Monday wasn’t my best birthday. I had to train for a new job, I couldn’t make it to the Capitol for Advocacy Day against gun violence, I missed lunch, there was blizzarding, and I was grossly late visiting a friend. Although a lot of things went wrong, it wasn’t my worst birthday either, so I’m okay with that.

I don’t remember all my birthdays, or even most of them, but a couple stand out vividly.

The worst birthday I remember is the one right after I was hit by a car in American Fork. 2011? I was in a wheelchair and I got off the bus and was trying to wheel myself down this devastated sidewalk to my house in the ice and snow, and I suffered a hemorrhage that I thought might kill me. I wept in the restroom at Apollo Burger.

Thank God THAT day is not TOday.

The best birthday I remember, a bunch of friends and I had planned on karaoke at our favorite place, but when we got there, it had been canceled for the Super Bowl. So we randomly chose teams and behaved like over the top fans, although most of us neither knew nor cared about football. We probably cheered at a lot of the wrong things, especially as the drinking went on, but all I remember is that I had so much fun.

Last year, after my birthday, I started keeping a list of some of the cool things I did while being a 50-year-old. It’s now my birthday again, so here’s that list, in no particular order:

  • I achieved debt freedom a second time.
  • I joined a gym, and I liked it.
  • I found a zumba class that I actually liked.
  • I tried boxing and liked it.
  • Did not like the weights class.
  • I bought a punching bag.
  • I attended two professional soccer games. And then I bought season tickets for the next season.
  • I ate some rambutans for the first time.
  • I cooked and ate artichokes for the first time. Not sure how much I liked them.
  • I tried marmite and didn’t like it.
  • I tried vegan faux-beef jerky. It was pretty good.
  • I tried a pomelo. It was okay.
  • I had tapas and loved it.
  • I introduced my Utahn colleagues to chow-chow. They loved it.
  • I went to Thailand. Ate so many new and wonderful foods.
  • I ate mangosteen, longan, salak. Did not like the salak.
  • I attended a Thai wedding and saw my little baby married.
  • I was made welcome by a whole new family.
  • I hung out with elephants and fed a few.
  • I visited a floating market.
  • I rode commuter boats. By accident!
  • I rode a motor scooter in a foreign country.
  • I traveled through China. It was a little scary.
  • I celebrated Dia de Muertos in Mexico City, and again ate a ton of great food.
  • I took an international trip just for a weekend.
  • I failed an exam and still felt good.
  • I became VMware Certified Professional.
  • I became a Dell Certified Associate.
  • I moved out of Support and into Application Managed Services.
  • I bought firearms.
  • I registered as a Democrat. Was not happy about it, but needs must.
  • I ran a voter registration drive.
  • I got seriously involved with Moms Demand Action.
  • I learned how to lobby at the State Capitol. And I met some Senators and Representatives.
  • I took painting classes.
  • I found a utility shell for my truck and outfitted it for camping as well as tools.
  • I went to Drag Queen Bingo and loved it.
  • I bought special computer glasses and they’re great!
  • I got a fortune from Zoltar. He said I’m gonna find love – either romance or a great friendship.
  • I ended a 10-year commitment to cover my head.
  • I got my first spiral perm.
  • I finally started getting tattoos again. I got a lot! And I got a lot of my old ones fixed.
  • I got henna for the first time.
  • I commissioned art!
  • I introduced my cat to video games.

The coming year:

  • A summer scooter trip from Durango, Colorado.
  • A Labor Day Weekend scooter trip in Yellowstone.
  • At least one trip to shop for cheap desert land.
  • A trip to NM to hang out with an old friend and a new friend.

I was completely satisfied.

Almost.

It was still annoying, the way the content on my monitors would switch when moving from work to home and vice versa. But beyond that, I was happy. I had E/Port docks in both places, and E/Port was compatible with both work and personal laptops. And I had purchased the same monitors for at home that I had at work. All good!

And then the case of my work laptop started having a gap in the front, and I had a bad feeling. I unscrewed the case and sure enough, the battery was bulging.

