(This is the manuscript for the standalone episode “The Asterisk Year”, which premiered on August 9th, 2021. Available wherever you get your podcasts, or you can listen online here.) Intro: The podcast you are about to hear is the first episode in what was going to be a six-episode second season of Breaking the Digital Spell called “Notes from the Pandemic”, and I say “was” because, although I was able to make significant progress on several of these episodes, I was not going to be able to finish writing and recording them during the window of time I had to get these out. This past spring and summer, as I am sure is the case for many of you, ended up being far busier and crazier than I could’ve predicted. Of those six episodes, this episode was the one that felt the most complete and, after showing it to some people and getting some feedback, I felt that this one was worth releasing as a standalone episode. However, in this recording I’ve included all the references to this now-cancelled second season because I think it provides some additional and helpful context for some of my thoughts and some of the points I’m trying to make, so as you listen to it just remember that the second season I reference here is, unfortunately, not going to be coming. However, if you’ll stick around till the end of the podcast, I do have some exciting news about to podcast to share with you and I think you’ll be excited to hear. With all that being said, I hope you enjoy “The Asterisk Year”.