On a lighter note, one of my favorite clips from Young Frankenstein... Enjoy!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Happy Halloween! This clip is by those crazy Soviets, who apparently thought that killing and reviving animals was a proper avenue of scientic study. This clip is long and disturbing, so if you are ill-at-ease with such things, please do not watch this particular video.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
"Boy's Room" by Miss Faryndreyn
Pleasantly discovered Miss Faryndreyn's work via the Steampunk Home (from abouts of Tinkergirl) regarding steampunk interior design. Very well conceived conceptually - so if you wish to learn more or see of her work, please go to:
and visit Miss Faryndreyn's site:
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Just before she left (to attend to business in Gor), she offered friendship, and I accepted – how could I not from such an erudite woman? She also provided me with copies of her works, which I read – they were very well done, so much that I vowed the next time I was to see her, I would ask her for more of her work.
That was not to be. I logged on this morning to do some SL work, and received the following message (edited for this blog)…
It is with great sadness that I must tell you that my RL friend and one time employee who was known as Timely Sands, has died. At the far too young age of 43, she suffered a massive stroke on week ago, two days after a day surgery to remove a benign tumor. She leaves a husband and two children. Her SL fantasy life was largely unknown to them – so I regret there was no way to contact them in RL.
SL will miss her in all her roles:
Caledonian Intrepid Explorer and part-time spy during the Neualtenburg war.
FreeWoman scribe of Gorean Tafa
Mistress to Bryn, Dina, Taa
Friend to Margie, Marcia, and Margie Meng
As her friend – I thank you for all the fun you brought to her life.
I had read about those who lose friend in SL/RL, but the sadness is something that one does not comprehend until it happens personally. Although I only met her once, she was (and will remain) one of the most memorable people I have had the pleasure of knowing in SL
Farewell Timely – you will be missed.
Monday, October 22, 2007
1 = Similar in name only
Affinity to the Victorian Era
1 = No similarities at all (One would be completely out of place – e.g. a space sim or a techno club).
Depth of Sim
1 = A couple of buildings or stores to see, nothing more
Now that the rating system is outlined, let us begin with the first sim….
There are quite a number of merchants, but aside from the Eiffel Tower, there really isn’t much more to do.
Actually a group of sims, Paris 1900 is an interesting build with a number of Paris landmarks under a turn-of-the-century veneer. I specifically use this term, because although many portions of the sim evoke a Moulin Rouge-esque atmosphere, it isn’t uncommon to see modern (e.g. post 1970) items, such as autos, modern clothes, and objects. (One interesting note, this is a French sim, so English is not the primary language, and you will see much French chat, so having a Babbler is suggested if you wish to engage in conversation with the locals.)
The Moulin Rouge is an extremely large dance hall, a stage, and a seating area to relax (and dispense beverages). It is quite well done, with more than ample space to entertain groups and parties, but alas, I was unable to ascertain the schedule of events for the Moulin Rouge. (Additionally, in its entrance, there is a historical information site about Paris – very enlightening).
In the outdoor passage, there is a huge elephant that I originally passed by, but upon leaving the main dance floor, I noticed a stairwell on the side of the elephant. Curiosity getting the better of me, I followed it up, into the bowels of the giant pachyderm. Inside, a luxurious lounge awaited those needing a respite from the activities of the floor – intriguing!
To the east is a replica of the Arc de Triomphe, complete with a note-card explaining the background and history of the Arc. In addition to the architectural details, there is a … ride attached to the monument. A sort of hanging slide is available for those wishing to indulge in it.
Further into the sim, the largest representation of the Eiffel Tower is resides here. It is comprised of four sims, each covering a quarter of the tower.
Back in the "Champs Elysee", there are a number modern stores, but best is a small café to the left of the Moulin Rouge. A set of tables, chairs, and beverages (from inside the café), allows one to indulge in people watching, probably as in rl!
Chateau de Versailles
I first learned of Chateau de Versailles from Miss Tombola’s blog, and felt I needed pay it a visit. Unfortunately, I sent my assistant, Pasquale, ahead to garner a feel for this unique locale.
