Thursday, January 31, 2008

Shakedown Cruise in New Babbage...



View of the Albatross over Port Babbage docks

Returned to the domicile to discover I had reached a (temporary) void of creativity. Still, I felt the need to contribute to the Heliograph, but struggled to find inspiration. Hopped offline to visit SLexchange, and decided to indulge in a new toy - my perky little airship, the Brass Albatross (yes, again, not too clever, but I did have to name it something, other than "the ship"). Flew around New Babbage on its shakedown cruise, to see how it would cross sims, and it held up quite well, with only one minor bug. So, my apologies in advance for this bit of self-indulgence, but I promise to return with entries that are a bit meatier than a simple photo-tour.




Flying out towards the Vernian Sea



Approaching the light house....



and reaching the southeast corner, rumored to be a hotbed of malicious characters!



Returning back to civilization, overlooking the Canals and the Square



A view from inside the cockpit of the bird, overlooking the church steeple


Returning back home, using the light as a beacon (its intended purpose - lol)!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Book Trailer for the "Table of Shadows"

A video for a book, it has some impressive images of airships, seaships, and cityscapes. Not quite sure about the book, but it is available on Amazon.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Victorian / Steampunk (RL) Timeline, 1861 to 1871



Yet more of this continuing series...

1861 to 1865 – The American Civil War ends in the defeat of the South; as a byproduct, slavery is abolished.

1861 – Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia is enthroned as king of a unified Italy.

1862 to 1869 – The Union Pacific Railway, the first transcontinental railway in North America, is constructed.

1862 – Otto von Bismark becomes Prime Minister of Prussia.
R.J. Gattling invents the Gattling gun.
The first battle between ironclad ships, the Monitor and the Virginia, takes place.

1864 – Karl Marx founds the First International Workingmen’s Association in London and New York.
Pope Pius IX condemns liberalism, rationalism, and socialism in the Syllabus Errorum.
The first Geneva Convention establishes the neutrality of medical facilities in war.

1865 – The laying of a transatlantic telegraph is completed by the steamship Great Eastern.
James Clerk Maxwell publishes his electromagnetic equations.
Joseph Lister develops antiseptic surgery.
Gregor Mendel publishes his work on genetics, which is ignored.

1866 – The Austro-Prussian War ends in a rapid Prussian victory and establishes Prussian dominance over the North German Federation.
Alfred Nobel invents dynamite.

1867 – Canada is organized as a dominion.
Russia sells Alaska to the United States.
Diamonds are discovered in South Africa.

1868 – The shougunate is abolished in Japan; the Meiji Dynasty is established and begins to modernize and Westernise Japan.

1869 – Thomas Edison creates his first successful invention, the stock ticker.
Dmitri Mendeleyev publishes the Periodic Table.
Francis Galton publishes Hereditary Genius, the first major work on eugenics.

1870 to 1871 – The Franco-Prussian war leads quickly to a French defeat. The Paraisians revolt and found the Paris commune but are then defeated by the Prussians. The King of Prussia becomes the Emperor of Germany. Italy takes advantage of French distractions to seize Rome from the Pope.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Steampunk Media: Jules Verne's Movies, Part 1



Last year, one of my earliest polls considered the most popular "modern" Steampunk movie made in the last decade and a half (http://voyagesofdrfabre.blogspot.com/2007/08/poll-best-recent-steampunk-movie.html ).

However, Mr. O’Toole did comment on the lack of "classic" Steampunk movies in the poll, and this was by design. Some of the best Steampunk cinema (before it was known as such) took place in the 1950's, with the Disney corporation making a number of movies capturing the essence of the genre. Later remakes, especially of Julius Verne movies, have proven prolific, if of varying quality.

I had originally intended to consolidate all of the variations of his cinamatographic reproductions into one giant poll, but the length was astounding, with over 14 distinct choices – a bit much to read for a relaxing sitting.

