Æther Salon – Coffee! (Unedited Transcript)

| October 5, 2016

[14:02:13]  Zantabraxus : Greetings, Engacia, Ziggy[14:02:33]  engacia: hello miss zantabraxus[14:02:53]  Cherie Harcassle: yes roller skating can be tricky, especially if one is experimenting with the boot rockets[14:02:59]  ZiggyFritz: Helloha, and thank you, Miss Zantabraxus.[14:03:42]  Wulfriðe Blitzen  : Welcome to the new arrivals, we are giving it a few minutes for some stragglers to make

Æther Salon – Asylums! (Edited Transcript)

| October 5, 2016

Most of you know me as Beryl Strifeclaw.  I keep the asylum here in New Babbage afloat when I’m not off on some insane quest or other unexpected madness.
Let me begin this by saying how this journey began for me and the reason that I began taking an interest in asylums and mental hospitals, long before I joined SL. It had nothing to do with a fascination with the past.  I met someone who actually

Æther Salon – Asylums! (Unedited Transcript)

| October 5, 2016

[14:08] Luncheon Plate Mk 2: Have some petit fours.[14:08] Solace Fairlady: The baron is cost cutting again, i am sure they were petit fives last time[14:09] Darlingmonster Ember whispers: :D[14:09] Tepic Harlequin: Grand Eights is better…..[14:09] Stereo Nacht: Good day Ms. Andrea![14:09] Beryl Strifeclaw: Well, I’ll give it another few minutes due to the unusual things going on with getting

The Archbishop PC Suite

| September 28, 2016

This is a PC/LCD/Keyboard/"Mouse" combo built using some of the more attractive design elements of the Gothic school of architecture. The LCD lives inside a scratch-built Gothic arch with quatrefoil designs and stained-glass doors. The PC case features the same Morisco-patterned glass, brass embellishments, a hinged lid for access to the drives and hardware, and soft, ambient red lighting. The third image is a closeup of the beautiful "Morisco"-patterned glass.

This particular computer was sold, but please contact us if you would be interested in having one made for yourself.

The quatrefoil on the LCD arch has a piece of matte brass behind it. The small brass plaque matches the one on the PC case and the LED shines through a small plastic jewel. (The button panel was added at last minute which is why they it is not in the other photos)

Archbishop PC

Archbishop PC

The quatrefoil theme is continued onto the keyboard which also has a wooden faceplate that matches the lighter wood inside the LCD arch.

Archbishop PC

Archbishop PC

quatrefoil theme is continued onto the keyboard which
also has a wooden faceplate that matches the lighter
wood inside the LCD arch.

I had wanted to put the DVD-ROM and buttons in the panels
below the stained glass panels but time and design limits
dictated that I find another solution. I decided to fabricate
this small button panel and mount it inside the case.
The whole panel is removable and the DVD-ROM drive is
mounted on brackets and removable/replaceable/upgradable
if need be.

I think one of the more tasteless trends in PC casemodding lately is
to have big, obnoxious lighting effects spilling out of every
hole in the machine. I wanted my lighting to be as subtle and
ambient as possible so I added these C-shaped brass pieces around
each CCFL bulb to act as both reflectors and blinders. The polished
surface of the brass directs the light back into the case while
the small "walls" block the bulb from being directly
visible through the glass when you look at the Archbishop from
different angles.

An Antipodean Invention: Splendid Teapot Racing!

| August 17, 2016

This blogpost is dedicated to Donna Rose, the lady who inspired Countess Simona to create the sport of Splendid Teapot Racing. For the story of how it transpired, read on.

Splendid Teapot Racing is a Steampunk sport for all to enjoy! Originating from New Zealand in 2014, it was born of the steamy imagination of Countess Simona of Splendid Teapot Racing. With the initial racing vehicle ‘The Salty Sea Dog’ re-made from a classic 1950’s/60’s aluminum canteen teapot and a ‘junker’ radio controlled base by Captain Various, it hasn’t taken long for the craze to spread.
Captain Various with the very first racing teapot ‘The Salty Sea Dog’, made by him!
Image:  Courtesy of Splendid Teapot Racing
TheLadyArbitrates at SteampunkWayOfLife had the pleasure of interviewing Countess Simona, the Founder of Splendid Teapot Racing, earlier this week.

Tune back in to our blog on the weekend when we’ll post the most amusing movie snippets from the interview!

What is Splendid Teapot Racing?

Splendid Teapot Racing is a superb exposition of the creativity, speed and agility latent in all teapots that sit gathering dust on shelves everywhere.
Three of the inaugural competing Teapot Racing Vehicles at the 2015 Steampunk NZ Festival Oamaru, New Zealand: Salty Sea Dog, Stanley and Ol’ Smokey. These have three different bases and demonstrate significant in situ hints for success in teapot racing: wheel size, clearance (max 30 cm wide x 30 cm high x 40 cm long including all protruding parts of the chassis such as flags etc.) and a low centre of gravity.Image: Courtesy of Splendid Teapot Racing
Splendid Teapot Racing competitions are a call to all makers – amateurs and professionals alike. The Countess Simona describes it as a spectator sport which is “just silly enough”. She is firmly of the opinion that the more mayhem and absurdity ensues, the more entertaining the event.

