Thursday, November 29, 2007

Steampunk Media: The Golden Compass



View of the city

A brief group of photos reagarding a discussion in-world… needed an airship image and one of the vehicle… and had to add more (lol). I’ll add more later…




Sky ferry (from inside a building)…



Larger view of the “skyferry”
btw – below are links to the newest Steampunk movie,


The mysteriously powered carriages

Traveling in the canals (nice brasswork detail on the ships…)

The official movie website –
and the movie fansite


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The new terror of the seas… The Sea Sleigher!



While working on some projects for the new store, I was contacted by my good friend Mr. Zer0 Zhao, and his lovely partner, Ms. Alice Plante for a visit. After some discussions about a broken finger caused by Zer0 (in rl), he said he had a surprise in store for me.



He rezzed what may be known as the “Terror of Christmas” – the Sea Sleigher! A perfectly modded Chase Speculaas ship, it has Christmas colors, Candy Cane cannons – which, instead of explosions when activated, call out the name of the reindeer listed on its port hole cover (“On Dancer, On Blitzen…) – certain to strike fear in his prey from Santa’s’ vengeful wrath, and a proud Santa flag waving in the wind… much scarier than the overused skull and cross bones.




I was told that he intends on using it in the Antiquity Naval Battles – intimidating any who cross his path and giving lumps of coal (iron?) to those who cross his path! One more (excellent) reason to go to the battles!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Steampunkopedia is back!



The brilliant site known as “Steampunkopedia” has returned to operation after a lenghty hiatus! Speaking of “fonts of wisdom” regarding Steampunk, this has to be the starting point for any research into the genre! To drink at the well, please visit…

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Steampunk History: The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893



Artistic rendition of the World’s Fair of 1893

After having a discussion with a congenial young lady, I came to a disturbing realization the very historical foundations that Steampunk (and to a lesser extent, Victoriana) are founded upon, are often misunderstood or smiply unknown. The “Steampunk Era”, from the 1830s to the 1890s (more or less), was rife with amazing facts, trivia, major wars, and amazing technological innovations for the time (of which Steampunk extrapolates them in a steam/mechanical divergence, vice our RL electrical/electronic temporal flow).

This small blog is by no means a font of wisdom regarding Steampunk for that, I would recommend Brass Goggles (by the industrious Miss Tinkergirl), the Aether Emporium, or the Wiki for Steampunk. Still, I hope to contribute a bit to the understanding of the RL historical background that Steampunk is based upon and as such, will begin (with this entry) inserting more historical events that (at least, I perceive) influenced the current revival and development of Steampunk.

Although I will attempt to limit myself to the era between 1830-1900, I will occasionally touch upon the “Edwardian” era (1900-1910), and perhaps a few topics beyond this (never veering too far into the 20th century). Short little articles, nothing too long or boring, but ideally something that can tie in with the beloved genre…
———-



Worlds Columbia Exposition of 1893

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christophers Columbus first voyage to the New World, the city of Chicago staged a massive worlds fair in 1893 that was one of the most widely attended events of the nineteenth-century United States. More than 27 million people visited the 200 gaudy building erected at the sprawling fairgrounds south of downtown Chicago at a time when the total population of the United States was only about 63 million.



The “Woman’s Building” of the Exposition of 1893

The fairs “White City”, an elaborate complex of Beau Arts buildings designed by famed architects Frederick Law Olmstead (1822-1903) and Daniel Burnham (1846-1912), featured thousands of exhibits showcasing the industrial progress of the United States. Visitors to the fair could marvel at demonstrations of electric light, sewing machines, elevated trains, skyscrapers, and other recent American technological innovations. The Ferris wheel, which made its debut at the fair and cost the (then princely) sum of 50 cents, was one of the events major attractions.


