Housekeeping: end of 2021

©2021 Michael Raven

Looks like it’s time to think about retiring that “reusable block” in the block editor and make another with 2022 in mind for the copyright. You know, I don’t think I’ll miss that quick-block all that much; 2021 was not my favorite year on record by a long shot and, while I usually refrain from bashing a year by the number assigned to it, 2021 was pretty much a stinker on almost every front. So, I feel entitled to give it the middle finger to before turning on my heel and walking on. If everything goes well, it’ll be done like an action movie star, a slight smirk on my face as I step into the next year and everything explodes behind me. And, just to make it more metal, I won’t look backwards, I don’t think.

No, this isn’t going to be a “reflection on 2021” post. There are plenty of those around for the looking at today. No… this post will likely be much more inane and filled with the typical useless rubbish.

I did two things yesterday that I never thought I’d do.

I bought travelers’ insurance for my flight and I ordered a clutch of KN95 masks for the trip.

I had recently read somewhere (probably WaPo or Atlantic) where someone living in NYC said that anyone in the city who says they haven’t had Covid is probably a fucking liar. That’s how prevalent it is in the city and Minneapolis/Saint Paul seems to be right on track with the same kind of assessment. It seems like almost everyone who hasn’t had the previous variants already are getting the omicron variant — people who are vaccinated and are likely to typically wear a mask included. While the vaxxed and mask-wearers don’t seem to need to worry themselves quite so much about hospitalization, I think everyone has gotten lax around here due to burnout and my family is one of the few who remain diligent about such things. I won’t go on about the whole pandemic, but this is a preface as to explaining why I did those two things.

You see, there are absolutely so many people getting the virus around here that I can’t be 100% certain that I am all that safe from getting it myself, especially with the kiddos going back to school next week. I don’t want to thank my hosts in Seattle by bringing them a hitchhiker in the form of a virus, so I am going to boost the mask quality for my flight over the three-layer disposables I’ve taken to wearing in high-traffic public areas (I still wear cloth ones for low-contact things like the girls’ aikido lessons). I bought some KN95 masks — I know they are not NIOSH-approved, but I’m not in a high-risk environment like a hospital, and they are approved by the CDC as a commonplace alternative.

As far an insurance goes, I’m one of those people retail insurance companies love to hate. Extended warranties, travel insurance, ticket insurance… I usually skip all of it (with some exceptions). Well, with this recent uptake in the transmission rates, I went back to my flight info on my account yesterday and paid the $62 extra for protection against my having to cancel a flight or cut my trip short because of the pandemic. I’m just seeing to many ways in which I might be screwed if I didn’t do it (I have mentioned my terrible luck, have I not?).

So I did it. It wasn’t the first time — I also bought it for my Heilung tickets for their show in September.

As some of you have probably seen, I’ve been toying around with multiple services the past week and integrating them into WordPress in order to increase exposure. I don’t know if it is the wisest thing I’ve ever done, but we’ll see if creating different content on Twitter and Instagram and cross-posting are worth it in the long run. Right now, I more content with lurking than I am in participating, so it might be a waste of time. I think it take someone much more extroverted than I to make either work.

I’ve been digging into the nornir “for reasons” and I was surprised as just how much popular culture has warped the concept of the three ladies hanging out at ol’ Urðr’s Well at the base of the tree. Examples:

  • There is little evidence that the Nornir were thought to do weaving like the Moirai — that comes from a bunch of people trying to tie the myths from across Europe to a single source for their own agenda and got picked up as “fact” by pop culture because old white men told them it was what they should think. It turns out that they may have been not weavers, but carvers — shaping our fates by carving into the growing roots of Yggdrasil. Or, perhaps, by cast lots for our destinies. Images and suggestions that they are more like Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos (Spinner, Allotter and Cutter, respectively) are a bit of a stretch, it seems, and that’s giving a lot of credit to the people making those associations.
  • Another is the use of the Old English wyrd to describe the Norse ladies. While “wyrd” is linguistically derived from “Urðr”, the word has never been used in the old sources to describe what the Ladies are up to. Instead, they shape one’s örlög or sköp, one’s fate. While the Old English took on the idea of “fate”, it’s not the word that would have been used, and has never been a personification of Fate in the same way as Urðr was — and even then, she was more about the fixed, unchangeable, already-happened fate, history… not what was to come (the closest analog of which would be Skuld). As a result, I’ve been moving away from using a word that has no context in Old Norse or Icelandic and trying to embrace less anachronistic language.
  • I’ve also been intrigued by what I’ve seen with Jackson Crawford’s videos on Norse myth. What I tend to like about his videos is that he isn’t afraid to point out the mixed language and metaphors popular culture has been using as if they are interchangeable. He had some additional interesting insights that confirmed what I’d been reading above on his YouTube channel.
  • Ever interested in the runes, I was also intrigued by the runes being assigned to the individual Nornir. The consensus seems that hagalaz (ᚺ) should be assigned to Urðr, isa (ᛁ) be assigned to Verðandi, and the nauthiz (ᚾ) be assigned to Skuld. I have yet to dig deeply into those relationships, as they are the next three runes I am working on for my revised interpretations of the Elder Futhark runeset, but I plan to get on those in the next coming days to see what, exactly, I can tease out about that logic.

The trip is in just a over a week and I am excited. And unprepared (by design).

Things I plan to do while in Seattle and Portland… Hit… downtown Seattle… and… Pikes… and umm… the Piers…. and… umm… coffee and writing and…

Zilch plans. Which is something I’ve never done on a trip of this scale before. I’ve always had some modicum of a plan of action, but I am totally going in blind and every time I think I should come up with at least a few things I shrug and decide against it.

I caved a bit on the wearables. I didn’t want to carry around a watch that needed to be charged every 3-5 days, and yet I didn’t want to have to dig my phone out of my pocket for the time. I was going to buy a “cheap” analog or digital watch, a reliable brand of which ended up costing more than 3/4th the cost of getting a simpler Fitbit that held a charge for up to 10 days and weighed about half of the old smartwatch or a new analog. Knowing I was going to do a lot of walking, I figured it might be nice to figure out just how much instead of guessing, so I opted for a new, but upgraded quality wearable.

So, I’ll be able to track useless information and include it here if I so deem it necessary to torture you, my readers.

Well — that’s about enough drivel for New Years Eve, doncha think?

Happy New Year.

8 thoughts on “Housekeeping: end of 2021

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