Mar 21, 2008


Recently, we bought this wireless router so we can take our Wii system online. The router has some ports in the back for additional ethernet cables, so I got the idea to hook up our Playstation 2 to expand our online gaming experience. The Playstation 2 doesn't have a wireless connection option, and ours was one of the original models, so you have to buy the network adaptor. I called around, and found a local dealer that had one. The conversation went like this:

Me: "Hi, I'm looking for a Playstation 2 network adaptor. Do you have any of those?"
Them: "Yeah, I got one - used."
Me: "Does it have the startup disk?" (I had done some research.)
Them: "Yeah, it's brand new in the box."
Me: "Oh, brand new? I thought you said used."
Them: "Yeah, sure. Brand new. Whatever."
Me: "How much is it?"
Them: "Uh, $15.49."
Me: "$15?"
Them: "Yeah, sure. $15. Plus tax."

I got the impression that if I would have wanted a used one for $10, he would have broken it out of the box and sold it to me used.

Anyhow, when I got to the "store", it was exactly what you'd expect. There were a couple of racks of used games, a TV in the corner with an XBox and some chairs, a zillion tiny electronic parts on the sales counter and two brothers (one was arguing with his mom on the phone.) I got the adaptor (new, in box) and an ethernet cable from Wal-Mart. We went home and hooked up the PS2 without incident.

Now we're playing StarWars: Battlefront online and loving it! I mean, the original game is fun, but there's something about lighting up other human players that enhances the experience. And you get the added fun of revenge.

So if anyone out there likes to play Battlefront online, watch out for DARTH SCHMIDTIOUS. That's us! The name took a little work, 'cuz we wanted something that was Star Wars-related and would work if either of us was playing. We also wanted to incorporate our own identity into it. And then there's the spelling of 'Schmidtious'. We tried 'Schmidtyous' and 'Schmidtius' before settling on 'Schmidtious'.

Famous Swords: Ascalon

In 303, the Roman Emporer Diocletian issued an edict authorizing the systematic persecution of Christians across the Empire. Count George, a member of Diocletian’s personal guard, was ordered to participate in the persecution but instead confessed to being a Christian himself and criticized the imperial decision. An enraged Diocletian ordered his torture and subsequent execution. After his death, George was venerated by Christians as a martyr of the faith. By the fifth century the cult of Saint George had reached the Western Roman Empire, and in 494, George was canonized as a saint by Pope Gelasius I.

The episode of St George and the Dragon was a legend brought back with the Crusaders and retold in the Romance genre. The sword with which St George slew the dragon was called Ascalon, named after the city of Ashkelon in Israel. In the fully-developed Western version, a dragon makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of "Silene" (perhaps modern Cyrene) in Libya. In order to collect water, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time. To do this, they offer the dragon a daily human sacrifice (the victim is chosen by drawing lots) and one day, this happened to be the princess. She begs for her life, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon just as St George is passing through on his travels. He faces the dragon, slays it and rescues the princess. The grateful citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.

Mar 19, 2008

Stretch Ferrari

Check out this stretch Ferrari 360 Modena. It's 23 feet long with eight seats and electric gullwing doors. It's the handiwork of Style Limousines in Manchester, England, which spent more than £200,000 modifying the rear-engined 3.6-litre V8. This limo can accelerate to 60mph in under six seconds!

Mar 13, 2008

Famous Swords: Angervadil

Frithiof is the main character of a legendary saga from Iceland that dates to c.1300. Frithiof “the bold” was the son of King Thorstein and the bravest among men. He had been raised together with a girl name Ingeborg by their foster-father Hilding. Both Frithiof’s and Ingeborg’s paternal fathers die in war, and Ingeborg’s two brothers (now kings) become jealous with Frithiof's excellent qualities. They deny him Ingeborg's hand and take her to another kingdom. Still, Frithiof visits Ingeborg and they continue to love each other.

The two evil brothers then send Frithiof away to another kingdom to take tribute. While he is away, they burn down his homestead and marry Ingeborg to an older king named Ring. When Frithiof returns with the tribute and learns about what has transpired, he leaves the country and becomes a Viking. After three years he returns, and spends a winter with the dying king Ring. Ring appoints Frithiof earl and makes him the care-taker of his child with Ingeborg. After Ring dies, Frithiof and Ingeborg marry and he becomes the king of Ringerike. He then declares war on Ingeborg's brothers, killing one of them with his sword, Angervadil, and making the second one his vassal.

Mar 10, 2008

Other Winds of Note

Most Americans are familiar with the dry Santa Ana winds of Southern California. They result from the buildup of air pressure in the high-altitude Great Basin between the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains. When upper level winds are favorable, this high altitude air mass spills out of the Great Basin and is propelled gravitationally towards the southern California coastline, generally as a northeasterly wind.

Hear are some other famous wind patterns from around the world:
  • Chinook - Dry, warm westerly wind of the North American Rocky Mountains.
  • Pampero - Northwesterly summer wind of the Andes.
  • Puna - Violent winds of the Peruvian Puna district which last for four months.
  • Samiel - Suffocating, sand-laden wind of the Sahara and Arabian deserts.
  • Bora - Violent and bitter winter wind on the Adriatic Sea.
  • Helm - Cold, northeasterly wind in the Vale of Eden.
  • Harmattan - Violent and very dry winter wind of the African interior.
  • Bise - cold north Alpine wind.
  • Williwaw - Violent cold seaward wind associated with the Straits of Magellan.
  • Samoor - The south wind of Persia, which ‘softens the strings of lutes’.

Famous Swords: Arondight

In the Arthurian legend, Sir Lancelot is one of the Knights of the Round Table. In most of the French romances and works, he is characterized as the greatest and most trusted of Arthur's knights, and plays a part in many of Arthur's victories – but Arthur's eventual downfall is also brought about in part by Lancelot, whose affair with Arthur's wife Guinevere destroys the unity of Arthur's court. Sir Lancelot named his legendary sword Arondight.

Mar 9, 2008

Today in History - March 9

On March 09, 1074 (934 years ago) all married Roman Catholic priests were excommunicated by Pope Gregory VII.

Mar 7, 2008

Our New Neighbors

Recently, we’ve been seeing some small birds fluttering around our hanging plant baskets in the front of our house. We just assumed they were drinking the water that had collected in the baskets. Last night, I was getting one of the baskets down to water it and a bird flew out of the thing when I went to grab it! I carefully took it down, and found the reason why the birds have been hanging around:

To give you some scale, the eggs are slightly larger than jelly beans. I know it’s just a bird’s nest, but this thing amazes us! Just think how many trips those little birds had to make to get all those sticks and straws up into the basket, and then form it into an almost perfectly round nest. I guess they didn’t approve of the shoddy birdhouse I built in the backyard. Or maybe they were just looking for a better location with a nicer view. Anyhow, we’re excited to have some new neighbors.

We were careful not to touch the nest or the eggs, and after we gave the plant some water we cautiously hung the basket back up. I knew the parents were concerned about their new home, because one of them tried to fly back to the basket before I got it all the way hung up!

As it turns out, the nest is right in front of our bedroom window, so later in the spring I’m sure we’ll hear the tiny screeches of baby birds in the morning. I don’t think it will bother us, though, because we’ve got parakeets that love to sing and screech, and we can pretty much tune them out.

We’ll keep a careful eye on our new neighbors, and I’ll let you know when the birdsong starts up!