Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Accounting for Lost Time

I've been mulling over writing a post or two detailing my adventures during my absence from updating this here blog. In amongst the ups and downs of life, I've wavered between the opinions of "Hey, I want to write down every little thing that's happened!" to "I'm not sure I'll ever write an entry again!" Obviously, I've decided to write something, and it will probably be somewhere in the middle. I tend to take the middle path, which usually works for me unless we're talking about walking down roads ...

So, where have I been, what have I been doing, why have I decided to write again, and why would anyone even care?

Of course, the biggest reason for my absence is this li'l swab right here:

Simon - someday to be the "Dread Pirate" Simon, "Black" Simon, or even "Don't ever think I was named after Simon Cowell!" Simon - was born on December 9th. And yes, his room is decorated in an aquatic / nautical theme and he has a jar with sand and doubloons on his bureau!

After years of thinking that I was going to be a selfish, curmudgeonly old childless man of the sea, (God, Karma, the Universe, etc. Fill in your choice here) decided that such was not to be. Simon hit our home port like a hurricane, swamping our plans and causing us to rethink everything about how the rest of our lives are going to play out. Needless to say, my thoughts of going on account and fleeing to the Caymans will not be coming to fruition!

Today was his first day at day care, which fortunately is located in the very hospital where I work. Unfortunately, it means that I am no longer thinking about work at all, and only wondering about how many trips I can make over there before someone wises up to the fact that I'm not working! At any rate, we'll be carpooling until One Ring finishes her dissertation and gets ready to graduate. After that comes the big move to parts unknown. I've checked all of the preferred pirate-y spots - St. Croix, the Caymans, St. Thomas, Port Royal, etc. - and unfortunately no one thought to build major universities in any of those sites. So it looks, again, like I'll be living like a lubber until fortunes change.

In the meantime, I'm still in this land-locked state of Tennessee, and was gradually being bled dry of my love of all things nautical. I had almost decided to scuttle this ship o' the internet for good, and keep it only has a handy way to link to some of my interests. But then something wonderful happened. I saw the ocean again.

Last month One Ring, Simon, and I headed home to the coast of Virginia to see family and friends. While there I walked on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay (which has its own pirate history, thank you very much!), breathed in its salty air, and collected sea glass. It was like falling in love all over again. I even made a choker using the sea glass. The beads were designed to reflect the beach, with greys and tans for the driftwood and sand found there.
And I knew that, no matter where I be holed up, I be a pirate for life, matey!

But after that it was back to Tennessee and work and guitar lessons and whatever else I could do to keep me out of trouble (until I get me a ship, that is ... then all bets are off!). I had a custom electric guitar built by my instructor - he's starting his own luthier business - and it just ROCKS. Dual humbuckers, the bridge is a Van Halen and the neck one is a Van Zandt. Now I just have to get better at playing it! I've gotten into the Blues, so that neck pickup just shines when I solo.

Also in music news, I built a Tubescreamer clone pedal from a kit. I didn't really need it, due to the fact that I own a Line 6 Spider IV modeling amp, but it was a lot of fun learning how pedals work and building my own. And, to be honest, I think the pedal sounds better than the amp. But I could be biased. I need to work some bugs out of the circuitry, though. My soldering was not the best - it was a first attempt - so I may have to go back and redo some of the joints.

Okay, time to wrap this up and go see how me first matey is doing in day care. It be lunch time.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

All I can say is ...

... if your ships run aground on a reef, and you still paddle upriver to sack a city (in this case Panama City - then called Panama Viejo), you are one determined pirate! Henry Morgan did exactly that in 1671, when his flagship, Satisfaction, and its three sister ships all crashed into a reef. He and his troops went up the river, marched through the jungle, and plundered and pillaged the their hearts content.

What makes this news today is that archeologists have found cannons from the wreck site. That this is huge archeological news goes without saying. The survey and excavation of the area is ongoing, so I'm sure I'll be posting new reports as they become available. And once there's a website created for the Satisfaction wreck, I'll post a link there as well.

On a somewhat lighter note, the Captain Morgan Rum Company awarded a BARREL of spiced rum to each member of the expedition, renamed a section of the distillery after them, and promised an unspecified monetary reward if they find bottles of the Morgan's rum still believed to be buried on the site. Here's a link to that article.

All of which leads me to ask, "Why can't I get a job like that???"

Thanks to Bilge Munkey for alerting me about this!

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Because Irish Pirates Have Better Luck!

Pirate Mod is having a sale on St. Patrick's Day related Pirate shirts and accessories. Just thought I'd throw that out there, in case anyone is feeling kind and generous and wants to buy me a present. Just sayin'.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Because it Worked Oh, So Well the Last Time

Yep, the Somali aquatic terrorist brigade are once again after the Maersk Alabama. I guess having Navy SEAL snipers wiping out your team isn't enough of a wake up call.

And, as an aside, they are not pirates! The proper designation should be something else, since they are land based out of Somalia and not free roaming and sea based like the pirates of the Golden Age. As Mark Summers, who co-founded the annual Talk Like a Pirate Day, says in a WSJ article, "There ought to be a different word for pirates in their current incarnation." He suggests, according to the same article, "sea-thugs, boat-muggers, or kelp-festooned kidnappers." I tend to agree, no matter what the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea says.

Anyway, this latest attack on the Maersk Alabama was an abysmal failure, too. I guess you could say, in the words of my in-laws, "Roll Tide!"

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Early Art from The Pirates of the Caribbean (the ride)

I was surfing the web yesterday, looking for something interesting to post ... pirate related, of course. I happened by chance upon these early postcards drawn by Mark Davis, one of the original artists who designed the Pirates of The Caribbean ride at Walt Disney World. Here's the link to the whole set, and here are a few examples if you don't want to go to the site.

I don't know why, but the skeleton helmsman is one of my favorite displays of the ride. Whereas most of Pirates leans towards humor (although my wife continues to point out that the sale of women is always, always, always wrong!), the first few scenes are very dark. There are the skeletons of sailors killed before they could (presumably) give up the location of buried treasure, and then the above scene. And the whole while the ominous voice is proclaiming that "Dead men tell no tales!" I love it!

Interesting also are the bits of wisdom offered up.

But, of course, not all of the postcard art is of the skeletons. Some are quite humorous. Case in point.

Here's the link again to see the whole collection.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Careening the Hull

Boring day at work today, so I'm taking the time to do some much needed repairs to me ship o' the net. Old links have been removed, new ones added, and I've moved sections to where they flow better topic-wise. As always, the preferred subject will be the Golden Age of Piracy and related topics, but aside from the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie - based on a Tim Powers novel that I've read and will review here at some point - such topics are few and far between here in the landlocked state of Tennessee. So other bits of flotsam and jetsam will surely wash on board every now and then.

All of which to say that the jolly roger will once again be hoisted. Watch the horizon, mateys!

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Yes, I am a Pirate

Avast there mateys! I be alive and kickin', and find meself finally coming back from my exile deep within this here land locked state. A lot of miles and adventures have transpired since I last wrote an entry in me logbook, and a word or three is long overdue.

So I be plannin' to redesign the blog and drastically increase the entries, add and remove some links, and do my best to make this space worth my and your time here. No more aimless sailing about!

So keep a weather eye on this ledger. Stuff be happening!

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