Open Thinkering


Month: August 2023

Don’t skip the best tracks

I can remember the exact moment when I realised the track Burnin’ by Daft Punk was an absolute banger. A few pints in, I was in Sheffield University’s Student Union bar and it came on as part of a DJ set. Almost two minutes in, the beat drops properly. Certified classic. I realised that ever since buying the album as a sixteen year-old, I’d skipped that track because I’d never listened to enough of it.

There are tracks I’ve skipped on other albums that I’ve gone back to later in life. As Heraclitus famously pointed out, we cannot step into the same river twice because the river’s changed but also we have changed. The context shift doesn’t just apply to books and music, but to relationships and, well, anything that we formerly have dismissed as “not for us”.

So this post is a reminder to myself, and anyone who’s reading, to go back and read, listen, and explore things that have previously been rejected. Sometimes, they speak to us differently as we age.

Weeknote 34/2023

Screenshot of Sniper Elite 5

Famously, but apocryphally, Hemingway advised to “write drunk, edit sober”. My best writing flows from writing while angry, and editing while calm. Right now, I’ve had three hours sleep, just given both barrels to the builders who left the generator on at the site near our house. The words are flowing.

This week I’ve been back to work after three weeks off. I’m still in some pain from my ribs, caused by coming off a mountain bike three weeks ago. Getting old isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (especially when your ribs might be cracked). I had one day off ibuprofen on Thursday and was miserable. My exercise regime is all over the place.

As expected, I haven’t been very busy at work. It’s still summer, and this week is Bank Holiday weekend. So things will pick up next week. It’s been good to catch up with Laura, though, and get my head back into some projects. We’re experimenting with a newsletter via LinkedIn called WAO Weekly, because that’s where most of the work-related chat is these days.

Talking of newsletters, an issue of the Thought Shrapnel roundup that I used to do monthly is going out tomorrow. I make no apologies for the fact that there hasn’t been one since January, and instead direct you to the insights of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who stated, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds… With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.”

Our son got his GCSE results this week, and then went back into school to get his grade breakdowns. Given the pandemic and the fact that he was so ill during the first few days of exams he almost didn’t go in for them, he’s done well. The grade breakdowns showed that in many subjects he was only a couple of marks away from the next grade up. He’s planning to study A Levels in the Sixth Form of the school he’s at, and is still firming up his final choices.

Meanwhile, our daughter has been ordering her kit for Sunderland ETC, which she’ll start next month. We had to take her to a physio as the injury to her toe which she sustained made her over-compensate when walking, which affected her knee. She’ll be OK.

After test driving several EVs last weekend, we thought we were going to apply to lease a Skoda Enyaq iV. However, a subsequent conversation led us back to the Polestar 2. I realised that the test car had literally all of the options, including the dual motor which takes the car from 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds. The single-motor version, which we’d be getting, is still quick, but not quite so ‘lurchy’. I’ve also found out how you can make the ride less firm, which might help with my wife feeling a bit car sick.

Last time I applied for a business lease, I was turned down. I ascribed this to the fact that while doing so, our shortest-serving Prime Minister was doing her best to tank the UK economy. If I don’t get approved this time, I can only think it’s down to the way that I pay myself through my business (mostly through dividends).

After a year of running it, and with domain renewal time approaching, I considered shutting down It’s not that I don’t think it’s a good idea, it’s just that after an initial flurry, it hasn’t had quite the traction of people posting that I’d hoped for.

Thankfully, as I explained in this post, I’ve managed to hand over ownership to the most active user on the site. He’s pleased about it, and so am I. Win/win.

It’s Bank Holiday weekend in England this weekend. I took Friday off to do some life admin. What we really need to do during the gloriously-sunny weather is to find somewhere to live. As I explained last week, we’re still selling our house, but we currently have nowhere to go.

Next week, I’ll be ramping up work through the WAO and doing some business development to help keep us gainfully employed over the coming months.

Screenshot from Sniper Elite 5, which I’ve played a lot this week.

Handing over ownership of

Running track

A year ago, I realised that competing with other people via Strava wasn’t good for my physical or mental health. I wondered about setting up a friendly Fediverse instance for exercise-related updates and chat. This turned into, running on Pixelfed.

A year later, I’ve posted screenshots of most of my runs there, as well as swims and gym sessions. Other people have done likewise about the different activities they’re into. One person in particular (@ryancoordinator) has been using it every day.

It was only yesterday that I was once again describing how I subscribe to the SOFA principle of starting things but not necessarily keeping them going. So I’m delighted that, at a time when I was thinking of shutting it down, Ryan has volunteered to take over the ownership and running of We’re currently in the midst of handing things over, but I’m really pleased that it will keep going.

Ryan has experience of running all kinds of platforms and events, so I think that the site is in good hands. If you’re interested in joining, registrations remain open!