The Viscount correcting Pasquale on courtly manners
Grand Duchess Debevec and one of her handmaidens
Artesia playing the harp
I later returned with Artesia, to indulge in the atmosphere, and see if I could investigate a few more details regarding Versailles. First, the courtyard is quite large, with "painting" stands (instead of camping chairs)… very appropriate and very beautiful. I attempted to locate any wandering resident, but unfortunately none were available at the time. We went upstairs to the golden room, where we proceeded to enjoy a duet, with Artesia playing the harp, and myself on the (piano).
Representation = 4 (A very nicely done build of Versaille - but only that from what I've seen)
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Best Known portrait of Nikola Tesla
Age 38, 6’2", 140 lbs. A tall, slender man, with a neatly trimmed thin mustache, intense gray-blue eyes, and black hair, dressed in a stylish suit and derby hat. He speaks English precisely, with only a slight accent.
Advantages: Ambidexterity, Attractive, Cool (under pressure), Eidetic Memory, Filthy rich, Less sleep, Lightning Calculator, Mathematical Ability, Strong Will, Versatile
Disadvantages: Compulsive Generosity, Loner, Obsession (Control himself and nature) , Phobia (Germs), Proud
Quirks: Dislikes June bugs and pearls (believes they drain life); Fascinated by cut gemstones; Calculates the volume of his food; Likes Pigeons; Likes the number 3
The above is the not-too-legendary version of Nikola Tesla early in 1895.
Nikola Tesla was born in the village of Smiljan, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, at midnight between July9 and 10, 1856. Though a sickly child, he grew into a vigorous and very intelligent young man. By the time he emigrated to the United States at 28, he was probably one of the world’s greatest inventors, but no one knew it yet. He had not published or patented the ideas that he carried in his head.
Tesla’s first year in America was difficult. He was hired by Thomas Edison, but soon quit. (Edison was dedicated to DC power and did not want to hear about Tesla’s AC system; the last straw was a disagreement over a bonus that Tesla thought Edison had promised). He worked as an engineer in a start-up company, but was soon pushed out by its investors. From spring of 1886 until 1887, he was reduced to working as a manual laborer. His luck finally changed in 1887, when he was backed by new investors. Within six months, he patented AC power dynamos, transformers, distribution systems, and motors. Soon afterwards, the patents were sold to George Westinghouse for a million dollars, plus royalties that would have totaled over 12 million dollars, but to help win the "battle of the currents", he later gave those up.
For the next seven years, Tesla was the toast of New York and the world as he made one amazing invention after another. He lectured in America and Europe, giving demonstrations that mystified both the public and scientists. At times, he seemed more like a flamboyant stage magician than a scientist. Invitations to his lavish parties followed by demonstration of his research were much sought after.
Disaster struck on March 13, 1895: a fire swept through his uninsured laboratory, where all the money from his patents had been invested. Afterwards, he had to work with a more limited budget, mostly from donations. Despite this, he continued to show off new inventions and advance ideas for grandiose projects. But all his efforts did not produce any patents that businessmen were interested in buying.
From 1903 on, it became increasing difficult for him to get loans or investments in his brainchild, broadcast energy. Over the previous eight years, he had spent $400,000 on experiments and had virtually nothing to show for it. His reputation declined, eclipsed by other inventors and smeared by rivals. He became a recluse, ignored by society, all but forgotten when he died in 1943. His last success came after his death, when the Supreme Court ruled that he, not Marconi, was the inventor of radio.
Tesla was one of the most ingenious men who ever lived, but he could also seem quite insane. His obsession with control caused him to reject emotion and try to be a perfect rational scientist. Though he rejected companionship, he loved the worship of admirers, though he might be unflustered by lab accidents or weird events, he had a streak of drama. Appeals to his pride could induce him to show off his lab or talk to people, especially rich, famous, or obviously intelligent ones.