As such, I am reducing the options by movie, starting with perhaps the most defining Steampunk movie, "20,000 Leagues under the sea". For descriptive narrative, I have blatantly plagiarized Amazon’s descriptions, so my apologies in advance. I will keep the voting open until mid-February, in an effort to garner a larger pool of responses. Without further ado, here are the selections:




(1916 version)

"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" was the first great special effects spectacular of early cinema. Based on the Jules Verne novel, the story concerns a team of scientists investigating a series of naval disturbances who find the culprit is the Nautilus, a submarine piloted by Captain Nemo, a hate-driven renegade seaman. Over a year-and-a-half in production, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" is a colorful recreation of Verne's science fiction classic.





(1954 Version)

Climb aboard the Nautilus ... and into a strange undersea world of spellbinding adventure! Kirk Douglas, Paul Lukas, and Peter Lorre star as shipwrecked survivors taken captive by the mysterious Captain Nemo, brilliantly portrayed by James Mason. Wavering between genius and madness, Nemo has launched a deadly crusade across the seven seas. But can the captive crew expose his evil plan before he destroys the world? Disney's brilliant Academy Award(R)-winning (1955, Best Art Direction and Best Special Effects) adaptation of Jules Verne's gripping tale makes 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA a truly mesmerizing masterpiece!





(1996 Version)

Any interpretation of Jules Verne's novel will have limitations. Mostly, this is due to the fact that our images of his fantastic technologies are colored by our own experience with what would be his future. Thus, the inside of the Nautilus becomes cheesy (the 1950s Disney version), or too close to reality (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). This film, however, does a good job of tempering Verne's own time with ours. The ships in the film look very period - including the Nautilus.

Moreover, the story line itself, while modified, does a good job of portraying the complexity of Nemo's character, leaving the viewer (like Professor Aronnax) torn between admiration and disdain. Yet, this is a television version - thus we see romance and jealousy introduced into the story. Instead of a faithful servent, the Professor is accompanied by his beautiful daughter (Julie Cox), leading to contention between Nemo and the whaler Ned Land. If you are a purist, the story changes may be aggravating.




(1997 Version)

The year is 1886 and New England's fishing harbor is the scene for a "creature of unknown origin" destroying all ships at sea. It is the job of a curious marine expert, Professor Pierre Aronnax (Patrick Dempsey from the hit TV show "Grey's Anatomy") and the iron-willed sailor, Ned Land (Bryan Brown) to learn the truth of the "monster" roaming the depths of the ocean. Their discovery begins when they encounter the reclusive Captain Nemo (Academy Award Winner Michael Caine) and learn of his surprising relationship with the terrorizing "creature" and all the other secrets lurking in the waters.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Various Victorian weblinks...



Working hard to keep up with the blog after this week of travails...

A small collection of websites I have located during this month, which may be of interest to those who skim this small blog…



The Gentleman’s Page
A well-done blog on the many of the manners and expected behaviors of a gentleman of the era. Through, it has a good number of topics it touches upon, such as: Deportment, how to act in the presence of ladies, Greetings, a review of suits and coats, and many more items that any Victorian / Steampunk gentleman should know! (It even has a small excerpt from Mark Twain’s unfinished book of etiquette – listing in which order to save individuals from a boarding house fire!)
http://www.lahacal.org/gentleman/behavior.html


Victorian London
Part of the "Ward Family Tree" genelogical website, it has good insight into differing aspects of London in Victorian time (hence the name).


