of year cyclone after cyclone (that is the term, though in our case it's hardly a destructive force) are generated over the Pacific, circling counter-clockwise, moving east, in what is described is gloomily described as a conveyor belt fashion. The majority of our winter rains form not far from Hawaii in the form of swirling low pressures that leave "precipitable water" for us to enjoy. As rains go, this is what we prefer. Impulses of pretty mild rain that last for 30-60 minutes and move on. Later in the year we'll start seeing northern-formed lows bearing down from the North Pacific. These are the ones the snow enthusiasts love because they are cold and fierce. In the Bay Area they are roughly translated into umbrella eaters.