Storms, Studies, and Sci-Fi: Navigating a Week of Challenges and Chills

From seasonal shifts and health woes to deep dives in tech critique and ancient discoveries.

Storms, Studies, and Sci-Fi: Navigating a Week of Challenges and Chills
Found here

Well, this week got a little overloaded!

It's been a lovely turning of the season here in Northern California, with flowers blooming and the nights already noticeably shorter. We did weather a pretty intense storm last week, as I mentioned in my last newsletter, and parts of the county took around five days to recover from the power outages that swept through the county.

I also found out that I got exposed to Covid for the first time when I wasn't wearing a mask while attending a meeting last week... not an ideal circumstance to be sure, and a reminder that I'll be keeping my mask on tightly unless I'm doing something that really matters to me.

Thanks for reading Halvorson Times! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.

This is a difficult time: trying to balance a sense of wellbeing through active engagement in the social world is difficult if you're constantly unsure who might be coughing out life-altering plague. I do want to go out and have more fun. I miss going to the gym, dancing, seeing films, and eating at nice indoor restaurants. I’m irritated by the fact that, if everyone just acted with responsible empathy, we wouldn’t have had half as difficult a time keeping the pandemic in check.

But, at the end of the day, I’ve got to find a balance that works for me, and for me alone.

Luckily, my tests are still showing negative, so maybe I avoided it this time around? (Knocks loudly on some nearby wood).

Katie also hasn't been feeling good this week, so it's been a time for us to just hunker down and get to work on projects, like my schoolwork and my novel.



This week, I've been concentrating on building out my Zettelkasten, taking detailed notes from my classwork. First, they go into the "fleeting notes" category, where I work on fleshing them out and interconnecting them with a few other notes. Then they get dropped off in the "Permanent Notes" category, ready to become the basis for new conversations with my "second brain."

I've written a few articles this week, too. Having some more "me time" really allows me to get more done, so at least that's been a benefit of taking the week a little more slowly.

I wrote two articles about problems with Apple. Rethinking Apple: A Call for Openness and Sustainability and Is Apple a Safe Haven or a Money-Grubbing Trojan Horse?. I'm trying to do that thing where I take stuff that I encounter in the world and turn it into my own writing. This gives me a chance to play around with different writing styles and, hopefully, produce more content. That's also how my article "Dismantling Power Structures: The Irony of Elite Cultural Critique" came to be. I read a really interesting article and wanted to explore it more deeply, adding some of my own thoughts into the mix. And BAM. A new piece is born.

I've played around with a couple of secondary stories the last two weeks as well, but I'm still working away at my novel. With school in swing and lots to do for my job at the Student Research Journal I've slowed a bit, but am still making progress. I just finished my rewrite of chapter 14 and have opened a new blank document, today, for chapter 15. I've made a few plot changes, so I need to highlight those in my outline, but for the most part I'm just charging forward.

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

Reading & Watching

Lately, I've been hooked on the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. It's a series I never really got into before, but I've been enjoying it now, largely because the excellent audiobooks are all narrated by the superb James Marsters (that's right: Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer!). I can really see how these books ignited the urban fantasy craze in the early 2000s.

There's a bit too much positive Christianity in these books for little old agnostic me, but my perspective is at least somewhat mirrored by the main character in the series, so I'm relatively mollified.

As for shows, I've been trying a bunch, but what I find myself returning to is Dark Matter, an insanely old-school-style sci-fi series that got three great seasons in before it was cancelled in 2017. Oh, and you can watch it all for free straight from CW!. If you, like me, miss the great science fiction of the 1990s and are really fed up with the modern short-arc "dramatic" shows, this is going to be a breath of fresh air. I watched it when it came out, but going back as been a nice salve for a weary heart.

From the world

Cory Doctorow is really upfront about how he got scammed out of $8,000 by a credit card fraudster in this (as usual for him) excellent essay on Medium. Proof positive that even the people who are experts in fraud issues aren't immune to the dangers.

In happier news, Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser vehicle is one step closer to launching no earlier than the first half of 2024 following testing at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility, formerly known as Plum Brook Station, in Ohio.

In a remarkable discovery at a quarry in Norton, New Brunswick, researchers have uncovered fossils of an ancient tree species named Sanfordiacaulis densifolia, which thrived during the Mississippian period, about 350 million years ago. This tree, resembling something out of Dr. Seuss's, was not particularly tall but featured a dense mop of long leaves, extending over five meters in diameter.

Okay, that’s enough fun stuff for this week, folks! Keep an eye out for next week’s newsletter and until then… go easy (and if you can’t go easy then just go as easy as you can).


Subscribe for my regular newsletter. No spam, just the big updates.