Thursday, May 21, 2009

2009 Webware 100

Cnet recently publiched a snazzy and quite accessible table of 100 winning web apps in ten categories, plus a few of Cnet's own Editor's Choices. The apps were  voted on by Cnet readers and actual users of the programs. I was impressed by the manner in which the apps were presented. I think you'd enjoy clicking through this site.

Career Builder Test

I took a test over at and these were my high score areas:  
Writing - 93  
Teaching- Social Service 88  
Outdoors 86    
Science - 82  
Sales - 71  
Administration - 69  
Their blurb:

Your highest score was on Writing, which means that you enjoy creative or technical writing. You are also likely to be interested in a broad range subjects, so finding occupations that allow you to exercise these interests would lead to higher work satisfaction for you. You also scored highly on Teaching / Social Service, indicating that you enjoy instructing people in learning new things, helping people solve problems, and assisting others. Your high score on the Outdoors scale means that you like working outdoors, particularly in agriculture with animals and/or plants. This may include professions involving potentially dangerous situations.

Myers Briggs Personality Test

So, I took the Meyer's Briggs test (again) and it tells me I am INFJ - Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. Hmmm. Doesn't sound like but it said the results were intenrally consistent. I think i'll take it again when all the spam is out of my  system. 

This is what a Mr. Joe Butt has to say about INFJ's at  
I wonder, does this ring true to anyone who knows me?

"Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life. Those who are activists -- INFJs gravitate toward such a role -- are there for the cause, not for personal glory or political power.

INFJs are champions of the oppressed and downtrodden. They often are found in the wake of an emergency, rescuing those who are in acute distress. INFJs may fantasize about getting revenge on those who victimize the defenseless. The concept of 'poetic justice' is appealing to the INFJ.

"There's something rotten in Denmark." Accurately suspicious about others' motives, INFJs are not easily led. These are the people that you can rarely fool any of the time. Though affable and sympathetic to most, INFJs are selective about their friends. Such a friendship is a symbiotic bond that transcends mere words.

INFJs have a knack for fluency in language and facility in communication. In addition, nonverbal sensitivity enables the INFJ to know and be known by others intimately.

Writing, counseling, public service and even politics are areas where INFJs frequently find their niche."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Missing Link?

The following story about a monkey/lemur fossil is fascinating and all but I am missing the link to the missing link idea - a link from what to what exactly? I'm all ears and don't have an ax to grind on the matter, but I'm jusy not seeing it. Maybe you can help me.

I'm Pulling for Kris

Yes, Adam has a better voice and an incredible stage presence, but neither his voice nor his persona appeal to me particularly. And no, this has nothing to do with who is gay and who isn’t. If Kris were gay and Adam not and they sang exactly the same way I’d still pull for Kris. Adam has a world class voice. Unbelievable. But it doesn’t do anything for me. Mariah Carey has a world class voice, but it doesn’t do anything for me either. I prefer Iris Dement. Josh Groban has a world class voice, and I like him, but I’d rather listen to Jackson Browne. What I like about Kris is his talent for adapting songs and putting his particular stamp on them, from Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” to Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova’s “Falling Slowly” to Kanye West’s "Heartless.”

I expect Adam to win, and either way I wish them both the very best in their musical careers, but I’m pulling for Kris, and I look forward to buying his first record.

Old Friends

Joel (me), Bill, Skip, Calvin, and Matt at Sherb Naulty's house in Westfield NJ, on way to New England, Summer 1977. We miss you Matt.

Countdown to June 1

Well, since my "All the Rest Have 31" post a couple of weeks ago a lot of you have written to me to share ideas and express concern, and I appreciate it very much. This is a new adventure for me. Indeed, I've had a few new life adventures this year and am certainly learning a lot from each one. Facing the specter of unemployment for the first time in my life helps me appreciate what many folks I know and have known have been through and are going through. I have been sympathetic along the way of course, but not truly empathetic. That has changed. This is a big transition in difficult times.

