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).

Work-related

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.

Five Odd Facts About Me

January 15, 2007 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Life 

I’ve self-tagged, after reading Russell’s (no relation) post about “Five odd facts that most people wouldn’t know”.

My audience is so diverse that I’ll have to lean heavily on the “most people” phrase in that request – somebody who reads this could know any of these.  So, without further ado, here are 5 Odd Facts that most people don’t know about me.

  1. I was born in St. Louis, MO. Most people associate me with New Jersey, which makes perfect sense to me since I live here now and have done so since I was 9 years old (even attending college at Rutgers).  However, I was born in St. Louis and grew up in St. Louis and University City, MO.  Dad moved us east for a job.  I still consider myself a midwesterner at heart, though the truth is that I’ve likely been too contaminated by NJ to fit in out there.
  2. I’ve never successfully passed a swimming test that involved the crawl stroke. For some reason, I can’t do the breathing the way they want me to do it.  That meant that as a Middle School-age kid, I wasn’t able to pass the test that let me into the deep end (I had to wait until I turned 13 and was automatically eligible).  Ditto for the canoe test at camp – I had to wait until I was a staff member.
  3. In high school I was an accomplished percussionist. I was in Jr. High All-Region Orchestra, Sr. High All-Region Band and Orchestra, and Sr. High All-State Band (twice) and Orchestra (once).  This was playing either tympani or traps (anything that isn’t tympani, snare, or keyboard-based instruments like xylophone).  Somewhere along the way I decided that I didn’t like the competitive nature of music – some of the other musicians were real jerks using their bad attitude towards others as “competitive edge”.  In college I did one year in marching band and two in pep band.  I ended up leaving the marching band because I took one of my wrong turns – pledging the band fraternity.  I quit shortly before I was made a full member and after that nobody from the frat would talk to me ever (I tried to start conversations and was met with stony silence, every time.  Mature, eh?).  I haven’t played seriously since, though I have recently indicated to the church choir that I’d be happy to help out if they needed a percussion instrument played some time.
  4. That scratch on the hood of the blue 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza station wagon was caused when a friend that I was teaching to drive accidentally drove up a tree. I’m not sure I’ve ever told Mom and Dad about this one.  I was going into my sophomore year in college, and my parents and sister (brother was staying at college that summer, I think) went on vacation.  I stayed home to work.  That weekend, my friend from high school Jessica Meyerson (now a very well-educated academic, I think) came to stay in the otherwise empty house with me (she was living with her father in Manhattan).  She never got her driver’s license at age 17, and I offered to teach her.  We took the car up to the quiet residential area of Englewood Cliffs and I set out to teach her.  At one point, she turned too far to the right and headed for the curb.  I shouted “BRAKE” and she hit the gas harder.  She ended up driving up and over a 10 foot evergreen tree, pushing it to the ground.  Luckily the back wheels stayed on the ground.  We backed the car off the tree.  The only damage was a scratch on the hood, lots of pine needles all over the place, and a smushed tree.  The lesson was over.  Jessica left her NYC address and phone and ended up paying just about her entire summer wages to replace the tree.  We drove home and spent the rest of the afternoon washing and vacuuming the car.  My uncle worked at the auto plant where the car was built, so lucky for me he had sent some touch up paint.  I’m pretty sure that Mom and Dad don’t even know that she stayed for the weekend! (Oh shush.  Nothing happened.)
  5. I am at least 1/4 Swedish. My maternal grandmother is 100% Swedish and she was a first-generation Swedish-American.  I remember that every time she came to visit for a major holiday, she brought Vort Limpa bread for all of us.  Apparently, the blond blue-eyed genes didn’t come along for the ride.