Nick Sellen

More direction

09 September 2018

I have never been someone who is singularly focused on doing one thing really well. At various times I might feel admiration, appreciation, or jealously towards those people. It seems like it might be easier live like that and to know what to do at any given moment.

In any case, I am not like that. Maybe those people aren’t like that either.

At any one time there are many different directions that interest me - maybe I should work hard and save up some £££ so I can do some kind of project with it, maybe I should get more involved with existing initiatives that seem good and can use some of my skills, maybe I should find a bit of forest to live, maybe I should do more bike touring, walking, hitch-hiking, exploring, maybe I should finally leave the comforts of being in the first world, maybe I should stay in/near a city for long enough to get involved properly, maybe I should push to start a family, … I could probably go on.

I am liable to drift in between all of these things though, so want more tools to help that process.

I used to like the idea to outsource the decisions of my life to external people, on the basis that I was never sure, and other people sometimes have a good perspective.

I don’t really feel that way now. I need the approach to my life to be alive inside me, going back to consult the external people for each microdecision would not be viable. Given that I am not someone who can really tolerate having a boss/overlord/master, the only person that can direct my life is me.

I think it can’t be addresed with pure logic/rationality, nor pure gut feeling. There needs to be a healthy interaction between the two. One of the approaches I’m interested in to explore this is to write publicly about it.

I’m not sure of the granularity of what I should write here either. Or whether it should be about what I have done, or what I want to do. Maybe both. Should it be regular? Maybe. Once a week? Maybe once per month is better?

Without solving all that, let’s get started with a simple format!

What I did last week

Moved to Glasgow!

Currently crashing on my friends sofa, have been having an annoying time hunting for nice places to rent for the next few months. Not fun. Neither of us are very “proper” people (no proper job, no previous landlords, no utilities bills, etc…).

But looks like we’ve got somewhere nice! .. just have to fill in the time from now until the 20th.

I really hate looking for rooms/flats. So glad I have avoided this for the past few years.

Went to WTF is Neoliberalism course at the Glasgow Autonomous Space

Taïs is studying the glocal course (which is why we’re in Glasgow). I’m also interested in economics, and found this course which sounded interesting. It involves reading some text about a topic related to neoliberlaism (this week: globalisation and the state), then going along to discuss it with other people. It runs out of the Glasgow Autonomous Space which I wanted to have a nosey around (and picked up lots of fliers…).

At the end there were loads of other events mentioned. Too many to remember. I asked if there is a website listing “alternative” events, the guy running the course said no, but there had been a discussion before about creating one. My friend chandi recently made that does this for Leipzig, so I thought maybe I can deploy it for Glasgow. Let’s see how it goes!

Resumed running

I like to do short-ish runs every couple of days in the morning. That fits quite well with Glasgow weather which seems to often have blue sky first thing in the morning before getting smothered in thick grey clouds. I managed 3 or so runs.

Not much software

Feel a bit disconnected from doing software. I contributed minor comments to discussions on slack, got the WIP android app running locally, chatted a bit on the trustroots slack…

Sorted out my phone

I haven’t had a very good last couple of years of phones. One got wet and died. I dropped and broke the next one (and my attempted at screen replacement failed). The next one was a leftover one from my parents which has got increasingly more erratic.

So, I finally caved in and paid up for a “new” secondhand phone on ebay. I was quite pleased to get the same model as the one I dropped (Sony Xperia Z5 Compact) but for much less than I got one for last year (from £180 to £75). I feel much better now with a vaguely modern phone (unless you go into a repair shop in which case they consider it a phone that a dinosaur might have once used).

I got it setup with LineageOS and all my favourite apps. This time I have a rubbery outercase thing, and a screen protector, hopefully it’s more drop proof now.

Food saving

I started getting in contact with projects related to food saving. I feel motivated to build up a picture of food saving activities in Glasgow.

I will start volunteering at the KPCafe in the Kinning Park Complex on Thursdays - they collect food from fareshare and a local Tesco and cook it up for a pay-as-you-feel cafe. Kinning Park Complex itself seems nice - used to be run by the council, they stopped that and the community took over management of it, they are close to buying it now (22 years later!), they have in-house plastic recycling (to make jewerly), and a bunch of projects.

I also investigated Foodsharing Glasgow (as listed on but they seem to be inactive now. I emailed them (no reply), went to the address listed (the guy remembered there used to be a cupboard with food in it that got distributed), and asked around (KPCafe used to get food from them but they dropped off the radar). Oh well, I kind of get used to websites being out of date, especially common for alternative projects.

I also arranged to meet with Foodsharing Edinburgh (more below).

What I want to do next week

Foodsharing Edinburgh

I’m going over to Edinburgh to meet Nicola Wilson from The Shrub Co-op in Edinburgh who co-ordinates the foodsharing Edinburgh project. I would like to:

  • generally find out what kind of state the project is in/at (they got some funding recently, and seem connected to Zero Waste Scotland)
  • see where they are at regarding software (the website has long been promising an app, and I understand they had one in development which didn’t quite work out), maybe karrot can be of use to them
  • see if they have any info about stuff going on in Glasgow

Move around a bit

To give my friend a break, I’d like to move around and stay in some other places for a bit, me and Taïs are exploring options on couchsurfing and trustroots.

Do some book write ups

I aim to write up the highlights from the books I read on my books page. The idea is so I actually have a chance of remembering what the book was actually about, and to share that with others.

I enthusiastically highlight sections that interest me as I read (on kindle), and wrote a tool to process the snippets a bit too. I seem to be less enthusiastic about going back over them.

Attend some events here

The unity world cafe seems to collect food from supermarkets and redistribute it people in need of food. They ask for volunteers. I’d like to go and see how it works. The person from KPCafe hadn’t heard of it even though it sounds very simliar to what they do, and less than 2 miles away. Maybe hang around until the GAS open evening too.

The take one action film festival is starting. Would like to go and see some films in it. Aiming to see some/all of The Green Lie, Golden Dawn Girls, and The Cloud Forest.

Maybe see if there is something by urban roots to attend of interest.


Still feel a bit vague/uncommitted here. Maybe try and progress the foodsharing android app (run it with a local backend, explore the android/kotlin ecosystem a bit, try adding a small feature, …).

Something on karrot? Something on trustroots? Something on freegle?

Maybe also suggest a phone call with Tilmann/others to see where we’re at.

karrot co-op

I was quite motivated last month or so to push forward with forming a co-operative structure around karrot. I didn’t do anything yet, but would like to push forward with at least the first step - writing a post about it on the comumunity forum. Can’t be too hard?

Work / co-ops

I want to progress a bit more with my work with/for co-operatives. I probably need to work for money a bit more than I am at the moment. I am never keen of doing things that don’t really interest me though.

Food / cooking

I’ve been enjoying cooking a bit more, so would like to keep that up! A few things:

  • making a chana masala with brown chickpeas I soaked/cooked
  • … making some hummous with the rest of the chickpeas
  • … well, it’s a bit uncertain exactly where I’ll be so I won’t make too many promises

Could go and look at the “unpackaged” shop thing I learnt about last week, or find other places/suppliers of nice food.

Ok, that’s all long enough for now!

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