Commentary

“My Underwear Costs More Than Your Car…”

I’ve been thinking about underwear. Not in a juvenile giggling way, nor a creepy Victoria’s-Secret-catalog-stashed-behind-the-garage way, but more in a, “gee, my underwear is all falling apart. I should do something about that” sort of way.

At one point this would have meant a trip to Target and buying whatever’s cheap. It’s just underwear, I figured, so who really cares?

In more recent years I’ve learned that I care, as I’ve been spoiled with slightly nicer, mid-range underwear from Express made with better cotton, better elastics, and a fun little lions-on-a-shield Express logo that made me secretly feel like royalty. Or a knight. Actually, it’s the better materials that really matter – bargain boxers feel like sandpaper in comparison, and I couldn’t possibly go back.

A few years in and I’ve been pretty happy with this level of underwear. Now that I need more, I’d have gladly restocked with the same except nobody seems to make mid-range boxers anymore – it’s all about the boxer briefs these days. And so I explored further and tried a test pair of what I’ll call “affordable luxury” boxers, made with cotton poplin and science. They’re from Mack Weldon, and I have to say they’re really quite brilliant. Super comfy, and that 2% of spandex means you can bend over without cutting off the blood flow to your legs, which is a plus.

But now that I’m on a roll, I figure why stop at affordable luxury? Why not TRUE luxury? Why not super expensive underwear made from endangered silk worms harvested by fairies and gold-plated unicorns? (more…)

The US Space Program, Past and Present…

note: I wrote this some while back and posted it on Tumblr because it wasn’t piratey. Nobody saw it because Tumblr. So now I figured is a good time to post it here :)

With the retirement of the Space Shuttle, much has been said lately about the successes and failures of NASA and the space industry. I felt it was time to more closely examine our esteemed astronauts’ accomplishments, beginning with the Mercury Program, through to the present day, and beyond.

spacesuits

Note: I stole the above image from rockets-2-go.com. Visit them and buy stuff.

Mercury 1959-1963 – First Flights

Befitting their fresh-faced enthusiasm, NASA hit the ground running with a look that was classic and sporty. A high-riding crotch and lace-up boots give an athletic impression, while silver mylar says “we come to party.” (more…)

Pirates… and other stuff.

So if you’re here, you’re probably wondering what the hell’s going on. I mean, Bilgemunky.com has gone through a few versions over the years, but this new look stands in stark contrast to anything before. Well, that’s not by accident.

I’ll freely admit that it’s been pretty quiet here the past two years. Sure, a post now and then, but ever since I shut down Bilgemunky Radio the blog has also been only an occasionally-updated entity. Well, I’m thinking it’s time to get back in the saddle, but with a twist.

To be honest, “all pirates all the time” just hasn’t been doing it for me like it used to. So rather than agonizing one moment further about how to keep Bilgemunky.com afloat while I’m exploring other waters, I’ve decided to bring the site along with me. What does that mean? It means I have a Japanese Whisky sitting here next to me that doesn’t have squat to do with pirates. And you know what? I’m going to drink it. And then review it.

It means the next time I find myself as an official photographer at a dinosaur-themed fashion show, you’ll read about it here, even though it too has squat to do with pirates (but it was seriously, seriously cool.)

It means if I’m too busy playing Grand Theft Auto to review the latest pirate game, then screw it – let’s just talk about Grand Theft Auto already.

Basically it means space monkeys and ninjas and scotch and race cars and jedis and really neat gadgets with bells and lasers… if I’m fortunate enough to come across it and it’s cool and worth talking about, then it will be here. And yes, that still includes pirates.

Pirates vs Ninjas vs Zombies vs… Pandas. Yeah, Pandas.

Pirates, Ninjas, and Zombies are three of the archetypes of modern society, with the other two being Robots and Chuck Norris. So why on earth we now have a game of Pirates vs. Ninjas vs. Zombies (so far so good) vs. Pandas is beyond me. But there it is, and here’s a demo of the gameplay:

I don’t have a smart phone, so I guess I’m out of luck. I buy my phones for their milspec rating – mine is clear for vibration, dust, and impact. No dice on the moisture, though, which rather sucks for a pirate. But I couldn’t afford the phone you submerge. Plus, it was about the size of a submarine and looked ridiculous in my pocket on my belt. Click “read more” to see an additional video illustrating how this four-way war got started. Apparently, it was all the pirates’ fault. Figures. (more…)

After Action Report: St. Augustine Pirate Gathering 2010

The U.S. is full of great pirate festivals, large and small. But there are a very few locations that can nearly claim to have been doing piracy since the Golden Age itself – Key West and Gasparilla come time mind, and St. Augustine does as well. Being the oldest city in the country, and certainly well located to have seen its fair share of piracy, I’d always been under the impression that the St. Augustine Pirate Gathering was one of the “old guard” – but in this I was quite mistaken. The Gathering is in fact only in its fourth year, although thanks to a fine, piratey location, plenty of local flair, and the strong support of nearby crews and piratey businesses, it’s nonetheless a festival in full stride. (more…)

After Action Report: Southern Pirate Festival 2010

The Brigands, surprisingly, CAN do a family friendly show (when properly bribed).

The beautiful thing about hosting a pirate festival at a museum is that it’s already largely predecorated. Actually, that only works if it’s the right sort of museum – Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia, for example, might be a poor fit. But the National Civil War Naval Museum provided a splendid backdrop for 2010 Southern Pirate Festival, which their website accurately described as “One Day of Family Fun & History” followed by “One Night of Debauchery.” Truly, something for everyone! (more…)

After Action Report: BrethrenCon 2010

Let’s be honest – when you think of prime locations for a pirate convention, Denver Colorado doesn’t exactly spring to mind. You can’t get much more removed from any sort of maritime community, and the high altitude might leave you a little giddy before you even crack open the rum. But then, you don’t exactly need water to engage in many of the very best pirate activities – carousing is best done on dry land, and dancing to some pirate tunes is just as easily achieved in a hotel ballroom as on the deck of a ship. And that was the beauty of BrethrenCon 2010 – a single hotel for a day was made ground zero for pirate enthusiasts from miles around (Colorado does indeed have a surprisingly large and diverse pirate population.) (more…)

4,000 Pirates – Yikes!

So first, Brixam England had the world record for “Most Pirates Gathered” with 1,469 pirates – actually, someone else surely had it before them, but this is when the chatter started. Portland Oregon then swooped in and took the prize with 1,651 pirates. England then reclaimed the title with 1,722 pirates gathered in Devon, followed by USA once again with something in the neighborhood of 2,600 pirates at the NorCal Pirate Festival. Well, the official tally of NorCal isn’t even in yet, and already England has trumped everyone with a reported excess of 4,000 pirates gathered in Liverpool:

Liverpool Daily Post – News – Liverpool News – Mersey Pirate Muster brings 4000 pirates to Liverpool waterfront

I only have two questions, though. 1) What was San Fransisco based pirate-band There Be Pirates doing helping England trounce their own hometown’s recent record? One could almost accuse them of acting like, well, like pirates. OK, so no real news there. But 2) and FAR more important, with so many thousands of pirates in the US and UK alike, why aren’t more of them tuning into Bilgemunky Radio each week? Seriously, forget eyepatches and peglegs – if they’re not Bilgemunky fans, then they’re just posers.