Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Second Life's Steam Hunt 5 - September 1st through 30th!

The lovely Miss Breezy Carver, getting reading to start her own hunt!

The newest Steam Hunt, Steam Hunt V, will be starting this upcoming Wednesday, the 1st of August!  As a bit of teaser of the upcoming discoveries which may be found in the over 200 shops and stores involved in this event, the Steam Hunt's main blog, at: http://steamthehunt.blogspot.com/ , has a preview of the impressive good for those dedicated and persistent Steampunk enthusiasts!

After the success of the prior four Steam Hunts, the current one (the 5th), is by far the largest, with a wide selection of goods and items from the participating stores.  So if you happen to seek a Steampunk-themed challenge for September, do consider keeping up to date at its homepage, at: http://steamthehunt.blogspot.com/ - happy hunting!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Steampunk in the Far West - Steampunk & Wuxia meet in the American Wilds of the 1900s...

I was researching for new articles and Steampunk works, and eyeing some of the latest Kickerstarter projects, when I came across a particular project which was quite stunning.  As those who are familiar with the Kickstarter program know, a project has a period of time to allow people to bid on a project - if the desired financial amount is reached by the end of the asking period, the project is funded, and if not reached, then it isn't funded.  So when I read that this group of developer met their goal in 15 hours (I wasn't able to find out how much the goal was), I was quite impressed with the results Far West obtained... so I read about the project myself... and was quite impressed!

The Far West's Kickstarter pledge video

The basic premise of Far West is a combination of three genres - Steampunk, Western, and Wuxia.  Steampunk is fairly obvious (likely the reason for the visit to the Tribune), Western (again, there is plenty of background on this genre as well), but Wuxia is probably less familiar to many.  To oversimplify an explanation, think of classic Shaw Brothers kung fu movies of the 60's and 70's, (or the Kill Bill series, for those who never indulged in the outstanding Hong Kong productions of the era).  From what I correlate, Far West will mesh them all together into one endeavor (a Transmedia project, as they call it), including an interactive website, classic paper-and-pencil role playing game, and more (still working on additional aspects of the project).

Characters from Far West (also, a wall paper, for those who might be interested!)

As on who enjoys Steampunk and Kung Fu, I will certainly be keeping an eye on the Far West endeavor.  They are still working on some of the RPG mechanics, and as one can gather, the effort is being worked on furiously, but to read more about the Far West, please visit...

Their main website, at: http://intothefarwest.com/

Background on conceptualization for the Far West, at: http://intothefarwest.com/2011/06/01/beginning/

Their Kickstarter website, with even more information regarding the project, at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/Adamant/far-west-western-wuxia-mashup-adventure-game

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back on the air, so to speak, with Steampunk Influences on the small screen...

After having the opportunity to grapple with my service provider over the past few days, I am finally back to posting (whew)!  Almost as if on cue, IO9 has an outstanding retrospective of Steampunk influences on the small screen, including series such as Dr. Who, Firefly, Castle, Sanctuary, and more... to read the entire article, please turn to: http://io9.com/5834496/the-best-uses-of-steampunk-on-television

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Steampunk Technologist - Mr. Carl Fisher, Automotive Innovator

Mr. Carl Fisher, and his bare bones racing vehicle, at the Harlem Racetrack, near Chicago, Il

One of the aspects of I personally enjoy about the Steampunk aesthetic is its optimistic view of technology and science.  While many of the legendary scientists of the genre are well known (e.g. Tesla, Babbage, Curie, Pasteur, Carver, or I suppose the deceitful Edison), there are plenty of lesser known trailblazers during the Steampunk era who may have been overlooked.  One said individual is Mr. Carl Fisher, an tireless yet overlooked innovator with an aspect which modern individuals take for granted now - the automobile!

A 1911 photo of Mr. Fisher driving his personalized auto 
(see the initials on the grill), at the Speedway!

Mr. Fisher rose to prominence near what might have been called the "Late Steampunk Era", from 1900 to 1913 (yes, part of the Edwardian period, for those who insist)!  His innovations include developing headlights for autos (so one can drive in the dark!), taking advantage of technological development and market growth to become a spare parts supplier for autos, and was instrumental for developing roadways for commercial and public transportation (e.g the Lincoln Highway, the Dixie Highway), but his crowning achievement is likely the development of the Indianapolis Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500!

The starting lineup for the inaugural Indianapolis 500,
with Mr. Fisher, the Speedway president in the large white touring cart (far right?)

