About Me

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I am the creator of steampunk reviews, a woman in love with history, mystery, and the fine things of life, though not necessarily in that order. As a self-styled aristocrat, I've aimed to cultivate an old world (real or constructed via movies being irrelevant to me) sense of elegance and taste, and have been going to great lengths to fulfill that goal. It is my aim to live a life that is enjoyable, rather than one obsessed with being 'perfectly good for me in every way'.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Proper bedside manner for dealing with an aristocrat

A recent physical accident and subsequent period of mandatory bedrest lead me to create a list of dos and do nots for the care and feeding of one's aristocrat, be they a friend, lover, or someone who's favor you are desperately trying to get into. Here I will record the proper way to deal with a sick and/or injured aristocrat, with all their finicky and hypochondriac issues.

1. NEVER leave the aristocrat alone. Don't even think about it. If you must, arrange shifts between you and your frinds/neighbors, but do not give the aristocrat any unsupervised time*. This may seem invasive, but it prevents the aristocrat's high strung and panic prone personality from getting a chance to convince them that they're dying/going to be permanently crippled/afflicted with some bizarre ailment.

*While they must never be left alone, neither must you always have them engaged in conversation. The point is that the aristocrat never has a chance to brood deeply.

2. Do not discuss potential complications of the injuries/disease within earshot of the aristocrat. If they hear you, they WILL psychosomatically develop the symptoms, and when they do they will flip out and only get worse.

3. Even more so, DO NOT discuss potential mental/psychological issues around the aristocrat, because if you think they can break out in a rash or suffer phantom itches quickly, that's nothing compared to their ability to mimic virtually any psychosis. No sooner will you have said 'paranoid schizophrenia', than they will babble word salad at you and become convinced they're Jesus.

4. If you must talk medicine to the aristocrat, do not use long, complicated words. This rule is especially pointed at doctors. If you do speak medical jargon to them, the aristocrat is quite likely to have *just* enough knowledge of what you mean to assume the worst, and their response will be melodramatic to say the least. Also, never bother with telling them about complications/side-effects (see rule 2).

5. Keep the aristocrat comfortable and remind them they are going to be okay. Doing so will earn you a friend for life who will repay your gift of a fleece blanket with a sable stole, and who will stand by you through any crisis. Ignoring an injured aristocrat leads to resentment on their part and, if the aristocrat can arrange it, your suffering of a serious mishap during which they will refuse you any and all aid.

6. In conjunction with rule one, do not allow the aristocrat to brood, surf the internet in search of the cause of their symptoms (it only leads them to become convinced that they are infected with ebola,), or otherwise focus on their sickness/injury.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bracing for winter

Oh yes, readers. It's that time of year. Winter is champing at the bit, though current permutations of weather have been keeping it at bay. I know, however, that this wet but snow-free weather can't last, and it's always these sorts of rain storms that create the build-up for the nastiest ice you can possibly imagine (I've mentioned this before - it's hard as a rock, and a master at camoufloge under snow. I've nearly knocked my teeth out on several occasions thanks to it). So while I have the chance I'm frantically dragging together a decent array of clothes that will bear out the winter, and feeling more and more peeved at how few long-sleeved tops I have. The one benefit of the drop in temperature is the fact that I can now wear a corset without fear of heat-stroke, but it's a small benefit in comparison to the months of hell I'm expecting.

To make matters more complex, I'm also heading into finals week and the Bosch painting that is christmas shopping. The endless torment of trying to balance school and what to get who will send me to my grave years early, I swear. So I blow off steam with my research (thank God for interesting paper topics) and going to town with my friends. Which of course lead to their own stressors as I finish papers and try to piece together snappy outfits on short notice *left eye twitches spasmodially till the aristocrat holds it still.*

So be patient with me, dear readers. Things will get back on track as soon as I can swing it.
....................I'm off to expire, now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Night of the Living Dead Aristocrat

I return! Well almost. I should (hopefully) get a new review out next week, presuming this week doesn't kill me first. And why, do you ask, am I so late in providing steampunk goodness? The reason is that I am, at the moment, fielding no less than FOUR heavy duty essays which are all due next Monday and two ENORMOUS research papers to be turned in at a later date, the end result being that if the workload doesn't cause me to spontaneously combust it means I've either achieved Nirvana or gained a super power. In the meantime, however, I'm a little nuts, and so instead I will simply provide some pictures of myself.

Me at Halloween. I was a Maenad. NO ONE knew what I was, even the girl dressed as Sookie.

And here I am getting ready for a night on the town and trying not to stare at my phone.