Some days I feel anxious, but so far most days I feel hopeful and encouraged. Thankfully the church where I have been pastoring for 16 years (Covenant Fellowship - if you don't have a church home you should check it out) is going to help in our transition to whatever is next, so it's not like we starve starting in June - just so you'll know.

So I wanted to try to type out a summary of where I am in this job/vocational search. A few things are coming into focus.

I am finding that it's hard to know how to balance short and long term financial needs, the lower paying present opportunities (which offer no chance of ever paying even the well-trimmed bills) with the higher paying potential opportunities that take more time to find (and offer hope of providing for our needs). It seems best to let the longer term employment search process go out a couple of months before I tie up most of my time with a job that would hinder it. I've asked different people about this issue and have gotten widely different answers. It seems the consensus is to give the longer term a shot first. I will need wisdom.

Though it looks like there might not be a solid existing job prospect out there for a person with my background, especially given the economy, I will keep my eyes and mind open as I talk to people and check notices as to existing jobs. One never knows. I have been a generalist pastor for 20 years, a teacher for five, and have run a couple of businesses, all of which gives me breadth of experience, and a lot of practice in communicating (speaking and writing) and in working with people. So, who knows, something may happen. Call me.

I also will keep exploring teaching jobs in NC. I qualify for "lateral entry" here in Guilford County so at least there is that. Unfortunately, there exist hiring freezes all over the place.

I do have a couple of ideas as to longer term employment, but they each require some retooling in terms of education and fundamental knowledge and skills. Even in my areas of interest and having some experience I am still a little out of date.

I have been - both in pastoral ministry and in life in general - a bit of a generalist. I think I could bring a lot to a small business or an organization but it doesn't perhaps look that way on paper. Rather than bemoan that and get discouraged I think I need to use my age and life experience to my advantage. I get the feeling that whatever is out there for me will take require this generalist experience and tendency, especially my experience communicating and with working with people.

Not sure where else to turn I am looking in the direction of areas that have interested me for some time.

First I have interest in a kind of uber-green horticulture/landscape design business that would focus on things like water conservation and runoff, the use of native plants, reduction of equipment emissions, pesticide and herbicide avoidance, use of organic materials, designing and planting with wildlife in mind, possibly more in a restoration/design/maintenance sense but possibly also in a new construction and community planning sense as well, the latter given my interest in land restoration and habitat reclamation. Second, I am still drawn toward working for a non profit environmental organization, perhaps a land trust or a group like the Nature Conservancy whose mission I am particularly drawn to. In both of these areas I do think need more experience, skill, and knowledge upgrade. This could mean formal schooling or a mix of less formal schooling (certificate programs), volunteer work, and just studying up. I am considering each option.

I am already set up with a growing readership/viewership of my online work, plus I am equipped to make some money offering a few services as I have outlined before. I think I need to take advantage of the exposure that I already have by focusing a decent amount of time contributing content in areas consistent with those two areas of interest. These areas weave together very well by the way. In doing this writing combined with training and volunteering, I can interact with and get to know some of the leaders in the interest areas I have cited.

I continue to draw a fair amount of interest in music, art, photography, stories, and general Christian takes on various issues, etc. I think I should take advantage of that as well, partly because it is a good thing to do, and partly to stay connected to other people.

This week is lining up well. I signed up yesterday for an intensive non profit management certificate program at Duke in June. I am also in conversation with a leader in Nature Conservancy to get her take on what sorts of things I should do to be more marketable at an organization like that. I met yesterday with a friend who wants me to think about helping in a prospective business that would take advantage of my experience in analysis and writing, I am meeting with a writing coach, a local doctor friend who is very active in leadership in the community, am applying for a spot in a local leadership training group, and meeting several other folks for general networking.

It's a process. Prayers, ideas and leads are welcome.

Well, all for now.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Today's Quote: from Apaloosa

"Life has a way of making the foreseeable that which never happens... and the unforeseeable that which your life becomes."