Entrants are required to create a teapot-centric chassis, accessorised at the pleasure of the inventor, and mount this to a radio-controlled ‘vehicle’. Given that there are hobbyists with a range of expertise (and widely varying budgets) when it comes to radio controlled vehicles, racers are separated into 2 classes: ‘High Performance’ and ‘Junker’. The ‘High Performance’ class is for those hobbyists with electronics/robotics expertise and the budget to purchase and modify hobby shop calibre radio controlled vehicles for the base of their teapot chassis. The ‘Junker’ class of races are for those participants who use radio controlled devices such as one may pick up at Kmart or a junk shop for the base of their teapot chassis. Countess Simona has fashioned it thus in order to make the sport as participatory as possible and to ‘level the playing field’ so that those with the greatest expertise and budget for radio controlled devices don’t walk away with all the prizes!

That being said, those top ranking contestants in the High Performance class such as Colonel Hawthorne make it through the racing course very rapidly! The Colonel currently holds the record of 21 seconds (or thereabouts) for course completion with his racing teapot.


| August 10, 2016

Good Steampunkers, we love a classic novel. From Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth to HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds, the inspiration drawn for so many things steampunk – from cosplay to video game worlds, from gadget creation to event theming – is indisputable. 

And so, in the late 20th century, authors such as KW Jeter and Tim Powers brought us new, powerful works of fiction. Time travel is still an ever-present theme and with the passage of time, they and others brought us re-imagined historical figures and started immortalising the cross-cultural human milieu and its effect on steampunk sensibilities by finely drawn characterisation.

Yet, the steampunk imagination did not stop there. New voices continue to add their voices and visions – hopeful and macabre. The capacity to locate these new soothsayers is unparalleled through the portals known to us as the interwebs. Through time, space and place, the tenacious thought tentacles of new writers and media makers reach out and take hold of our imaginations as they birth potent alternative realities.

With that in mind, we aim to bring you news on the latest whereabouts of emergent steampunk prophets!

Gallery of Curiosities showcase ‘a fiction podcast of weird, curious and horrible stories’. You can download podcasts to enjoy at your leisure. 

Images that reference the obvious inspiration behind this publisher of new media’s clever name – the Cabinet of Curiosities – immediately spring to mind:

Image Credit: Domenico Remps [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


| August 7, 2016

Absinthe Salon

Good Steampunkers, we proudly bring you our review of a fine establishment in Sydney, Australia:

Absinthe Salon

What is Steampunk?

| August 4, 2016

What is Steampunk?

This is our definition of ‘steampunk’: ‘steampunk’ refers to a fusion of steam-era aesthetics and/or principles with futuristic ideas about human existence in the space-time continuum, informed by the possibilities offered by ongoing scientific endeavour when joined to the imagination. Steampunk is brought to life by the power of dreamers with nostalgic notions, who are supported by a deep knowledge of past eras, deftly knitting together science-inspired visions of the future.

Image Credit: Thomas Veyrat

Let’s deconstruct it.

JW Keter by Photo by Gemnerd 2011

Steampunk is a neologism which (arguably) was coined in the 1980’s. It apparently arose from the mind of science fiction author KW Jeter who was searching for an accurate description of his works.

But this is an origin story and if you’re interested, you can read about it here[1]. It still does not flesh out the meaning of ‘steampunk’ as it exists now after the pummeling we culture vultures give it. Thanks to us makers and appreciators and cosplayers and consumers, ‘steampunk’ is now a richly contested term. Let’s contest it a little more!

Image Credit: Shanna Jones Photography Yatzer Truth Coffee Shop Cape Town. Used under Creative Commons 4.0

The term ‘steampunk’ is largely used as an adjective.

Steampunk is used to describe speculative worlds, environments, communities and the attributes of people and things that exist within these. Those who adopt steampunk inspired identities often adopt affectations from their favourite eras: manners, mannerisms, speech patterns and communication styles. It adds to the flavor and experience. In delightful ways, it cross-fertilises the past with the digital age.


| July 31, 2016

 Painted Ponies by William Manns

Want a classic coffee table book on carousel horses? We’ve got you covered! ‘Painted Ponies’ is a classic coffee table book published in 1986 featuring the story of antique carousel art. Marvel at the detail of carved carousel horses created by the most renowned carvers. Painted Ponies has over 650 colour photographs and is a window into a bygone world which is, slowly but surely, being revived by restorers and visitors right around the world.

