Category: Steampunkery

And the balloon comes down!

Here’s Mark’s initial report on the Stratoballoon launch:

The launch of the balloon went off as well as can be expected. The deployment steps I was most worried about – filling and securing the balloon, and stringing all of the components together – went just fine.

The liftoff similarly went very well. We released the components one at a time to prevent any sudden jerks on the line, and then had a countdown when it came to the capsule itself. The girls jointly released that piece. We had very little wind, and a bright, clear sky when we released, so we were able to watch it ascend until it was just a pin-prick – about 2000 feet. We even had a small audience to watch it go up!

Read the rest here — and stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion when I’m back from Wizard World!

Two fine vendors at TeslaCon

Hey, are you in Wisconsin? Are you into Steampunk? Are you going to TeslaCon?

My buddy Jeff Berndt and his friends have a new Steampunk-themed candy-selling venture called Sweet Steam.They’ll be selling their chocolatey wares at TeslaCon this weekend, as will my other buddy Rollande Krandall with her Singing Lemur Jewelry.

If you’re in the area, you should check them out!

Just glue some gears on it, and call it Steampunk.

Steampunk Faerie!

An awesome librarian let me know I got an early Christmas present this year: I got a mention in The School Library Journal‘s Best Books of 2010 issue as part of their “Steampunk: Full Steam Ahead” list! I’m so excited — thanks so much for the heads-up, TKM!

Man, it’s hard for me to get my brain around the fact that the first Vögelein issue came out almost ten years ago, and was begun nearly fifteen years ago. Who’d have thunk it’d still be relevant? I’m really honored.

Now it can be told

So I’ve been sitting on some really amazing Sizer Design news for a while, and now I can finally share it with you! Hooray!

From Paul’s Blog:

It’s here! Thomas Dolby’s first new studio music in [nearly] 20 years, the “Amerikana” EP is released today, and I can finally divulge the news that I will be working with Thomas Dolby on ALL of the design work leading up to and including his new album, “A Map Of The Floating City” later this year. It’s a dream come true for a huge Dolby geek/fan, but I’ve had a great time collaborating with Thomas so far, and there’s some really cool stuff coming up in the near future!

Huge congratulations on this beautiful design, baby. You done good, and now the whole world can finally know how good you done.

My Husband is the Awesomest

So Paul is a darn good designer, and recently, he’s had a couple of really major coups. Some of them are still in the pipe, but here are a couple I can tell you about.

First, a while back, Thomas Dolby had an open contest on his blog to design the tee-shirt logo for a one-shot concert he was giving in London. Paul won, and you can see the logo being used in the concert here and here and here.

And secondly, Paul’s a regular visitor to Warren Ellis’ Whitechapel Message Board, where each week, Warren posts a new “Remake/Remodel” challenge, where artists and designers take a crack at re-imagining old, forgotten (and usually public-domain) characters. Paul usually does at least one design a week if not more, and his submissions are usually really well received. Fast forward to this week, when Warren gave the following challenge:

You are an artist/designer. You have to put together the cover for a comic called SUPERMAN. It is issue 1 of this book.

You have been told that Superman is a man who dresses predominantly in a shade of blue, and wears a red S symbol. You know nothing else about the character.


And that’s it.

It’s up to you what kind of company you’re at. What kind of comics you make. How you translate that description of Superman. What era you’re in. Who you are, even. Go nuts with it.

You have one week. Go.

The story’s received quite a bit of press in the last couple of days, and guess whose image is getting shown far and wide?

Yup. He is my husband. He is full of awesome.

Beyond Victoriana

Man, I am so behind on my blogging; the more posts I write tonight, the more posts I remember I’ve intended to write for a long time. This one is probably the most overdue: The Beyond Victoriana Project.

This series is so incredibly amazing and I am so, so happy that Ay-Leen is writing and sponsoring them. It’s a fantastic resource, and shows the vast, beautiful, fantastic possibilities that the steampunk genre can encompass — but only if we stretch the fandom to allow room for more than just the basic Brit-centric faux-Victoriana, and be welcoming while we do it.

