Open Thinkering


Weeknote 31/2021

Dithered image of green tomatoes against brick wall

I have enjoyed this week. It’s been a lot more relaxed than usual working weeks — for me, at least, as my wife’s been in back-to-back meetings from 09:00 to 18:00 most days! I haven’t earned as much, but that’s the way things go when you don’t have a job; I earn more some weeks and less other week. At least I don’t have to put in hours when there’s less work to be done!

Last weekend, while I was still down in Devon, I went into a health food shop and was looking around. It was weird, because I couldn’t have told you what I was in there for. But when, eventually, one of the shop assistants took pity on me and asked if she could help, I found myself saying “I’ve been a bit low-energy recently”. It’s weird when you find yourself saying something that you didn’t really think in words previously. But I was. I was lower-energy than usual, and had gone in there looking for a solution.

I came out of the shop with two things: some energy tablets that contain caffeine but also guarana, ginseng, and other energy-promoting supplements from around the world, and some BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids). I have to say that I feel better this weekend in terms of energy than last weekend. There’s other contextual factors at play, of course, so I’ll see how things go.

While I’m talking about health and nutrition, the sample packs from Genesis Foods arrived. They’re nutritionally-complete shakes in powder form and, importantly, they taste good. I’m going to order more! I’m trying to lose some of the pandemic pounds I’ve put on over the last year or so, meaning that I’m having that at lunchtime (after exercise), my main meal, and a snack. And that’s it. Saturday is my cheat day though 😉

Work-wise, I spent about a third of my time this week doing things related to WAO’s work with Julie’s Bicycle. We’ve got another proposal in with them now relating to some strategy work, so we’ll see how that goes. We also discussed doing more work with Participate on the Keep Badges Weird project. Other than that, it’s been our ongoing digital support for the Catalyst Continuation programme, and then just general business management stuff. 16 hours of paid work in total this week, plus a few meetings and chats on the side.

This meant I had some time to do some writing, which was nice. I also switched offices with my wife for a few afternoons, which was a pleasant change of pace. The most important thing I published this week was Act NOW to prevent the hijacking of the Open Badges standard by an IMS faction! which I also emailed to people I know interested in Open Badges and generally made a bit of a noise about. I won’t rehearse what’s going on here, but suffice to say that this is the kind of thing that riles me. I’ve drafted a follow-up post.

Other than that, I reflected on Two years of spending more time in ‘dark forests’ and my evolving relationship with social media and public spaces. And then I wrote a bit of a ramblepost entitled Gaming, technology, and solving problems which I didn’t even bother linking to elsewhere. I just needed to get some stuff down to organise my thoughts.

Our children have both had football trials this week to get into teams. My son successfully trialled for a team which means he’ll move up two leagues to play in the top league in the North East for his age group. This was his idea, as I stayed at the same team for 10 years in the junior leagues. We’ve managed the departure amicably, and the manager of his old team has said he’s always got a place if things don’t work out.

My daughter has been in the Newcastle United Development Squad for the last couple of years but now she’s Under-11 it becomes more serious and turns into the NUFC Academy. She trialled last night with a knee that was causing her some bother, and we’ll find out what happens at the end of the summer. Fingers crossed!

In the background to all that was some car trouble. Owning a Volvo, this is not something I have to say very often, thankfully. On Thursday, I went to pick up the kids from golf and cricket respectively, and it felt like all of the tyres of our car were completely flat. I got out to check, restarted the car, and a warning came on saying that the handbrake needed servicing. Long story short: the electric mechanism needed replacing, so it ended up getting towed in and a hire car getting sorted out. I’m very much looking forward to the day when we don’t have to own a car, let me tell you.

I had planned to do the same walk as I did a few weeks ago and do some wild camping with my new tent and backpack. However, I don’t really want to do that with the hire car as it involves going into deepest darkest Northumberland and, well, a Kia is not a Volvo. So I’m either going to walk from our house and camp somewhere, or (more likely) postpone the trip until the weekend after next.

Next week is looking much the same as this week, and on the Friday we’re heading to Lincolnshire for a long weekend with part of my wife’s side of the family. I’m looking forward to spending some time at the beach. In fact, as well as Belshaw Bootcamp (which I’ve re-instituted to get my son fitter for the new season) I might do some running at Druridge Bay.

Image of the tomatoes growing outside my home office. They’re still green, but getting there!

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