Annoying Church sign of the Day: Friends.

Every day as I commute into work I pass by a church sign next to the freeway. Like many other church signs, it has a spot for witticisms and wisdom to be dispensed in small bites that can be read easily while zooming by at 70 mph. Most of the time they’re fairly¬†innocuous, but occasionally they manage to annoy the shit out of me.

The latest message, for example, is about friends and it reads:

FRIENDS – GOD’S WAY OF
TAKING CARE OF YOU

I couldn’t help but chuckle at how Christian the logic of that statement is. Friends are a wonderful thing to have and the lengths some of them will go to help you out when you’re troubled is simply amazing, there’s not doubt about any of that. I cherish each and every one of the people I consider to be my friends even though some of them I’ve never met in person.

The problem I have with this statement is that it takes all the credit for the love and assistance provided to you by your friends and hands it over to God, who is apparently too damned busy making crude drawings of his mom or his “son” in random inanimate objects¬†to bother helping you directly when you could really use it. It also suggests that the only reason you have any friends at all is because God cared enough to manipulate them into your life instead of, say, you being a decent enough person that people might actually like you for who you are. The whole sentiment just rubs me the wrong way.

Give credit where credit is due. If your friends stick by you in tough times and help out where they can then it’s because they are awesome friends, not because God has manipulated them into doing his work for him. To me this is just another lame attempt to excuse the lack of evidence for God(s) interacting in day to day affairs by misattributing credit to something that doesn’t exist.

In memory of friends fallen.

William Vesper Owen IV
In memory of William Vesper Owen IV.
6/15/67 to 2/17/03

It has been six years since my best friend was killed by a glorified meter maid with delusions of grandeur. It doesn’t feel like six years. The wound left by this loss has long since scarred over, but it remains tender. Time has healed me enough that I missed putting up a memorial post for the past couple of years, the last one was in 2006, but the pain is still fresh enough that thinking about it causes my eyes to well up all over again. Which is probably why I try not to think about it for very long anymore. I managed to remember to post on his birthdays until 2007, though, only missing last year’s date. In a little over four months Bill would be turning 42 if he had lived.

I still have the small photo gallery I put together back when it first happened. There’s only a dozen or so photos in it. I keep meaning to dig through old photos and see if there’s any more I can put up. One of my regrets is that I’d known Bill since high school and yet didn’t have a lot of pictures of him and I together. Countless hours spent playing pen and paper RPGs, watching movies, hanging out at the mall, playing video games, and just generally spending time together and it rarely occurred to me to pull out a camera. Wish I had now.

Got someone in your life you cherish? Now would be a good time to pull out that expensive digital camera you bought and take a snap. Or just use that crappy one on your cell phone. Or one of the disposable cameras you bought at the dollar store. If you can then make sure you get in the shot as well. When they ask what the occasion is tell them there isn’t one. Just felt like a good time to preserve the moment. To freeze real life at a spot in time that has no special significance other than you happened to be together and had a camera on hand. Some day someone will appreciate that you took the effort.

The asshat who hit him, Argon “Gary” Seiko, was charged with manslaughter. Because he had no prior record he was sentenced to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service. It’s been four years since his probation was lifted. He appears to have kept himself out of the news since then.

Notes from a fantasy filled weekend.

It’s Monday already? Damn, was hoping I still had more time in my weekend. Which is saying a lot considering I took Friday off to go to my sister-in-law’s wedding.

Another of Anne’s sisters has taken the matrimony plunge and did it with style having a Fantasy themed wedding with dragons and castles aplenty. So rather than dressing up in formal clothes we ended up busting out the Renaissance Fair garb and going as a merchant and wench.  Courtney was in the wedding party as a bridesmaid and as such had a custom costume made for her ahead of time. The groomsmen rented knight costumes from a local costume shop and we even had at least one relative of the groom show up in full knight regalia (he was a SCA member). It made for an odd site with most of the guests in traditional formal clothes and the rest of us looking like extras from a bad dragon movie. I have to admit to being very impressed with the reverend who did the ceremony, though, as in addition to the traditional Christian style marriage he also performed a fairly decent – and very pagan – handfasting! Either he’s very progressive or fairly ignorant of the significance of a handfasting, either way it was a pretty cool addition to the ceremony.

