NorCalPirateFest 2011

Yawn!! Is it morning again, my poor old body is screaming at me in no uncertain terms, that it has not yet recovered from this years Northern California Pirates Festival. Thinking back everyone save one bailed out due to one thing or another, my brother had to work, my girlfriend and her girlfriend had previously booked another affair of “Tea with the ladies” and in all truth I couldn’t justified making her feel guilty for not going. My thinking when was the last time she had a chance to go out with her girlfriends (I’m not that much of a cad) so I gave my blessings for what it was worth.

Conferred with one of my minions of doom Lady Saiyon and we worked out a way for me to arrive on public transit via the Ferryboat from San Francisco. What a capitol idea I’ve always wanted to try that route and so awaking early Saturday morning eager to get going and took the Muni to the Ferry Building. However I decided not to wear my pirate gear but use a travel bag with wheels to carry my resplendent arraignment, since I live in the Height Ashbury drawing attention is a no-no, as my neighbors think I’m a rather upstanding fellow and so why confuse them.

On the way down town I stopped off at a sandwich shop to obtain sustenance for my venture forth into GLORY. Then walked over to the Embarcadero to get my ticket to adventure, there was a lively farmers market under way, I’ll visit that another time.. Could you imagine me dressed as a Pirate walking among the mundanes No Thank You!

So with my senior ticket in hand (yes I went the elderly route) made my way to gate “B” to await the boat. To my surprise I spotted numerous freebooters, cut throats and privateers in colorful array, now I felt AWAKWARD!! Until a friendly wench hailed greetings and asked where I was bound? Valley-Jo I said hesitantly, she corrected me saying Vallejo, to which I replied NorCalPirateFest. Under those eyes I felt scrutinized and had to redeem myself with the “Outfits in the bag”…. Um hmm.

Sitting down I introduced myself and immediately established my credentials as a Costume Nazi of the first caliber. Then upon boarding the ferry I excused myself to find the boys room and change into my regal robes of office as a scallywag, ye old sea salt and a member of the Black Fleet-Star Pirates Guild.

Needless to say as I stepped out upon the deck swaggered my way to the bow of the boat to preen, pose and stand heroically as I viewed the bay, damn I’m good. My newly acquired friend commented favorably upon my coat which I informed her was an Eva Vaneck creation. I felt better and sat back to enjoy the cruise.

Eventually the ferry pulled in a Vallejo and we could see the Festival was well under way from the landing and thankfully it wasn’t that far a walk, heard my name called and turned to see my neighbor from apartment #9 saying “I see your all decked out for fun and introduced me to her dad. What a nice guy saying he really liked my outfit (flattery will get you anywhere with me)…. Damn my vanity.

Eventually I finally made it to the entrance of the fair and guess I clap eyes upon but Doctor Who (Christopher Erickson) with the black palm (figure that one out *wink*) then the beautiful Captain Sassy (Jean Martin) also spotted the motley crew from Sonoma, Mike Fuller & Company, plus a host of other foul reprobates of the sea. I felt so at home among my brethren of honest sea faring merchants. --Truly that ship was afire when I fortunately happened along. Of course I’m sorry to say the crew where all dead so naturally I claimed salvage rights. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.--

Had the pleasure to reacquaint myself to my many wonderful friends to numerous to mention, manly cuz I couldn’t remember all their names, sorry kids. Lady Saiyon (Claudine) made her grand entrance and we promenade our way around the Pirate Strong Hold. We even took part in a treasure hunt for prizes; we had to look for a picture of a pirate and each time we found it we wrote down the name ie; William Kidd, Calico Jack, Mary Read and for our efforts we where in a drawing for five hundred gold coins to be drawn at main stage.

I was not drawn what a jip. Don’t you agree I’m more than worthy, say yes or I’ll cut your gizzard from ear to ear? Hrumph!

Trying to recall who I wandered into or heard call my name Pat Yolo, Athena and Kevin Kovacs also Bob who said Darrell couldn’t make it. Strange he had called me earlier in the week to make sure I was attending.