Telsa could be encountered anywhere, but he spend most of his time in his labs, first on South 5th Avenue just a few blocks away from Edison’s New York headquarters, later on the Lower East Side of New York, near Colorado Springs, and on Long Island. He lived almost his whole adult life in hotels, starting out with the luxurious Waldorf-Asotria and declining to the New Yorker by the time of his death. For as long as he could afford it, he dined every night at Delmonico’s Restaurant, but never with anyone unless he was throwing a party.
Cheney, Margret: Tesla: Man out of Time
O’Neill, John J.: Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla
Peat, F. David: In Search of Nikola Tesla
An just in case you wish to try your hand at his inventions…
During a previous SL visit, I engaged in a lively discussion about some of my previous entries, specifically the ones on Victorian Vices. I admitted that I omitted one piece, as I was concerned that it may be too questionable (although I wasn't qute sure). Upon hearing this, I was "challenged" to post this missing entry – practically a "double dog dare". Well, I am not one to back down from a dare or challenge, and speaking from the sake of completeness, I shall post it…
Victorians held the stereotype that women were incapable of sexual pleasure and endured their husband’s attentions out of affection and a desire for children. For many women, this was true. But Victorian medicine recognized that widows, women unsatisfactorily married, and young women ready for marriage might have unmet psychological needs. The long-established treatment was massage of the procreative organs to induce a convulsive state called "hysterical paroxysm". This was not viewed as a sexual act (after all, sexual intercourse did not produce such states), though doctors such as Freud’s teacher Charcot recognized some connection with sexuality.
Originally, this treatment was performed manually. But this was time-consuming, an hour per patient or more. In the 1880’s, doctors began inventing technological aids, vibratory massage equipment that could complete the same treatment in 10 minutes. The first designs were large, floor-mounted units, often powered hydraulically or by small steam engines; electricity made smaller models possible, and by the turn of the century they were widely marketed for home use through mail order catalogues – as a way of restoring health and the glow of youth. Ironically, motion pictures drove the off the market, as early stag films showed their use in unmistakably sexual terms that made them an embarrassment.
Stoddard, W.H. (2000) - Gurps Steampunk, pg. 29, SJG:Austin
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Steampunk Ceylon rendering
The talented Mr. Promus-Kaa has been hard at work, this time portraying a "Steampunk Ceylon" - supurb! Quite a fan of this gentleman (his "Steampunk Dr. Who was focused in this blog back on the July 19th entry), we look forward to seeing more of his work in the future - Kudos, sir! To indulge in further works of his, please visit:
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Lets see... a party in a tent, in the middle of the artic, an old military gentleman playing water music on martini glassesas a midget turns gears that causes the entire base of the table to rotate... sounds like another Caledonian party, hosted by Mr. Tony Sinclair, Post-Victorian party cad!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Zepplin at the 2004 Athens Olympics
An interesting article postulating the use of air ships for rl travel was in the BBC today. A bit fluffy, but still, it would be a great trip - no matter the destination!
Friday, October 12, 2007
(http://caledonstroll.blogspot.com/2007/09/for-my-fellow-warrior-woman.html , http://caledonstroll.blogspot.com/2007/09/loch-avie-academy-of-arms-tournament.html ,
Styles of European Fencing
"The Old School"
The old combat styles didn’t instantly shrivel up and blow away before the rapier. For example, the manuals of old-style military combat published in Italy by Marozzo and Dell’Aggochie at the end of the 16th century were in print nearly to the end of the 17th century. The combat they taught wasn’t as de mode as the rapier, but their battlefield pragmatics earned them a place among men who lived by the sword. Contrary to the claims of Victorian antiquarians, this was a mobile style that relied heavily on active footwork, not just standing and bashing.
It tended to be a composite of techniques taught by older schools, as would be found across Europe to the end of the 16th century. By the end of the 17th century, this would be much rarer – although nations on the "fringe" (of Europe) (e.g. Scotland, Russia, ect…) might still prefer it.
Unlike the English, who squabbled over whether or not the rapier belonged in their country (much less in the same school as older weapons), the Italians saw it as a natural outgrowth of older swordsmanship. Thus, the Italians often taught the rapier side-by-side with older weapons. The practice was carried across Europe by Italian masters and their students.