Spent a good chunk of the rest of the weekend hopping in and out of World of Warcraft as the zombie invasion world event they’re running to herald in the upcoming release of the expansion has grown progressively more complex. By the time I went to bed on Sunday the amount of time between being infected to becoming a zombie had diminished from 10 minutes to one minute and many of the Argent Dawn healers that were curing folks had left the cities as the Lich King’s necropolis started appearing near the capitol cities once again (this happened once before with the opening of the Naxramas raid dungeon). New argent dawn NPCs have shown up in the cities handing out quests, some of which hint at a cure, and flying scourge fortresses are showing up in several high level areas such as Winterspring, Eastern Plaguelands, Tanaris, etc. that require players to go battle the invading scourge. The zombie problem has gotten so bad that small towns are completely overrun and even the capitol cities are in danger of being wiped out of NPCs. Needless to say this is making questing for the lower-level players a lot more difficult as even if they manage to make it into a town without being killed by the wandering zombies they may find they can’t turn in a quest because the quest giver is dead and hasn’t respawned yet. Needless to say some people are complaining it’s gotten out of hand, but it’ll improve over the coming days as the story progresses so their pain shouldn’t be too lengthy. [Minor Update: It appears the zombie plague will be ending around 12 noon PST today. It’s not the end of the world event, but the cure appears to have been found.]

All of that is going on at the same time as the Hallow’s End holiday event. So in addition to zombies all over the place players are contending with frequent visits from the Headless Horseman setting various buildings on fire in Goldshire and other newbie zones as well as trick or treating and making the trek to the Scarlet Monestary to put down the Horseman where he sleeps. Toss in all the changes to the game from the new 3.0.2 client and things like the new achievement system and it makes for a lot of chaos in the game at the moment and I’m having a blast with it myself.

As if all of that wasn’t enough we had good friends Bob and JethricOne out on Saturday night to watch a couple of fantasy themed DVDs: The Gamers and The Gamers: Dorkness Rising. Both are very low-budget comedies about a group of pen and paper role playing gamers playing through a campaign. We see not only the players playing, but also their characters as they act out what’s happening in the story. If you’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons or any other RPG with a bunch of hardcore gamers then you’ll find a lot to laugh at in these movies. It’s geek humor at its low-brow best.

So it probably goes without saying that I’m way behind on what’s going on in the world this morning. On booting up Google Reader I noticed that my “Friend’s Shared Items” was up to almost 70 entries let alone the rest of my RSS feeds. There’s probably lots I’ve missed so if I post anything that’s a few days old, well, now you know why.

I am now on Facebook.

A couple of folks have been chatting with me about Facebook in email and, while I’m still not sure I understand it, I decided to take the plunge and sign up. I was surprised to have one friend added almost immediately, fellow blogger Neil Turner, after the system figured out that I was friends with him because he’s in my Windows Live Messenger contact list. Neil must sit by his PC waiting for friend notifications or something.

So anyway, if you’re on Facebook and you want to add me as a friend you can now do so, though I’ll be honest and admit that my profile there will probably be ignored much the same way my Friendster profile and Last.fm profile currently are. I originally signed up for Facebook using my full name because it said to, but very few people outside my family know me by my full-including-middle name so I changed it back to just Les Jenkins.

What’s really sad is that my Friendster profile just got some much needed attention because I was there trying to look up how to link to it. I’ve updated my location from being in Canton (which I’m not anymore) to being in Ann Arbor (which I’m not actually there yet), changed the registered email address, and updated my current employment as I am no longer unemployed. I suppose if you wanted to add me as a friend on Friendster you can do so as well, but as I said it’s been ages since I last looked at it.

At this pace I’ll eventually have profiles on all the big social networking sites that I’ll gleefully ignore for years at a time. Try to collect them all!