May Day 2024

Odin's first Newsletter of May, and a big welcome to the new website!

May Day 2024
You're never too old to make sandcastles on the beach.

Odin's new website and thoughts for the month ahead.

Firstly, welcome to my new website! This has been a long time coming. I've been wanting to leave Substack behind for a long time, but it always seemed too expensive or complicated. Now, I've done it, and it's grand!

I want to highlight that the paid tiers I offered on my Substack two years ago have returned. Please consider signing up for a yearly membership! I tried using Ko-Fi, and thank you so much to those of you who took the trouble of signing up over there, but I realized that an integrated approach is so much better.

You can now become a paid subscriber of my newsletter/blog/website from directly within this site!

I am so happy to have found an incredible host for this newsletter over at, if you sign up using that link I get a wee kickback from your subscription. Jannis runs a great hosting service and cheerfully spent a lot of time troubleshooting my installation, so I'm confident in my recommendation of his service!


A Serbian May Day poster from 1911 depicting a group of industrialists and militerists cringing at sight of Lady Justice.
By Viktor Lazić - Society for Culture, Art and International Cooperation Adligat, CC BY-SA 4.0, Viktor Lazić - Society for Culture, Art and International Cooperation Adligat, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Happy May Day! Today is not only an ancient holiday of fertility stretching back into "pagan" history, but it's also more recently International Workers' Day.

There was a time when workers in the United States had virtually no rights and their employers functioned more like owners. There are many politicians in the pocket of powerful monied interests that want us to return to those dark times.

For over 40 years, we've left good, old-fashioned community values behind. And what for? Instead of the town square, we have social media. Instead of the small businesses, we have corporate conglomerates. Instead of local production and trade, we have international systems responsible for incredible waste.

At the end of the 1800s, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which would later become the American Federation of Labor, or AFL), convened in Chicago to implement an 8-hour working day.

It was not an easy victory.

The wealthy elite used unscrupulous police to attack the protesters, and every effort was made to turn peaceful marches and gatherings into violent affairs.

Today, 66 countries celebrate International Workers' Day... but the United States, which once proudly led the charge for human rights in the workplace, barely recognizes the holiday at all.

I say that it's time to bring that pride back to the forefront of our civic life: it's time to remember what so many workers have fought and died to create.

Support your local union!

Support striking workers!

Be the change you want to see in the world.

But the discussion doesn't end there. I've always found it odd how few holidays we celebrate in the United States, and how divorced most of those holidays are from the natural flow of the landscape around us. A culture is tied to its landscape, imbued with a rhythm from its landscape, and yet the United States has done away with attachment to the local land we grew up on and tend.

A partially naked woman seen only in dark shadow dances before a blazing bonfire.
By Stefan Schäfer, Lich - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Stefan Schäfer, Lich - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

I believe that any attempt to build a better future for this country, and the world, relies on our recognizing and respecting our connection to the land around us. I also believe that the lack of celebrations of temporal and geographic community make it harder for us to identify with our neighbors and form strong connections.

Rural communities can be especially beautiful for the connections they've maintained. Generations of people living in the same location have formed long community memories. At the same time, the wealth of these local communities is constantly drained away by powerful corporate interests. Access to new technologies, new jobs, new methods of securing a future are continually waylaid by self-important politicians.

Meanwhile, cities struggle to support themselves beneath the weight of complex generational issues. Studies have shown that crime in the United States is down, and yet the local opinion seems to often be one of increased fear. Without strong local communities of care, without the local jobs and local resources needed to form such communities, people are left feeling isolated and afraid.

It may seem strange to attach this type of importance to holidays, but that's because we've been tricked into forgetting what holidays really mean. Holidays are a time to renew community connections, to renew ties to the landscape you live in, and to build the rhythm needed to maintain peace and security. They are a time of appreciation and joy, but also a primal source of our power as human beings.

Holidays also remind us that we are more than workers. The degradation of our holiday structures in the United States has left us without enough leisure time to remember why life is worth living! We feel lucky when our workplace offers us a few days of PTO, forgetting that we should be getting dozens of hours of PTO each year as a fundamental part of being in a caring society.

What's next?

I have a new workflow figured out that allows me to post directly to this site from Obsidian. That means I can spend more time writing and less time managing a complicated SEO flow. Right now, my posts here automatically go out to my Facebook page, my Tumblr, and my LinkedIn profile. At some point, I will integrate with Mastodon and Bluesky as well (Zapier doesn't have integrations for those, so I'll have to put more time into getting things set up later on). As more paid subscribers sign up, I'll be able to afford integrations to expand the reach of my work.

But, the biggest thing I need to note is that I forgot how fun writing could be.

When I started moving posts over from Medium, I had a blast looking through all my old writing about film, gaming, technology, and news. I got lost in my own essays! I want to make writing a fun experience again, and this website is part of that process.

You can expect more content.

In addition to my newsletters, you'll have easier-than-ever access to my writing. It also allows me to keep 100% of your subscription fee. When Medium got rid of its "referral members" my monthly income there dropped a lot. I love being part of the Medium community, and I will keep posting there, but I need to make money doing this thing that I love to support what I love.

Politics, news, philosophy, film, pop-culture content, recommendations... more?

What do you want me to write about? As a subscriber, you can leave comments on my posts or respond via email. I love interacting with all of you, that's one of the best parts of what I do. Want to talk about movies? Let me know in the comments! Want me to tackle a current political issue? Respond to my newsletter by replying via email, right from your inbox, to let me know!

This month's updates

This month has been a totally wild ride for me. Not only is the move I mentioned in my last newsletter now in full swing, but the SJSU semester is wrapping up. We have a lot going on. Some dear friends just moved to Vermont, my cat has had dandruff, and I've been job searching like a crazy-person.

I want to highlight the big stuff, but there's too much big stuff to easily summarize!

I'll have posts coming about the move, my search for a good moving company (and what we finally settled on), and more. I got a new laptop computer (a Framework) to make sure I had a reliable PC during this move, and that's something I'm excited to share with you. I'd also like to share my recipe for home-made cream cheese (because it's easier, cheaper, and tastier to make it at home in bulk than to buy from the store!).

Because I have so many things to share, and because they're all big enough to warrant their own posts... they're going to get their own posts! Not all of these will be sent out via email (to avoid clogging your inboxes), but I'll make sure to highlight new posts during every weekly newsletter from now on.

Okay, that's it for this week, folks. Thank you so, so much for being here. I'm really excited to go forward.

Go easy, friends. And, if you can't go easy, just go as easy as you can. <3


Hi there! I’m Odin Halvorson, a librarian, independent scholar, film fanatic, fiction author, and tech enthusiast. If you like my work and want to support me, please consider becoming a paid subscriber for as little as $2.50 a month!

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