WW1: Experience of an English Soldier
The transcripts of an English soldier involved in the Great War… the letters are updated literally as of 100 years ago, and this award-winning blog has been featured by numerous entities, such as the CBC, ABC, and ARD (German Television). A fantastic slice of reality… almost a step back into time!
http://wwar1.blogspot.com/



Wondermark
A clever comic of Victorian individuals with modern dilemmas. The era artwork is quite good.
http://wondermark.com/

and last but not least…


The Heliograph in the Apache wars
A look at how the Heliograph was used during this conflict, with illustrations and links about the use of said piece of equipment.
http://www.discoverseaz.com/History/Heliograph.html


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Steampunk Travelogue: Device Shoppes



Skyship on display (along with other vehicles) at Steamforge

One of the nuances of Steampunk are the clever devices that stand out in the "regular" second life realm (or even rl realm) as being of antiquated but unexplainable (or just unique) technology. Having small items that non-steampunk denizens see being used and hear the admiring comments such as "My, that is unique! It serves a modern purpose, but looks as if it was from an earlier time!" are always a pleasure to experience.




Ordinal Enterprises - a Caledon landmark (above - a view of her store)

I do have a few that I commonly use, and felt that at least mentioning them (or the stores I procured them from), might be of interest to anyone seeking new things to experiment and enjoy. Keep in mind, I try not to promote commercial enterprises, as this is better left to the individual proprietors, but as with every rule, there are exceptions (as this is). Seeing Steampunk items on those who follow the genre is always a joy, almost a kind of subtle "tip of the hat" to each other either in a Victorian sim, or especially in a non-Victorian area (e.g. the rest of SL).




Gaslights Emporium (Port Babbage)

Down the street from my small enterprise and domicile, exists Gaslights Emporium, the men’s haberdasher I frequent during my walks in the Port. Although I purchase a good number of clothing items from here, one of my most recent addictions has been canes, especially clever ones! I have a collection of them, and usually add one a month (I have one more to go!) The most popular one I’ve seen about it the "Gaslight Cane", which is of course, a cane, but has a gas lamp built into it. The gas lamp emits light, either a bright or dim illumination, which is very convenient if you find yourself trying to navigate at night.



A wide selection of canes at Gaslights Emporium

A number of other canes are available, so if you tire of the gas lamp cane, the hydraulic cane or a walking cane make for a smart alternative choice.



More useful items for any Steampunk fellow or lady

A good number of other items are available (e.g. guns, steampunk mechanical body replacements, submersibles), so a visit may be worth your while to the Gaslights Emporium. Additionally, Mr. Vincente Shepherd has a website for his endeavor, at http://gaslightsemporium.blogspot.com/.




Submersibles & enhanced body parts are also available!
--------------------




Steamforge Complex

I discovered Steamforge while I was writing about Solarya, and was quite impressed with their work (the proprietor works with a clothes designer, Unzipped, to provide clothes to match his mechanical devices). One item in specific, stood out, the unique Steampunk hat, which had gears that turned, built in lighting (for those darkened sims), but best of all, an analog clock on its front, that read SL time! Needless to say, I purchased it, and was extremely satisfied. However, one item followed another, and I ended up with a complete steampunk "adventurer" outfit.



My new favorite chapeau - with SL time!



Well done backpack for expeditions, and fortunately modifiable!

The knee additions have working gears, and the backpack is quite nice, although I’ll be changing the paw to a cog soon enough! Speaking of which, they also had a clever "Steampunk Neko" combination… "rusted" ears and paws – quite well done (they have a fairly large neko selection, I might add).



The wide selection of items at Steamforge

Visiting their main location provides access to the larger selection of their goods, including some of the fascinating vehicles, and a well-done airship (and the mechanical fellow parked in the center of the lawn).



A friendly giant waiting to help you!

-------------------



Ordinal Enterprises (Caledon I)

The first place I had seen items that announced "Steampunk" upon my arrival to Caledon, Ordinal Enterprises holds a bevy of clever, entertaining, and (after looking at the photo again) well-armed items. Her store is one of the oldest standard bearers of the genre, and contains products that are continually in demand, from her standard developments (the Beehive Launcher and Derringer) to the newest items (the Galvonic Swordstick and her delicious "Festive Humbugs" – all the rage in Caledon and Babbage this past holiday season).




