Open Thinkering


Weeknote 36/2022

Image of a runner holding a coffee cup

The kids were back to school on Wednesday this week so it felt like I was back at work ‘properly’. Things are still slowly revving-up after the summer break, though, and it was a bit of a rollercoaster of a week, emotions-wise.

On Monday, I went to see the doctor about the weird thing that happened to me last Friday. He referred me to the stroke clinic, thinking I’d had a TIA. That evening, they phoned me up and invited me in for an appointment the next day. I went along, and they gave me the all-clear, but are booking me in for an MRI over the next couple of weeks just in case.

I feel fine. To be honest, I’m more concerned about the hamstring I pulled on Wednesday and which I’ve only just got back to running on (gently). Relatedly, I’ve realised that while I enjoy being connected to people on Strava, the focus is too competitive for me, so I’m going to continue my efforts with and try and create a space which is a bit more chill.

The Queen, or to give her the proper title ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith’, died this week. As someone I follow commented, she achieved the remarkable feat of convincing the world that the monarchy’s raw power and wealth is actually a duty and a burden.

Personally, I just wish we got to have a referendum on having a monarch at all. Might it be worth pausing before we continue into the future with a King and a House of Lords? I’d suggest that the structure of the whole vestigial edifice, along with the attempted silencing of anyone who criticises it, is part of white supremacist culture.

Of course, now we’re in a ‘period of mourning’ which will have massive negative economic implications which we can’t really afford as a country. Especially right now. And, annoyingly, the football was off this weekend 🙄

Here, I published:

Over at Thought Shrapnel:

And on the WAO blog:

On the work front, Laura and I planned Season 5 of The Tao of WAO podcast, and have invited some awesome guests to contribute. I had a really interesting conversation about badges with Co-operatives UK, and caught up with some people from the CoTech network who have haven’t talked to over the summer. I had a chat with Ivan and Mayel about user research and prioritisation for Bonfire, and talked to John about user research for the project WAO is doing with Happy Porch and Common Knowledge for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance.

With Laura and Anne, I continued to work on the Keep Badges Weird project, and we caught up with Mark, Julie, and Don from Participate to plan the next bit of work. I booked my ticket, travel, and accommodation for the ePIC conference in Lille next month. I’ll be doing a short presentation on the KBW project, and it looks like Julie might be coming over for it, too. I’m quite excited to be getting the Eurostar for the first time!

There’s another project that we work on that I’m under an NDA for, which is annoying as it’s a pretty innovative and high-stakes one. Laura leads that, and it might never be something we can talk openly about. Needless to say, though, that it takes up brainspace (in a good way!) each Wednesday.

In other news, Hannah and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary this week, which is ‘bronze’, apparently. I got her a bracelet and… some bronzer(!) as well as some flowers. She got me some bronze-coloured whisky 😉

We went out for dinner and cocktails on Tuesday night, which was a double celebration in a way because I had been getting increasingly concerned before the stroke clinic appointment that my forties could be my last decade. Our kids are at an age where we can leave them for a couple of hours, which is nice.

Talking of them, our daughter went for the second trial for the Newcastle United ETC (Emerging Talent Centre). It was ridiculously wet on Friday, with the ball skidding everywhere. Apart from a couple of standout talents, they might as well pull the names out of a hat, to be fair. We’ll see.

Next week, I’m back to a normal working week. I’m not attempting to take any full days off any more, but rather to try and work sustainably from Monday to Friday. In practice, that looks like doing mostly non-WAO work on a Friday, and working intensely for about five hours per day while the kids are at school. I then have time to tinker around in the evenings or (more likely) in the early mornings before anyone else is up.

I’d quite like to do some wild camping, and would potentially have gone this evening. However, it looks like heavy rain overnight, and I’ve got a planning meeting at our house late this afternoon for neighbours. We’re discussing whether we want to form some form of organisation to take control of the land between our houses and the new development behind them. The devil, as ever, is in the details.

Image created by DALL-E 2 (“runner drinking coffee”)

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