Odin Weathers the Weather

From atmospheric rivers to writing to worldwide events, this week I've got it all!

Odin Weathers the Weather
Photo by NOAA / Unsplash

Hello, all!

This week's newsletter has been a bit delayed due to the crazy power outages in NorCal after the atmospheric river came through. The whole of CA has been pretty heavily hammered.

UDid you know that the term "atmospheric river" isn't hyperbole? When this happens, it means that there is literally as much water flowing through the atmosphere as you'd normally find in a land-based river.

Still, aside from power being out in most of my town, things aren't too bad in my neck of the woods. Of course, we might not get power back for a while, which could be a bit of a drag on my normal plans and work schedule.


This week, my big project was related to MLIS stuff.

I'm designing a course for myself (one that forms the bones for content I'd like to teach one of these days at the university level). My faculty advisor is really incredible, and her enthusiasm for my work is really lovely.

The course is all about Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) and indigenous mnemonics, and I'm psyched to be working on it. You can read more about it by reading my blog post here or you can just watch the video below!


This week was mostly taken up by generic life stuff and school work, but I did make some more progress in my novel. My main characters are just about to meet, and threading up the timelines is leading to a better sense of pacing than I've had before in earlier drafts.

I may end up taking my lovely wife's advice and jump ahead to write a later scene that I've been envisioning, near the story's end. I have this pretty rich outline finally, with all the essential aspects of the story worked out. Now it's really just a matter of, y'know, writing it.

I have also done some work for the D&D world that I'm running for some friends. That's a lot of fun because it's cooperatively built: their engagement fuels my creativity, informing which parts of the world I need to focus on and which can be paused temporarily.

I've always loved creating D&D worlds and characters, and this game is certainly the one I've been most engaged with as DM. It helps that I'm able to organize every aspect of it through Obsidian as well, and that I can publish the public parts to a website directly for my players to interact with (while keeping all my secret DM stuff well, secret).

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From the world

Driving just keeps getting more and more interesting. I have to say: I hate cars. They're terrible machines and "car culture" is responsible for excesses that destroy natural environments, exacerbate community issues, leave thousands dead yearly, and aid in the ruin of our entire ecosystem. But, even if I didn't already hate them, I think that watching this man drive a Tesla Truck while on his VR goggles would really do the trick.

Underscore News reports on the challenges faced by tribal resources in Washington due to a foggy solar permitting process, that highlights the vulnerability of cultural and archaeological sites to corporate solar and wind energy projects. Sara Palmer, a state lands archaeologist, found significant deficiencies in a developer's report on a proposed solar facility, uncovering at least 17 sites of probable cultural importance that were overlooked. This opens the field of broader issues related to pressure from corporate and political forces to advance projects, despite the potential harm to tribal lands and resources.

Republican lawmakers have recently "crossed a new threshold: by suggesting that it’s okay to disregard the Supreme Court," according to a Monday, January 29 analysis by Washington Post political reporter Aaron Blake. If you don't want to figure out how to bypass The Washington Post's inane paywall (using Firefox's Reader Mode, for instance), you can read a great summary article on Alternet instead.

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Hennepin County, Minnesota, made huge strides in addressing chronic homelessness by reducing its most vulnerable homeless population by nearly 36% in two years. This achievement came through a blend of funding, community engagement, and a housing-first approach. Despite the national rise in homelessness, the county's targeted efforts, part of the Built for Zero initiative, aim to achieve functional zero homelessness by 2025.

I highlight this because affordable housing is one of the most intense issues in our country right now. It's a holistic problem, right down to the way we allow private companies to bid on contracts for new constructions, but what this project highlights is that homelessness itself is handled in two ways: housing first, and unconditional aid. In my current county, the homelessness issue has long beee a struggle for the local government. It’s an issue all over the United States. In Richmond, VA, the minimum hourly wage necessary to live in a safe apartment is about $29.00/hour (about $17 more than the minimum wage - though that's changing, soon). All over the country, vast levels of inequality persist and grow, despite whatever numbers the stock markets show.

Thank you for reading Halvorson Times. This post is public so feel free to share it.

I'll close off this world section by sharing a piece from Cracked where Penn Jillette talks life, comedy, art, and politics all in one interview. He's an interesting guy, and his is the sort of voice that might be able to cross some boundaries people have in the kinda fraught political landscape we currently inhabit. Though I don't agree with him in a number of areas, I respect what the guy has to say. And one of the things he has to say is this:

"there’s a small chance, but still real non-zero chance, that we’ve destroyed our country with monetizing hate and monetizing aggression and monetizing outrage. What makes you the most money is outrage and hate."

That's the kicker, right there. What everything comes down to: the monetization of hate. And, if you roll that back far enough, you'll find that the motivations behind most major actions in the world today come from either the greedy desire to monetize hate, or the hate being monetized. It's how we escape that cycle that matters.

Well, that's all for now.

Take it easy friends. And, if you can't take it easy, just take it as easy as you can.


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