The first Ferris wheel, named after its inventor

Hugely popular, the fair was a major event in American cultural history and helped fashion the modern self-image of the United States as a land of progress and optimism. The fairs 65,000 exhibits presented a triumphant history of American innovation and promised a great future for the prosperous nation. Far surpassing any worlds fair held in Europe, the exposition capped off the Guilded Age of the United States with a symphony of awe-inspiring excess. For the city of Chicago, the fair marked the completion of its recover from the devastating Great Chicago Fire of 1871.


The Ho-o-den Imperial Japanses Exposition

In total, the exposition covered 633 acres, took 40,000 workers three years to build, and remained open to the public for six months. Afterwards, all but two buildings at the site were demolished. The University of Chicago now occupies most of the area. Chicagos Museum of Science and Industry is the only major building that remains of the once-vast fairgrounds.


Additional Facts
1) Chicago got its nickname “The Wind City” from a New York City paper editor who thought Chicagoans were a bunch of windbags with all their boasting about the fair. The rugged winds off Lake Michigan served to cement the appellation.
2) Chicago mayor Carter Harrison was assassinated by a disgruntled job seeker at the fair two days before it closed.
3) One exhibit at the fair was a map of the United States made entirely of pickles.

Ref: Kidder, D. & Oppenheim, N.,(2007). The Intellectual Devotional American History. Modern Times, p. 215, New York: New York.

Ed. Note.

The outstanding book, Devil in the White City, provides an intriguing insight into the construction of the Expo (which turns out to have been much less certain at the time), along with the events of the true case of the United States first serial killer. A New York Times Best seller.

UCLA has a “real time” simulation of the Worlds Fair of 1893, designed by its Urban Simulation Team. Stunningly recreated, I can only fantisize about a SL worlds fair, but it perhaps would look as such

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Victorian Notables: Charles Rennie Mackintosh



Charles Rennie Mackintosh

I had the opportunity to my new neighbor, Miss Eggberta Echegray, about a number of topics in (my new) neighborhood, when the subject turned her domicile, the Willow Team room. I must admit, I am quite a fan of both Art Nouveau and Art Deco, but apparently there was a “hole” in my knowledge of the field, as I was unfamiliar with the artist she based her abode design, and asked her about it.





Example of his art, made into a stained glass window

“Charles Rennie Mackintosh!” was her response. In return, I gave her a blank look, being unfamiliar with the gentleman. After my ham-fisted attempts to change the topic (to hide my obvious ignorance), I proceeded to the font of knowledge known as the internet, to allay this situation.



More examples of his glasswork

Mr. Mackintosh was a premier Scottish architect, designer, and watercolorist, who was active in the both the “Arts and Crafts” and “Art Nouveau” movements of the late 19th century. His works valued “restraint of economy” (via Wiki), and had a sublime influence from the Japonaise school, as the nation of the Rising Sun began to open its doors to the rest of the world.





The RL Willow Tearoom




Inside the RL Willow Tearoom – with hot tea and and enjoyable atmosphere

He had a storied but short career, and although his work is considered one of the foundations of “moderisme”, his artistic ability established what was know as the “Glassglow” style, influencing the emerging Viennese Art Nouveau movement of “Sezessionstil” (again, Wiki)





Miss Echegray’s SL Willow Tearoom, New Babbage

If you wish to read further into one of the most influential founders of what was eventually known as “Art Nouveau”, please visit the following sites


The unique font associated with CRM’s work

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Rennie_Mackintosh

http://www.crmsociety.com/

http://www.huntsearch.gla.ac.uk/mackintosh/

http://www.achome.co.uk/pictorial/mackintosh.htm

http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Glasgow_School_of_Art.html

http://www.armin-grewe.com/crm/crm.htm

The RL Tea Room

http://www.willowtearooms.co.uk/





Miss Echegray relaxing at the Willow Tearoom

and of course, Miss Echegrays blog

http://eggberta.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Scientific Romance blog relaunched!