Inside her store, with a plethora of armaments (and other items)
Additionally, she provides a tour of Caledon via her airship, and additional bonus after one finishes shopping her wares and enjoys a visit of her dock overlooking Skysteam City. A must visit for any Steampunk-esque individual! To learn more about her products, please head to her website: http://ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/.


Enjoying the view from the back dock, looking out to Southern Caledon

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Steampunk Media - Girl Genius!



I have been a bit remiss in writing on this wonderful work, and have finally had the opportunity to do so! My first encounter with Miss Agatha Hetrodyne’s story was at the urging of Miss Virrgina Tombola, who mentioned that she found the webcomic to be supurb (if I remember her modest quote correctly…). I visited girlgenius.com last year, spend a good chunk of time enthralled reading her adventures, but with my miniscule attention span, failed to make note of annotating it to the blog.

Recently, I realized that I had failed to make a post on it, and since Baron Wulfenbach has established his presence in SL (or at least consulates, for now), I felt the least I should do would be return and catch up on the episodes I had missed. A couple of hours later (I re-started from the beginning (chapter one) and working my way to chapter seven, I realized that I needed to do my part in spreading the probably best Gaslamp Fantasy / Steampunk online comic…

Please visit the following links:

Girl Genius comic


Jagerkin TK - all about Girl Genius


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Steampunk Monster.com commerical

Saw this commerical a few days ago, and loved it! Very quirky, with various steampunk twinges (you'll see at the end), accompanied by the Obernkirchen Children's Choir singing "The Happy Wanderer"!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Strange encounter in Babbage under a windlight fog

A Babbage machima by Miss Katiya Rhode.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Poll Results - Is Caledon too Big?


(Port Babbage) - Surprisingly enough, the vote was in favor of further expansion of Caledon – go figure! The results of the survey "Is Caledon Too Big"?…

Yes, its too big: 33.3%

It’s just the right size, not too big, not to small: 16.7%

No, it needs to be bigger: 8.3%

Manifest Destiny – Unbridled growth ahead: 41.7%

[Combination of the "Bigger" party = 58.4%]

It would seem that that the desire for Caledon to grow is insatiable! As voting began, the "Manifest Destiny" crowd seemed to be dominating the vote. However, near the end to the selection period, the "Too Big" group made a dramatic upsurge in its voice. Not quite a dead heat, but an interesting divide between the two groups. The "Stay Pat" group was in the minority, and never made any significant gains (my selection – lol)!

However, few items of note:

1) I feel that I need to be a bit less flippant offering future choices – the combination of "No, it needs to be bigger" and "Manifest Destiny" are essentially the same, with only slight grade of grey. As such, I will combine those for statistical analysis purposes, and be clearer with choices in the future.

2) As I understand it, the expansion of Caledon will end with the remaining four planned sims. Please do not quote me on this, as I cannot attribute this to a specific source. If there is word to the contrary, please let me know!

3) Also, I have understood that Steelhead will be expanding in the near future. Steelhead Harborside is filling out quite smartly, and from what I have seen, it is my opinion (*editorial alert*) that Steelhead will prove to be an excellent destination, especially with its cohesive theme.

4) Additionally, New Babbage is expected to expand in the first part of this year, and Antiquity, well… they have recently opened Antiquity Township East, a second urban Victorian sim, growing dramatically since its opening in early August of last year.