I must admit I'm not a follower of automotive competition, but the stories behind the development and growth of the Speedway are a fantastic overview of the emergence and acceptance of technology (though a bit bloody, as one can learn).  Vice trying to recount the stories behind the rise and ultimate fall of this innovator, please do consider a visit to a few associated websites for more regarding Mr. Carl Fisher, an unsung Steampunk Technologist, at...

His Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_G._Fisher

An excellent Popular Mechanics piece on Mr. Fisher: http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/news/vintage-speed/the-forgotten-man-who-built-the-indianapolis-motor-speedway

The scandal that almost destroyed Mr. Fisher and the Indianapolis Speedway:

The American Motorsport Journal piece on Mr. Fisher and his accomplishments:

Automobile Magazine: Indianapolis Motor Speedway - The Birthplace of Speed

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Heineken Handlebar Mustache commercial...

Saw this the other night, and *knew* I had to post!  Ah, makes one want to grow a stunning handlebar mustache .... do enjoy!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The New Babbage Air Kraken Festival all week! From August 21 to August 28.... and the last Aether Salon on Sunday

The Steampunk calender in New Babbage has a number of festivals which are (sadly) unavailable in real life.  One said festival is the Air Kraken Festival, where the unofficial mascot of the Second Life's Steampunk City State is celebrated in all its glory!  The lovely yet dangerous Miss Sky Melnik provided  the details regarding the week-long events... starting below!...
Week-long Events:
-Open Air Market: Shop carts along the Port Babbage docks will be filled with festival themed wares, food and games for festival goers to take and purchase.  Shop carts can be provided, though you can also use your own display if you wish (within logical prim reasoning).  First come first serve for spots, more space will be provided so all can participate. The first section of carts will be set out Friday, August 19th.  Prim limit of around 25 per market cart area.
-Build Contest:  Contest theme is "Air Kraken Traps: Most Inventive Way to Capture an Air Kraken."  Building platforms will be set out in the Academy of Industry Friday, August 19th, deadline for completion to be judged is Saturday, August 27th at Noon SLT and will be given on a first come, first serve basis.  Additional space will be created if necessary.  Please keep builds under 150 prims.  Top three placed builds will be given prizes.
-Black Ink and Bold Tales:At the core of each Air Kraken is a well of deepest blackest ink. Pick up your quill, dip into the source and pen your poem or tale of adventure.  All creative writings about these legendary beasts of the skies are welcome.  
No minimum word-count, but please, no longer than 1,500 words.  Submissions will be accepted the entire week of the Air Kraken Festival, either by notecard to Ceejay Writer, or email to ceejay@cocoajava.com. After the festival, a panel of judges will choose the winners in these categories:   Truly Terrifying Tale (horror), You're Kraken Me Up (humor), Surprise from the Skies (cleverest) and Misunderstood Monsters (Pro-Kraken viewpoints), as well as one overall winner, the Tantamount Tall Tentacle Tale. 
Plans are afoot to publish all entries in some form of anthology for everyone's enjoyment afterwards. Submission of your entry shall indicate your agreement to this project.
-"Look here! Look there! Look everywhere!"Rumor has it there is a baby kraken that has lost his way in our fair city! Can you free this adorable little beast before he has our town for his feast? There's a reward in it for you if you do, so join the hunt and follow all the clues! The scavenger hunt will work just like a regular Secondlife Hunt will, taking you through 8 locations within the wondrous world of New Babbage. If you follow the clues and riddles you will certainly find the baby Kraken, however releasing him is up to you. There is no time limit and it's no race, but we hope you have fun and explore together!
-Air Kraken Exhibit:  An exciting and intriguing natural history exhibit by Kimika Ying focusing on air kraken at the Exhibition Hall in New Babbage.
-Other Activities:
-Air Kraken Target Practice:  Located on the docks of Port Babbage.  Come safely test your shooting skills against the miniature-airship towed air kraken drones.
-Air Kraken Attacks:  Once you've sharpened your skills with target practice go up against the
big boys.  Located in Clockhaven (as well as unannounced attacks in
town).   ((Psst- Look over the ledge of the wall towards the water,
click on the top of the barrel to produce kraken.))
-Kite Flying:  Grab a free themed kite and enjoy flying them around Port and town.
One Time Events:
-Opening Party:  Casual and fun celebration of the opening of the festival.  6-8pm SLT Sunday, August 21st at Liberty Hall in the Academy of Industry.http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Academy%20of%20Industry/244/2/116
-Listening Parties:  There will be two listening parties on Tuesday, August 23rd featuring The Tales of New Babbage broadcast "Horror of the Heights" with the voice of Vic Mornington and hosted at the Brunel Hall Hotel's bar, Muirsheen Durkin.  The broadcast can be also heard on Radio Riel Steampunk at the below times.
The first party for the European time zones will be at 12pm SLT.
The second party for the North American time zones will be at 7pm SLT.
-Closing Party:  Saturday, August 27th at 7pm SLT on the roof of Portside Books in Port Babbage.  Dress in your best air pirate/air kraken fighting attire and come celebrate the close of the festival.  Dance, drink and be merry.
-Please contact Sky Melnik if you have any questions or ideas concerning the festival.