The Italian school is daring, emphasizing stresso tempo, counterattacks in "one time", over dui tempi, or parry-riposte combinations. It also favored thrusts over cuts. This style was popular in Italy until the end of the 18th century, and could still be found up to the middle of the 19th century in some places. The Italians preserved the used of secondary weapons (dagger and cloak) for longer than any other European country.
La Destreza Verdadera
The Spanish were the first to recognize that civilian combat was a world unto itself, with features distinct from military conflicts. Combined with the Spanish sensitivity regarding personal honor, this led Spain to develop one of the earliest schools of rapier and refine their techniques specifically for civilian encounters. They called their art La Destrenza Verdadera – "The True Skill." Students were required to learn geometry and natural philosophy, deemed vital for understanding efficient timing and methods of attack and defense. They were also taught to read their opponent’s every cue, moving precisely at the best moment. Finally they were trained to maintain contact with their opponent’s blade, and were given access to defensive techniques purported to be effective even in the dark of night.
In combat, a Diestro (as practitioners called themselves), was to remain detached and project dignity and grace. Extreme movements were to be avoided, as was any "vulgarity" in form or technique. The Diestro held himself perfectly erect, his point always upon his enemy. Attack would occur only when he had obtained deviso: redirection of – or possibly indifference to – his opponent’s weapon.
Transitional French School
As the 17th century passed, rapiers grew lighter and shorter. Masters emphasized the use of the sword alone for offence and defense. Likewise, armor fell out of use by Europe’s major armies, removing the need for the lance and other heavy military weapons. The era between the long Italian rapier and the 18th century small sword is now known as the "Transitional Era". At the time, it was simply seen as an improved way to use the rapier.
French Maites d’arms led the way in developing this style, which appeared around 1640. It emphasized defense over offence and was more academic than the Italian School. Elegance of execution was as important as technical effectiveness. Nevertheless, the earnest duel was still the object of study. In France, this school was completely replaced by the Smallsword style by 1720.
Nothing succeeds like success. Duellists of the Transitional school realized that a lighter weapon was easier to use in the new ripose-oriented style. The ultimate end of this arms race was the small sword, which appeared in the 18th century. It was a short, stiff sword, barely larger than a small knife. The style associated with ti emphasized elegance above all, although proponents insisted that its defensive technique could be applied to all forms of combat. The smallsword era was the heyday of academic fencing. Masters of the day were still expected to train cavalry in the use of the saber, and some also taught the use fo the cutlass. This style lasted unitl circa 1830.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
A ty to Mr. Loki Eliot for posting the link in the New Babbage Steampunk Forum Board. The background for the movie are stunning - I loved the opening scene of the skyships above the city and the steam/sail ship. Impressive - please enjoy!
Classic photo of Sir Richard Burton relaxing in Sufi garb
Sir Richard Burton
Born 1821, Died 1890
Age 37; 6’, 165 lbs. A darkly handsome Englishman, with facial scars, dressed and armed as circumstances require.
Advantages: Attractive, Cultural Adaptability, Language Talent, Military Rank; Reputation (Famous Explorer), Strong Will
Disadvantages: Addiction (Cannabis & opium), Bad Temper, Lecherousness, Secret (Despises many classes of people)
Quirks: Dislikes Beer; Very tolerant of Arabs and women (for his time); Fascinated by exotic erotica and old texts (which he then translates into pseudo-archaic English); Insists words be pronounced properly; Practicing Sufi (Muslim Mystic)
Sketch of Sir Richard in traveller's clothes
This represents Burton c. 1857. Two features of his character are of utmost importance. First, his love of languages; he is generally considered one of the greatest linguists ever, speaking 29 languages and 15 dialects, though it is hard to ascertain exactly what they were. Second, his prejudices; he had negative views of a wide range of people, including blacks, Jews, many Orientals, and most lower-class Europeans. However, as a traveler and a sometime secret agent, he was expert at keeping these feelings hidden; hence, this rates as a secret rather than Intolerance. Burton was a man of strong opinions and equally strong will.