Was nearly six bells and I was plumb tuckered out from a full day of on my feet, my dawgs where barking, my lower back ached and my hansom brow was sun burned. I now understand why the ladies carried a parasol. Claudine said she was hungry and I agreed that we go find some inexpensive food, so we trod our sorry selves some miles to find her vehicle and went in search of tasty vittles.

Claudine has on of those GPS units which also lists shopping for what ever your looking for, well that would have been OK if it had worked but after three tries your out of luck…
So we gave up and suggested she could drop me off at the BART and I’ll make my way home. In route we saw a Subway sandwich shop and gratefully pulled in to indulge our hunger pangs.

Over our meal we chatted about every thing under the sun and I used the men’s room to change out of my overly warm clothing, it was cooler at the Pirates fest due to being near the bay breezes, it felt good to have a change of clothing and headed to the Walnut Creek Bart station.

The Bart train is louder than I recall in the tubes under the bay and was starting to getting a head ache, disembarked at Civic Center station and immediately noticing when I came to the surface that it was much cooler in the city by the bay; in fact it was near freezing (well maybe that was a slight fib) but I will say it did not stop the crazies & derelicts from being out in force. No wonder nobody wants to live here, they talk to you or any attractive young lady or themselves, even if you don’t want to hear it.

It was 10:15 by the time I finally crawled back to my place and fell into bed, I’m still sore all over from over exerting myself and after a full day of fun in the sun I was ready to intently study the inside of my eye lids. Looking forward to doing it again next year, amazed at the things I do for fun.
Damn I'm good

Klingon Slave Auction at BayCon Convention

This years Klingon Slave Auction at BayCon Convention went off a lot better due to a bigger room and a sizable block to position the volunteer slaves on. I have to thank Dave Hansen for his valuable engineering skills in assembling the box, also supplying the extension cords and sound system, it wouldn't have gone off as well without his input.

A few notes are, I didn't see Flair (security) at the door and it was difficult to keep the drunks in line (next time a whip, chair & a gun) it was a real effort to maintain the mob. From
the responses and compliments I had been receiving everyone agreed it was entertaining, but it felt like I'd run a marathon through a sauna.

We started setting up the Cypress room at 8pm, first we repositioned some of the chairs and then placed a slave stand and moved it around till we had it right...then strung it with red lights on the box, also a string of white lights before the first row of chairs. Next we made sure the air conditioning was on and then we rehearsed our performance with the Orion Slave traders... (a comical skit of Debbie being flung over a masculine shoulder and carried out, you had to be there) at 9:40 I ran up to the room to change to my auctioneers outfit then ran back down. I hadn't been gone twenty minutes and the room was full of people and everyone impatient to get the auction underway.

Eventually I worked my way over to this years collection of volunteers and briefed the rookies in the finer points of offering their best side to the audience. And then welcomed back the veterans who were more than willing to flaunt their stuff before the crowd and then checked with the Klingon's stationed to keep the crowed at bay. Then started the event five minutes early. Our sound system was inadequate and the ceiling was a trifle low, but what can you do, you learn to work with what you got.

I've been in formed that there is enough footage although the camera operator was heavily inebriated, hence there will have to be a lot of editing before we can contribute another flick to "YOU TUBE" If your interested last years contribution is titled "BayCon Slave Auction. Oh one more item is we collected over Nine hundred dollars to donate to the Make a Wish Foundation.
Sort of makes me feel all warm, fuzzy and heroic like, "I've got bragging rights".

Alexander Diaz
a.k.a. El Obi Ben Juan the flesh peddler
a.k.a. Imperious Leader BF-SPG
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More Astronomy stuff

to; Darrell noted astronomer,

Events of Wednesday, August 27th 2008

It was hot Wednesday with surprisingly clear skies and coinciding with a moon going into a new moon phase. No lunar reflection to mar the heavens for viewing, so with these factors in mind. I get a call from my brother who was eager to take advantage of these events to view the heavens.

He just happens to have my telescope over at his place but before he can collect it, he needs to attend a class at the college. I hint it’s better to attend the class first rather than place the scope in the trunk of his vehicle; don’t want the days heat to distort the mirror & lens.

