Monday, July 28, 2008

Jess Blogs about Something Serious

On Sunday morning, in Knoxville, TN, a man shot 9 people at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. Two of the victims have died. When I heard about this shooting while driving to a friend's house yesterday, they did not mention the name of the church, just that there had been a shooting at a Knoxville church, and one man (at the time) had died. Last night, I got an e-mail from my church, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, letting us know that this had happened, and letting us know what resources are availible to us to deal with this tragedy.

This morning, a friend e-mailed me about this, and send me this news story from the local Nashville paper. The story was followed by discussion of the tragedy and the story itself. In the discussion, several things came up that saddened me greatly.

First off. Let us acknowledge the absolute tragedy of this shooting. The children of the congregation were presenting a play that they had worked very hard to present. Their parents, relatives, and members of the congregation just there to support them because they were members of the same church family, were all there out of love. These 200 people, including the 7 injured and 2 dead, were there only to be together as a church family and support the children and youth. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone injured, those who grieve, and I hope that the members and friends of the Tennessee Valley UU congregation can find peace and healing after this.

There is no reason for this, there is no why.

Despite what people have written on the internet, this is not the fault of Barak Obama or Ann Coulter. This is, like all of these mass shooting events, the product of a deranged mind that sought someone to blame for his problems, and felt that the solution to that problem could be obtained through violence.

I would, however, defend the TVUU congregation, and other UU churches as churches. They are places where people come together to worship and share fellowship together. We come together to celebrate our victories and mourn our losses. I'm not sure how that isn't a church. I don't think a shared creed is necessary to define a church. I think a church is like a family, and is defined by those who choose to participate in it. As Unitarian Universalists, we define our church family by the deeds we share, and our common principles. We elect inclusion, which is an incredibly high standard; our very principles tell us we must respect "the inherent worth and dignity" of even those who would call us names or harm us. At a time like this, when we might want to seek revenge, our principles call on us to seek justice and compassion. Religious liberalism is not easy; without the guidance of a creed or a single text, I personally find myself having to think about moral issues much more deeply and considering them in a different way, since it is up to my own moral sense.

May we all find peace and comfort.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I'm it....

So I was recently tagged by my friend, Sally, to do this, so here goes.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? July 11, 1998. I was working in a mall in suburban Detroit, selling furniture to spoiled rich people, mostly, waiting for summer to be over to go back to school. The upside was that I did get to meet a few of the Detroit Red Wings and their wives, and my favorite local TV reporter. I worked for Restoration Hardware, and I still love their stuff, even though I kind of hated working there.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today? Empty the dishwasher, fold laundry, my knee exersizes, 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, and walk the silly dog.

3. Snacks I enjoy: I love cake. I can't get enough of the chocolate iced chocolate cake they have at Publix. I'm also a big fan of chips and salsa.

4. Things I would do if I was a Billionare: Find all of my old bosses and tell them what I really think. No, seriously, I think I would pay off my house, travel more, donate to charities more generously, get a motorcycle.

5. Places I have lived:
Sterling Heights, MI
Troy, MI
Interlochen, MI
(Yes, I went to boarding school. It was my idea, I wasn't sent there because I was "bad," I loved it. And it was way crappier when I was there)
Nashville, TN
Cheatham County, TN (outside of Kingston Springs)
Salzburg, Austria (I stayed and studied here. It was lovely, but weird. Perhaps I'll blog about that some other time.)
And (coming soon...) London, Ontario, Canada

I'm actually not going to tag another bloggers, but some of my favorite blogs are, of course, Sally's, the Yarn Harlot, The Penguin Chronicles, Baby Steps, and The Panopticon.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

So I have a new friend. She has purple hair, big ears at is about 7' tall. For a while, she carried around something called "the spiked club of the gorilla." My other new friend is an average height human female who runs around the countryside killing critters and beasts and other bad guys.

In case I have you thoroughly confused, I am talking about my new hobby, playing the game World of Warcraft. I currently have two characters, a Night Elf Druid and a Human Mage.

If that's geek to you, don't worry... this isn't going to be a super geeky blog. I promise. I'll keep the Warcraft talk to a minimum (like the running talk) and only to do it when it is interesting to people who weren't up until midnight last night running through Azeroth. (I blame that on my husband. Hoser.)

Since I have yet to figure certain things about the game out, I can't really provide screenshots, but I'll include some pics others have gotten from the game that I found online.

Night Elf Druids look a little like this:

Although mine has purple hair and wears more clothes. Not that's she's a prude, she just has different gear at the moment.

Generally Druids can heal, fight, and turn into kitty cats and bears to fight or run. Fun, right?

(Okay, maybe not, but it keeps me busy... look some people have drugs and gambling, I have WoW and fiber, cut me some slack.)

Here's what a Human Mage looks like.

Mine is currently dressed a bit more lady like, but again, just a matter of gear.

Mages can cast spells. No strategy, just zap, zap, zap.

So why do I bring this to my blog? Simple. I have found some ways I wish the real world was more like the World of Warcraft:

1.) Mages have a spell called "Sheep" (or Polymorph, but I'm going to say sheep). It works like this: if something is attacking you and you don't want to deal with it right now (i.e. you are being attacked by something else or you know its going to kick your booty and you want to run like heck), you cast this spell at it, and it turns your opponent into (you guessed it) a sheep. Now I love this spell for several reasons, but #1 I love wool, so I have a certain (theoretical) fondness for sheep and #2 what a fantastic thing to do to someone annoying you to tears. You need to shut someone up who keeps talking and won't leave you alone? SHEEP! You can't deal for another moment at a family gathering? SHEEP!

2.) There is a function, if you don't want friends or strangers to talk to you, called /dnd. It flags you as Do Not Disturb, and even, over your head (if the other player is setup this way), shows that you want to be left the heck alone. How great would that be on a bad day... a message to the whole world that says "don't f*** with me."

3.) The ability to run across continents, survive without food, and whisper to people in other dimensions.

4.) When you get injured, cursed or poisoned, it will display how long you have until you are recovered. Got a torn hamstring? 15 seconds. Spider bite? 5 seconds. I have torn meniscus right now, and my life would be easier if I could look it up and know I'd be back to normal in 6 days or 3 weeks or whatever.

5.) The ability to pack up my toys and go home if things aren't going well. While there are protocols for playing in a group, assuming you want to be invited back, much of the time in the game you are playing by yourself. If it starts to be too hard, too late, too unproductive, or too stupid, then you can find a place where your character is resting, log off and do something else for a while. Eventually you persevere and finish the thing (usually), but if you don't wanna you don't haveta. Ever! Wow... if I have a difficult client, I can't just pack up and leave. I have to go on. Sometimes there is something to be said for giving up.

I'll have more of these in the coming days and weeks, but that's a start.

Happy Canada Day! If you aren't a Yarn Harlot Fan, you should be, and her entry today was super! Makes me want to move to Canada even more.