Growing Victorian-era sims (Steelhead, Antiquity, New Babbage), more sims joining with Caledon (Winterfell, Brythony Isle), and new sims (Solarya) all point to the growing interest of Victorian and Steampunk themes in Second Life, it would seem. Question is – well, that may be another poll!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Upcoming Antiquity Events



The following events are upcoming in Antiquity for the week of 21Jan08 to 27Jan08:

21 Jan (Monday) - Sea Battles (Longships) @ 8pm SLT (Antiquity Lagoon)

24 Jan (Thursday) - Sea Battles @ 8pm SLT (Antiquity Lagoon)

25 Jan (Friday) - Geisha Event @ 12pm SLT (Antiquity Township East)
Wild West Party at the Shipyard @ 4pm SLT (Antiquity Cove)

26 Jan (Saturday) - Sea Battles @ 8pm SLT (Antiquity Lagoon

27 Jan (Sunday) - Beaumont-Tendaze Wedding @11am SLT
Mid-Winter Ball (and Reception) @ 11:30am SLT
Sea Battles @ 8pm SLT (Antiquity Tortuga)

Victorian / Steampunk (RL) Timeline, 1851-1860




1851 – The Great Exhibition is held in England with the encourgement of Prince Albert. One of its main attractions is the Crystal Place, a glass and iron building.

1852 – Louis Napoleon establishes the Second Empire as Napoleon III.
Henir Giffard builds the first steam powered dirigible.
E.G. Otis invents the safety elevator.

1853 to 1856 – The Crimean War: Russia is defeated by the Ottoman Empire and its allies Great Britain and France.

1853 – Colonel Samuel Colt begins manufacturing revolvers.
Alexander Wood invents the hypodermic syringe.
Chloroform gains acceptence when give to Queen Victoria during the birth of her eighth child.

1854 – Matthew Perry opens Japan to Western trade.
George Boole develops mathematical logic.

1856 – The first Neanderthal remains are discovered.
W.H. Perkin produces aniline purple, the first synthetic dye.
Henry Bessemer develops a process for making steel in large quantities.
"Big Ben" is cast in the Whitechapel Bell Factory.

1857 to 1858 – The Indian Mutiny leads to direct administration of India by the British government.

1857 – Speculation in U.S. railways shares causes European financial crisis.
The Russian serfs are emancipated.

1858 – Darwin and Wallace communicate the theory of evolution by natural selection to the Linnaean Society.
Launching of the Great Eastern, the largest ship of the time (27,000 tons).

1859 – The Suez Canal is built in Egypt.
R.L.G. Plante invents the first practical storage battery.

The Green Devil

It is actually more of a tour of New Babbage than a storyline.
Another work from Mr. Plumsink, it could do with an accompaniment of music, but unfortunatly I believe the gentleman in question no longer makes machima.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Steampunk History: The Guilded Age



Robber Barons gathering for an era photo op...

This particular piece of work caught my attention for a trifecta of reasons. First, it is completely within the Steampunk time range historically, essentially covering the American Steampunk era. Secondly, one of Steampunk’s archetypes is the devilish robber barron / millionaire who is a nemisis to the small inventor / business man, and the regular "Horatio Alger"-esque attempt to produce an invention / make a scientific discovery / right a social wrong / save the farm, home, or lab, ect… As such, this is the RL social background that provided this particular scenario. Finally, a movie that had a limited release, "There will be Blood", staring Daniel Day Lewis, focuses on a prospector who becomes an oil magnate in turn of the century California. It has received extremely good review, and although doesn’t have any major steam or gear work, appears to be representational of the era mindset...

----------



Newspaper cartoon mocking the railroad tycoons

Author Mark Twain (1835-1910) coined the them the Guilded Age to refer to the period of American history between the end of the Civil War (1861 – 1865) and roughly 1900. The Guilded Age was characterized by massive immigration from abroad, ostentatious displays of wealth, and rising tensions between the rich and the poor. The term was not intended as a compliment: Twain and other social critics used it to suggest that underneath the era’s gaudy excesses and superficial prosperity was a country in crisis.

The industrialization of the United States, which had begun before the Civil War, rapid intensified after the conflict. Within a few years, the rates of railroad and factory construction passed their pre-war levels, and the United States surpassed France and Great Britain as the world’s leader in industrial production.