Arriving at my place to pick me up at around 7:30 pm, I’m ready to go with my laptop in hand to assist in viewing the cosmos. It’s has a sky chart program in real time to quickly assist in finding the celestial objects, even though I’ve a basic understanding and can find most constellations by eye.

We have agreed to head out to Lands End above the Cliff House, where they have the monument to the U.S.S. San Francisco. The Amateur Astronomers frequent this location as it gets fairly dark, but where still in the city and can actually see the glow of ambient light. It would have been nice to go to Mount Tamalpais but you need a permit after dark to be up there, and the rangers will run you off or arrest you.

The suns is setting quickly and we took a moment see if we could spot Mars, Venus, Mercury and Saturn nearer to the Sun. It’s getting dark as I’m setting up the equatorial mount for the scope and already were drawing a crowd of three. I dislike fumbling with the Scope in the fading light; it sort of makes you look inept. Also I’m glad to have thought to bring along my heavy jacket the temperature is noticeably falling by degrees even at this vantage point of being two hundred feet above the ocean, it's getting cooler.

Where set up to view the heavens and focusing on Jupiter, which is just above the handle of the tea pot that is the constellation of Sagittarius. The fifth planet looks impressive with two moons to either side and evenly spaced. It looks like the Goddess was doodling in the sky (..o..) similar to this.

My brother Ralph is pointing out objects that are slowly drifting across the sky and asking, “do you think that’s an aircraft?” has to be a satellite traversing from South to North. Were tracking with binoculars and it’s a vague speck in the sky (satellite for sure) a moment later he spots another one traveling in the opposite direction. The best time to see man-made objects up there, is just after sunsets and the sky is darkening.

We try to spot the Andromeda galaxy but it’s turning out to be a bit of a difficulty due to the ambient light from the city. Also people keep driving up with their headlights ablaze ruining our night vision. Even the Park Ranger drives up and asks “what cha looking at” I can show him but request that he turn off his lights, but then he just drove away. The rest of the evening is the same stuff of headlights coming into the area and driving right up to us to ask “what were doing” because they spotted the setup to view the stars with. I wouldn’t mind it too much if they turned off the headlights and just used the running lights to approach but I’m dealing with un-enlightend mundanes.

Didn’t spot the Andromeda Galaxy but not from the lack of trying, the sky just wasn’t dark enough and we where constantly interrupted. Still it was a good night for viewing although Mount Tamalpais would have been better, maybe will see you up there some night soon. If we stayed any later at Lands End the city police would have made us leave the area for sure.



My brother Ralph called on the phone because yesterday, I had the big idea to send him an attachment from Sky & Telescope site. Astronomy is a hobby of mine.
> /This weeks sky at a glance<.
The attachment shows the Sun setting followed closely by Saturn then Mercury and Venus so close together they could be viewed as one, then followed by Mars. Well he’s excited at the prospect that he suggested we run out to Lands End to view the celestial event.

I had to ask him did he have the telescope with him? He says no and I think about it for a moment but tell him to pick me up because it’s already nearly 6 pm. And not to worry I’ll rummage for some binoculars in one of the storage bins. Oh yes, I found a set of Eight power & Ten power, which means the magnification of eight times or ten.

Which you can read on the binoculars as 10x50 which means they magnify at ten times with an objective lens of 50mm, the bigger the objective lens the more light, great for viewing the stars. Just don’t look at the moon or you’ll be seeing spots and lose your night vision for about ten minutes.

After finding the lenses I search for a warm coat and hat, experience tells me to dress warmly. The first rule amateur astronomers learn is it gets cold after dark, you best believe it.

So I’m standing out in front of my apartment building when he pulls up in his Honda mobile and we race to the ocean. Heading to this location just above the Cliff House and next to Sutro Park. Arriving in time to see the Sun set into a low marine layer that obscures the horizon, it’s patchy at best. But since where out here where pulling out the optics to view the skies, and hope for the best.

Aside from the grumbling about the haze we can see Venus although Ralph argues it’s Saturn, then revises his opinion that it should be higher. I’m puzzled and ask, “did you look at the attachment I sent you?” He’s starting to confuse me also and my teeth are starting to chatter.