My cactus-that's-supposed-to-look-like-a-rock is blooming. Wait, what?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Today's forecast: Fair travel, foul weather, crops-blightingly-bad temper

Well I'm back from a lovely trip to Chicago to see the opera Macbeth at the Lyric Opera. Said trip began with me boarding a train and spending upwards of five hours on the thing, contemplating my life and going on a sort of vision quest to regain some of my lost vim and vigor. After a multitude of stops, starts, slow patches, and rattling rails, I was disgorged in the belly of Union station where I met up with my aunt and uncle, whose home I occupied during my stay. The next day we attended the opera (I wore full kimono because I bloody well could and because kimonos are easily packable, as opposed to full bustled Victorian gowns. One must
make allotment for small luggage), which proved to be decent but unremarkable, leading me to doze off as Lady Macbeth ranted about her unclean hands and I mentally suggested she just buy some damn Oxiclean already. Then it was off to dinner at an absolutely SPECTACULAR restaurant where I enjoyed the best meal I've had in months, all the while gazing on the Chicago water tower. Said tower is a portion of the cityscape that has been engrained in my mind ever since, while on vacation with my family at a young age, I turned a corner and was greeted with the sight of that gorgeous, gothic structure jutting defiantly out of the modern surroundings. My father then told me the story of the Chicago fire, relating how the town of my birth had been burnt to the ground, which lodged firmly in my imagination and has never left.

The next day, however, I was once again on the train and jouncing and vibrating my way back to Miskatonic. I was reluctant to leave, as you might imagine, but I took it all with good grace, unpacking cheerfully and savoring my memories of my time. These overall good spirits lasted till the next morning when a tornado alert led to my being yanked out of bed at an ungodly hour and having to throw on a robe over the gigantic t-shirt that serves as my nightwear. My compatriots and I were then bundled into the basement lounge where we spent an hour and half, doing absolutely nothing, all the while waiting for a tornado that never came. The most exciting thing that occurred during the time was when we were informed via walky talky that a group of students, deciding that up with this they would not put, escaped the confines of whatever bunker they'd been herded into and were triumphantly marching across campus.

And now, bringing us up to date, I am in a foul mood. After taking an art history exam that I'd studied hard for I treated myself to a meal at the school cafe. There was a bit of a line, so I queued up dutifully and waited, trying to ignore the stifling heat of the student union, which made me itch and perspire in my ornate clothing. Finally I was next to be served, a fact for which I was rewarded when the bimbo at the head of the queue slammed me with her enormous blue-patent-leather-hobo-bag-monstrosity that probably cost more than the whole of my outfit (and allow me to say that the money could have been put to better use buying her some clothes that weren't made out of sweatshirt material). She also did not bother to apologize or even acknowledge that it had happened, adding insult to injury while I suffered silently after having what felt like a text book or laptop slammed into my sternum. So, dear readers, I'm in a snarlingly bad mood, the sort that leads me to want to run home, turn out all the lights, curse humanity up one side and down the other, and then throw myself melodramatically on my bed with a hot compress over my eyes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Books, bugs, and mysteries

Life moves apace, dear readers, and as per usual it's never simple. Exciting, yes, fun, sometimes, interesting, always, but never, ever simple. For starters, I'm literally drowning in books, both for pleasure and work. I've recieved a great many volumes from various publishers for my reviewing pleasure, which is fine, except for the small problem of these being rather large books. Combined with the huge amount of reading I do for my classes every single night the task of getting through any of them is more than a little daunting. I swear I will get to it, though. I just will have to take a bit longer than average, as after a certain point when I'm reading my brain goes into shutdown mode and refuses further input. *Deep, melodramatic sigh*

The bug life has also been making a nuisance of itself. The hallway of the Undercity - a collective pet name for the basement level in which my friends and I make our abode - is consistently infested with all manner of creepy crawlers. Assasin bugs, daddy-long-legs, centipedes (naturally), mosquitoes, and a host of unnamed monstrosities - all of which apparently have been using anabolic steroids because they are HUGE - regularly make us scream, run, and put our books to practical use as ideal bug killers. I chalk it up to the weather, as the dropping, autumnal temperatures tend to drive insects in doors, thus causing all manner of issues.

Also, the clanking pipes have finally come to a halt. That has not, however, brought an end to the late night noise. This time the sounds come in the form of a person, one who routinely returns to/leaves the building early in the morning, and opts to use the back door which is set to trigger an alarm if it's opened after 12 AM or before 6 AM. Said alarm has the power of a jackhammer and goes off till the door has been closed, usually by which point I'm disentangling my fingers from the ceiling plaster and trying to not have a heart attack. Who this person is remains a mystery, though I am busily compiling and correlating the incidence of the door's opening and hope to be able to bring this to a halt in the near future. Because either they cut it out or I feed them to my shoggoth. Their choice.