Lavish train car for the extremely wealthy

At the same time, a wave of consolidation merged smaller companies into giant national conglomerates like Standard Oil. Consolidation made industries more efficient and generated enormous wealth for their owners. Corporate executives – the era’s robber barons like Cornelius Vanderbilt – collected paychecks so large they had no president in American history and used them to build lavish mansions in wealth enclaves like Newport, Rhode Island.



Newspaper image of labor unrest

However, during this period, wages for workers stagnated or even declined, and widespread dissatisfaction with the economic system led to calls for reform. The labor movement gained steam during the Guilded Age in response to the low pay and long hours expected of American workers. Beginning in the 1880’s, labor unrest spread to many major industries.



New immigrants (and cheap labor going to the US)

The government, still under the sway of the laissez-faire philosophy of staying out of economic affairs in the market place, initially rebuffed calls to interfere with the businesses during the Gilded Age. However, over time, the excesses of the tycoons became too great to ignore. Starting in the 1880’s, the government incrementally increased the regulation of major industries and moved to rein in the power of the robber barons.

Additional facts:
1) The phrase Gilded Age was derived from the play King John by William Shakespeare: "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily… is wasteful and ridiculous excess."

2) Twain first used the phrase in The Guilded Age: A Tale of Today (1873), a book he cowrote with Charles Dudley Warner that was one of his few literary collaborations.

3) Industrialists welcomed the roughly ten million immigrants who came to the United States during the last half of the nineteenth century, since the huge supply of labor meant they could keep wages low.

Kidder, D. & Oppenheim N., (2007). The Intellectual Devotional, page 158.
TID Volumes, New York: New York



Cover of Railroad Tycoon III

One last note: My introduction to this particular slice of Steampunk happened years ago, when the legendary Sid Meyer released "Railroad Tycoon" on an unsuspecting public. Between breaks of the addiction known as "Civilization I (and later II)", I would play this game – and be as evil and manipulaitve as possible (being a "Robber Baron" is fun!). Nowadays, it is in its third incarnation, and though I haven’t played it (on SL, tyvm), I am certain it is quite addictive!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Steampunk Legos abound!



The Evil Dr. Cog...

Strolling along the aethernet, I visited Brass Goggles, and discovered her entry on the amazing works by Lego devotees working on steampunk-related designs. Quite impressive, and worth a visit to its flicker site...

http://www.brassgoggles.co.uk/brassgoggles/?p=675



Mechincal Stinkbug on the prowl

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ode to New Babbage

Another well done bit of cineamatography of Babbage Square and the Canals. More details on how this work was completed are at Mr. Plumsink's Youtube location.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Victorian / Steampunk (RL) timeline, 1841 - 1850



Continuing with some mid-century events...

1841 – New Zealand becomes a British colony, leading to a series of Maori uprisings from
1854 to 1872
Richard Owens coins the word "dinosaur"

1842 – C.W. Long introduces the use of ether for surgical anesthesia

1843 – James Joule quantifies the conversion of work into heat, the basis for the law of conservation of energy
The first nightclub, Le Bal des Anglais, opens in Paris

1844 – Samuel Morse sets up telegraph lines between Washington and Baltimore
Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels meet in Paris

1845 – Texas joins the United States
William M’Naught develops the compound-expansion steam engine

1846 to 1848 – The United States and Mexico are at war; the U.S. wins

1846 – The planet Neptune is discovered
William Thompson (later Lord Kelvin) estimates the age of the earth at 100,000,000 years based on temperature measurements
Elias Howe patents the sewing machine

1847 – Cyrus McCormick begins the manufacture of mechanical reapers

1848 – Anti-monarchist revolutions take place throughout Europe; the Second Republic is established in France under Louis Napoleon
Otto von Bismark and Karl Marx both found newspapers
Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels write the Communist Manifesto
James Bogardus constructs the first building with a cast-iron frame

1849 – A gold rush begins in northern California

1850 – The Taiping Rebellion takes place in China

Monday, January 14, 2008

More on changes to the blog...



