Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Photos from Anachrocon 2012 - Enjoy the Overclunk!

All of the photos I have from Anachrocon 2012 are now posted HERE and HERE (which are the two page links on the right edge of the blog main screen labeled "Photos from Anachrocon 2012" and "Photos from Anachrocon 2012, Part 2").  I divided the photos into two groups for easier viewing.  I will attempt to label as many as I can in the near future.  Enjoy the steam goodness.  I did!


p.s. - see this post for the definition of "overclunk"

Video of Anachrocon 2012 (includes some famous faces):

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tales from Anachrocon 2012, Part 1 - Weapons Galore

Display of VAPTC rifles, Anachrocon 2012
     One of my first stops in the main vendor room was to a table manned by Captain Bill Bill of the Venusian Airship Pirate Trading Company.  The description of their mission begins thus:

"The Venusian Airship Pirate Trading Co. Operates off of a Fleet of Airships gracefully floating 5 miles above the surface of Venus...As we travel through  time we collect weaponry from everyplace we go. Unfortunately when we return to our home time of 1879, we find we are without the necessary components and ammunition to make these odd and diverse weapons operate. Thus, we have to adapt them to the technology of steam and gears that are available to make them operate correctly.  If you have ever priced the amount of coal it takes to get an airship from Earth to Venus, you will understand that we let nothing go to waste. Every possible thing we find is recycled, reused and repurposed."

Table o'guns by the Venusian Airship Trading Co., Anachrocon 2012

      While I drooled over the ingenuity of the weapons on the table before me, the Captain noticed the revolvers I was wearing in my holsters.  I drew one and handed it to him for examination, mentioning that it was my first attempt at weapons modification, and that they were not truly finished. At that point, the good Captain complimented me on the revolvers, with a "very well done, m'lady."  (That is right.  The ones I had created!) My head reeled with delight that he had done so, as he and his famed company have an incredible amount of experience and talent.  To further push me into "squee" mode, he mentioned a tip on one place to find good gun manufacturing parts: LCD televisions.  Now you know. 
     Here is a photo of one gun that I modded; the other one is a match.  They do still need some work, as I ran out of time before the con, and had plans to add a few more details and some contrasting colors.

Weaponry by DreamSteam!

     Many folk had incredible sidearms and fantastic handheld weapons, photos of some of which will soon appear in the photo gallery for your enjoyment.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tales from Anachrocon... Coming Soon!

 Greetings, everyone!

I adored Anachrocon. For at least eight hours, there was a goofy smile on my face as I wandered the halls and spoke to many, many artists and other fascinating people and bought lots of souvenirs.  I have lots of pictures and stories to tell, so it may take a while to collect my thoughts and try to decide where to start!

A separate page for all of the photos is now available HERE.  You may also access the photo gallery from the link at the upper right hand edge of the main site page.  I will add more photos daily until I run out, so please check back often.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The answer to... what is the Steampunk version of "Ferret Shock"?

     One day, as I browsed the web for a long time searching for unique materials with which to make jewelry, I commented to a friend that I absolutely had to cease my efforts and go accomplish some daily tasks.  He inquired if I had "ferret shock," and pointed out that it was an actual term.
     Given that I have only met one or two ferrets, it took me a few seconds to remember that he may be referring to their love of all things shiny; I replied that in my case, such a syndrome would result from too many amazing old, rusty, copper and brass things, and that he must come up with a term for that.
Being a clever person, he instantly responded.  "Overclunk," he said.  Perfect!

The original definition:

Ferret shock: A state of extreme disorientation caused by an excessive number of choices or stimuli. Coined by Pete Abrams in the early years of the webcomic, Sluggy Freelance; specifically in reference to the character, Kiki, and her tendency to enter a catatonic state when faced with a large number of 'shiny' things.

This post may have more relevance after the weekend of the 25th, when I plan on making it to Anachrocon!
(Otherwise, it simply shares something I found amusing. *grin*)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Choose Your Futureism - Pre-Order Your Hardcover Copy of Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual

Choose the path to the future in Retropolis, created by Bradley W. Schenck.

This author offers free online serialized and interactive stories, such as The Lair of the Clockwork Book and Trapped in the Tower of the Brain Thieves: The Toaster with Two Brains. Readers may bookmark their place and return at a future time.

About the free online stories, described by the author:
"Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual is a lot like an idea I had back in 1996 when I was first experimenting with web design: a site full of illustrated stories, written so that you could choose one character or another, and then make choices as they move through the tale. And the project's given me a chance to combine free web content - which, incredibly, people like - with a way to promote my work for sale - which, for some reason, I like. The advertising banners you see lead to other sites of mine where I hope I'll be able to shake all of the change out of your pockets. And if you like the Tales on the web site, I certainly hope that you'll consider buying them as books. They're nifty. They really are."

The illustrated hardcover of Bradley W. Schenck's The Lair of the Clockwork Book

On that subject, the beautiful hardcover of The Lair of the Clockwork Book is available for pre-order.

In fact, a certain number of copies must be paid for before the printing will even take place, so if you or someone you know would be interested in helping an author (and owning a copy of the book!), please order soon.  At the time of this writing, they have only received 37% of the total required, and there are only 14 days left.  Not enough pre-orders equals no hardcover book!

Mr. Schenck has created an incredible volume of retro-futuristic artwork for his books, and you may purchase said artwork on more items than the imagination can comprehend in the Retropoilis shop, here. There is truly something for everyone.

Have a story which needs a title, but it just will not name itself? Or just need a laugh? Try Cornelius Zappencackler's Derange-O-Tron Random Pulp Science Fiction Title Generator.  Or don't, and stare gloomily at your blank title page. Either way, enjoy!