Monday, October 4, 2010


That’s the soundtrack of my life, currently, or at least the soundtrack of my life in my dormitory. The exact source of this noise is the prehistoric plumbing system (which was probably installed by the ancient Minoans if the pipes’ crumbly nature is any indicator), and this racket has been nonstop for two days, following an alarming leak that dripped its way through the ceiling right in front of my door. As if all this wasn’t bad enough, now the original noise has been joined by the bumping and cursing of workmen, who seem no closer to fixing the problem. Below is a photo of said problem, take that as you will.

Of course the big issue from all this is the fact that I CAN’T SLEEP. As I write this, indeed, I’ve spent a night without a wink of valuable shut eye, and am getting that distinctive sensation that presages a bad case of mental ‘blue screen of death’. Barring alcohol or barbiturates (or a lethal combo of the above substances) I feel that my chance to get a good night’s sleep are pretty much nil, and that’s likely to turn this Steampunk aristocrat into a ravening lunatic who chews her coverlets and begs for the noise to stop. Just book me a cell in Arkham and we’re all set.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Life at Miskatonic

Now, just for the record, I think we all know I do not attend THE Miskatonic University. I do, however, attend a tiny college in the arse-end of nowhere, which happens to possess some very interesting books and is surrounded by a town full of people who are one generation away from developing the full blown Innsmouth Look. So it serves my purposes and attempt at privacy to refer to my school as such.

This year I'm living in a single in a 1920s era building, with plenty of privacy but also with some very like minded neighbors (I think a lovely young lady name Azenath moved in at the end of the hall), which serves my purposes nicely as I'm hoping to continue my reanimation experiments and I need assistants and - oh I'm thinking out loud again. Ha ha. *cough* The room is quite small, as my pictures indicate (see below), but it's excepitionally comfortable and the close proximity to like-minded human beings (and not so human beings) provides comfort and security.

My classes are also finally ones that go towards my major, including history and art history courses. I've had to buy a metric shit ton of books, all of which weigh so much I'm more than a little convinced they're made of depleted uranium. And don't get me started about my Latin copy of the Necronomicon. I could beat shoggoths to death with that thing.

Hopefully a new review will go up in the near future, I'm just trying to solve some issues so I can actually see the film Nickel Children, and if you haven't watched the trailer for it yet hurry up and go do it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Feeding the tea addiction

I've never been a fan of coffee. It all looks and tastes the same to me, and I prefer it to be absolutely vile rather than drowning it in sugar, milk, and whipped cream the way starbucks lovers do. I used to drink it when I was younger, but it never really filled my desire for a warm caffienated drink. At that point tea was also of little to no interest, as I was still under the impression that tea only came in stapled cheesecloth bags and tasted profoundly bad. I did love the look of teapots, however, and it was that love that drew me into Teavana in the last days of my senior year of highschool. There a very clever saleswoman proceeded to sell me an entire cast iron tea set and two hulking canisters of tea, which followed me to college, at that point unused.

Then, one innocuous day, I fired up the hot pot, threw some tea in my virginal cast-iron teapot, and made my first batch of matevana. After a few tenuous sips of that lovely chocolatey tea I knew my fate had been sealed. I was hooked. I have since gone on to broaden my selection of tea, and I now have no less than thirteen different types, as well as nine differet teacups, not including the tea-leaf reading cup that I never use as I'm too damn lazy. Don't believe me? Take a look at the photo below.

Indeed, I'm drinking tea as we speak. It's a kind brought back from England by a friend of mine, known as Yumchaa Courtesan, and is an infusion of fruit and berries, containing no actual tea leaves. It's light, tart, and quite enjoyable, as well as being a startling shade of pinkish red. Again, see below.

As for my favorite kind of tea, there's no contest there: Sweet Oolong Revolution, as made by Teavana. It's sweet, with a malted undertone, and, simply, wonderful.

So, to anyone who's on the fence about tea: Try the good stuff. You'll like it. (Joooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooin ussssssssssssssss.........)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'm more hothouse orchid than hardy highland rose.

I love to 'get away from it all' as much as the next person. How the next person and I do so, however, tend to be very different things. In my mind if one is going to take a vacation it should be to a splendidly comfortable place that requires one to merely arrive and enjoy oneself. One should not have to clean, cook, run from bugs, or anything else that is even the tiniest bit taxing. Luxurious? Yes. Decadent? Absolutely. Hence why if I had my way I would vacation very rarely, but when I did I would be doing it in the grandest style I could reasonably afford. I am a fan of the spa, the five star hotel, the best restaurants and plays, and, as you, my dear populace may have realized from my list of things I'd rather not be doing, the vacation I am currently on is not exactly my preferred method of relaxation.