(Port Babbage) - As you may have noticed, there are a few changes to the (ex-) Voyages of a Steampunk Physician. A while back, while engaged in discussion with a new arrival to Victoria City, I mentioned the blog to the fellow as a means of reading a bit more on Steampunk and links to other SL Victorian & Steampunk bloggers. His first comment was along the lines of "Sir, a peculiar name, wouldn't you say?" I must admit, it did trouble me as it is (was) a peculiar name for a blog, but as with other things, I let the thougth reced to the back of my noggin.
With the new year, and a small improvement with Photoshop, I decided to make some changes to a variety of things connected to the blog...

1) The name - The Heliograph - is quick to say and remember, and has a certain uniqueness to it (although many RL organizations use this title for their purposes). However, I did find the name to my suiting, and therefore decided to use it.
(Note: A heliograph was essentially a pair of mirrors used to communicate using light flashes in morse code. With the growth of telegraph lines, this technology became outdated, its last major use being during the campaign against Sancho Panza by the US Army.)

2) Flags - I fancy myself as a bit of an amatuer vexicologist, and as such, wanted to design a simple and sleek (and unofficial) flag for New Babbage. Upon hearing that the current flag may be changes, I toyed with a few designs, and settled on this on. It is available (for free) at the Quarterdeck, beside the Caledon & Antiquity flags.

3) New Layout - The old layout was thin and constraining, so I sought a larger layout, which was easier to read. The current layout is not as Victorian as the previous one, but does have a maritime theme, and is wider, so I settled on it.

4) Updates and readjusting - I have added to the links for blogs, but after reading the Baronian Notations, and the associated listing of blogs ( http://caerfyrddin.org/mostlycaledon.htm#Nation-states ), I realize that his efforts are much more dilligent than mine, so will defer to his tireless efforts in maintaining the listings. As for the format of the Heliograph, I have readjust some items, and will continue to update it as necessary.

I expect to tweak the current blog a bit more, but am confident that the bulk of the changes are completed.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A small question...



A couple days ago I read Mr. O’toole’s blog commentary on the social evolution of Caledon, from its early days (back in ’06) to its current environment (http://hiberniaskids.blogspot.com/2008/01/insights-from-earlier-time.html). His comment (#5 in the section) essentially summed some of my observations about Caledon concisely…

"The reason I posted this one was how markedly different the Caledon of THEN was from the Caledon of NOW. In speech, entertainment, humor and custom, Caledon has grown more like the Mainland and less like the Caledon of yore. Whether that's a good thing or not is really up to the individual".

I gave it some thought when I read it, but the issue receded into the back of my noggin until Mr. Desmond Shang (the Governor of Caledon, for those who *might* be unaware of the good man) provided a brief update on happenings in Caledon, along with some future expansion plans. With land in Caledon selling like condos in Miami in 2005, he said will be adding more sims to the vast Independent State.

As such, I wondered … is Caledon too big? Or how big is too big? The demand for Victorian land still exists, as not only is Caledon growing, but Steelhead has added land, and Antiquity is virtually exploding. Additionally, Caledon provides an easily locatable destination with a large number of events for those unfamiliar with the Victorian & Steampunk settings. This makes it appealing to more civilized individuals who tire of gratious sex ad and bizarre builds – providing a certain … certainty to their SL existance.

However, the growth means that persons who may simply not be interested in Victorian (and associated) mores simply transition to Caledon for its peace, its dependable land prices, or both. No one is forced (but are encouraged) to stay "in era", which could be considered to be one factor for the slide down the slippery slope of commonality.

I serve up this poll to garner a response to this question: Is Caledon too big? I can easily make an argument for any option…

Yes, its too big – Things were much better in the early days, where residents and visitors knew one another, and made a distinct effort to maintain a Victorian atmosphere.

It’s just right – Caledon is at (or about) a perfect size… not too big to feel estranged, but large enough to provide new discoveries and explore new areas.