On a bittersweet note, the Aether Salon's last event "Forks" (as in "put a fork in it" - aka, it is done/finished), takes place this Sunday, the 21st of August, at 2pm, EST.  So do consider a visit and enjoy a retrospective of the previous speakers at the Aether Salon.  For more details, please visit: http://cityofnewbabbage.com/drupaltest/node/3262

Friday, August 19, 2011

Steampunk Reviews - Episode #28

Miss Yankee999 has released her latest review, on the movie "Priest"... and as additional item, do pay a visit to her website, Brass and Brown Leather, to read her excellent entry, "When a film fan becomes a film fail", located here!:http://steampunkaristocrat.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Aurora - an outstanding new Steampunk movie has been released...

I received word the other day from my good friend and fellow New Babbage resident Duke Edward Pearse about a new Steampunk movie which was recently released very late last month.  This production, titled Aurora is, as my comrade with the cinematographic eye described...

"South Australian indie filmmakers Urtext have just released the live-action Steampunk movie Aurora after some 3 1/2 years in the making.

Shot in and around the Adelaide area, Aurora tells the story of an airship crew in a determined quest to liberate the victims of ruthless slavers. The finished film belies its impressively small budget of $1800, using eight locations, over 80 costumed extras and 375 VFX shots: a significant undertaking in independent film making.

Aurora premièred on the 1st of August to over 300 people at the Piccadilly cinema in North Adelaide, and the full 30 minute, widescreen film can now be viewed online at: http://aurorathefilm.com/"

... or just above, as one can see!  An excellent endeavor, an a tip of the hat to those who had the passion to make the production!  Its a tad over a half hour, but I assure you, time will fly by as you watch it!

(Also, a tip of the hat to Duke Pearse - ty, sir!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spectacular Moments of Wonder, with Dr. Monocle!

As those who follow this small corner of the Steampunk aethernet, I am always one to spread the word about intriguing new Steampunk websites... and I do have yet another!  I was contacted by Dr. Monocle the other day, and am most certainly impressed with the depth his website has concerning Steampunk (with a good dose of Dieselpunk).  I spent a good part of an evening, enjoying the good Doctor's website, (and nursing my bit of Kraken rum, tyvm), amazed at amount of Steampunk/Dieselpunk art that I cannot recall seeing before.

Additionally, Dr. Monocle has documented his adventures in his latest work, the "Spectacular Moments of Wonder with Dr. Monocle".  I had the opportunity to read samplings from selected writing (linked just underneath his banner), and must say they are quite enjoyable!  Not only that, but they are available in a vast selection of platforms (Kindle, Nook, Google eBooks, Android, and many more).  So, do take a moment to visit the Doctor's website, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy!  To do a good bit of surfing, please take a moment and head to his website, at: http://doctormonocle.com/

... and to learn more about his writing endeavor, please visit the aforementioned sampler, at:http://doctormonocle.com/post/3579284678/chapter-sampling-01-000

Monday, August 15, 2011

Steampunk Real Estate on the Wall Street Journal...

One of the major media sources that regularly provides positive feedback on Steampunk happens to be the Wall Street Journal.  Not sure why, but as I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak, I was intrigued when I saw this small bit online regarding the sale of a Steampunk house in Chelsea.  Though the asking price is a bit impressive, the abode is impressive as well!

To see the original article (which is essentially the same video piece), please turn to:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Bartitsu Society... a martial art for Steampunk!