It is true I've had a fairly good time thus far, though there have been considerable hangups. The largest of these has been the fact that I was recently eaten alive by chiggers, and the bites tend to get more aggravated when I'm sweating or stressed which makes me itch like mad and want to peel my own skin off. The other prime issue is that the isolated nature of the house my family is occupying means that we're all in contact a great deal, and at least two members of the family - myself and my mother specifically - are not huge people persons (or, more accurately, my mother isn't a huge people person while I am not exactly adept at social interractions with others and will often simply retreat to my boudoir when I feel cornered). This means that toes get trod on, fangs to get bared, and tempers can flare. Finally, there is a general feeling that one should be doing something all the time, and, as stated above, in my mind a vacation should be a time in which one is obligated to do absolutely nothing. Why on earth would one go way the hell out of one's way to continue the same tired routine one carries on at home?

Now, however, I do have to say, that, in said vacation's defense, it is far from bad, and, in some ways, the paragraph preceding this one was more an excuse to vent than anything else. On the plus side I've visited some of my favorite shops, gotten alot of writing done (a new review will grace us in the near future), and caught up on alot of things I've been let slide (like reading the third book of the Dark Tower series and updating the inventory I keep that records all the minerals and rocks I've collected over the years). So it's all a matter of balance, and I can at least thank my lucky stars that I'm in an actual house and not a camper, or, god forbid, a tent. I have running water and toilets that don't require the user to kick them to make sure bats don't fly out (yes, I have experienced that). The food has been lovely, and the company, when we put our rayguns down and stop trying to recreate the Mexican standoff from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, has been most pleasant.
............................The bugs still suck.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dammit life!

Sometimes I fall off the bandwagon and forget I have responsibilites to my viewers. When this happens I feel depressed and unhappy. But every now and then outside forces headlock me and force me away from my computer. This makes me frustrated and angry. That's been the case of this last review-less month. I found myself running from my work (which currently involves me trekking off to dozens of libraries), to helping out with my young cousin (she's 13 years my junior), to trying to arrange a roadtrip with two of my good friends(which has proven quite complicated). Finally, however, things are cooling off and I will have a new review up in the ensuing week. A big thank you to all those who have stuck with me through this fallow period. Your patience shall be rewarded.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Steampunk Stratford

This past weekend I was across the border in Canada, off dazzling my way up street and down alley in Statford, seeing plays, drinking tea (and beer! God love Canada!), and generally have a grand and suprisingly steampunk time. The gear-headedness began at the first play, As You Like It, where the set featured an enormous clock that spun at various times during the performance. I managed to snap the following photo of it before being informed that picture taking is a no-no at any point in the theatre, not just during the performance proper, but I feel it is a shame to hide it if it will inspire more people to go to the show.

The next day, while getting a light luncheon before proceeding to a raw and grandiose production of Evita, I ran into another element of Steampunk in the form of a beer known as 'Steam Whistle', which is a Pilsner that is just generally wonderful, light and wheaty (god I sound like such a snob) without any unpleasant bitterness.

Moving right along, by far the most Victorian place I came across was a 'tea salon' called Harry Ten Shilling, which sells a variety of teas and beautiful English style tea wares. It also has a menu that features fascinating marriages between tea and popular coffee drinks, such as tea lattes, a concept that had never even crossed my mind. I became addicted to one of these lattes, which was referred to as 'London Fog' and created by mixing black tea, milk, and bergamot, mandarin, and carmel syrups. To say I'm in withdrawal from this marvelous drink is a bit of an understatement, though I was at least able to buy a canister of tea (known as Dorian Grey), which I am currently sipping petualantly out of a lovely bone china teacup I purchased at the same time, and, as we all know, everyhing stops for tea.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The habits of the nocturnal

For as long as I can remember, I have been a creature of the night (insert Rocky Horror reference here). When the sun goes down, I wake up, much to the horror and/or confusion of virtually every person I've had to live around. I drive roommates crazy, annoy my family, and baffle my friends when I call at 3 AM because I'm bored as all hell. None of this, however, has stopped my nocturnal behavior, and I doubt anything ever will. My internal switch was installed in the inverse position, and I am perfectly happy sleeping the day away.

In relation to my nocturnal habits are my night going rambles. Usually these are confined to my rattling around the house, but every now and then the itch gets too much to bear and I drift outdoors, wandering here and there, trying to balance my desire to explore with my desire to not get mugged or annoy the local fauna.

