Thinking Points – 1/11

We’ve skipped a week with Thinking Points, partly because I sat to write last week’s post and decided there wasn’t much to write. So what have I been up to in the last two weeks?

Not a lot outside of work I’m afraid. But I’ve been discharged from the hospital as an outpatient. My humerus has healed well and quicker than expected. The consultants seem surprised. I’ve also managed to get a lot of movement back too. I’ve got some physio to get through but this done over the telephone. On a daily basis, you will see me with a light dumbbell, attempting to put back a bit of strength in the arm.

I have a lump on my arm where a bit of bone is sticking out but I’ve been told not to worry about it. I looked at the original X-ray and I was in a right old mess. Hopefully, I can share these at some point.

We’ve found our new Sunday Roast place (see picture) – the Peterboat in Leigh-on-sea. Our old Sunday Roast place, The Shoeburyness Hotel, has been somewhat lacking in the service department recently.

1. Quote of the week

If you’re not having any second thoughts at all, it’s probably because you’re not thinking it through enough. — Seth Godin

Seth writes a daily blog with his thoughts about marketing, business and approach to life. He is a teacher and marketing expert. You can subscribe to his blog here.

When we take on a new project, we often hit the trough of despair early. Seth’s point is possible the implied: if you are thinking it through, you are probably having second thoughts. The key is: think it through and address the problems as they come.

2. What I’m reading

I read a book I’ve had for 8 years in my Kindle queue. P.O.W. Wartime Log of F/Sgt T.D. Glenn is a diary from a former pilot captured by the Germans in 1944. It details his time in prison until his release towards the end of the war. The conditions were surprising (to me at least) with regular food parcels arriving via the Red Cross. I didn’t read it in full – it reads like a personal diary and so some entries are of interest and the others are not. There’s obviously a lot of repetition given that he was in prison at the time with a limited set of things to do.

Another book I picked up last week was How to be the Luckiest Person Alive! by James Altucher. I was actually surprised that this was in my Kindle pile unread from 2011 because usually, I can get through James’s books quickly. I suspect it was there because it is essays from his website and material I’d read before. I read it this week and it brought back memories. I used to follow his material daily and went to hear him speak in London some years ago. At the time, his key message was to follow a daily practice of gratitude, cleanliness, spirituality, journaling and sleep.

I currently plodding through Andreas Malm’s book Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency. I found the second chapter difficult to get through. I wrote about this book last time I posted – it draws comparisons between the reactions to the Corona crisis and our reactions to Climate change. The last chapter is about Communism and how it would help us with the current problems. I’m struggling to read it and I should probably put it down with a view to reading something else.

3. What I’m doing in my free time/enjoying

I brewed a beer for the first time since April.

I’m back to watching television, actually rather a lot of it. I’ve had a bit of frustration with my LG television and it will no longer participate in my Wifi network. So watching Netflix and Prime using the native apps is out. Grrr. Still, I have the Apple TV and that does everything I want. Currently, my LG television is basically a big monitor. Here’s what I’ve been watching:

  • Comrade Detective (Amazon Prime) – The pretence here is that some Americans found an old Romanian propaganda TV show, dubbed it and presented it. Actually what they did was make it from scratch in Romanian and then dub it. They are trying to make a point about propaganda. There were some frankly silly things in it, but I watched it in two evenings. I enjoyed it for the same reasons I enjoyed Life on Mars – it is a made-up perspective, taking viewpoints to extremes with a lead hero who is ultimately broken.
  • Young Wallander (Netflix) – based on Wallander, set in Sweden but filmed in Lithuania, this series attempts to give a modern reboot backstory to Wallander. It felt rather depressing – we didn’t catch the bad guy in the end and the good role model got blown up. I suspect it would help to see more “Old Wallander” before watching this.
  • Occupied (Netflix) – I watched one of these a couple of weeks ago and got hooked. It’s in Norwegian, Russian and English, but mostly in Norwegian, so it requires some concentration to follow the subtitles. The premise is that Norway has turned off the gas and oil supply to pursue a better energy source. The EU and Russia aren’t happy, so Russia occupies Norway on the request of the EU. It’s caused a bit of bad feeling in Russia and I can see why. The first season started well and then went off a bit. The storyline seemed to chop and change – it reminded me of 24 Season 1 in the middle. However, I’m going to keep going with it.
  • Schitt’s Creek (Netflix) – Written by the Levys (the older one is the dad in American Pie), this took two episodes to get going. The premise is the family has lost its house, business and money, and are resorting to live in some backwater (Schitt’s Creek) that the father bought for a joke. It’s light entertainment in small portions of 25 minutes.
  • Star Trek Discovery (Netflix) – I actually down-thumbed this show on Netflix. It’s not the Star Trek I remember, but I’m still watching it. The storylines and technology intrude into the original series. Obviously, the original series looks very dated now, but why not get some new ideas and do those instead? In a Galaxy Far Far Away, please?
  • Sour Grapes (Netflix, also pay per view on Amazon Prime) – this is an interesting documentary about a wine forger who got caught. He did a really good job in convincing people to buy fake wine, but actually, to this day it is not really understood how he did it. Several of the victims are still in disbelief. The gentleman concerned is still in prison. This film was recommended in Tim Ferriss’s Friday Five Bullets last week.
  • The Boys (Amazon Prime) – talking of “new” ideas, the Boys is certainly new in terms of a television presentation, but it is based on a comic book I read about 10 years ago. Superheroes are real but have their own agendas. The Boys are on a mission to sort it out. The original version of Hugh was based on Simon Pegg. Simon appears as Hugh’s dad in the TV show. They’ve messed with the storylines but the original dark humour and intent are there. I liked the first season and I’m watching the second steadily.
  • Interview with Eddie Van Halen (YouTube) – this interview from 2017 is an interesting view of Eddie’s career and guitar style. Sadly Eddie passed away recently. Eddie arrived in the USA with his family and could barely speak English. They knew only poverty for a number of years.
  • The latest Borat movie (Amazon Prime) – At the risk of being unpopular, I thought this was terrible. Several of the “jokes” were not funny and I actually turned it off halfway through. The concept has run its course. Sacha Baron Cohen should stick to his serious work – The Spy (Netflix) was very good. Watch that instead.

4. What I’m learning more about

We learn something new early day. Unexpectedly, I had learnt some research mathematics in the last week. I have been corresponding with a PhD student in Algeria who asked me for copies of some of my papers. He is studying minimal non-X groups for classes of groups X. A minimal non-X group is one that is not an X group but its subgroups are. Sym(3) is a minimal non-abelian group (for example). The research into these groups is really about how the subgroup structure of the group constrains the group as a whole. I started to play around with the concepts – it was a nice excursion for a few hours, but I’d really have to find my mathematical thinking cap in order to get anywhere with solving some problems!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.