Friends, this is bad news. This is the kind of problem that can set things on fire.

So I  hauled it in to work on my day off to get the battery replaced. Only they don’t get batteries for that model anymore, so that means issuing a whole other laptop.

No worries. I’m always ready for that. And when you work in The Cloud, whatever is on your physical machine is pretty moot, right?

Except they handed me a new dock, too. Looked like a brick. I would find out that this is a Thunderbolt dock, and the new work laptop had zero compatibility with the E/Port.

Further, my personal, privately owned computer would have no compatibility with the second Thunderbolt dock they gave me for working from home.

As of this minute, at home, I have two completely separate docks plugged in. Each has its own pair of cables to the two monitors. Each is plugged into my finite power capacity. And I am manually moving the USB dongles for mouse and keyboard from one to the other.

And I have an order in for tomorrow for a universal docking station because I am not cool with this. How relieved to discover that universal docking stations even exist. I made sure this one has the connections I need for the monitors I have, because a lot don’t.

Fingers crossed.

So, you know how The Big Plan includes finding a better paying job and then finding a remote work job later, with the desire that both be the same job? Well I got a new job.

It’s not a better paying job. In fact, it’s slightly worse in that department because it’s salaried instead of hourly wage. And it’s not officially a remote work job. However, after the training period, I am allowed to work remotely, which is a huge development. It means I can finally get a dog. And possibly it means I can do the recon work in Arizona for my desert base.

It’ll mean actually fixing things, and it’s a multi-disciplinary role, so it’s fixing several sorts of things. Tonight is my last night on the service desk, and then everything changes. Again.

Including my Six Subjects, because now my “next role” is also my current role while I’m getting up to speed. Which opens room for a new 6th subject. And that’s a good thing because I’m studying shooting and hunting now.

My Program of Recovery

  • Meetings
  • Sponsorship
  • Step work
  • Daily reading
  • Slogans
  • Service

My Employment

  • SAP Netweaver
  • HANA
  • Oracle
  • Sybase
  • MS SQL
  • MySQL
  • SQL Anywhere
  • Windows Server
  • Red Hat Linux 

Civics

Physical Education

Shooting and Hunting

  • Rifle
  • Pistol
  • Shotgun
  • Deer
  • Small game

Spanish

Placed my order this morning for new firearms, completing a circle started long ago when I had to sell all my guns due to teh extreme broke. Only now am I finally financially secure enough to replace them. They are expected to be ready for pickup next week.

RUGER AMERICAN® RIFLE STANDARD

243 Win

Manufacturer’s Website

MARLIN MODEL XT-22RO

22 LR

I never trained with a scope and hadn’t planned to get one, but the cost was the same with or without. If it turns out I don’t like to shoot with it, I can think of a bunch of other uses.

Manufacturer’s Website

RUGER SR22®

22 LR

Manufacturer’s Website

 

Update 1/28: Not everything arrived on time. It’s the 28th and I’m still waiting for the two rifles to come in. Meanwhile, last night I ordered the shotgun below. Because it was supposed to be more nearby, I was meant to pick that up today as well, but it did not happen. So I’ll go collect everything when these last three things arrive. Cases, locks, and ammo are awaiting me now.

REMINGTON MODEL 870 EXPRESS

12ga

Manufacturer’s Website

 

Update 1/31: I gave up waiting and went in to get shotgun, pistol, and assorted accessories already delivered. As it happens, the rifles were actually there. Who knows how long. Anyway, we did the background check thing and all of that, and we’re set!

I passed CIS v3!!!

Whew. I was tense. Went in low on sleep and after a super busy shift with little time to study.

Next things to study for this subject:

  • Familiarization with products and technologies outside my current role
  • Re-familiarization with technologies I haven’t used in a while

Already got some of the second one whipping my sites back into shape.