Everett Hitch (narrating, and played by Viggo Mortensen), from Appaloosa

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Today's Lyric: I'll Take My Sorrow Straight

"You almost make it seem like something nice the way you take your bad news and you pour it over ice"

Iris Dement, I'll Take My Sorrow Straight, off The Way I Should

Today's Quote: Age Is Not All Decay

"Age is not all decay; it is the ripening, the swelling, of the fresh life within, that withers and bursts the husk."

George MacDonald, The Marquis of Lossie

British Columbia on My Mind - Howe Sound from Black Tusk

This picture is taken from the top of a volcanic core called The Black Tusk in British Columbia, looking almost slightly to the west of south toward Howe Sound, British Columbia. The trail head to The Tusk is about two hours north of Vancouver. You can see a picture of The Black Tusk from the trail here. And you can see a picture of formerly skinny me atop The Black Tusk here. And you can see a great view of Garibaldi Mountian here

The trail is nine miles each way, with a 6000 foot elevation change. The last couple of hundred feet elevation-wise goes straight up through a kind of vertical tunnel in the core called "the chimney." You have to sort of shimmy up using leg pressure on the walls. It's really fun. To be honest, the last mile or so of this trail was very very hard. I was not in great shape and was not used to oxygen levels at 8000 feet, especially after walking eight miles already along with a mile elevation change. In the final ascent to The Tusk I thought my heart to was going to blow out of my chest. I contemplated stopping, but then decided I'd rather die right there than turn around (OK, stupid, I know), so I kept going, slowly. 

Once I got to the top I took a nap. After that I was so full of energy and adrenaline I ran most of the way down - laughing. It was fun running down the large field of volcanic rock - kind of more like a controlled slide or fall! I did the hike with the brother of a friend of mine - he was in better shape then I was! Oh, one other thing. On the way up a black bear with two cubs crossed the trail about 75 feet in front of us. At first just the adult bear appeared, and stood there staring at us, us staring back, and then I saw the cubs. It was way cool, but then I thought, "Oh my..." Thankfully Mrs. Bear decided we weren't a threat or worth her trouble and the three of them moved along. Whew!

Josh Ritter at Cat's Cradle May 30

So, I went to the Cat's Cradle ticket sales site to get tickets to the David Cook show May 31 only to find that the show was sold out. Then to my utter delight I saw that Josh Ritter was playing the night before, on Saturday May 30. I'd way rather see Josh Ritter than David Cook, as much as I like David Cook. Josh Ritter is one of the most talented and unque artists around, and I can't wait to see the show. If you're not familiar with Josh Ritter check a couple of these You Tube clips, or go to his site. And go buy tickets before they are sold out!

And many thanks to my friend Bestin for turning me on to Josh Ritter!

Bill Mallonee Interview - Good Stuff

Found this very interesting interview with Bill Mallonee (of Vigilantes of Love fame). It's audio, and pretty free ranging, but provides insight into a great artist's mind and heart. Check it out. You can find Bill's stuff at Anyoen want to co host a house show with me? You provide the house I'll do most of the work?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Today's Quote: Francis Schaeffer

"Christians, of all people, should not be destroyers. We should treat nature with overwhelming respect."

Francis Schaeffer, Pollution and the Death of Man

Today's Picture: Reed on Pond

Sun on Grassy Reed Near Pond, Clemson, SC, 1976

Todays Lyric: Only Love

"Only love can make it rain, The way the beach is kissed by the sea."

from "Love, Reign O'er Me," The Who, written by Peter Townshend, vocals by Roger Daltrey, from Quadrophenia

I love this line, every other line, the music, the sound effects, the whole deal. This is an amazing song (with the very best "scream" in all rock music, the closing "Looooooove.")

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Today's Picture: Dog and Cat Affection

Clancey and Yellow Tabby - we had so many cats I can't remember this cat's name. Here is another picture of them together.

