Wow, I haven't used my blog since last year! Steampunk Hands Around the World returns for it’s fourth year, continuing the celebration of the best that the global steampunk community has to offer.The 2017 theme of the annual month long blogathon is “Making Life Better”. Steampunk is pretty much the only thing that currently keeps me sane. My lifelong battle with various diseases and other health issues reached a fever pitch early last year, and because of that it's been pretty difficult for me to find work. Difficult in that I haven't worked for nearly a year and a half. For various infuriating reasons I don't seem to qualify for any government assistance whatsoever. I've worked my entire life, with only one short stint with unemployment in 2002. I'm very fortunate that my wife's salary barely keeps us afloat, especially with the cost of keeping me alive. I've attempted to make money making and selling steampunk props on Etsy, and that has made us extra money for when we want to go to a convention. It also gives me a creative outlet so I don't feel so worthless. I really do love making things, and when my pain allows me, I can make pretty awesome stuff. I also use my time managing the Richmond Steampunk Society via it's Facebook group and Facebook page. I've also integrated the RSS with this website, originally created for The Clan of Teks in Cincinnati. I've tried really hard to grow the ACTIVE steampunk crowd in Richmond through these pursuits, and I know there are a lot of Steampunks in Richmond, VA, the size of the group on Facebook shows that, but trying to get them to come out and do steampunk things? That's been hard. But I keep trying. I think though that without Steampunk as a hobby and lifestyle, I'd be in a pretty bad state. It has literally saved me from going out of my mind.
Steampunk Hands Around the World returns for it’s third year, continuing the celebration of the best that the global steampunk community has to offer.
I have a few things to add as "my favorite steampunk things", and I tend to ramble on, so have a seat. My wife Hanah Tikvah and I first came into the Steampunk world around 2009 I think. (my memory sucks). We used to live in Cincinnati, and if you don't know already, Cincinnati has a rockin (literally) Steampunk scene. Over 50 regularly show up to monthly Salons, sometimes over 100, and that's not counting the regular events where music is being played live. Al Fox was the first Steampunk I met there, and he's at the heart of the community when it comes to things to do. I became interested in Steampunk because of the crafting that goes hand in hand with it, and I seem to have a good knack for modding and re-painting toy guns. So much so that I had built up way more Steampunked toy guns than I could use before the first Steampunk Empire Symposium, so I got a vendor table there and sold out everything I had made. So lets add "The League of Cincinnati Steampunks" as the first favorite steampunk thing.
Also after the first Symposium, at which the Symposium Games became a thing, I decided that I wanted to create a group of Cincinnatians so that they could compete in the next year's games. This is when The Clan of Teks became a thing. With my wife's help we managed to cobble together 30+ members along with a number of "affiliated" groups who we regularly party, craft and eat with outside of the events mentioned in the last paragraph. I've never felt as socially complete as I did in Cincinnati, but as you can tell by the tense in that sentence, things change. Due to real life reasons I won't go into, my wife and I had to move away from Cincinnati last fall. The Clan of Teks is still around, I'm maintaining it's website and the Facebook group is still there, but I don't know if they will continue their independent events in our absence. There was no definite transfer of power to another member.
Anyway, back to the "affiliated" groups that the Clan of Teks works with. So early on, I had written a very in depth back story for the Clan of Teks. It exists in a post apocalyptic alternate dimension, and to explain how the group can manage to have business with, and party with groups and airships from the "normal" dimension, I came up with this idea of adding inter-dimensional and time travel to the story, so that we could get visitors and so we could visit other groups (in character). That is when I added the "Friends of the Clan" section to the website and asked some of our closest group friends if they would like to have an Inter-Dimensional and/or Time Travel Visa. After several year we had given Visas to several local groups, and then I started talking with the leader of a not quite so local group called The Circle City Aerodrome. After a few chats back and forth we hatched a grand plan: We would make the aligning of our groups a bit more detailed than just putting a fake Visa on the blog's Friends page.