It might be safe to say that anyone familiar with any depth into the Sherlock Holmes (including the most recent film endeavors), are somewhat aware of Bartitsu, the martial art that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced in his works.  What one might not know it is undergoing a revival, with classes of Bartitsu and Neo-Bartitsu (similar to the classic form, but with elements of Chinese boxing, classic sword fighting techniques, and Brazilian Jujitsu as part of it - per its Wikipedia entry).  In addition, its has its own homepage - the Bartitsu Society (as one can see above), which is chock-full of excellent reading and supplemental writings regarding this martial form.

I've been quite keen about learning more (contrary to my painful classes practicing saber fencing), so if this happens to pique your interest, and as any Steampunk gentleman would certainly be up to the task of standing up for his or a companion's honor (or simply dealing with ruffians), do take a visit to their online locale!  It has a very in-depth library of articles (since 2008!), and is likely to devour a good bit of time... so make oneself comfortable  and take a jaunt to: http://www.bartitsu.org/

A documentary on Bartitsu, by the Bartitsu Society

For more information, please visit:

The Art of Manliness article on Bartitsu, at: http://artofmanliness.com/2009/01/05/bartitsu-gentlemen/
More regarding "Canonical Bartitsu" versus "Neo-Bartitsu": http://www.fullcontactmartialarts.org/bartitsu.html
... and a plethora of Bartitsu videos on the the Bartitsu Society's YouTube channel, at: http://www.youtube.com/user/BartitsuSociety

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Book Dealers - a Steampunk / Cthulhu story

As I attend to some RL issues, I found this very interesting Cthulhu story for the weekend - do enjoy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Steamcon III nominees for the second Annual Airship Awards have been announced...

Received word that the nominees for the second annual Airship Awards have been announced!  Per the press release from Steamcon III's cruise director....

Steamcon® is proud to present the second annual Airship Award nominations! The steampunk community has so many fabulously creative individuals, and we wish to honor them by celebrating their achievements and contributions.

The nominees for the 2011 Airship Awards are:

Written:   Any written piece of work, including but not limited to: novels, short stories, blogs, screen plays, etc.
Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel by Tee Morris & Pip Ballantine
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder –
Camera Obscura by Lavie Tidhar
The Half Made World by Felix Gilman

Visual:   Any visual piece of work, including but not limited to: 2D art, 3D art, digital art, fashion design, website design, making/modding, short film (by an individual)
James Ng
Myke Amend
Adam Smith
Joe Benitez

Aural:   Any aural piece of work, including but not limited to: Bands, songs, musicians, music videos, etc.
Professor Elemental
Steam Powered Giraffe
Vagabond Opera

Community Contributor:   An individual who is outspoken and supportive in the steampunk community, including but not limited to: Blogger, event organizer, convention runner, scholar, speaker etc.
Ay-leen the Peacemaker – Beyond Victoriana
Lia Keyes – SWAG
Suzanne Lazear - Steamed
Jordan Block – Sepiachord

Potpourri:  Anything not yet covered, including but not limited to: Game design/designer, acting troupes, short film (by a group), movie, television, etc.
Clockwork Cabaret
Unhallowed Metropolis RPG
Rise of Aester RPG

Steamcon® wishes to congratulate all the nominees for their contributions to steampunk.
The nominees were solicited online from the steampunk world at large, and the pre-registered members of Steamcon III will now vote to choose the winners.

The awards will be presented to the nominee with the most votes in each category at an awards banquet on Friday, October 14th, 2011 during the Steamcon III convention.

If you are pre-registered for Steamcon III, you should have received an email containing an order code.  Use this code to vote here:  http://registration.steamcon.org/voting
If you did not receive this code, you can email registration@steamcon.org to get yours.  If you are not yet pre-registered, you can do so here : http://registration.steamcon.org/

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Confounded Correspondence of Dr. J

Episode one of the Confounded Correspondence of Dr. J

Apparently I missed the entire series of the Confounded Correspondence of Dr. J, but watching the series was most certainly an enjoyable experience, and frankly, bizarre at times!  Starting in June of last year, this series of seven episodes documents the mis-adventures of Dr. J.... and you'll simply have to watch to figure it out!  I've posted the first few episodes, but to see the entire set of seven, do consider a visit to the Marmalade Democracy's YouTube page, at: http://www.youtube.com/user/MarmaladeDemocracy

(Note - The series is a bit saucy, so if one has a tender temperament, please do beware!)

Episode two of the Confounded Correspondence of Dr. J

... and episode three is here!  For the rest, follow this bread trail of crumbs...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More details on the Steampunk Warehouse 13 production from IO9!