Today's Quote: Friendship

"Hence we picture lovers face to face, but Friends side by side; their eyes look ahead" 

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Today's Lyric: Gettin Older

"So scared of gettin older, I'm only good at being young" 

John Mayer, from Stop This Train, off Continuum

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Picture of the Day: Issaqueena Dam, Clemson

That's me with hands up sliding down Issaqueena Dam, Clemson, Fall 1975

More Clemson Photos

Today's Lyric: from Nothing Like a Train

"when you find there's nothing special yeah,
about that big hole in your heart
'cause everybody's got one
with precious little time to talk about it"

Bill Mallonee and The Vigilantes of Love, Nothing Like a Train, Audible Sigh

Today's Quote: God Made Us Cultural Beings

"It would be impossible to think of loving humans and yet hating human culture, of loving individuals and yet hating their music, songs, stories, paintings, games, rituals, decorations, lauguages and hairstyles. God made us cultural beings."

Steve Turner, from Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts

Friday, May 01, 2009

Today's Lyrics: How I wish...

"How I wish I could walk through the doors of my mind; Hold memory close at hand, Help me understand the years." James Blunt, Tears and Rain, Back to Bedlam

Today's Picture: A Family Glimpse into the Depression Years

My sister Mary found a "new" batch of old pictures, including this old picture of my dad and his parents. I think this is a great photo, whoever took it - life and fashion in the early 1930's. I think this is in Florida but am not sure.

In the picture:

Curtis Claunch Gillespie, Sr. (my grandfather)
Curtis Claunch Gillespie, Jr. (my dad)
Mary Sue (Andrews) Gillespie (my grandmother) 

All the Rest Have 31 - Countdown to Unemployment

So, today I begin my 31 day countdown to unemployment.

I should be freaking out. I don't know why I'm not. I'd like to say that it is due to some deep abiding trust in God and quiet confidence in His provision. In truth He has always provided for me and my family over the years. Maybe that is it. I don't know.

It is a pretty sucky time to be unemployed. If I listened to all the doom and gloom I might want to go jump off a building, but I don't. I think it is a good time to think about opportunity. Yes, I'll go with that.

I have almost never really looked for work - it always seems to have come to me. Yes, sometimes God has me go through many of the necessary motions, but then provides me with something that is in no way connected with anything I tried to do.

I have a feeling that there isn't really a "job" out there with my name on it. Now if you were just going to call me and offer me a job please don't let that last comment deter you. Call me :-).

It feels like a time to find the right niche that fits my interests and core competencies and experience and build work from there. I could be wrong, but that's what it feels like.

There is the horticulture angle. I have a niche idea there - would share it but I don't want anyone to steal it. I like the horticulture angle.

There is the teaching angle. Not much hiring going on. And the pay is not so great. But I like kids.

There is the writing angle. That is very appealing to me because I love (as I have shared) writing about "nature" and environmental issues, local history, stories of life in the 60's, sports, cultural issues, art, theology and biblical studies, etc. And I love putting my pics up there. I could work that via a non profit and also, as hits go up, adding in advertising and such. It could be a piece of the puzzle. I would need a few patrons.

related to that is writing books. I think I have 15-20 books in me over the next decade. My good friend Sherb has a great book idea. Meanwhile something has to pay the bills.

I have talked to a friend about how to get better in photography. There are some cool "Photography Institutes" out there where I could get a lot better. For me photography is more of an enhancement to my writing. I feel more like a photo journalist than a photographer per se. I'd like to get better.

Then there is the non profit angle - maybe environmental non-profit. Hmmm. I've been working with volunteers for 20 years. Do I need a break from that? I need to think about it some more.

I have thought about school. if there were a program that I could start and finish in a school year plus a summer that would greatly enhance either business success or employable I'd be interested, but I can't find one.

Then there are the several "services" I can offer - digitizing pretty much anything, restoring old photographs (not as well or as expensively as the other local businesses), tutoring math and science and writing, working to fill in family histories and putting together digital scrapbooks, de-gunking computers, filling in as a teacher or "preacher" if the need arises, etc. Hmmm.

The there is exploring various ways to market my pictures via various products that include them. My 'lil sis and my daughter like that idea. I need a salesman!

And then there is some kind soul like you who just happens to have a job with my name on it. Please, do call.

30 more days after today...