Kat Alyst and I began writing In-Character blog posts on our group's web sites in which we told the story of how a dirigible from my group accidentally broke through a dimensional barrier to their group and after our first meeting we began state and trade negotiations for a trade and inter-dimensional travel agreement. There were several back and forth blogs telling an in depth story all culminating in a meeting at Teslacon in 2014 where we would stage a public signing of the agreement, then follow that up with a room party. We even managed to have the signing witnessed by Lord Bobbins himself. If you would like to read this story you can do so by going back through the blogs here and at their website, but it might be easier to just read it at The Pandora Society, where both Kat's and my blogs on the subject were syndicated.
Ok, so back to the present, Hanah and I moved to Richmond Virginia in the fall of 2015 and when we got there, we couldn't find any sort of Steampunk scene, other than a steampunk night held once in a while at a local night club. We couldn't find any Richmond airships or other groups, or any regular Steampunk social events. We had only been here a couple of months and we were really missing our large. . . HUGE steampunk community in Cincinnati, so we decided to try to build one here. This is when I created the Richmond Steampunk Society facebook group and went about finding a local restaurant to host monthly Salons at. I was lucky enough that the search didn't take long. A bar/restaurant mere blocks from where we lived had an owner that was happy to have us, AND had a very steampunk logo AND had a dirigible hanging above his bar! We've now been holding the monthly RVA Steampunk Salon since October 2015 and while the local scene is still small, it's growing, and we've made a lot of friends.
The moral of this story is, if you are a lonely Steampunk with nothing to do, you can always MAKE something to do, and people will come. OK, I think I'm done. If that didn't bore you to death, take a look at the rest of the blog posts and pages here, I don't know if I'm a good writer, but you might like it.
In partnership with our inter dimensional friends at the Circle City Aerodrome, as well as other friends with the use of dirigibles and other aircraft, The Clan of Teks has conducted exhaustive searches of the central east and west portions of North America for the most active aetheric dimensional and temporal portals, caused by comet particle impacts. A map of these zones is currently being created by the cartographers at the Tek University and at this time the most curious of those portals is one that is causing a "temperal-dimensional cross rip". Curious artifacts are appearing regularly in the area of Richmond, Virginia, many of which are quite dangerous in nature if found by the wrong type of survivor. For this reason we have sent technology scout Caelyn Nagle and Engineer Hanah Tikva to the Richmond area in an attempt to intervene and safely contain as many of the artifacts as they can. As it happens, a pair of Boffins from the CCA dimension have found a home just north of Richmond in our dimension, under license found in the CCA-COT agreement signed late last year. Caelyn and Hanah will work with Evelyn Francess Dieulafoy-Bell, a Geologist and Archaeologist by trade, and Leftenent Commander Lionel Worthingstone, a science officer of the CCA dirigible fleet. They will attempt to locate all of the "rips" caused by the aetheric contamination and close or otherwise secure them. In the meantime though, any and all artifacts that pass through the disturbances will be located and secured for safety, and for future study. A preliminary meeting of the quartet took place just this week nearer to the former US capital (the city took a direct hit by a very large meteorite). Caelyn is currently attempting to secure a meeting place in one of the Richmond businesses that survived the aftermath of the fall and the irregular contamination patterns it caused. This job may be too large for a team of only four. The Clan of Teks will be attempting to recruit more citizens from the local Richmond populace. There must be those survivors in the area that are interested in helping to build and make safe a bastion of logical morality, science and learning, just as those in the Cincinnati area did. We are currently scouting a location for the Clan of Teks, Richmond Branch headquarters. So far this abandoned home is looking like the best candidate:
The worst has happened. The small rogue dirigible that snuck its way into our dimension from the dimension of our new acquaintances the Circle City Aerodrome, was spotted two days ago fleeing through the portal to their own dimension. As it had been reported that they were seen collecting samples of ejecta blanket material laden with aetheric energy, our own hazardous materials expert Arcturus Thorn and his security officer Victoria were monitoring the portal site from the personal dirigible of J. Sprocket Stemwinder and they gave chase. Not 10 miles through the portal the rogue dirigible began losing altitude at an increasing rate and before Victoria and Arcturus could give assistance they broke up amongst some tall pines. The resulting blast of comet dust and aetheric energy would have been unremarkable to those without the proper visual enhancements, but to Arcturus and Victoria, the event was both fantastic and frightful. With Victoria providing a security cordon around the site, Thorn investigated the wreckage and found that the three men and one woman who crewed the vessel must have been slowly irradiated and died not long after reaching their own dimension. The unshielded containers they had used to store the comet dust and sand had been completely destroyed, spraying aetheric radiated material over a span of at least one mile. With a small town no more than 5 miles from the crash site, Arcturus and Victoria made immediately for the Aerodrome to arrange for assistance in evacuating the town called Batesville, before the aetheric radiation could begin to cause them health problems. This incident has stepped up the negotiations timetable for the Clan of Teks' technology trade agreement with the Circle City Aerodrome. The very next day following the accident, Caelyn Nagle was dispatched to the CCA and two main concessions were decided and signed immediately. The Clan of Teks would send a team of hazardous cleanup technicians to perform and foresee a cleanup of the accident site, and the Circle City Aerodrome would send a boffin crew to help set up a security station on both sides of the portal joining our two dimensions. Both projects began only 3 days following the accident. The formal trade agreement is now being written and we are told it will contain plans for a scientific ambassador program, a direct communication line between both cities, portal stability technology for the Clan of Teks, and aetheric engine advancements and safe fuel supplies for the Circle City Aerodrome. This treaty has been schedule to take place on November 8th, at a site in Madison, Wisconsin that appears to exist in both dimensions simultaneously, thanks to the efforts of a brilliant scientist in both our dimensions named NikolaTesla(con). I am told that there is to be a great expedition starting on that same day, one that means to go to the center of the earth. How exciting!
Attention! The Clan of Teks security team needs all citizens to report any and all sightings of strange or otherwise unknown dirigibles. Furthermore any unrecognized dirigibles docking at the Clan of Teks port tower must submit to safety searches until further notice. This is a matter of dire importance not only to the safety of the Clan of Teks, but to other surviving communities in our and in other dimensions. One week ago captain Stemwinder, while returning from the Circle City Aerodrome in the alternate dimension designated CCADim by the Tek University, reported sighting a rogue dirigible riding his tail currents as he passed through the dimensional gateway over the southern Chicago impact zone. This dirigible was small, capable of carrying no more than a 5 man crew and was of the open air gondola type. Just two days ago a dirigible fitting this description was seen moored near a small impact zone in central Illinois, it's crew digging and collecting samples from the ejecta blanket using unshielded containers. As all clan citizens know, the comet dust found in the ejecta blankets of impact zones is irradiated with aetheric energy and being in close proximity to these samples without protection is excessively hazardous. Without properly shielded containers and the use of an aetheric hazard suit like the one being worn by Arcturus Thorn in the photo plate shown, the lives of the crew of this dirigible are in great peril, as are the lives of anyone at their destination. A radio wave message has been sent to the Circle City Aerodrome via the dimensional portal about this danger and they are going to send someone to watch the portal from their side. Alas the Hammerhead is currently grounded and we have no other dirigible available to travel to the portal location at this time. Hopefully this rogue dirigible can be intercepted before the crew are overcome, a crash with the cargo they are carrying could cause devastating environmental damage on the other side of the portal to the Circle City Aerodrome.(Or to any other dimension they may sneak their way into)