Did a bit of online exploring for an article, and discovered that “Voyages Extraordinaires: Scientific Romances in a Bygone Age ” relaunched earlier this month (November). I especially enjoy reading it, as it focus concisely on the “Scientific Romance” genre, with plenty of factual background to draw upon.

Mr. Raven writings are always an enjoyable read – and the topic matter is obviously… well, appropriate. I encourage one to visit his relaunched website at:

http://voyagesextraordinaires.blogspot.com/

and if you desire, stop by his earlier blog site at:

http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9094/STEAM2.html

Culture Show – Beowulf

The BBC broadcast of the Culture Show has an interview with Dr. Nareth E. Nishi (@ about 6:26 into the broadcast). Her blog, Parallax: The Journal of Professor Nareth E. Nishi,with much more insight to her background, is located at http://narethenishi.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 19, 2007

Original version of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea is still the best!

Been looking at this as an influence on my new building – I especially love the opening glowing sub, the crazy underwater dinner menu, and the hammy Kirk Douglass acting!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Changes, Changes, and more Changes


My new neighborhood in Port Babbage

(Port Babbage) Well, the past couple of weeks have been quite busy, both in RL & SL, which directly led to changes in both. First, I have moved away from Antiquity, and returned to New Babbage. The reason for the departure rests mostly with the desire to return to my Steampunk roots. Though I had considered a number of other locations (both Victorian and non-Victorian), after consultations with Mayor Sprocket, I decided to relocate to a large vacated lot in Port Babbage, next door to Miss Eggberta Echegaray, editor of the New Babbage Cog.

However, upon leaving, I needed to relinquish some the duties I had taken on in Antiquity. The Royal Antiquity Navy is currently in the capable hands of Duke Angus, who will command it until he decides upon his successor. I will still serve in its reserves, as an independent privateer, whenever called upon to duty (or just for a good fight).

The Antiquity Gazette, fresh from an interview by a German newspaper about “Hyperlocal Journalism”, will tentatively be run by Miss Hope Coakes, who based on her previous writings, will serve as an outstanding editor (-trix?) and keep its residents (and visitors) up to date with all of the happenings in Antiquity, as it grows dramatically.


Mayor Sprocket (l), Mr. Commodore (in the aircraft), and myself during the initial few minutes of the nacent Vernain Sea… with a lovely ship (ex-train)

As a bit of trivia, I was almost one of the original residents of New Babbage, but unfortunately my RL military service threw the proverbial “rusty wrench” into my plans. I had considered Steelhead, or possibly waiting for a new Caledonian sim, but after wandering around the gritty streets of the New Babbage Canals, and relaxing in Port Babbage, I had made my mind up to return. When the Mayor offered me the current plot, I jumped on it, and now I only have one problem.

I had acquired a low-prim domicile, with the expectations to modify it for my future business. But a combination of focusing on making product, limited RL time, and my lack of building skill (for what I envision), leads me to ask any readers if there is a decent and innovative SL builder I might be able to contact for the new building. I do have a specific concept on what I want, but I do not know of any builders personally, much less one who might understand my vision for a novel building.


My infamous cube… it just dosen’t make a statement – except “I’m a plain box” (*grumble*)

If anyone knows of such a person, I would sincerely appreciate a comment (or IM in world)! Thank you!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Klockwerks, the amazing timepieces



Mr. Roger Wood, Mad clock maker

Had to link to the Miss Saracarl’s Steampunk Home, which had a piece on an amazing RL clock designer, Mr. Roger Wood, and his business of making unique clocks, discussing the emails he sends out a number of times a week…


And the Klockwerks home page…

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Modern Steampunk Notables: Patrick McGoohan, The Prisoner



Number Six in the Village


Perhaps an unlikely choice for a “Modern Steampunk” notable, Mr. McGoohans brilliant series, The Prisoner, stands out for two reasons. First, the Village, where he is held, has a very Neo-Victorian atmosphere to it, albeit with a good number of 60s modifications (perhaps a “mod-Victorian” Im certain the British readers will be rolling their collective eyes at that comment)! The residents of said Village dress in Victorian attire (with some modern changes, such as updated materials in clothes, and streamlining some attires appearance), and engage in numerous social events, but speak in modern speech modes, (hmm sounds like SL (lol))!



