Busy Week

May 12, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Job Search, Life, Religion, Young Adult, Youth 

This is gonna be a very busy week.  I’m going to be out and about in several communities with lots of activities.  Perhaps I’ll meet you at one of them.

Yesterday the ball started rolling with the God Complex radio show at noon EDT.  That went very well.  Later in the evening I had the Board of Deacons meeting at church which also went very well and very fast.

This morning I’m going to have to mow the lawn due to the impending days of rain (again).

This afternoon I’m going to the Presbytery of New Brunswick meeting, and assisting in the pre-presbytery event on “Working with Facebook”.  Before the meeting I have a networking meeting with someone in New Brunswick.

Tomorrow is relatively quiet.  A networking meeting in the morning, and the DVRA ham radio club meeting in the evening.  I may go get my driver’s license renewed during the day – it’s time again.

Thursday afternoon begins the Princeton Seminary Institute for Youth Ministry Conference on Emerging Adulthood.  That runs Thursday afternoon and evening, all day Friday, and Saturday morning.  Friday evening, I’ll miss dinner and the recreation to attend a fundraising dinner “Southern Hospitality on the Lawn” related to my church.

Saturday morning I’ll miss rehearsal for Deacon Sunday.  Saturday evening my church youth group is holding a Cabaret and Silent Auction fundraiser for the summer trips.

Sunday morning is Deacon Sunday (I’m doing the Call to Worship), grocery delivery for Crisis Ministry in Trenton and the end of year party for our customers, and the Worship in a New Key service.

Monday I may get to see Carolyn again.  This is really a nutty week.

Staying Busy

Recently I have been thinking about what I do with my “non-work” time.  With my career transition, I’m able to use time for “non-work” activities during the day, hopefully to the benefit of others.  Someday I hope that I can combine my vocation and avocations.

This led me to thinking about listing all of the various things that I do.  Some people put them on their resumes, but mine is already too long and I’m not sure what it would add.  So I’ll list my “sideline” things here for your interest/amusement.  I know that once I find a job I may have to cut back on some of these (indeed – several of them have been started since my career transition started with the caveat that I may have to stop at some point).


Recently I’ve been providing computer services to others as a sideline.  Mostly this consists of PC maintenance, including some hardware work, installing software updates, and a lot of fixes to things like “my computer does X when I do Y – can you fix that?”.  This is done for various forms of renumeration including lunch and good will.

I’m also going to be helping another church do some brainstorming of what they want on their church’s website.  And yet another church has asked for help with their website, but I don’t know the specifics yet.

Local Church

I have a lot of roles at church:

  • Deacon – currently serving on the Board of Deacons, assigned to the Prayer Team and enjoying serving Communion on occasion.  I’m also the designated “e-mail reminder” person who sends a note to the people assigned to jobs each Sunday.
  • Open Door – recently completed a stint as co-chair of a task force studying issues of hospitality to visitors and the community.  I’m likely to serve as a member of the new Session committee being created to continue this work.
  • Webmaster – of the church website and the weekly e-mail that goes to almost 400 people.  This role also has me serving as the social networking expert surrounding our presence on Facebook and such.
  • Youth Advisor and member of Youth and Young Adult Council – nothing that I do at church brings me more joy than my work with the Senior High youth group.  I’ve also been involved in supporting the youth director with strategic planning for the youth council lately.
  • Percussion – most members of the church have been surprised to learn that I was classically trained as  a percussionist in high school.  I’ve been using those skills on snare and cymbal, djembe, congas, and other instruments in both the alternative and regular service.  Apparently I’m not as rusty as I think that I am.

Greater Church

  • The God Complex – serving as Webmaster for the new weekly Internet radio show that is hosted by Bruce Reyes-Chow and Carol Howard Merritt.  This involves blogs, web hosting, e-mail and other stuff that I don’t even know about yet.
  • I will be assisting my local Youth Director with the Small Group manual for the next Youth Triennium.  Not in a major way – just reading and editing.  I hope to turn that into a trip next summer, but that would require some creative planning (anybody need someone to man a booth or serve as a chaperone?).
  • This blog seems to provide value to some.  I’m also on Twitter and most of my friends there are church-related

Other Stuff

  • I’m a member of the Delaware Valley Ham Radio club.  I’m a general-class ham – KC2SMS.
  • I’m one of the keyholders for the ham radio emergency equipment for the local Red Cross office.  The Princeton Red Cross chapter is the “center” for ham radio for the state’s Red Cross groups, mainly because we are centrally located.  Monday night will be the monthly equipment test for the Red Cross and the NJ State RACES/ARES folks.

