When I was in school, I frequently asked my parents for recommendations of what to read for book reports. They had an extensive collection of classic speculative fiction, so I read famous titles including The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis; The Invisible Man, The Time Machine, and War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells; Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell; The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, and Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein.
The weekend of November 5, 2021, Jessie and I made our first overnight trip in our 2018 Nissan Leaf SV. The car has a theoretical range of about 120 miles, but the highway route from Omaha to Topeka is 162 miles. There's a rapid charger in Auburn, Nebraska, and we figured if we were lucky we could make just one stop, but if we ran short of range, there were a couple other, slower chargers we could visit. Here's what we learned:
Continuing mining the past for stuff worth keeping...
I joined Facebook in 2008, but it wasn't until 2009 that I recognized its potential as an audience for my sense of humor. I've been looking through my old posts just in case I leave the platform in the future. One of the main lessons I've learned is that I used to get sick a lot more often when I wasn't sheltering from a pandemic! Most of the articles I linked to are now 404, sadly.
Here are some of my posts from 2009 that I still think are funny or insightful:
Every now and then I go down the rabbit hole of Internet privacy. I comb through Prism Break looking for safer alternatives to software that I use. I watch videos by Rob Braxman and The Linux Experiment (skip to 11:30 in that video). Then I come up for air and get some perspective.
By the summer of 2012, I was having a lot of brain fog and fatigue from what would turn out to be a gluten intolerance. Not knowing that's what it was, I just seemed to be slipping more and more away from being the productive, reliable Web developer I had been when we moved to Emporia in 2008. I was able to get my act together enough to do home energy audits, most of the time, but I had let all of my freelance Web clients go because I couldn't promise to meet their deadlines.
In 2009, about a year after we'd moved into our house in Emporia, I decided to get a home energy audit so I would know what improvements would be cost-effective. The nearest firm was in Topeka. The auditor was very friendly and asked about my Web work, which I was doing all from home. He said that I should consider getting into energy auditing because the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds were about to hit the state, and Kansas was going to go big into energy efficiency programs, and because the work would make a nice change of pace from sitting at my desk at home.
When I met Jessie in August of 2007, I was content to work 1/4-time for Prairie Star District and freelance for various other Web clients. I had moved to Fairfield, Iowa, and the flexibility of my work hours allowed me to attend lots of community events and learn about sustainability. The cost of living in Fairfield was very low, and I knew lots of other people who were not fully employed.
My gig at Buy the Change, my volunteer coordination experience, and my lifetime of volunteering with the Unitarian Universalist Association helped me land a part-time position in January 2006 as Web Coordinator for the district UUA, which was based in Minneapolis and responsible for Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, the Dakotas, and the eastern parts of Wisconsin and Missouri. The job was not initially to maintain the Web site myself, but to coordinate the committee of volunteers who maintained it.
When I returned from my bike tour in June, 2005 and settled in St. Paul, I tried to resume my career in nonprofit management but quickly found that hiring committees did not think my taking a year off to travel was a sensible career move. They were concerned I might do something like that again and leave them in the lurch. There was some truth to that; I knew that I was probably going to move again in a year or so, so I decided I needed to find work that I could do from anywhere.