No, it needs to be bigger – Personally, I love exploring, incluing all of the new sims that have come online. More sims means more opportunities to meet interesting and unique people, and more to explore and enjoy.

Manifest Destiny – Unbridled growth! - Mr. Shang needs to put a new sim on every month (or every other month), until Caledon overtakes the mainland islands! (Ok, I added this for the fanboys/girls, but I’m certain there are those out there that feel this way…)

Please feel free to make your choice. You can only vote once, but you can change your vote as many times as you like. Also, if you wish to make a commentary, by all means do so (in a civil manner, please

Friday, January 11, 2008

Victorian Industralization



A small (well, actually about eight minutes long) portion of a documentary on Victorian Industrialization... very enlightening, and provides an insight into the grittier portion of the Steampunk genre


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MllrnSZxTkY

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Steampunk Travelogue: Steampunk beyond the well travelled road, part 2



Main Zeppelin in the Plunder locale

The continuation of the Victorian Voyages about SL Steampunk, with a few more additions and destinations...



Arrival point and main tp for Opus Free Port


Opus Free Port

Owned by Miss Talia Tokagawa, this locale is as interesting as her amazing sky ship (yes, I finally "connected" the dots and located the pathway between her builds). In addition to her personal store and aforementioned skyship, she has two more aspects of her unique build well worth mentioning.

Main shopping area and entrance to Miss Talia's office (and more...)


First, the landing spot takes you across a well build bridge to a large shopping area, where numerous vendors have their wares, (steampunk and Victorian) for sale. At the center of this area is the office of Miss Tokagawa.


Disc Jockey central control area, with dual gramophones


In her office, there is a "hidden" passage (not too hidden, but you’ll have to locate it) that leads down to the Tesla Lounge, she has added numerous items such as…

Lounging area with the ticker tape by the chairs (to the right)


1) a uniquely designed DJ area with dual gramophones for a era-specific appeal
2) a seating area with a ticker tape providing a SL feed from the main second life page
3) in addition to common poseballs, she has a set of "argument" poseballs, with a menu to point fingers, cross arms, and even slap another av (lol)!
4) and steam, plenty of items that provide enjoyable steam!


Steam generator billowing its warmth...

Talia informed me that she has scheduled entertainment every Friday at 5:30 PM SLT (although I have recently been told that the DJ position is currently in flux), but if you wish to drop in, dance, or just relax, Opus Free Port’s Tesla lounge may be just the place!

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View of the main Steeltopia area, including the church and gallery

Steeltopia

This sim leans less towards steampunk and more towards a later-period piratical environment. There are traditional sea and sky pirate themes, providing a background for those with such a bent.

Downtown Steeltopia

Located here are a number of New Babbage merchants that have set up shop, including the Lucky Pirate and Gaslights Emporium.


View of the Steeltopia port, with docked ships


In spite of the nice environs, including a good dock, pirate and sky ships, and interesting
businesses, the sim was essentially vacant the four times I visited it. Disappointing, but perhaps with more advertising and events, Steeltopia will become more popular.

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View of the central arrival area of Plunder

Plunder

More of a mall and less of a specific sim, Plunder is one of my favorite spots to visit and relax. Being an enlarged skybox (essentially), it usually has minimal lag, with can be a refreshing change from a sloggy sim. It is designed from connected skyships, with each ship being a unique store.

Lounge inside the main airship

Since locating it a few months ago, there have been a couple of stores that have become perennial favorites, including Civvies, with has an excellent selection of sky-pirate-esque attire.


Inside the massive airship hovering over Plunder
It could be classified as "post-steampunk" (as there are ww2 airplanes and other accoutrement of that era), putting it a *smidge* beyond the typical steampunk/Victorian background, but the locale remains one of my favorites, due to the atmosphere and freedom from lag.




Stores in Plunder - all aero-based