Being happy and looking to the future

Mon 17 – Sun 23 July 2017

Overall a perfectly decent week with some ups and some downs but that’s life. The danger is we don’t know the good times till they are gone. And we must never forget that things can get better – though often only if we make sure they do.

Tech for Good

Only in the office 2 days last week to make up for working 3 the previous one. Though lots of stuff done remotely. One of my key things was to keep on top of my emails building on the progress I made previously.

  • Tues afternoon meeting went though progress on the research Shift is doing around stages of development in a social tech / tech for good project, and the milestones to identify and measure progress of the different stages.
  • More speculative calls – expanding connections in the tech for good eco-system.
  • Ongoing promotion and planning for our open event on Mon 24 July where our latest Tech for Good projects will present what they have achieved followed by a reception.
  • Catch up with my colleague Dilhani about possible international tech for good work, and my external colleague Penny from Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Away day

Map of American stateThurs we had the first all-directorate meeting with our new CEO and Director. All good stuff giving consideration to how and where we are going in the future. And a great ‘pub quiz’ at the end though without alcohol. Everyone was a bit mystified that I recognised the outline of Kentucky – I like maps.

Health and Efficiency


Off to see my HIV doctor at the hospital on Wed afternoon. All fairly routine as simply to check I’m OK on new meds and get a six month supply of them. Though I had to fast for 5 hours before the appointment in order to do blood tests to check my ever crucial cholesterol level. All together about an hour and a half of waiting for the doctor, seeing her, getting bloods done, arranging a new appointment, putting in the prescription, and going back to collect the prescription about 25 mins later. Coffee and a bun afterwards because I was hungry.


Then on Fri to the anti-coagulation clinic to check my INR which has gone a bit haywire coming off my old HIV meds. Good result at 2.2. However appointments are based on a computer algorithm that over-errs on the side of caution. So back in just two weeks with the hope that I get some leniency in having to return for a while once my INR is stable. Otherwise I might just start ignoring the appointments and going when I think is right.


No progress, I need to buy some vouchers at the studio I did my beginners’ class at and go to some drop-in classes.


Two sessions. First, Wed morning. Part of my distraction whilst fasting for hospital blood tests later that same day. Just weights, no cardio but I did do a long purposeful walk afterwards from the gym to the hospital. Took about an hour and a half. Second session, Sun morning. Post a really good jog-run so my legs were a bit achey and right knee hurting a bit – an old injury. No treadmill but just weights really pushing it. I also read that knee problems are often related to inflexible ankles so I’ve been working on moving and flexing those more.


A good jog-run on Sat morning – my second best 10k result and good at 5k though I have still got the goal of the former under 1 hour and the latter under 30 mins. Video report here.

Personal Development – Art and Culture

Languages and emails

Managed to get some Duolingo done most days but not every day and the usual story on coding practice (but I’m not giving up on this aim).

‘You and I’

Presumably ‘Du und Ich’ auf Deutsch. A German language film I watched though with some English dialogue as well. It’s a classic road movie about two men (one English and the other German), one gay and one supposedly straight. They pick up Polish guy (supposedly straight as well) and tension builds. Lots of gratuitous nudity and urination – the latter felt a bit strange like dogs constantly needing to mark their territory. Overall, a perfectly decent, if slightly run of the mill, film about young gay guys.


Sat night me and Dave went to the theatre to see the musical ‘Yank’. £20 per ticket so not cheap but it was really good. It’s a modern musical about two American soldiers during the war who have a romance. Lots of stuff about the hidden gay world that existed in the military. And the violent and instrusive attempts to ‘root it out’. Don’t forget the British military only finished doing that a couple of decades ago. I personally knew military personnel dedicated to their jobs and with records of distinction who were hounded out for being gay. Well worth going to see.

Nights out and free haircuts

Two really fun things happened last week. Both were unexpected and show that nice, happy things happen in life without planning plus to take opportunities when they are offered.

First, after our team away day on Thurs I had a work meeting. That went on longer than expected and so I joined my colleagues at the pub later than planned. Dave was out that night so I thought why not have a drink? But they were all getting ready to go off for drinks at Mahiki and so I went with them. Didn’t stay out late but a nice evening getting to know my colleagues outside work and visiting a famous establishment I had never been to. They have so much experience of living in other countries and understanding different parts of the world – I need to try and catch up. This silly little country isn’t the centre of the world though it likes to think it is.

Then on Sat I popped into my local Starbucks for coffee and to try to catch up on personal + work emails. Young lad in there was saying how he was a trainee hairdresser across the road and his ‘model’ for that morning had not turned up. ‘Do you want a haircut?’ he said. My natural defences went up but then I said ‘How much?’ and he replied ‘It’s free’. So I said yes and got a nice haircut though it did take a while – see facebook post below.

Books and Reading

‘Haunted’ by James Herbert

Written in 1988 and a good old-fashioned horror story. James Herbert is seen as one of the modern greats of British horror writing. I can remember reading classics such as ‘The Fog’ and ‘Rats’. They were very popular at my secondary school until they got banned. This book feels a bit dated now and reminiscent of other stuff. Indeed one can see the special effects in your mind influenced by films that have followed it such as ‘Alien’ and ‘Hellraiser’. With many books that is the key thing, to remember when they were written and what they influenced.

Dr Who audio adventures

‘Voyage to Venus’

‘Voyage to the New World’

Two short adventures featuring the sixth Doctor Colin Baker with Jago and Litefoot, two Victorian characters who first appeared in the TV classic ‘The Talons of Weng Chiang’. Big Finish has given them a series of their own adventures. The first story was a very old fashioned one in the sense of Jules Verne or H.G.Wells. Venus is inhabited with strange creatures and an evil queen. Too much is crammed into too short a time. The second is a better story though it would have been much better as a proper long adventure. There is lots going on including the story of the lost Elizabethan American colony of Roanoke, Sir Walter Raleigh as a time traveller, and people turned into ghosts by a species of parasitic aliens taking the shape of children. It was all quite confusing and needed a second listen after which it made a hell of a lot more sense.

Looking Ahead

So the week ahead:

  • Keeping to my paid two and a half days (sort of…)
  • Our event on Mon where my current Tech for Good projects will present to the public what they have achieved
  • Deciding on the crowdfunding applicants to be put forward to the decision-making panel. Another unexpectedly popular initiative.
  • Finally making one of Josh Russell’s Impact breakfast which I keep missing, and Cassie Robinson’s Community Squad of people interested in Tech for Good on Thurs afternoon
  • Having an intro session with the new Director
  • A sad event but leaving drinks on Fri for Claire and Kate from my team who are moving on 🙁
  • 3 gym sessions planned plus a jog-run. It would also be nice to fit in a yoga session.
  • More speculative phone call catch-ups and a coffee
  • Finishing at least one of the books I am currently reading and a couple more Dr Who audio adventures
  • Duolingo every day and some coding practice

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