Thursday, September 27, 2007

Literary Mad Lib

I found these rather amusing when Ragnvaeig posted them, so I thought I'd try one myself. Supply the appropriate words, and I'll pick from the entries I get and post the results in a few days.

A place
An adjective
A proper noun
A verb (present participle)
An adjective
An occupation
A noun
A verb (infinitive)
A verb (past tense)
A plural noun
A color
A building
An adjective
A material
A proper noun (possessive)
A verb (past tense)
A noun (plural)
A preposition
A verb (past tense)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Little Blog Milestone

The Saga passed the 40,000 visitors mark today at 1:11pm Central time. Cool.

Monday, September 24, 2007

We Hates Sigurd! We Hates It Forever!

Well, not really. Granted I have lost the Precious (the Iron Ring of Meridies), but I determined before going to Red Tower that if I left with the precious, it wouldn’t be for lack of giving people opportunities to get it, so I decided to be open to challenges as long as I was on the field in armor. Consequently, I received challenges from Charles de Joscelyn, Rhys Faber, Thomas of Owl's Nest, and Sigurd Gruenwald (Note: If I'm forgetting someone, please let me know. I seem to remember fighting five duels, but I can't for the life of me come up with five names). Thomas O'Toole and Cillian were all set to go, too, but Sigurd got the ring before they had their chances. I blame Jack and Corbin, our seconds in this duel, for turning it into a series of knife fights. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

That afternoon, Her Majesty Lethrenn and Her Excellency Carol Jane had some sort of dispute involving the honor of the Kingdom and the honor of the Barony. This dispute soon escalated into insults that could not go unanswered (be sure that I have no idea who might be to blame for this unfortunate occurrence). Her Majesty asked one of the fencers to step up and skewer whomever Her Excellency named as her champion, and an escalation of violence ensued, as neither Her Majesty nor Her Excellency could seem to find satisfaction. Individual duels escalated to two-on-two melees, and occasionally fighters go shot from the sidelines when one of the ladies managed to lay her hands on the marshal’s pistol. Eventually, a grand melee erupted in which those fighters aligned with Her Majesty fought en masse against those aligned with Her Excellency. Lord Thomas O’Toole (on Her Majesty’s side) ended up as the sole survivor, but Her Majesty really felt that she would rather see the field held by the last woman standing, rather than the last man standing (even though Thomas wasn’t doing much standing, having been legged in the melee), so she called the lady fencers back to the field, where they efficiently skewered Thomas and then resettled the issue of who was the last one standing among themselves. At some point in all this chaos, Her Majesty decided whom she would choose as her rapier champion, the Honorable Lady Svana Mjobeinn.

We also had a five-person team tournament for ownership of the Melee Iron Ring of Meridies. I was on Gerrik’s winning team, which is strange, since I don’t actually recall winning (although I admit I wasn’t keeping track of the score so well). The Melee Ring is a link from a ship’s anchor chain and weighs a ton; I’m glad Gerrik gets to lug it around instead of me. The Meridien Order of the Blade also introduced a new trinket tourney, the Queen’s Ring of Meridies (affectionately dubbed the Queen’s Bling); this is a fundraiser tournament with an entry fee that goes to the royal travel fund. I didn’t have the cash on me at the time, or I might have made off with it.

That evening, I had the outdoor feast, which was excellent, not least because we were outside where it was cooler (with a light breeze) and our feast was served immediately. Following that, Lady Andreva hosted a revel in the hall with periodic breaks for some Middle Eastern Hafla music performed live by Peach Curry. I hope I didn’t steal anyone’s thunder when I showed some people that you can easily do a double bransle to just about any piece of Middle Eastern music.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

First Dance Practice in a While

I'll be driving up to Clarksville this evening for a regional dance practice (which will, at this stage, probably consist of myself and those Shire of Crimson River folk who are into dance). Hopefully this will be a regular monthly thing.

We shall see if I can get enough together to try out Contrapasso Nuovo.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Age-Old Question Settled

Ever been asked whether Pirates are better than Ninjas (or vice versa)? Here's the answer for you.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Carribbean Food Porn

Inspired by Ragnveig, I've decided to include an article of what she calls "food porn". This evening, I prepared a Caribbean-style dinner for Fjorleif, Julianna, William, and myself. For this particular meal, I was inspired by a seafood mofongo that Fjorleif and I had at a nice Puerto Rican restaurant in Orlando the last time we went to Florida.

This first step in the process was to peel some plantains and soften them in a skillet. Let me state before I go any further that Fjorleif actually helped me a great deal with preparing this little feast. She actually handled the cooking of the plantains.

We would puree the softened plantains in a food processor; add bit of bacon, olive oil, and garlic; and form them into balls to be served with dinner. You'll get to see that; be patient.

Dish number two was a black bean and bacon dip. This involved a couple of cans of black beans, some olive oil, and some garlic, pureed in the food processor.

It looks a little scary at this stage, but heated and seasoned with some cilantro and crumbled bacon it makes a tasty dish.

The main course for this dinner would be an "island pork" dish of wild pork (dispatched with great skill by my father-in-law). This would be sauteed in olive oil with garlic (go figure) and then seasoned with lime juice and cilantro. Lots of cilantro.

All that remained at this point was to peel some oranges for the actual serving of the pork.
The oranges would be sliced and placed on a bed of spinach, which would be the final resting place of the pork medallions.
Served with the black bean dip and mofongo balls.
With a bit of rum punch to drink, this made for an excellent dinner.
Only one round of the pork medallions, unfortunately, but we had some chicken sausages left over from lunch that will go with the mofongo and black beans to make my lunch for tomorrow at the office.

