Ladies of Steampunk 2012 Calendar Release Party

Holy crap! It’s September already? It seems like just a few weeks ago that it was February and I was Seattle’s newest and slightly bewildered resident. Before you or I know it, 2011 will be over, and the new year will be upon us. With the upcoming new year comes the necessity of changing outdated calendars with newer models.

As you start the hunt for the prefect 2012 calendar, I’d like to present a Steampunk option to grace your walls. The Ladies of Steampunk calendar is scheduled to be released next month at Mondo Bizarro Cafe in Sacramento, California on October 7th. The party will be $10 at the door and the hosts are generously buying the first 50 attendees their first round.

For more information about the calendar, please check out the Ladies of Steampunk website. Please be aware that the calendar is NSFW. To learn more and RSVP to the release party, click here.

Thanks a Lot, Lancelot

Earlier this year, I did an interview with the always uproarious and entertaining Not Waving But Drowning, a junkyard caberet band hailing from New York. If you happened to miss the interview, you can read it all here. As informative as it is amusing, I think you’ll get a good understanding for this group’s eccentricities by taking a peek at the piece.

I’ve recently heard from them again, and they’re thrilled to unveil their very first music video for the song Thanks a Lot, Lancelot, featuring a pet lobster, a besotted butler, and multiple homicides. Watch all the madness below:

If you’ve found you’ve discovered a new favorite band, you’ll be happy to learn Not Waving But Drowning is planning to spend most of October touring the East Coast as part of their Red Roaring Water Tour. If you’re on that side of the country, you should go see them!
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Talk Like a Pirate Day is Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is one of my favorite holidays of all time! Tomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day and today we need to prepare for tomorrow’s celebration. Even airship pirates should partake in this most important of pirate holidays.

First, the most crucial part of Talk Like a Pirate Day is actually talking like a pirate. For those of you who are not familiar with pirate lexicon, I’ve a helpful a crash course video to help you brush up on piratical linguistics.

In addition to talking like a pirate, you can also choose to dress like a pirate. For airship pirates, tomorrow is the perfect day to pull out your airship pirate wardrobe and wear it proudly. I remember celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day when I was in college, dressed in my fully pirate garb and giving full answers to my professor’s questions on course material in Pirate. Last year, my no fun office wasn’t in the least bit interested in Talk Like A Pirate Day. This year’s prospects are thankfully much better.

What was best about talking and dressing like a pirate on Talk Like a Pirate Day was the unsuspecting hordes that don’t realize it was a day for celebration until it’s too late.

So have a happy Talk Like a Pirate Day. May your sails be full, your fires high, and the adventures tomorrow be ones to remember! Yo ho ho!

The Victorian Furniture Company

Long time readers will know that earlier this year, I moved from Dallas, Texas to Seattle Washington with naught but two suitcases and a plane ticket. Everything that couldn’t fit in those cases had to be sold or donated, so it should be of little surprise that when I did finally land my own (gorgeous) apartment, it was, um, kind of empty.

Not that that’s a problem. I don’t mind sitting on cushions on the floor, but I feel bad for expecting my guests to be cool with it too. It’s definitely not the comfiest seating arrangement possible.

I’ve been looking for furniture for my living room that’s both well-made and sufficiently retro to fit with the aesthetic of my home. And it hasn’t been easy. Most vintage and retro furniture that’s around nowadays isn’t from the right time period or is exorbitantly expensive and found at antique stores. Look, I love antiques just as much as the next retrofuturist, but if a 2,000 dollar couch needs re-stuffing and reupholstering before I can think of using it for what it was intended, I’m going to hesitate before I shell out for it.

Fortunately, I recently discovered the Victorian Furniture Company, a website dealing in reproduction home furnishings. They have a lot of really beautiful offerings that are customizable with regards to finishes and fabrics, so you’ll get exactly what you need/want for the room you’re redesigning, or in my case, furnishing for the first time. Head on over and check out their designs.

I particularly like that they list where all their woods come from, so you won’t have to wonder where it’s coming from. All their wood selections come from the USA, and they even denote what state in the drop-down selections. Neat!

Steampunk Analog Gauge Moonphase Clock

If you’ve been reading for any length of time, you know how much I love the online resource Instructables. By making DIY accessible to anyone with an internet connection, it transforms the “I could never make something like that” mentality into “Hey, I think I can make that too” thought process. One of the cool things about Steampunk is the ability to inspire the DIY mentality in people who never thought they were technically skilled enough to make things on their own. What starts as a simple project could easily, after training and education in a particular field, become an art or trade.

Today’s project is a cool Analog Gauge Moonphase Clock created by fatratmatt of Instructables. Check it out:

Pretty!