The Clan of Teks has traveled to the CCA's dimension yet again on a mission to determine if the Circle City Aerodrome's Boffin Corps and administrators would be willing to provide technical assistance in developing dimensional portal stabilization equipment similar to the devices they employ on their side of our mutual portal. Technology scout Caelyn Nagle has observed how much simpler it is to get BACK from CCADim. It is unclear whether or not their portal stabilizers would work in our dimension because it appears that their aetheric triggers, for all forms of aetheric technology are already more stable due to widespread dispersion of the aether particles in their atmosphere. On our side of the rift the aetheric particles in our atmosphere and geology were practically non existent until The Fall occurred. The dense population of comet particles around impact zones presented us with aetheric energy yet again, but in a far stronger concentration which is much harder to harness and control. It was sheer luck that we found that high grade glass made from the sand of the ejecta blanket around impact sites was able to hold and manipulate the unstable and powerful aetheric energy. Caelyn thinks that he has convinced the CCA Boffin Corps to allow us to observe their portal stabilizers in action on our next visit. Hopefully we will be able to find a compromise that will allow us to provide stabilization to the rift portal that goes to where the Airship Passepartout resides. It would be nice to be able to visit them more often. Captain Stemwinder of the COT Dirigible Hammerhead tells us that on our nighttime return trip from CCADim he thinks a small dirigible may have snuck in behind us, then scurried off into the night. We will have to talk to CCA Administrator Kat Alyst about the possibility of setting up security for their side of portal if this kind of thing is going to continue.
Recent events have put the Clan of Teks Inter-Dimensional First Contact Protocol (IDFCP) to the test. While Captain Stemwinder of the contract dirigible Hammerhead was on a supply run to central North America, he was only half way to his destination when he was caught up in an unmapped aetheric comet dust cloud and he was transported to an alternate dimension much in the same way our friends from the Airship Passpartout happened upon our dimension. It was our meeting with Sir-Ernest Octave Suszczynski and Gintia Peasblossom, plus the few other small ships that accidentally or forcefully made their way into our dimension that prompted the Clan to develop the IDFCP. It would seem that all of these crossovers thust far are between only two dimensions. The scientists at the Tek University are still unsure why only one other dimension seems to be accessible, while current theory would make one believe there are countless dimensions alternate to our own. Oh dear, I do tend to ramble, more on that later I suppose. While in this alternate dimension Captain Stemwinder made port at a large facility called the Circle City Aerodrome, which is located in the state of Indiana, within the United States (which is still a functioning governing body in their dimension). He said that they were quite agreeable and hospitable. As per the IDFCP he made no claims nor mention of his dimensional travel nor his true origin, nor the fact of his aetheric plasma powered engines. He did make some trade with them for provisions and made contact with their city manager, an apparently tough looking but very nice woman named Kat, with whom he scheduled a meeting for the future with the Clan's first contact ambassador, Caelyn Nagle..Using our rift penetrating radio, we were able to schedule a diplomatic visit with the Aerodrome during one of their formal yearly gatherings which corresponds with their holiday called Valentines Day. The Clan of Teks sent a delegation of 5 to this event and brought the Hammerhead along for a demonstration of aether plasma engine technology as a good faith offering. We left the Aerodrome with hopes that we might return again soon, and Kat Alyst gave us an open invitation. We'll have to do something though about the pirate vessels that seem to dock at the Aerodrome with no regulation. . .The Clan's delegation included Helix Coil, Tess La Coil, Marianne Jackson, Hanah Tikva and Caelyn Nagle. Our demonstration of the Hammerhead's engine technology was well received and we fielded many questions on dirigible design.