Objective

To be an expression of God’s love in the world. Do that by:

  • Traveling
  • Learning
  • Advocating
  • Assisting
  • Having a good time as often as possible
  • Helping others have a good time, too

Short Term Plan

  • Get better paying job.
  • Finish the waggon, including optimization for work-from-home.
    • Exterior trim.
    • Shutters.
    • Finish interior paneling.
    • Interior trim.
    • Electrical system.
      • Shore power.
      • Solar.
    • Final furniture build and anchoring.
    • Interior and exterior decor.
      • Get my cousin to paint chickens on the shutters.
      • Paisleys and curlicues everywhere.
    • Mobile internet.
    • Optimized workstation.
  • Begin investigating properties.
    • Desert base.
    • Northern base.
  • Get 100% remote work job. (Would love it if this job and the first job are the same job.)
  • Begin travel.
  • Begin buying properties.

Medium Range Plan – Establish Desert (Winter) Base

  • Acquire property.
    • Water rights. Catchment at the least. Groundwater + catchment optimal.
    • No utilities.
    • No zoning.
    • Access by serviceable road. No easement-required land.
  • Improve property.
    • Garage to park the waggon inside.
      • Earthbag construction. If not practical for large-scale with earth-sheltered, then concrete or other alternative.
      • Earth sheltered to the north, east, west, and top.
      • Large, wide door(s) to the south.
      • Ample ventilation.
      • Rocket mass heater.
      • Cool food storage.
    • Rainwater catchment.
      • Land needs sufficient slope to provide single location for catchment.
      • Ditches and gutters.
      • Filtration and purification.
      • Pump.
    • Outdoor living area.
      • Firepit.
      • Shade.
      • Workbench?
    • Strategies for dealing with critters.
    • Solar and/or wind power.
  • Adventure!
    • Activism.
    • Communal farming.
    • Visiting friends and relatives.

Medium Range Plan – Establish Southern (Spring/Autumn) Base

  • Property already acquired.
    • Utilities available as self-install.
    • No zoning.
  • Improve property.
    • Concrete RV pad for the waggon.
    • Wooden deck.
      • Between RV pad and garage.
      • Water and shore power for waggon.
    • Garage.
      • Reclaimed materials.
      • Includes bathroom.
      • Septic system.
      • Possibly outdoor cooking area.
    • Gravel drive.
  • Adventure!
    • Activism.
    • Communal farming.
    • Visiting friends and relatives.

Long Range Plan – Establish Northern (Summer) Base

  • Acquire property.
    • Water rights. Catchment at the least. Groundwater + catchment optimal.
    • No utilities.
    • No zoning.
    • Access by serviceable road. No easement-required land.
  • Improve property.
  • Adventure!
    • Activism.
    • Communal farming.
    • Visiting friends and relatives.

Long Range Plan – Establish Overseas Base

  • Evaluate whether to acquire property and/or nomadic dwelling.
  • Make it so.
  • Adventure!
    • Activism?!?!
    • Communal farming.
    • Visiting friends and relatives.

My Program of Recovery

  • Meetings
  • Sponsorship
  • Step work
  • Daily reading
  • Slogans
  • Service

My Employment

  • Improving performance at current activities

Next Role In Employment

Civics

Physical Education

Spanish

 

Assistance

OUR MISSION
Is to provide quality clothing, shoes and other supportive services to the homeless and families in need and to promote proper hygiene.

OUR VISION
We Service the Homeless population and families in need. We partner up with local and international organizations that support our mission. We are believers of a healthy and hygienic life. We want them all to be socially accepted and ready for any available opportunities.

Mission
Jack the Bike Man, Inc.‘s mission is to strengthen our community through bicycle education and safety programs.

Vision
Our vision, to create a community of healthy, active individuals by providing hope to the less fortunate through support, training and access to bicycles.

For more than 20 years Jack the Bike Man, Inc. has fixed bikes and donated them to needy children and adults in the West Palm Beach area.

Jack the Bike Man, Inc. has given away thousands of bikes to:

      • Underprivileged kids
      • The homeless
      • Women and men re-entering society from prison
      • Recovering addicts in half-way houses
      • People living below the poverty line

We’re a dedicated group of Mississippians who believe in access to full reproductive health care that includes abortion as a human right and an essential part of reproductive justice. We recognize and affirm that the right to parent, not to parent, have access to full reproductive health care and education and to raise children in safe environments with full support and your needs met are ALL basic human rights.

