Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Steampunk? Of course, you timorous little coggie!

Just this morning I was involved in an interesting discussion on the Steampunk Forums over the term "steampunk". Unbeknown to me there are people who are into the genre but don't like to be called steampunk.

I've never had issues with the term "steampunk" and rather enjoy the sound of it. I am a punk, just from another time and place of questionable historical authenticity.

steampunk labratory
This is how I've always seen being "steampunk" personally -- we've transported ourselves back to the historical past and rebelled against their acceptable sciences and paradigms, interjecting our own from our own time (and enhanced with an extra bit of fantasy). This anachronism is our playground and the source of our punk'ness especially from the point of view of those in the historical past.

To those fantasy inhabitants of our historical past, we've come in and tossed aside everything they "know" about science and technology and in using our own paradigms have enjoyed tremendous success overshadowing their own! It's like declaring war on what they consider "knowledge" insisting our own is much better with proof to justify the claim. Could you imagine the audacity!

That is where we are truly the punks, not in reality but in our own fantasy and I for one revel in it!

That conflict is also a great background for a tale of adventure!

steampunk aircorp recruit posterPicture courtesy of Steampunk Wallpapers

Monday, March 30, 2009

Steampunk Creations for Computational Purposes

So the good captain tries to stay up to breast with current computational devices and trends in the æthyr not just for curiosity's sake, but with an eye for ever improving the Anomaly Obscura Engine. You never know what "mad engineer" will break with traditional scientific norms (those crutches of the small minded) and see something bigger and better outside of the conventionally acceptable schools of thought.

Today I have brought with me a small collection of intriguing steampunk devices used for various computational purposes, from accounting for your steel cog business to determining the correct pressure needed for your steam powered cow tipper to successfully tip a cow...or to just listen to some music!

First, we have the ElectriClerk.

The ElectriClerk was created by Andrew H. Leman from a 1988 Macintosh SE computer, a 1923 Underwood typewriter, and a fresnel lens just in case any ships at sea need to see the contents of your inbox I reckon. Regardless, it is a beautiful and inspiring machine that can easily replace that lazy old clerk who came with your shop when you purchased it.

Next up for your occular enjoyment, an updated morse code transmitter with additional functionality!

As you can see on the right side, the morse code transmitter is fully functioning along with the keyboard and monitor, although the good captain does recommend a tetanus shot before operations accounting for the apparent knives edges strategically placed around the keys.

Perhaps now is a good time to interject with a little accessory for some of the fine machines we've seen here and elsewhere. Here we have a gorgeous stand created to hold the monitor for your own computational device.

This front and back view shows the wonderful attention to detail displayed in this piece, made by a loving and skillful wife for her surely undeserving husband! Ok, perhaps he was deserving but it helps ease the sting of jealous to think otherwise so let's leave the good captain to his pettiness for a bit shall we.

Ok, finally we have a deliciously morbid and fully functional Eye-Pod Victrola, created by none other than Doctor Grymm himself

While obstensibly a music maker, it appears to also watch the listener's reaction and can adjust and adapt it's musical play list based on the optical feedback it receives. It is well versed in most non-verbal forms of communication having received a degree in the field at Oxford University, and inbetween musical performances it hopes to return to school to earn a doctorate in psychology this fall.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Stowaway Steampunk Artist Uncovered!

We have a mystery today my lovely deckhands, so put on your best Holmes hat and grab a magnifying lens if your goggles don't already have that attachment!

I was looking through a file of æthyric wonders I had encountered in the past, I suppose they're rather like "æthyric bookmarks", and found something there I had no recollection of. A place and time in the æthyr I had recorded with the intention of returning there someday, but why? I had to know, so firing up the Anomaly Obscura Engine the good captain set a steampunk sail for uncharted...hmm, unremembered charted territory!

The journey was not without peril, but fruits are so sweet. Behold! The wonders of the Keith Thompson art collection!

Not everything is steamy, but it all looks great, and the good captain was even generous enough to bring you some gorgeous steampunk samples!

steampunk walker

steampunk nautilus

steampunk tank

steampunk pistolsteampunk robot

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Steampunk Spiders Have Invaded!

While out and about on one of my merry adventures today I noticed a strange sound, like a clockwork mechanism ticking erratically. Of course I naturally assumed it was a very sophicated bomb using the Mayan Calendar for its timings, which would explain the strange tick cadence, but searching about I found a beautiful clockwork spider snooping around the good captain's quarters which I promptly caught inside a glass bulb.

The trapped mechanical ~
Christopher Conte steampunk spider in glass

Without haste I set out searching the whole of the Anomaly Obscura Engine for more, and eventually uncovered an entire army!