This past weekend the Clan of Teks and it's allies managed to get the Cincinnati, Lebanon & Northern (CL&N) Railroad lines fixed up and we've re-engineered a small steam train to run with an aetheric energy powered boiler. We gathered together with other local surviving groups as well as the inter-dimensional visa holders The Airship Archon for a short but important trip to christen this newly repaired form of transportation. Transport is a much needed thing in this post Fall world. Out of Character: This trip was actually a trip to ride the LM&M Railroad in Lebanon Ohio which runs on rails that really were part of the Cincinnati, Lebanon & Northern (CL&N) Railroad back in the 1880s until the 1930s. They had only a few dates where you would ride behind the steam engine Flagg Coal Co #75. The Clan's Hanah Tikva was lucky enough to find info on this opportunity and coordinated a group ticket discount. While the Steam Train rides appear to be over for the year, if you keep an eye out, you can learn when next year's steam rides will be, or you can just ride the LM&M behind their newer, but also historic LM&M Locomotive CNRY 55: one of the oldest GP7 locomotives still operating. To find more info visit their website: http://www.lebanonrr.com/steam.html
Aether and the Remnants of The Fall - October 15, 1908 For centuries the term Aether (also spelled æther or ether) has been used by early scientists and philosophers to describe any number of invisible and unprovable mediums and constructs. In ancient Greece through medieval times it was said to be the material that fills the region and the universe above the terrestrial sphere. (the sky, outer space, stars etc). It's early Greek translation means "Pure, Fresh Air" or "Clear Sky". This idea of Aether as the material that makes up the heavens was even associated with the failed attempts by medieval alchemists to produce gold. In the 17th and 18th centuries Aether was attributed to gravitational theory, as an invisible, unprovable medium that interacts with all matter, causing the pull attributed to gravity. It was an easy, but ultimately incorrect and unpopular mechanical explanation for Netwon's observations. In the 19th century, a new theory became popular among the world scientific community called Luminiferous Aether (light bearing aether). It was believed that light must travel through some form of medium in order to be propagated through space, much like sound was known to propagate through air. Aether became the new term for that medium. Many experiments were made in an attempt to prove this theory, but the most famous of these experiments began in 1881 by a scientist named Albert Michelson. These experiments, often called "Aether Drift" experiments, intended to prove the existence of the stationary Aether medium. These experiments culminated in a joint experiment in 1887 with Albert Michelson and Edward Morley which in the end, not only failed to prove the theory, it was widely accepted that the experiment disproved the theory. Even with the results of the Michelson-Morely experiments, research concerning Luminiferous Aether continued with various scientists up until The Fall. When the comet fragments impacted the earth in 1903, scientific research halted for many years, but it didn't take long for scientists to notice the changes in the earth's atmosphere. By 1906 (3 years Post Fall) the newest use of the term Aether was in full use across the world, by the few scientists still surviving to do their good work. The comet that caused The Fall brought with it some new mysterious, invisible, constant energy field surrounding the areas where the largest of the comet fragments landed. Where no physical meteorites seem to remain in the craters, they leave behind an invisible medium that has very real, very identifiable properties. Without protection, this new Aether medium can be felt as a pressure in your head, and under the skin and it can burn you, from the inside out, even if you do not feel any actual heat. It seems the closer you get to the larger impact zones, the stronger this field is. Scientists soon found that they could harness this invisible energy source by creating metal and glass containers infused with foreign material from the impact crater's ejecta blanket. Research is ongoing, but this energy source is currently being utilized as a power source for primitive engines and weapons in the various more advanced surviving communities around the world. Aetheric energy sources eclipse the power previously provided by the traditional fossil fuels of petroleum and coal, and with no apparent environmental effect beyond the already measured and mapped "hot" zones caused by the comet's craters. Indeed those of us in the scientific community who work towards the reconstruction of the world and it's society, hope that this new power source will be the silver lining in the black cloud that has descended upon the world with The Fall. Caelyn Nagle, Field Technology Scout Graduate Student of The New Tek University.
It seems that the leadership has found fit to modify my role within the Clan, for the following weekend, I am to present the goods made by the various manufacturers of the Tek settlement at the first annual Steampunk Empire Symposium. The first such outward presentation of the Clan since The Fall. I am to offer products from the Armory, the Lethercraft Guild and select items from the Recovered Relic Repository. I hope for a good weekend of commerce. Caelyn