Turns out we could see Venus & Mercury together and the faint object to it’s left turned out to be Mars. Seems that Saturn was closer to the horizon and well into the marine layer. I was suggesting we come back out Saturday when the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers have scheduled a star party to view the heavens.

At this point he looks up and points out a bright object in the southern skies that looks like a it could be our own moon except it’s a bit on the small side. It turned out to be Jupiter in the constellation of Sagittarius, imagine a tea pot in the sky and that would be Sagittarius pouring hot tea on an upside down question mark. Which would be the tail of Scorpio, you can see with the unaided eye. But it looks great magnified as you can pick out the moons, isn’t astronomy fun.
Stay tuned as more developments occur.

I'm now a Privateer

Privateer at Ren-Faire

Friends I have again attended the fifth annual Golden Gate Park Renaissance Faire and recovering nicely from overwhelming effects of revelry. I caroused with wenches, consumed spirits in massive quantities and trod my way from one end of the fair to the other. How my feet and lower back ached with pain at the exertion and heroic efforts to defile myself.

I’m what as known as a four year veteran of having been flogged on the suspicion of Piracy, a tradition set up by my very own crew (how they love me) They at least admit to liking me and want to enjoy a good joke, at my expense of course. However this year I had other ideas and immediately endeavored to foil their plans.

To with I applied myself to the task of petitioning the Queens court for a “Letter of Marque” not the easiest thing to obtain mind you. Having earlier in the week set up a splendid draft of the letter to be submitted, my girlfriend Lady Shayne offered to pen the final document. Let me say it was a thing of rare beauty and even the Lord High Chamberlain commented on it. Noticing the proper use of phrase, title of authority, also of fonts and parchment.

Of course a bag of Chocolate Latinum always helps to expedite the wheels of the bureaucracy. Plus an all out effort to obtain the document ensued, arriving early, and being on hand to collect it and handing over another bag of 15% tax. Chocolate what would I do without it.

Although not without incident one of crew, actually two of them where taken by the Queens Magistrate and where dealt with. I attempted to intervene on their behalf, but without that letter of Marque in hand I couldn’t affect their release.

Aside from that one small brush with authority we continued to enjoy a fine day at fair, although I felt it strange to feel a chill in the air. But most of the fortunate ones clung to their cloaks and capes or anything available. (come her sweet thing and keep me warm) Most times at a Ren-Faire the temperature would be sweltering inferno and bake us in our finery. Resulting in face plants and nosedives into the turf, please pass the water bottle.

I want to say thank you to my loyal crew of Reprobates and all our friends that showed up to stroll and hang with us for the day. Really it was fun.

Imperious Leader BF-SPG

Baycon Slave Auction

Hot Damn,

Hey Kids your not going to believe this but I’ve finally made it onto “YOU TUBE”

Yes friends and neighbors, I’m caught in the despicable act of selling at the KLINGON SLAVE AUCTION. Oh Damn I’m good, to get a look see go to (Baycon Slave Auction) ><

I am now infamous for having achieved a place in Fandom Lore, just by being on You Tube. And of course I’m sending this to everyone I know. Me the auctioneer for the Klingon Slave Auction, I can’t sit still…….

(no subject)

Well to start with I woke up around 11 am today (Sunday and still fully dressed?) and only because my cell phone was beeping. I kinda vaguely remember sitting in front of the computer last night, then finding I had dozed off again. My poor neck was hurting when a stirred much later and with some effort stumbled to bed. The reason I awoke was because I found my cell phone beeping in my jacket pocket, which seemed like it had been doing so for awhile. It was my good friend Captain Bobarossa, who wanted to know if I be at the Pirates festival again for a second day.

To be honest I didn't think I'll wanted to move from this comfortable bed, as I was still very interested in continuing studying the inside of my eyelids. Also my head felt like it was stuffed with moldy cotton and parched like the desert.

As for the Pirate Festival I will say we had such an enjoyable first day (Saturday only) arriving early enough, so as not to have to fight or search for parking. Also I need to point out here the identifying calls of the Pirate brothers in the parking lot, it was like the barking of Sea Lions. Other strange events occurred but I'll get to that later as my saga continues to unfold.