What could be a more Steampunk travel experience than going back in time on a carousel ride? From California to Connecticut, you too can be transported to a gentler, nobler time. Indulge your nostalgia, a sense that time is a circle and ride a horse in slow motion. We’ve got the goods for you, no matter what side of the States you live on! And for all us overseas visitors, we’re going to have to travel to get there!

Children love carousels – often termed merry-go-rounds – even the mass produced dinky ones you see dotting the walkways of malls.

But what of authentic old carousels? Lovingly hand produced by master craftsmen, they continue to swirl…yet just remember… in the early 1900’s when carousel rides were at their zenith, their rotational speed of 15 miles per hour was faster than anything! Hang on!

We recently visited Westfield Topanga just 30 minutes northwest of downtown Los Angeles to attend my favourite twins’ 1st birthday party.  We were pleasantly surprised to find an unusual double decker carousel ride indoors, on the first floor in front of the Target store.

Topanga Westfield is at 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park, California.  https://www.westfield.com/topanga

And just because babies are adorable…here are the twins (pic used with kind permission of their mom)!

By the way, the ‘smash cakes’ the girls are just about to plough into are from The French Confection Co. run by Mademoiselle Mallory in Burbank!

Here’s The French Confection Co.’s awesome Instagram feed

And The French Confection Co.’s amazing Facebook page
We love them because not only are their era-inspired cakes works of art, they taste sensational!
But back to carousels…food is distracting! We’ve just discovered the MOST DIVINE carousel related place ever: The New England Carousel Museum! In Bushnell Park stands a 1914 vintage carousel. Made by Stein and Goldstein, the 24 sided pavilion houses 48 hand carved wooden horses and 2 lover’s chariots that rotate around a Wurlitzer organ belting out the tunes in its lovably strident fashion.
This carousel is one of only 3 remaining Stein and Goldstein Carousels left in the world. The flamboyant horses with their flared nostrils, big teeth and wild eyes are decorated in colourful cabbage roses. The restoration work on each piece has been lovingly accomplished with the support of donations.

The museum has great hours for summer – open 10 am – 5 pm, Wednesday to Sunday in July and August. GO, GO, GO!!!

All Aboard the Steampunk Express……..

| July 23, 2016

Experience the Golden Age of train travel! Get that steam train smell into your lungs, close your eyes and travel back in time.

What’s the experience like? Since 1962, trains from the Trainworks collection have gone on tour right around New South Wales (in Australia) and beyond. Sink back into vintage vinyl covered seats with individual tray tables in impeccably restored, wood panelled carriages.

The dining car has an excellent selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks with which to wash down some tasty morsels. Martini, anyone?

Ladies and Gentlemen, leaving Sydney stations throughout the year, we thoroughly recommend exploring the many stunning regions of New South Wales in a First Class lounger. What could be a more authentic travel experience for the Steampunk aficionado? There is no experience more authentic than this!
Book your tickets, buy your friends a Gift Voucher, pack a little portmanteau and dress up in your 19thcentury finery (but we know how you like to PUNK it UP a bit!)

Where could you go? You board at Sydney’s Central Station to go on a day trip, a luxury weekend adventure, have a moving dining experience, or go to one of many special events…be sure to check back in as we’ll cover some spiffy occasions in upcoming posts.  

Should you book a Day trip in the First Class Lounge, you may very well be treated to a delicious Devonshire Tea.  The sterling service is explained by the manner in which Heritage Express is run: many of those assisting on board are volunteers and are there because of their love of train travel.

From the First Class Lounge – and only from this rarified section – you may choose to access the Observation Deck. Those with new fangled photographical equipment will be thrilled with the views they will capture from the vantage points on offer.

We beheld one of the Heritage Express steam trains chuffing out of Katoomba Station in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, collecting visitors who had arrived earlier that day to attend the Winter Magic Festival – held in June around the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere every year.

We heard whispers that those who had booked a dining car experience en route to the Winter Magic Festival were served a superb breakfast and plied with copious cups of tea until arriving at their mountainous destination.

To get your very own vintage Yuletide table, you may also visit the Victory Theatre Antiques located in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains (west of Sydney) where Radical Brochante (Stallholder “FRE”) upstairs has all your tableware needs covered.

Runcible is almost here…

| July 20, 2016

Runcible is an elegant, powerful mobile device. Circular & palm sized. As powerful as a smartphone, but designed with a sense of quiet serenity and longevity. This anti-smartphone can do “smartphone things” like make calls, type, take pictures & video, explore the web and get directions. The rest of the time, Runcible is quiet, beautiful, and truly yours.


Calling all steampunk enthusiasts!

| July 7, 2016

I have now had this blog running for a number of years and want to open it up to Steampunk Artists who would like to display their wares here.  I will not charge for this and will allow you to be on my front page for 2 days.  You can email me with a picture, description and cost with a link.  I will acknowledge receipt of your email and will let you know if is suitable for Steampunk Way of Life.

I have around 1,500 to 2,500 visits per month on average and only started monetising this site for the last two months.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me in the comments box……