While this project is not necessarily aimed at beginners, the instructions are clear enough that if you’re of sound mind and abold constitution, this is something you could probably take on and enjoy. Check out the full project and all the instructions here.

Do you have a favorite tutorial you think I should highlight here? Maybe you just finished a project you’d like to talk to others about how you made. Send me a message… I’d love to see what you lovely people come up with! Who knows, it might be the stuff of a future post here!

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Horrible Histories: Victorian Slang

Horrible Histories is a British historical comedy series for kids that was started in 2009. A lot like Histeria! from the late 90’s, this series takes historical fact and turns it on its head to inform in amusing fashion. I featured one of their clips earlier this year entitled Victorian Inventions that you should definitely check out if you missed.

Steampunks of all persuasions will likely be interested in another of Horrible Histories’ TV clips, Victorian Slang. Check it out below:

Whether you’re in to writing, character acting or history in general, you’re likely to find this helpful for adding a bit of a historical anchor to your character. You’ll be delighted to learn that there’s many other installments of Horrible Histories, and I feel they’re a great resource and an accessible medium for learning tidbits of history, invaluable for the armchair historian. Heck, if you’ve got a sense of humor, you’re at least likely to be amused and in my opinion, that’s invaluable in and of itself.

Slightly Steampunk: Women in Pants

Only slightly Steampunk tonight, but sure to appeal to many of my readers. One of Steampunk’s amazing aspects is its staunch resistance to an overarching definition. Steampunk means a lot of different things to a lot of differently minded people. Because that is the case, and the dedication of many in the community to embrace both Steam and Punk, there’s room for pretty much anyone in Steampunk.

This was not the case back in the historical era that forms the factual backbone for our future that never was. People who failed to conform to the expectations their rigid society were ostracized and persecuted. Gender norms especially were tightly controlled, including a strict code of dress for both (meaning, only two) sexes.

But there were people who aimed to dismantle that structure. Bold, brave women dared to defy convention and bend how society perceived them by slipping into a pair of trousers.

Written by Catherine Smith and Cynthia Greig, this book is a visual exploration of those women and their unique wardrobes from the 1850’s to the 1920’s. The reasons for wearing pants are many and complex, and makes for some interesting reading. Retronauts of all persuasions will likely enjoy this book’s documentation of gender and dress. You can pick up a copy from Amazon.

eBook Deal: Soulless

Attention all Kindle readers! Today, I’ve got a very special treat for you if you’ve happened to not yet read Soulless by Gail Carriger. For today only, Tuesday, September 13, 2011, until midnight PST, you can pick up an e-copy of your own for only 1.99 USD. That’s a 75% discount, which is pretty sweet if you’re looking for a good read at a fantastic price.

You can download the book here from Amazon. Unfortunately, though, it’s only for Kindle readers. You can pick up a physical copy of the book for just 7.99 by going here. Here’s a brief summary of the tale to whet your literary appetite.

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

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Steampunk in Seattle: Two Updates

My dearest readers from the Seattle Steampunk community will be glad to read today’s post, which brings you tidings of wonderful things soon to come. Clear your calendars, my dear rats, as these events are not to be missed.

First, on the 17th of September, there will be a Steampunk rummage sale in Capitol Hill at All Pilgrims Christian Church. This is a great opportunity to connect with some of the local Steampunk artists and snag a few items before SteamCon rolls in next month. If you’re looking for that last piece to complete your latest ensemble for the convention, this is a great place to check out. You’re also likely to meet some people you’ll see at the con too, and everyone knows that cons are so much better when you know some of the people there.

Second, there is to be a bi-monthly Steamvent in Capitol Hill, and meetings will start this next Monday, the 19th (which also happens to be Talk Like a Pirate Day). It will be held at the wonderful Elliot Bay Books, a gloriously independent book store right in the heart of Capitol Hill. Make sure to check out the Facebook event I’ve linked to for more information. This is yet another great opportunity for you to get connected with the local scene, especially if you hail from a location which makes traveling up to the Northside of Seattle rather difficult. Plus, Capitol Hill is awesome, so you should totally come hang out with all the cool kids.

Steampunk Fonts

Last month, I wrote an article highlighting ways to customize your various computing devices through an article by How to Geek. They had a lot of really nice offerings for computers, iphones, ipads and a various other assortment of items to help give them more of a Steampunk flair. They’re back again with a new spin on last month’s post, this time featuring fonts.

I kind of have a love / hate relationship with wild fonts. I can appreciate that how words appear can sometimes say things beyond what is actually written. I like hand-writing a lot of my personal correspondences for that reason. But man, I hate it when I get a document that I have to download an extra item just to see what it is that you wanted me to read.

So, there’s a time and a place for a good font. To give your latest creation that nice finishing touch it needs to look period appropriate, check out this list and download yourself a goodie.