We do our part by offering financial assistance and practical support to persons seeking abortion as well as free emergency contraception, community based comprehensive sex education and fighting for reproductive justice in Mississippi. We strive for a world where every person experiences full reproductive justice.

Community

OUR MISSION

We are a community of hope for religious explorers who wish to transform our world into a more just, compassionate and sustainable place. We embrace diversity and provide opportunities for creativity, spiritual growth, and celebration of life.

OUR COVENANT

We covenant to build a religious community that is guided by love, sustained by respectful relationships, and committed to action to make a better world. We celebrate this common purpose whenever we gather, and we do our best to abide by this covenant.

Our Mission
Compass’ mission is to engage, empower and enrich the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people and those impacted by HIV and AIDS.

Our Vision
Compass will be a collaborative leader in creating a safe, healthy, inclusive, equitable, and affirming community for all LGBTQ people and those impacted by HIV and AIDS. We will engage the individual and collective strengths of our community and its allies to promote and develop leadership, unity and pride. We will connect the community through diverse communications, vibrant programs, essential education and resources, and creating opportunities for our community to be seen and heard.

Education and Information

The Be SMART framework is designed to help parents and adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible actions that can prevent child gun deaths and injuries.

Secure
all guns in your home and vehicles

Model
responsible behavior around guns

Ask
about the presence
of unsecured guns in other homes

Recognize
the role
of guns in suicide

Tell
your
peers to
be SMART

NPR is an independent, nonprofit media organization that was founded on a mission to create a more informed public. Every day, NPR connects with millions of Americans on the air, online, and in person to explore the news, ideas, and what it means to be human. Through its network of member stations, NPR makes local stories national, national stories local, and global stories personal.

Activism

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization advancing human rights together with an international community of grassroots partners and advocates.

We focus our work on intersecting roots of injustice to defend rights at risk due to criminalization and systemic oppression of people based on their identity. We support self-determination and defend the rights of people displaced due to climate, conflict or economic hardships; and we respond to humanitarian crises as partners with people whose access to aid is most limited.

Striving to center the voices of people most affected by injustice, UUSC creates eye-to-eye relationships with frontline grassroots movements across the world that support marginalized communities in determining their steps for the future.

Our mission: UUSC advances human rights and social justice around the world, partnering with those who confront unjust power structures and mobilizing to challenge oppressive policies. Our work is grounded in the belief that all people have inherent power and dignity

Elizabeth has a lot of plans, but they’re really one simple plan: We need to tackle the corruption in Washington that makes our government work for the wealthy and well-connected, but kicks dirt on everyone else, and put economic and political power back in the hands of the people.

 Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. We pass stronger gun laws and work to close the loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our families. We also work in our own communities and with business leaders to encourage a culture of responsible gun ownership. We know that gun violence is preventable, and we’re committed to doing what it takes to keep families safe. 

Everytown is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities. Gun violence touches every town in America. For too long, change has been thwarted by the Washington gun lobby and by leaders who refuse to take common-sense steps that will save lives.

But something is changing. Nearly 6 million mayors, moms, cops, teachers, survivors, gun owners, students and everyday Americans have come together to make their own communities safer. Together, we are fighting for the changes that we know will save lives.

Everytown starts with you, and it starts in your town.

We will be the allies that our Jewish ancestors needed in Germany, before it was too late. We will take relentless, bold direct action and we will not stop until ICE is shut down, the camps are closed, and immigrants no longer live in fear.

The United States government is targeting immigrants in our community like the Nazis targeted the Jews. We were taught to never let anything like the Holocaust happen again, so we are sounding the alarm now. We refuse to wait and see — we know from our own history what happens next. Never again is now. Many of our ancestors narrowly escaped from conditions like what we are seeing today in concentration camps at the border and detention centers around the country. We are putting our bodies on the line because when we say never again, we mean never again for anyone.