Christopher Conte steampunk spider 1

Christopher Conte steampunk spider 2

Who would set such insidious little marvels upon the beloved captain, I wondered. So, with a little creative reverse-engineering, a soldering iron and a little touch of elbow grease I managed to discover the source of these incredible steampunk insects that were beset upon me!

Behold their creator - Christopher Conte

It looks like the intrepid Mr. Conte has been hard at work creating a steamy armor of mechanical masterpieces...but for what purpose? We might have to wait for his undoubtedly evil master plan to come to fruition, but I would like to be the first to welcome our new steampunk overlord and his mechanical spiders to earth.

Take a look at his general! The end is surely nigh
Christopher Conte steampunk spider 3

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Steampunk Defense

As we all know, the æthyr can be a dangerous place and a captain must be concerned with the defense of their crew, their ship, and themselves. While the elegance of a crossbow is undeniable, sometimes we need things a bit more modern to compete with rampaging mechanical monsters, mad scientists, and the occasional alien invasion. Well today I bring you some of the latest inventions to help with your defense!

First we have this lovely little sonic weapon. It fires in a frontal cone up to 65 feet away, but sadly it does not work on the heard of hearing.
steampunk gun

Sometimes you need to use distance as a strategic advantage, and when that day comes you'll be glad you have this little number. Not only is it effective at 500', but the scope is removable for when you just have to catch a glimpse of the neighbor's daughter's ankle in the backyard.
steampunk gun

Here is a lovely combination, the pump action bio-æthyric disruptor + bio-resonance feedback pistol. Guaranteed to ruin the day of anyway standing in front of it, these have become favorites with police and government agents in recent years.
steampunk gun

Taking a look in the personal armor field, we have the latest development from Prof. Welington! The nearly articulated Mechanical Sunday Suit is guaranteed to protect you from everything but drowning, and weights in at a feather-light 1.3 tons!
steampunk armor

Last but certainly not least, some heavy artillery for defending your laboratory or airship from auditors/pirates (is there a difference). The Thud Gun! This 8 barrel blaster barely needs to warm up before unleashing a devastating salvo and anything shoved into the barrel...forks, stones, inept crewmen...if you can fit it in the barrel this beauty can fire it nearly a mile!
steampunk cannons
(It supposedly can detect aircraft too, like some kind of listening device...pfft)

For those who are still unaware, the most technologically modern and most impressive weapons are all available at Dr. Grordbort's Infallible Aether Oscillators

Normally here I would gleefully tell all of you, my little crew members, to get back to work but I don't like that look in your eye staring at these weapons....makes me wonder what you're thinking of...

You know what, the good captain is feeling generous, why don't you take the rest of the day off!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Steampunk Star Wars Lego Extravaganza

The good captain decided today was a day for real adventure, so firing up the Anomaly Obscura Engine, I set a course for a true and deadly war zone. Upon arriving a long time ago in a galaxy far far away my eyes were beset with incredible steampunk engineering all about me. I was simply giddy with all the new ideas and possibilities that flooded my mind and started capturing images as fast as I could to share with my little lovies.

Behold, Steamwars Lego ~
steam wars x-wing fighter steam wars jabba barge

steam wars y-wing steam wars jet bike

steam wars tie fighter

steam wars walker steam wars land speeder

All images shamelessly pirated from here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Biggest Steampunk Creations!

Well well well, what have we here! It seems recent years have seen the number of gigantic mechanical steampunk creatures invading Old World cities has spiked. I know, typical end of the world scenario serving as the prelude to an evil overlord whose master plan actually worked out, right?

Aside from your convenient forgetting about the good captain working to thwart such nasties (or throwing a wrench in the works until offered a cush job from certain said evil overlord), I truly regret to say this was not part of an attempt to take over the world... In all actuality these mind blowing creations from François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice were all part of traveling shows in Europe commemorating events such as the anniversary of Jules Verne's passing and the revival of Liverpool in the UK.

Enjoy some of these remarkable creations for yourself and just imagine what these would look like from the ground as they passed by...

"The Sultan's Elephant"

Nearly 40' tall, it can even spray water from it's trunk onto the unsuspecting crowds. That sultan always did have a unique sense of humor, he did.

An Air Kraken!

The Wild West invades England?

The spider even spun some web, sewing together cars along the road with a giant needle and thread (simply the coolest touch to this amazing work of art!)

Before getting all sentimental about the fate of these poor cars at the whims of giant steampunk spiders....they were part of the show and not victims of random acts of giant steampunk spider violence!