If you feel up to blogging/Tweeting/otherwise sharing this post/plea for orders, that would be lovely, and I am sure Mr. Schenck would appreciate it. Thank you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

An Interview with Jake Von Slatt, Steampunk Maker Extrordinaire

     Certainly, Jake Von Slatt and his inventions need no introduction. For example, the modded keyboard and monitor, the motorcycle, the guitar are all a part of steampunk lore. 
     In this Make.com interview with the charming  man behind the machines, he speaks about the thought processes which lead to such marvelous creations.  (I was comforted by his stating that sometimes even he does not have the parts he needs for a project and simply improvises; here I thought I just had a poor supply of materials, when it is simply the order of things. Excellent!)  You will also see him etching the pickguard for his famous guitar, and see some about a steampunk bus to which he contributed.

     If you would like to see what Mr. Von Slatt is making and posting about these days, head over to his site, The Steampunk Workshop.  There, he also has content about all of his past projects (and a post regarding an e-textile cross stitch "Ohm Sweet Ohm" piece), including some information on how he made them.  I still adore his brass and gear Light Switch Plates. Enjoy!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Heavy Metal Animals III

Once again, it is time for the most recent photos from the recycling facility. I present ... Heavy Metal Animals III!

I have found out more about the contest that gave rise to many of the sculptures I have mentioned in past posts.  "The Junque Yard Sculpture contest is held to increase recycling awareness in local communities and to showcase the talent of local college art and welding students." Though, according to the employees I have asked, the contest has been discontinued as of 2010, I see "new" pieces each time I venture downtown to dispose of my recycling, possibly from local art classes. Here are my photos of a few of them.

cat from the March 2009 Junque Yard contest
unicycle (almost), chair, and toothed creature
Some new friends

Old friends (the chain dog may be “Springer Spaniel” by Zoe Alexandra from Georgia Southwestern State University)

Rib Cage and Mounted Pachyderm Head?

a heart of steel, steampunk style
I really wish to name the artists of as many sculptures as I can, but the information I have found often has nothing but a list of the piece title and the artist, without pictures. The best find I have had so far was a gallery of contest winner photos on Facebook.  Another good source was American Recycler Newspaper; there I found mention of the 2008 contest, and have identified two of my favorite sculptures that I mentioned in Heavy Metal Animals and Heavy Metal Animals II.  Yay!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lady Clankington and Her Infernal Devices

     For those who have not met this leather-and-brass-clad femme fatale, this is Lady Clankington, as she has become known in Steampunk circles, adventuress and purveyor of carnal curiosities. The above image is actually one that has been submitted to various places, and it has at the very least started conversations about whether the garb in the photo is "actually steampunk or not."  I believe it certainly is, but to each their own opinions. (Others object to the word "suddenly" in reference to the popularity of steampunk.)
     The other effect it had was to introduce many to (and sell all of) her Infernal Devices, as she and others have called them, created for those who really, really enjoy their steampunk. This collection of hypoallergenic, customized gadgets such as the Little Death Ray would be best perused by mature audiences, and not while at most places of employ (read: probably NSFW, depending on where you work!). If you want something for the steampunk aficionado who has everything... and each one is numbered for collector value.  There have been 100 of each series so far. 
    It seems that all of the ray guns are sold out at this time*, but the shop page promises that more will reach the market soon. In the meantime, you can see that in 2010 at San Diego ComiCon, Lady Clankington gave an interview revealing why she has embraced the role of icon of steampunk-inspired gadgets.

*NOTE:  At Anachrocon, I spoke with Lord Featherstone, the gentleman from Brute Force Studios who makes the "guns", says that the Mark III Little Death Ray infernal devices are NOW for sale.  

(At the Brute Force booth at Anachrocon 2012, I took the below photo of the device engraved as #001.  Lord Featherstone was very proud of the craftsmanship he had invested in the example he had with him.   He also confided in me that both items #069 and #007 usually result in a bidding war, so buy early and bid very early if you want those serial numbers on your Little Death Ray.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sweets for the Sweet: The Art of Victorian Candy Making

     What types of candy enchanted the sweet-toothed residents of the Victorian era?
Among many others, according to "Miss Mary's Vintage and Victorian Archive," the treats on the following list did:

Sugar Plums, Butter Scotch, Molasses Candy, Almond Candy, Maple Candy (my favorite), Chocolate Caramels, and Sugared Pop Corn.

     Want to charm your sweetheart with some handmade candy for Valentine's Day?   The recipes for these delectable treats can be found here.  For explanations and tips on basic candy making techniques and the tools necessary to produce your own traditional confections, the site entitled "Old Fashioned Candy Secrets and Recipes" will have you cooking in no time.

Donate here to help keep Victorian candy-making from becoming a lost art!
 Rather purchase your candy than make a mess of your kitchen? There is help for that, too.
     One group of people who are attempting to keep the art of Victorian candy-making alive is Lofty Pursuits/Public Displays of Confection in Tallahassee, Florida; they seek out, purchase, restore, and then utilize the original machinery to produce tasty treats of the Victorian era.  Should you wish to help their cause, for the next three days, you may contribute to their funds drive via this link.
     Why (other than the satisfaction of helping to preserve a wonderful part of Victorian life) would you do this?  Because certain contribution levels will receive rewards ranging from a "Lofy Pursuits" pin, to in-person demonstrations of their candy-making skills (the latter being reserved for the pledge of $3,000 or more and being within 5 hours of their base of operations).  For as little as $25, you will receive a bag of their handmade hard candy.  Yum!

This project successfully raised its funding goal on February 4.  Congrats!  To read about their current status and projects (including labels for their handmade candies), see this page.


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