Here’s an index. Go read! It’ll crack your imagination wide open.

And speaking of steampunkery…

I didn’t get to attend this year’s World Fantasy Convention, but apparently there was a panel entitled “Why Steampunk Now?

Since then, there’ve been some really interesting posts based on the topic. I also ran across these two posts on the Aqueduct blog, and they’re really good reading as well.

As I said in a recent post, I enjoy steampunk primarily for the DIY ethics (and the clothes are pretty cool), but giving the genre and its motives a good examination is not only necessary but overdue.

Lots to think about.

Why I love steampunk

So I like steampunk. But I’m not Steampunk, in the same way that I own cats and a dog, but I am neither a Cat Person nor a Dog Person. Similarly, I admire a lot of the hippie/crunchy/locavore aesthetics, but I don’t really fit into any of those subcultures, either.

But I do have a deep and abiding love for steampunkery, though far more for its punk aspects than its fascination with Victoriana. The DIY aspects. The idea that with a pile of scrap metal, rudimentary tools and elbow grease, you can make something that’ll power your house.

See, I grew up with folks who didn’t just believe in that ethic, they put it into practice. And I finally uploaded some photographic evidence. This is one of my grandfather’s steam engines. Notice I said one.

Here’s Grampa posing in his driveway, circa 1979. The barn in the background was moved there overland to replace the one that burned to the ground. The toolshed, which you can see in the upper left of the picture, was built with the 18″ support beams left over after the previous high school’s gymnasium was torn down; there was a family joke that you could drive a tank on top of the toolshed roof and not fall in.

That CASE eagle logo was a familiar sight in my childhood. When I was in grade school, Grampa and dad got their hands on the boiler (the big cylinder part, and the large vertical part into which you throw coal) of another Case and built an outbuilding around it in the backyard, with the logo visible through the front window. They dug a trench between the outbuilding and our house, ran hot water pipes between, then outfitted the house with finned-tube baseboard heating. Every autumn after that, us kids spent a couple of weeks with my dad out in the woods, cutting cordwood to heat the house. I was the only kid I knew who came home from school and started a fire so she could take a bath that night.

Grampa again, this time in front of his wood shop. Behind him, you can see the top of the Giant Stride, a diabolically fun piece of playground equipment he built for us grandkids. It was basically a big flagpole set into cement, with a four-armed spindle on the top. From each arm hung a rope with a little three-rung ladder on it, just big enough for a kid to sit in. We’d get that thing going fast enough that there was usually an even-money chance somebody’d clip their ankles on the windmill. Good times.

So that’s a tiny fraction of my steampunk lineage. No wonder I grew up to be a do-it-yourselfer — self-publishing’s a walk in the park by comparison.

Tick… tick… ticktickticktick

Just to be on the safe side, I brought my geiger counter home from work, where it was part of my cube curiosity collection (What? Your office wouldn’t let you keep a geiger counter in your cube? Have I mentioned I have the awesomest job ever?) and scanned the batch of steampunk jewelry that I’m taking to SPX.

One of the hair barrettes will not be attending the show, it seems. It’s probably okay — it was giving off less radiation than even one of the smallest radium watch-hands — but it was still making the needle jump more than I was comfortable with. I’m 99% sure it’s the watch face, so I’ll have to wait until I can find a suitable replacement for it.

Bummer; it was my favorite piece. Oh well.

Steampunk Jewelry

Here’s the steampunk jewelry I’ll be bringing to SPX this coming Saturday. I don’t have any new books to sell, so I need to have a little something extra on the table.

I’ve run out of matching gears, matching dials, and pretty much everything else good-looking, so this is probably the very last batch of this type of jewelry I’m going to make for a long time to come. Each piece is unique, and is pretty much impossible to re-create. They also tend to sell out really fast at shows, so if you’re thinking of buying one, I encourage you to stop by the table early in the show.

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