Ten am. In the morning and already there was a line of people waiting to gain entry, which was odd since all you needed to do was just swagger on threw. I like it when it so easy to gain entry and sack the town at ones leisure. Also it’s nice to know interesting folk with lofty titles, Flintlock Jane, Captain Kovacs, Sparrow, Lusty Wench and Tips Here. Oooops the last one was where she wanted the coin placed close to her heart.

Ahhh yes where else can you go and partake of bawdy performances, buxomly wenches and all the treasure of the seven seas to obtain, if you have the coin. Port Royal was never like this or Tortuga and for that mater was Tripoli.

It’s nice to reacquaint ones self to old Sea Dawgs (friends) but I know so many that I couldn’t go five feet without running into an old salt from former days and owed a few coins. Walking on a few feet more to meet old shipmates and more i.o.u’s also more alluring wenches to take your coin.

Finally made it to the food court area of the festival and found a place that had oysters (lovingly) calling my name. Found a spot to sit to hold court “ahh yes my dear and what can this old Sea Lord do for you” care to sit upon my lap. Hey you’re my girlfriend, that doesn’t count, also were making a scene with all this public displays of affection. Hey and just where you think your going, come back here you forgot to kiss my other ear. Yeah!

Time to pull out ye old flask of elixir to share with all me friends, hey don’t drink it all save some for me. At this event people expect you to drink some thing although I didn’t see any booze of any kind but we brought our own so it's OK.

Found a spot called the “Captain’s Nuts” specializing in honey roasted almonds, but also sold a tall tankard of “ICE TEA” I made special note as to it’s location. Also found a location of buttons to buy such as “ooh Shiny” and “Strip him, bath him and take him to my tent” not for me silly. I gave that one to my girlfriend Shayne, I got the female version for me.

Remember those strange things happening that I mentioned, they had two fast ships in the channel doing battle with canon and shot. They were sloops and fine beauties to behold with three masts and red sail. They Looked like they were mounting eighteen guns, didn’t stick around to see who won, as none of them at close range could hit each other. Was way to busy looking at the hussies parading around in there knickers, I think they were from the Jolly Wench and selling their wares.

Of course I’d have been shot dead if I should dare lay a hand unbidden, she being a fair shot. Or she might have slit me gizzard from ear to ear, even though she says she loves me.

Most women I’ve know hold their men either by the neck or arm, not so with mine, a firm hand on me plump rump is fine with me. Again that bit of five or ten feet and meeting old ship mates and another round of how much do I owe you, didn’t I already paid you and where is that map I gave good coin for. You know the usual business.

Eventually we disbanded around four thirty and since I had an invitation to attend a Star Party in Benica, I thought it best to change back to civvies. And that my dear friends, is a different story for later. No wonder I was so tired after such a full day and evening.

(no subject)

Ants in my pants,

Can’t believe that the Second Annual Northern California Pirates Festival starts tomorrow, and I’m already chopping at the bit. The plan is get the posse moving around 8:30 am. in the general direction of Vallejo. Most of the team will travel by land speeder and two will bravely venture by ferryboat, convenient because it lands them next to the event site so you don’t have to walk that far. Either way I’m insisting that everyone arrive early to part take in the festivities, and avoid most of the traffic congestion getting into the area.

Last years event drew 30k with most of the participants appropriately attired, the site looked like a big budget movie set with everyone strutting their stuff and looking knarly. Including yours truly swaggering and posturing. a note here; if you weren’t in costume I didn’t see you. There were a lot of touristias wondering among us that didn’t register on the visual scanners, yeah I know I’m a raging Costume Snob. I’m wondering when that occurred in my head, Oh well, I’m aware of it now.

For those of you that saw me at the years BayCon Convention, were able to witness my new shtick. That of approaching unsuspecting wenches with a lollypop in hand and saying “Piece of candy little girl?” it was a full gambit of responses to the proposition. From complete shock, to surprise and “My mommy told me never to take candy from strange men” Of course that didn’t stop most of the ladies from taking the offered treat.