Now back to work before I unleash the giant steampunk housecat on all my little mouse-like deckhands!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

In the Spirit of Steampunk Railroads and Airship Pirates

Train Pirates!

Another wonderful wave from the Old World, BBC's own Wrong Door. While the good captain admits this is not the most steamy short out there, but nonetheless it's in the spirit my dear deckhands. It's also considered comedy over there from what I've been told, so do try and laugh!

Part 1 ~

Part 2 ~

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A study in steampunk over-engineering

It's come to my attention lately that some rogue scientists and engineers have been getting a bit more eccentric than usual. Now believe me, the good captain is quite fond of eccentricity and often indulges in a spot of it himself, but there is a point where common-sense should start waving a red flag or two.

Take, for example, the corkscrew designed by Rob Higgs. While a gorgeous piece of machinery and effective at not only removing the cork from your favorite bottle of wine but also pouring you a glass as well, it seems a bit impractical. Perhaps even dangerous in the right circumstances. Let's paint a picture shall we...

You've just returned to the lab after a lovely evening with a certain sweet lady. You've both had a few drinks and are looking not only to test said lady's claim of innocence but enjoy a nightcap along the way. Things are going well and fine Victorian clothing is piling up on the floor. Another drink is offered and stepping over to your "one of one hundred" corkscrews, proceed to see your gentlemanly cane sucked into a large exposed cog! I think a large cat could be sucked into this contraption, without the benefit of wine to use as an excuse!

While not advertised or promoted as steampunk in any overt way, I think in appearance it is wonderful and certainly looks like part, but I think one of the aspects of steampunk this misses is in keeping thing more or less practical. Sure, some extra cogs here and there might add to the look but overall the finished product does its job well and without 400lbs. of extra brass gears, levers, and pipes tacked on just for looks (whether they appear to do something or not, they are not necessary to the proper functioning of the machine or could not be replaced with a far more simple mechanism).

There's also a smaller issue of counter space. See for yourself ~

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Steampunk Instruments of the Musical Variety

Once again adventuring through the æthyr I have discovered wonders I never expected to see, which obviously would mean my little deckhands have never dreamed of such things to even not be expecting to see them! So naturally I've collected these wonders and have brought them back for you to now see, so you can expect more in the future. What else would you be expecting from the good captain!

I've shared a bit of moving steampunk pictures with you, but now it's time to broaden our horizons and see what kinds of musical instruments have been created out there in the æthyr that fulfill our steampunk visions. Standing head and shoulders above the other musical instrument makers I had the lovely pleasure of meeting is one Lirio Salvador, a native of the Philippines. Now as unbelievable as these instruments are, they are in fact real and work!

Behold, the Sandata ng lolo ni tatay ~

Sandata ng lolo ni tatay translates into "the weapon of my grandfather's father" from what I'm told by my interpreters, whose abilities I question after the notorious Niponese White Glove incident, but I digress... this instrument is played like a cello but sounds nothing like one. The resonators are made from metal mixing bowls and is amplified by a magnetic pickup.

Next, please direct your eyes to Planet Stainless ~

Planet Stainless is made of mostly metal kitchenware, pots, bowls and the like. It is an improvised amplifier that creates natural vibrating effects when used. It can also cook a 2.5 lbs. lobster in 3 minutes. Not really, but you believed it at first didn't you?

Out last musical wonder, the Sandat 3RB ~

The Sandat 3RB uses regular guitar strings which stretch door springs that when played, produce industrial oriental drone sound effects. It is a "free playing" instrument which allegedly means anyone can play it, but I still wouldn't trust some of you with the safety of my ears should you try it. Just fair warning.

That's all for now, so get back to work and whistle me a jaunty tune while you do!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Biking in Steampunk Style - to dinner!

Information regarding a most curious invention found me today and I thought this is just the type of newfangled contraption my little deckhands would love to see and hopefully be inspired by! Straight from Steuben's Wheelmen,

the Brass Lion ~

Steampunk trike 1

Steampunk trike 2

What a gorgeous combination of form, function, and of course a healthy dose of steampunk style. In the opinion of this humble captain, I believe that a bicycle in any of it's myriad forms or flavors is a perfect canvas upon which to let our creative steampunk energies flow and give new shape, creating an object that captures the true sense of the technology of the time while romanticizing and conveying that new aesthetic we all love so dearly.

As much fun as taking a laptop and making it steampunk, we all know that is an anachronism and while entertaining and of course beautiful, we know it's wrong, just a piece of fantasy. Bicycles actually existed during the "steampunk era" and so things like the Brass Lion look potential - somewhere, someone might have one buried in a barn for the last 100 years and not realize it, or that old picture of great-grandpa riding this to the park on a Sunday afternoon could materialize in an old family album. This could have been.