The recipes for all these dishes are available online, so I'm not going to steal another site's thunder by reposting them. Just visit the source.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Gentleman's Duel

This short film depicts a fictional duel which is a bit post-period for the SCA, but is quite amusing to watch all the same.

Did I mention that it's also a wildly fantastic steam-punk animation?

Courtesy of Aaron Williams.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Disturbing on Many Levels

Another jewel from PZ Myers is the Marry Our Daughter website. You guessed it; it's apparently a site designed to help you arrange your daughter's marriage and make a tidy sum in the process.
Marry Our Daughter is an introduction service assisting those following the Biblical tradition of arranging marriages for their daughters.
Yes, it's apparently a fundamentalist wife market. They've already provided an answer to the "Is this legal?" question.
Within the United States girls can marry as young as 13 years old with parental permission, and the Bride Price is a custom of long standing, mentioned many times in the Bible, and as such is a protected religious practice.
So, how much can you expect to pay for your bride-to-be (assuming that her parents don't reject you for not being Biblical enough)? At a glance, "bride prices" vary from as little as $4,000 for a 17-year-old who "has been living with foster families since she was 5 and is a bit rough around the edges but is basically a good girl" to $100,000 for a 16-year-old "rising star on her way up. She’s already been in local billboard ads and has modeled for national catalogues." There are listings for girls as young as 13.

I'm not saying that arranged marriages are necessarily a bad thing. They're common in many cultures, and many of them seem to be successful. Peddling your 13-year-old in this culture, though, seems to be a bit on the creepy side. It also strikes me as treating young girls as commodities. The testimonials page is especially creepy; so creepy, in fact, that it makes me suspect the whole site might be a hoax.

UPDATE: *sigh of relief* Apparently the linked site really is a hoax.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

That's One Prolific Chain Letter

My article on the Evan Trembley chain letter has basically doubled the amount of traffic to the Saga in recent days. Behold my sitemeter pageviews chart for the last 30 days. The Evan Trembly article was posted on September 6th.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11

I'm not going to try to make a lengthy philosophical post on this topic. I'll just recount where I was when I heard the news.

On September 11, 2001, I heard via NPR on my way to work that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

When I arrived at work, all of the TV screens that normally showed the Shop At Home Network (where I worked at the time) had been switched to news channels, and I learned that a second plane had crashed into the second tower. At this point, I knew that the first crash was not an accident.

My words to a co-worker: "I don't want arrests; I want targets."

Shop At Home stopped broadcasting for the day, and everyone spent the day following the news as events unfolded.

Renaissance Zoological Texts

PZ Myers posted this little snippet from a 1607 text on his weblog. It apparently comes from a treatise on assorted animals, including their uses in medicine; this particular passage cites uses for mice.

A mouse can be skinned, cut in two, and placed over an arrow wound to help the healing process; if a mouse is beaten into pieces and mixed with old wine, the concoction will cause hair to grow on the eyelids; if skinned, steeped in oil, and rubbed with salt, the mouse will cure pains in the lungs; sodden mice can prevent children from urinating too much; mice that are burned and converted to powder are fine for cleaning the teeth; mouse dung, prepared in various manners, is useful for treating sciatica, headache, migraine, the tetters, scabs, red bunches on the head, gout, wounds, spitting of blood, colick, constipation, stones, producing abortions, putting on weight, and increasing lactation in women.

Um... ewww! The most disturbing thing is that this doesn't sound that much more crazy than some of the "alternative medicine" practices that you hear about today.

EDIT: I'm still trying to figure out why you might want to grow hair on your eyelids. What was this person thinking? The actual source, by the way, appears to be Edward Topsell's The History of Four-footed Beasts (available from Amazon, believe it or not).

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Few Pictures from Pennsic 36

Yes, we found the camera. I've posted just a few of my Pennsic pictures here. There are more in my Flickr account.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Yet Another Chain-Letter Hoax

A very dear friend of mine forwarded an email with the following subject line…
please assist= Amber Alert =Evan Trembley
My email filters immediately flagged it as spam, although they didn’t delete it outright. I therefore have a bit of random blog material. The forwarded message says…

Please read what his mother says (below), then forward this message on. - Sometimes Internet Reports have produced remarkable results.
Warning! Warning! An email is asking us to forward it on! This can only end in disaster!

My 15 year old boy, Evan Trembley, is missing. He has been missing for now two weeks.
My usual chain-letter vetting source,, reports that – according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – there is no child by that name missing.

Maybe if everyone passes this on, someone will see this child. That is how the girl from Stevens Point was found by circulation of her picture on tv. The internet circulates even overseas, South America, and Canada etc.
The bit about a girl from Stevens Point being found is a direct copy-paste from the older Ashley Flores chain letter, which is another hoax.

Please pass this to everyone in your address book. With GOD on his side he will be found.
Everyone in your address book! If that’s not a giveaway, I don’t know what is.

"I am asking you all, begging you to please forward this email on to anyone and everyone you know, PLEASE.

It is still not too late. Please help us. If anyone knows anything, please contact me at: HelpfindEvanTrembley@yahoocom
UPDATE: According to Snopes, that’s an invalid email address, but a commenter claiming to be Evan says it works (see comments). Of course, almost anyone could have created that Yahoo address in the interim, so take it as you will.

I am including a picture of him.

All prayers are appreciated! ! "It only takes 2 seconds to forward this.

If it was your child, you would want all the help you could get!!

Missing child reports circulated by email are usually either so old that the child’s fate has already been determined or completely bogus. This one actually seems to have originated with Evan Trembley himself, who cut-and-pasted an email from the old “Ashley Flores” chain letter and sent it to his friends, from whom it spread like a virus across the internet.

If you’ve got a good heart and you don’t want to pass up the opportunity to just maybe, possibly help find a missing person : always Google the information in chain letters before you forward them.