Of course in you see this Old Salty Dawg also known as the Sea Lord of the BLACK FLEET, remember you’re a Pirate and must ask accordingly. Note a sample phrase  “OH my Captain may I have a sweet?”
Hey you know you want it!

Naturally I expect if your taking pictures at the event, you will share the spoils and I'll share my booty of pics.

I has spoken

El Obi Ben Juan

The Sea Lord of the BF-SPG

Belly Dancing at Rakkasah

Hi Najma,

This years Rakkasah was interesting because of the new location, at the Vallejo County fairgrounds next to Marine world. Sorry darling but I think the Richmond Civic Center was better. (hey who said that?) Really didn't like the idea of two halls separated by a hundred yards or the threat of those dark clouds over head. The rumor had it that it was likely to rain, also that concrete floor was eating up my poor tired feet and making it hard on my back.

Speaking of food they rooked us on price and quantity, "how rude!" Spent five dollars on pasta (very cheep to make) and served in a bowl that strangely resembled a thimble. Found a stale candy bar in my costume bag that was wolfed down in an instant, I was so hungry. Aside from being "stale" and all, it tasted good. Oh and one more thing to gripe about, was very limited seating and crowded. There was no seating in the food area, had to stand among everyone else just to eat. "HOW RUDE!!" Also we got charged for parking, damn that was Rude?!

Now for some good news Ashab the troupe I dance with, went on at 7:30 Saturday night and let me tell you we were "GOOD" Oh and so much better than that we made them laugh.... I was fabulous, wonderful, fantastic, splendid and uproariously entertaining. Of course you probably wouldn't know that because, I'm so damn modest and never brag.... (yeah right)

Didn't see you or your name on the dance schedule or for that matter which group you would be dancing with, seems you forgot to tell me. I wanted to take pictures of your performance, images that would be suitable for framing or as they say, for blackmail... I seem to recall you dancing at the Black Fleet All Hallows Eve Bash and didn't you have a costume malfunction... didn't see anything then and was hoping to see something this time... (yeah I know, naughty boy)

Looking forward to hearing how it was for you and hope to see you at one of the up coming BF-SPG events.

Warm Hugs & Smooches

Back from Rakkasah -Belly Dancing

My Dearest Shayne,

Another successful performance at this year’s, Rakkasah for troupe El Ashab and of course the folks backstage where running late as usual, say about twenty minutes behind schedule. They had us backstage awaiting our queue, our moment to strut out like the troopers that we are. Still we dazzled them with our professionalism, timing and polish, while I being the prime Ham that I am, shined like a rising STAR bursting with talent. (Did I mention that I'm Modest too....) We made them giggle, laugh and guffaw, even Ancilla had a smile on her face and admitted that I was good on stage.... can you imagine that, she said, "I was GOOD."

Promise me you'll ask her how my performance with the girls proved to be the high point of the evening, we shone, our luster was bright. She's a good girl if she agrees that I was the talent on stage. Make her sign a testament to my talents; grill her under the hot lights till she confesses. (Awe come on, I’m just kidding, really)

Although I must report that she herself fell off the "Being Good Wagon" she was muttering under her breath that she must be good, even urged me to help her. Case in point we just happened to wander by the Chocolate concession, variably draped in a mountain of sin. I'll grant that she responded reluctantly but she did respond when I assisted, her return to the straight and narrow away from the chocolate temptation. But after twenty feet or so the sirens call proved too much for the girl, I can bare witness that she succumbed "a slave to her sweet tooth" Now when temptation says jump, she says how high on the way up, "Watch your head baby your headed to the Moon"

However the sour part of the convention is the new location at the Vallejo, fairgrounds. I still can't believe I actually miss the Civic Center in Richmond. They had us in two halls a hundred yards apart and with the threat of rain constantly looming from the dark clouds overhead. I could hear people just grumbled under their breaths, too cold and the trek between the two halls. They charged us for the parking and squeezing every penny for serving too little food to cover a measly bowl that strangely resembled a thimble. And I chaffed at paying the toll at the Vallejo and the Bay Bridge.

I ask you, is that anyway to treat a Star?

Still Your Most Ardent Admirer