The show logo, with its iconoclastic penny farthing

Secondly the technology. It is quite 60s (e.g. the mini-mokes jeep/taxis, strange telephones), but there is quite a dose of “Unexplainable Technology” (e.g. a teletype that continues to work even after it has been riddled with bullets, mind transference technology, cloning (not called that, but essentially that)). Again, era-specific (one episode has a computer the size of Mt. Everest an antiquated idea compared to todays computer systems), but much is unexplained, and remains unexplained technology akin to Steampunk, with electronics instead of gears.






An example of the attire in the Village (note the lady’s pin – it designates her number… because everyone has a number…)

Of course, I note the Prisoner for these reasons only as Steampunk-ish the writing of the Prisoner is genius. Even today, the episodes never fail to enthrall viewers (as Im certain our brethren across the water will attest). If you have the opportunity to see even one episode, do so! Youll be fascinated not only by the overarching story line, the conflicts with number twos, and the astoundingly superb writing (a fresh reprieve from todays treadworn stories), but the subtle nuances from this series that have intertwined into modern culture that only a Prisoner fan would recognize!




A nice map of the Village


Be seeing you!



For further information, please see…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prisoner
http://www.netreach.net/~sixofone/
http://www.anorakzone.com/prisoner/
http://www.theprisoneronline.com/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/classic/prisoner/
http://songweaver.com/tv/prisoner/prisoner.html
http://www.stylezilla.com/2005/04/how-i-could-just-kill-man-for-verner.html

** The first episode, “Arrival”, is on YouTube in five ten minute portions the first one is below, with the best television intro ever

*** Also, Ive been trying to locate the font-type used in the Prisoner If anyone has the information, Id be very appreciative!

1. Arrival part 1

This is the first part of “Arrival”… this episode is in five (5) ten minute parts (or so) at YouTube – worth watching every one!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Modern Steampunk Notables: Thomas Dolby



Mr. Dolby on stage in concert

Back when the earth was young, before the internet, CDs, ipods, and their ilk, I recall listening to my “walkman” to a young Brit who was of a different cut than his synthe-pop contemporaries. Mr. Thomas Dolby had (and has) an intriguing sound, but it was when I first saw his video (back when MTV actually played videos), that I had my first glimpse of a strange and amazing world I have now come to associate with Steampunk.




“Lab Photo”, back in the 80’s

Instead of modern and sleek electronic equipment, he had retro-looking scanners, and extensive use of wood and old rusty knobs/handles on his music equipment. I purchased his first album, “The Golden Age of Science”, and it has been a mainstay of my listening library (from cassette to CD to Ipod). Not a big fan of “She blinded me with science”, I did regard the rest of the album outstanding, musically and lyrically.




(Well worn) cover art of the “Golden Age of Science”

I did a bit of searching, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that not only is he still active in the music realm, but he’s on tour (well, in England and currently in Ireland – apparently missed his US visit…) and blogging about the experience (on his website). I’ve listed a few of his links in case you wish to learn more about this Steampunk pioneer.

http://www.thomasdolby.com/

(a series of interviews about his earlier work)
http://www.thomasdolby.com/soleinhabitant/

(a fairly audio-philic techie review of his equipment, including modding tips)
http://createdigitalmusic.com/2006/04/13/thomas-dolbys-blog-road-rig-build-your-rig-cheap/

Monday, November 5, 2007

Victorian Notables: Rudyard Kipling



Oil canvas paint in 1899 of Rudyard Kipling by Sir Phillip Burne-Jones

Rudyard Kipling

Born 1865, Died 1936
Age 42, 145 lbs. A middle-aged Englishman with a mustache and thick glasses, probably holding a cigar.