So, I’m keeping busy.  If I were being paid for all of that at a reasonable salary I’d have a full-time job.  As it is, it’s more like 1/2 to 2/3 of my days and some of my non-work hours.  I like to help people, and I usually don’t care whether I get paid or not (though getting paid is important for other reasons).  My hope is that someday I can use these skills for a paying position with some meaning to the world.

So what’s up?

January 18, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Ham Radio, Religion, Sports, Work, Youth 

So what’s going on, Mark?

I’m glad you asked.

This week has been eventful.

Earlier in the week, we got the news that the company is looking into some form of ownership change for all or part of the company.  I’ve already written about that.

Today we actually got good news.  IT has gotten permission to give an allowance to IT employees who are required to be on-call for support issues.  The department will pay up to $75 of our home broadband Internet and cell phone charges.  For me that means $40 for Internet access.  My cell phone usage for work is minimal and always within my plan.

At church I got the Project Open Door meeting scheduled for next week – we’ll be going over inactive members and how to interview them gently.  I had a good Sr. High youth evening last Sunday and a great Youth and Young Adult council meeting on Tuesday.  The YAYA council actually reduced the amount of logistical stuff that we go over to focus on the substance and theology of our program.  We’re going to be more intentional about linking our activities to our theology in the future.

Hockey – there are 3 games this weekend.  I’m going to tonight’s game with Carolyn, and tomorrow night’s game with Carolyn, my sister and a friend of hers.  Sunday’s game will get skipped – 3 in a weekend is too much.

Ham Radio – I got voted in as a member of the Delaware Valley Radio Association last week. Last weekend I went to their radio “shack” and got an orientation on the building, antennas, and radios.  I’m also nearly finished with the ARRL EC-001 Level 1 Amateur Radio Emergency Communication online class.  That class will teach me how to be useful in an emergency (like a flood, hurricane, or other disaster).  The class is going really well – my mentor told me that I’m the first student out of the 100 or so that he’s worked with who managed to format all 4 sample emergency messages correctly on the first try.

In the Presbyterian world, things have been busy.  We’ve had a presbytery approve a lesbian candidate as ready to receive a call to ministry, we got a young adult candidate for General Assembly Moderator (for the non-presby’s, that means roughly “head Presbyterian”).  These actions (particularly the first one) have prompted the expected reaction from the conservative wing of the church.  Our General Assembly this June will also be considering a complete re-write of the Rules portion of our constitution.

At my own church we have a congregational meeting this Sunday that will consider a change to the bylaws to loosen up the rules on the number of Elders and their term length.  This is intended to allow the church to ordain it’s first Elder under age 18 for a term shorter than 3 years (because the youth probably couldn’t serve a full 3 years).

Life is a roller coaster, but in retrospect it’s been more up than down this week.


November 28, 2007 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Ham Radio 

For those of you who don’t recognize it, KC2SMS is a United States amateur radio call sign.  It’s used to identify the station and operator of a “ham” radio station in the US.

It also means me.

I’ve been interested in radio for many years.  During college I was a member of the Rutgers Amateur Radio Club (WA2NPP), but I never got my license.  I just didn’t want to go to the effort to learn Morse Code.

Earlier this year, the FCC (and ITU – the international body governing radio) eliminated the Morse Code requirement for all amateur radio licenses.

When I decided to stop flying, I looked for a less expensive hobby that could be done on my schedule (flying is clearly neither).  I tried some online version of the ham radio tests after doing 20 minutes of looking at a study guide and to my surprise I passed both the entry level (Technician) and middle level (General) tests.  I seem to have learned a lot of the information over the years from one source or another.  I decided to do some studying and take the tests.  It only costs $14 for a testing session and you can take as many levels as you pass for the same fee.

On Saturday, November 17 (the same day that I handed in my keycard to the flying club) I went to the Pennington branch of the Mercer County Library and took my tests.  I got one wrong on the Technician test and to my surprise only one wrong on the General test – a score of 97% on each.  I tried the Extra (top) level and only got 1/2 of the questions right.  That test is harder and I’ll have to work to pass it someday.

Yesterday the paperwork went all the way through and I was issued my call sign and license.  I have a Yaesu VX-6R handheld VHF/UHF radio on order that should arrive later this week.  In the future I’ll look into a mobile (car) radio that handles all bands and can be used at home as well.  I don’t think I plan to install a major antenna farm or tower at home – I’ll probably get field antennas and put them up when I want to use them.

I have already contacted the ARES/RACES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) folks in my area.  I’ll start working with them soon, though there is a pause in activity for those groups in December every year.  I also may get involved in traffic nets – the passing of short messages via radio from members of the public to other members of the public with the intent to train for the need to pass important messages in an emergency.

Besides, being an IT person by day, being heavily involved in church, and flying airplanes wasn’t nearly geeky enough.