His wealth fluctuates around Comfortable (as one anecdote puts it, his grandfather died on the way to his lawyer to change his will to allow Burton to inherit). At certain times, he could have a negative reputation (as "Ruffian Dick", a shady opinionated nuisance); in later years, one might add Diplomacy.
Sir Richard Burton is one of history’s most dashing adventurers (so much so that many have cast doubts on his story). Born in 1821 to an English ex-soldier’s family, Burton relocated frequently between France, Italy, and England as a child, leaving him with an intense wanderlust. There was a rumor that his family had Gypsy blood, as evidenced by his dark features and "Gypsy Stare"; coincidentally, he was the first to not the resemblance of the Romany to the Indian races.
Color painting in Arab garb
Attending Oxford at the age of 19, Burton worked overtime to get himself expelled by the end of his second year, finding academia dull. Shortly thereafter, he joind the East India Company as a soldier, rising quickly in the ranks. It’s a sign of his abilities that the British continued to trust him with assignments despite his outspoken-ness over the treatment of the natives and of women at home. Burton was involved with the British invasion of Afghanistan and the aborted invasion of Iran.
Sepia tone of Sir Richard
Also during this period, Burton reportedly fell in love with a Persian woman. Whatever the nature of their affair, the woman was punished by her family – murdered by poison. Burton became despondent, and intensified his belief in women’s rights. His many opinions made him enemies, resulting in the failure of his military career.
In 1852, Burton traveled to the Middle East. He spent the better part of three years there, most often in disguise, and became one of the first westerners to enter the sacred city of Mecca, as well as the first to enter Harrar, in Ethiopia. In 1855, he was involved in the Crimean War, but in 1857 returned to Africa in an unsuccessful attempt to discover the source of the Nile. He did discover Lake Tanganyika.
Picture of Richard Burton en route the the Haj
In 1860, he set out for Salt Lake City to write a biography of Brigham Young. After visiting South America, he returned to England and married Isabel Arundell, who was strangely convinved he was Catholic. (His sister thought him Anglican; he himself had taken to Islam and embraced Sufism early on, although he wrestled frequently with atheism). He served as British Counsul in Fernando Po, off West Africa, from 1861-1864, then transferred to Santos, Brazil until 1868; Damascus, Syria until 1871, and Trieste, Italy until his death in 1890.
Sir Richard and Isabel
Burton in History
Aside from his adventuring, Burton was an author, translator, and pioneering anthropologist. He published 43 volumes about his travels, and 30 volumes of translations. While his reputation was immense, he sold very few books during his life and was widely scorned. Many of his problems came from challenges to traditional Victorian morals (he translated a fair amount of erotica); his eccentric approach to style and vocabulary in translations didn’t help, neither did his critisims of his rivals. Oddly, there were remarkably few questions as to where his loyalties lay; despite everything, he remained a staunch supporter of British Imperialism.
Sir Richard Burton's Arab tent mausoleum in Mortlake, London (Yes, the tent is made of stone)
Burton’s reaction to others would depend on circumstances. There are some who believe that he killed wantonly in the Middle East to protect his disguises, while other (including Burton himself) claim he never actually killed a man in his life. He is certainly determiend, tough, and charasmatic. No stranger to the unexpected, Butron will likely take almost any strangeness in his stride. Although he does not believe in the occult, he studies paranormal phenomena (he coined the phrase "ESP") and would leap at any opportunity for an unusual adventure
Infante, V. (1999) - Gurps Who's Who I, pg. 108-109, SJG:Austin
[edited for removal of game specific content]
Brodie, Fawn M.: The Devil Drives: A life of Sir Richard Burton
Burton, Isabel; The Life of Captain Sir Richard F. Burton, 2 vol.
Kipling, Rudyard; Kim (a novel based partly on Burton’s career)
Rice, Edward: Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton
Stisted, Georgiana: The True Life of Capt. Sir Richard F. Burton