That potential to have actually been makes this so much more appealing and romantic in my mind, like a "new antique" has just been discovered. Not to take anything away from the anachronistic inventions one bit, they show just as much skill and creativity and are just as lovely, but just not as romantic in my mind. Subtle, and ultimately not even very important. Just a small gram of thought from the good captain.

Speaking of romantic, steampunk, and the good captain - A final gift for the day! Fuel for the Boiler: A Steampunk Cookbook!

From it's description:
Since time out of mind, food has brought man together. Over meals laws have been made,lover discovered,and families bonded. It is no wonder, then, that a community of people could and would create their own recipe book. What started as a simple idea on a forum (Brass Goggles)has become an all out literary project.

The captain is no stranger to the Brass Goggles forums and in fact, is a frequent quest there. I can attest to some of the mouth watering recipes in this book as well as the truly incredible steampunk community that came together (inadvertently at first) to share recipes with one another that seemed appropriate. One thing lead to another and now this is the delectable result!

Oh, and since I know how my beloved crew always complain about their wages, I have very special news...the book is free for download! With prices like free, who needs wages!?!

Now back to work!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Steampunk Research Kits

Most find this quite surprising, but the good captain is keenly interesting in fields of science a bit outside the normally accepted disciplines. I do honestly believe that most of the true steampunk pirates, captains, engineers, inventors and others share this trait, as it's our ability to look beyond what is accepted to see what is possible that sets most of us on this path. The better among us have the skills to turn possibility into reality, as you will soon see.

Here are the new scientific research kits for several emerging fields of bio-æthyric research, crypto-biological studies, and even necro-æthyric investigation. With such state-of-the-art research tools now available it's surely just a matter of time before ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and the like are scientifically proven, researched, and documented as indisputable fact.

The Necropathic Spectregraph

The Vampyric Anatomical and Biological Research Case

The Lycanthropic Anatomical and Biological Research Case

Lovecraftian Research Kit

The Bio-Æthyric Laboratory

The Bio-Æthyric Correction Device

(All kits created by Alex CF at some lost point in time, probably 2-3 years ago, I think...)

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Wonderfully Adventurous Friday!

What a day, dear friends! In my adventures throughout the æthyr I have crossed the paths of more than one airship pirate, but today it seems I sailed right into the middle of an armada! Pushing the Anomaly Obscura Engine to it's maximum, I did manage to avoid helpless cog-pushers trying to shift the burden of their workloads onto the good captain, layabout managers trying to oversee the brave captain's every move, and even a bevy of pirates trying to abduct our swashbuckling hero for some devious "meeting" regarding which processes could be considered best-practices! The good captain will tell you...the best practice is the one that works!

But enough about the trials and travails I've overcome today in seeking my bold new adventures and onto the sparkling brass treasures which I have discovered and now am prepared to share with you, my lovely crew, and what reasures they are! A veritable wealth of steampunk artifacts and events for my pretties to ponder over during the weekend. I know you wait with baited breath, so I will tease you no more!

First for our crew hailing from the Old World, the very first Maker's Faire to be held on your soil is set to run this weekend, March 14-15, in Newcastle, UK. Certain to bring together some of the Old World's best and brightest engineers, inventors, enthusiasts and tinkerers this event is a must-attend for any steampunk fan, both of makers and the admirers. Go and show support for those who create the things we love so much, and maybe even become inspired to throw your own hat into the ring and start making your own priceless artifacts!

My next chrono-æthyric treasure is direct from Roger Wood and his wonderous Klockwerks! These victorian and steampunk inspired clocks are a fitting addition to any workshop or mantlepiece as I'm sure you'd all agree. That was, once again, rhetorical dear friends although I am moved by your enthusiasm. Really.

Take a look at some of these magnificent clockwork masterpieces for yourself
Steampunk Jules Verne Type 275 clock by Roger Wood Steampunk Buck Rogers Clock by Roger Wood Steampunk Electro Table Clock by Roger Wood

Finally, as a continuation of the earlier ideas about steampunk taxidermy, we have the works of artist Jessica Joslin. In a step short of taxidermy dear Jessica incorporates the bones of what I can only presume was dinner at some point into her magnificent and morbid steampunk circus show theme.

Feast your eyes upon these inspired acts

Neville, steampunk art by Jessica Joslin

Gustav, steampunk art by Jessica Joslin

Virgil and Ace
Virgil and Ace, steampunk art by Jessica Joslin

Until tomorrow's adventures reveal new treasure...back to work!