Advantages: Language Talent, Reputation (Noble prize winning author), Wealthy
Disadvantages: Addiction (Tobacco), Bad Sight (nearsighted), Insomniac, Reputation (from the political left, as a reactionary), Sense of duty (family)
Quirks: Believes he has occasional psychic experiences, “Gets even”, Loves to travel, Freemason but not Christian, Sense of Privacy

The outward facts of Kiplings life are well known, as he was a very public figure, but how he felt about them was largely concealed. He disliked biographers and biographical criticism, which he referred as “the higher cannibalism.” Some of his feelings can be gathered from his poetry and fiction, but not the literal circumstances of his life that produced them.

Biography
Queen Victoria was the head of the British Empire, but Kipling was its voice.
Born in India, Rudyard Kipling and his younger sister were taken in 1871 to board with a family in England. Kipling was miserable there and fled into reading to escape, damaging his eyesight; he also gained a lifelong revulsion against the idea of eternal punishment after repeated warnings about the damnation that awaited him. His adolescence, spent at boarding school preparing boys for military service, was happier.




In 1882, he returned to India and a job on a very small newspaper, which gave him an outlet for his fiction and poetry. The publication of a collected editions made him famous and allowed him to return to England. A subsequent world tour took him to the United States, where he married Caroline Balestier and settled on her property in Vermont. He wrote some of his major works there, including the Jungle Books and Kim, but quarreled with the neighbors and eventually, in 1902, moved to Sussex, in England.



Photo in 1907 after winning the Nobel Prize

He received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907, a controversial award because of his outspoken political views, but is said to have declined other honors such as the Order of Merit, and the role of Poet Laureate. He supported universal military service for men, spoke out for the British side in the Boer War, and was bitterly hostile to the Kaiser, especially after the death during World War I of hi sonly son, John, who had enlisted underage. One of his two daughters also died young. Kiplings later life was secluded and produced only a small volume of writing short story collections and his autobiography, his last book, published posthumously in 1937.




Sepia-toned 1926 photograph

Kipling in History
Kipling is historically important not for what he did, but for what he expressed: the viewpoint of British Imperialism at its historical high point. His political outlook made him unpopular with other writers, especially in his later life; even admirers such as Auden, Eliot, and Orwell felt the need to apologize for him. Some have found a streak of brutality, deeper than the patriotism. The struggle of the Third world nations for independence put him into to further disfavor as a symbol of white arrogance. In fact, his early works show a fair amount of respect for non-European cultures, although he does seem to become more harshly reactionary in his later years. As those conflicts recede into the past, a more detached appraisal of his work may reveal the poet hidden within the propagandist.



Newspaper image of Kipling

Encountered
Kipling is not always easy to meet; his wife is very protective of his privacy. He may speak at patriotic events or schools, or be met at one of his clubs in London, though he goes there less than he used to. He will eagerly talk about work his or anyone elses and may express his distaste for liberalism and socialism if sufficiently provoked. Getting him to reveal anything more personal will take patience and tact. Even with people he trusts, there is a great deal he will not say, though he may allude to it.
He is unusually religiously tolerant for his era, writing sympathetically about Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism; many of his writings hint at a belief in reincarnation. His political views are and odd combination of libertarian individualism and patriotic imperialism (in the sense that the imperialist has a civilizing duty), both falling out of favor in the 20th century.

Further Reading:
Kipling, Rudyard: Kim
Kipling, Rudyard: The Jungle Book
Kipling, Rudyard: Something of Myself
Wilson, Angus: The Strange Ride of Reared Kipling: His Life and Works

Stoddard, W (1999) – Gurps Who’s Who I, pg. 112-113, SJG:Austin[edited for removal of game specific content]

Online Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudyard_Kipling
http://www.online-literature.com/kipling/
http://www.kipling.org.uk/
http://www.nobelprizes.com/nobel/literature/1907a.html
http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/kipling/index.html