A ship/missile/space craft, which apparently *isn't* heading to the Reichstag

It appears that not only has there been a green light for the Steampunk Warehouse 13 production, but a small clip has also been posted on IO9's feed!  Looks quite impressive, though unfortunatly I'm not able to post the video of it here (yes, the still above is part of it).  There has been quite a positive feedback regarding it, so its certainly worth a visit!  To see the snippet and read the article, take a gander to IO9 piece, at:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The stunning art at Steam Nouveau!

While I was working the piece on Abney Park's new Steampunk RPG, I took a gander at the free desktop art offered in support of their endeavor.  When I opened the page, I was frankly agog at the amazing artwork penned by Miss Phantoms Siren, the talented young lady behind the works!  However, her artwork looked suspiciously familiar....

... when I realized I had her work on the blog for ages!  The above piece is advertisement for the Clockwork Cabaret  and indicative of her excellent style!  So, needless to say, I now have a new background selection on the computer (indeed, the one below)!

Needless to say, I would highly recommend a visit to Miss Phantoms Siren's website, and associated online locations.  Do take a gander, and as one of the signature artists of Steampunk, do keep in mind she accepts commissions   For further information, please visit:

Miss Phantoms Siren's Main Website: http://phantomssiren.wordpress.com/
Her Deviant Art Page, with plenty more artwork: http://phantoms-siren.deviantart.com/

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Steampunk video game Dishonored is announced!

Artistic still from Dishonored

Received word that there is another Steampunk video game on the horizon, titled Dishonored, which has been described as a cross between Hitman and Bioshock.  Not overly familiar with Hitman, but Bioshock was an amazing game, so it would seem that Dishonored will be another gem!  For more details, please visit:

G4TV: http://www.g4tv.com/games/xbox-360/65646/dishonored/articles/75198/dishonored-first-look-preview-a-steampunk-mix-of-hitman-and-bioshock-yes-please/

NeoWin.net: http://www.neowin.net/news/quakecon-2011-dishonored-impressions

Eurogamer: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-08-05-dishonored-preview

Artistic palace scene from Dishonored

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Steampunk Reviews - Episode #27

Miss Yankee999 is back with her outstanding insights, this time reviewing the literary endeavor, the Half Made World - please do enjoy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Space 1889 and beyond Season Pass...

Mr. A Frankham-Allen sent a brief message the other day on the upcoming series involving the classic Steampunk RPG and background of Space 1889.  As it was communicated to me...

"The first five releases in the series will be novellas priced at $2.99, the sixth work being a novel at $4.99. The Season Pass allows people to buy the whole series ahead of time at a price of $15.00, approximately 25% off the cost of buying the titles individually. This is ONLY available at The Untreed Reads Store and is ONLY available through September 1st. Passholders will receive a coupon code upon release of each title so they can go in and download their work. A database of those people who purchased the Pass will be maintained internally."

As I have had the fortune to peek at one of the upcoming installments, I would certainly say the writing is outstanding, and the offer is quite tempting!  To learn more, please visit the Untreed Reads store, at: http://store.untreedreads.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=68_7_49_197&products_id=193

Monday, August 1, 2011

Abeny Park's Airship Pirates RPG - pre-orders available now!

As anyone involved with Steampunk is aware, Abney Park is one of the genre's most recognizable names, and not only have they done an exceptional job in establishing themselves musically, but take marketing their brand in unique directions (e.g. flags, coasters, dog-tags).  However, when I learned of their latest endeavor, an old-school role playing game (RPG) based on their back-story, my curiosity was piqued.  

I am old enough to recall the original paper-and-pencil RPGs of all styles enjoying a wave of popularity, including the classic Steampunk RPGs - namely Space: 1889 and GURPS Steampunk.  Alas, with more powerful computers and virtual world connectivity, these games seemed to fade away, and I was under the impression that seeing an old style RPG was a fanciful idea.  Fortunately, I was quite incorrect in my postulation.  I'm still working towards obtaining a copy so I might review it first hand, but in the meantime, the reviews of the game are coming forth, so do take a gander of differing opinions...

(The RPG.net forum thread on AP's RPG...)

(A review at Cubicle7...)

(A review at Tabletop Manifesto...)

(The Examiner.com ....)

(a preview story located here...)

(Wallpapers from Steam Nouveau here...)

(... one can pre-order the work in question at Abney Park's website, here...)