Sunday, June 1, 2008

Steampunk History: Sparkletack

Diagram of a Cable Car rail-bed

After starting new employment, I had a bit of time to wait until formal training began for the position. Not wanting to waste manpower, I was assigned a temporary task of sorting files... for eight hours a day.

Fortunately, to disctract myself, I had discovered a podcast named "Sparkletack", an audio history of San Francisco. As a one-time resident, I always have a fondness for the City by the Bay, but as I listened to the gentleman who narrated it, I was amazed at the wealth of history about the city (and disappointed I failed to understand) San Francisco had and has.

1865 panorama of San Francisco

Many of the topics are very closely related to the Steampunk genre (e.g. the development of the ubiquitous SF cable cars [to save the lives of local horses], the development of Anchor Steam beer, extensive detail on the life of Emperor Norton, how blue-jeans started [not exactly how you might think...]), and many more stories involving the City.

The exterior of the Grand Hotel, 1874

Entertaining, historical-based (with a plethora of photos and links), and well priced (free), Sparkletack is is a fantastic historical resource, doubly if you enjoy Steampunk, and quadruple if you have ever lived in SF. I cannot recommend enough that one goes and download a few episodes - you're certain to be hooked!

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