It's fascinating to see what takes place when the sun goes down. Some people's guard goes up, others remain utterly oblivious to their surroundings. Case in point, I spent several hours up a tree while moongazing, and not once was I spotted by the many individuals walking too and fro underneath me. At the same time, however, I have also scared the daylights out of people when I walk out of the black or drop out of said tree. Indeed, I even have a pet theory that I may be somewhat responsible for rumors of my college campus being in possession of its own bigfoot, but that's an extremely long, complicated, and tenuous theory that doesn't bear much thinking about. Regardless, I am most fond of the night in a not-creepy-or-vampire-related way, and in some ways being at home is putting a kink in my wandering plans, as, unlike my college campus which is, to put it bluntly, in the middle of ass-fuck nowhere, my family home is actually around civilization and creeping around in the middle of the night is not an acceptable way to spend one's time around here, since if you don't get sprayed by a skunk or attacked by some creeper the neighbors are likely to see you, freak, and call the cops.


Also, I'm really excited for season 3 of True Blood. Totally unrelated fact, though.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Photoshoots, cars, and insect life

I love photography, whether I'm the one taking the pictures or the subject being documented. Thus it is that one of the things I'd like to use to improve this blog is the inclusion of various fashion focused photoshoots to benefit my many viewers. It's a concept that's been rattling around in the back of my head for quite awhile now, and at this point I've begun plotting how I might work it out. Whether it will really take flight, however, isn't really in my hands. I need photographers, models of both genders, and a makeup specialist among others, all of whom will have to be willing to work with only the promise of publicity as payment. I could, admittedly, begin doing these shoots with just myself and one other person, but inevitably others will be needed. I do, however, have some connections I can plumb and favors to phone in, so perhaps this will work. You never do know.

In other news, I have a car. A beautiful red automobile that I have named (since I name all my electronics/machines) the USS Enterprise (A trekkie? Whatever made you think that?). It is absolutely spectacular, comfy, and badass, and comes with some pretty advanced technology, including a communication system I named Uhura (A life? Who needs one of those?).

Finally, a word about bugs. I am not a person who generally freaks out where insects or other invertebrates are concerned. Indeed, I've often found the various creepy crawlies that make other people scream to be fascinating or even cute. The one bug I cannot stand, however, is the house centipede, and, of course, because it is the one thing I cannot stand, it's the one nasty I encounter the most often. Honestly, if you want to freak me out, all you have to do is show me a picture of one of those ugly fuckers. And it does have to be a house centipede, mind you. Amazon centipedes (the huge things with the gigantic mandibles) are not something that particularly freaks me out. But the wiggly, hairy, bath tub invading monstrosity known as scutigera coleoptrata will make me scream and run like nothing else on this earth. And I've had to kill two in the last two weeks. If this keeps up I may just lose my mind.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Museum Shenanigans

Well, I'm back at the museum. I've waited a whole year for this, and hot damn if it doesn't feel good to be back in my element. Now, for those of you who think museum work is stuffy or technical or just plain boring, allow me to enlighten you as to the reality. Working in a museum (or at least working at my museum) is like an episode of mythbusters on some serious crack. As per example, on my first day all those many months ago, my boss took me into the collections and showed me some of the highlights. The first thing he pulled out? A shrunken head. No I am not kidding. I later found out that there are, in fact, three shrunken heads in our collection, one of which is clearly european, suggesting that somebody's expedition/missionary work/vacation didn't end the way they planned.

At the moment, however, I'm getting down and dirty with a collection of very strange weaponry that looks like someone Frankensteined together Indian (as in the country of India) and Japanese fighting tools with some very messed up results. The brightly colored and ornate style of Indian art and the sleek lines of the Japanese aesthetic do not mesh well, if at all. So it's up to me to figure out what the hell happened with these items and, if possible, return them to constituent parts. I'll also be working on dating the various pieces of a suit of samurai armor that was apparently cobbled together at some point. And in between all of that I'll be filing away donut shaped rocks and mummy hands in glass cases, or even wearing a mask and gloves while transporting taxidermied animals that may or may not have mercury in their fur/feathers.

It's gonna be a hell of a summer.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The World Steam Expo, or 'Is there an elder god right behind me?

Pics! Pics galore!

First shot, taken while waiting for my friend - who will appear later and who I affectionately refer to as Red - to get through the registration line.

I love my elder god!

Cthulu is either about to eat my soul or commit tentacle rape. Take your pick.

Athena and yours truly

Athena and Steampunk Bobba Fett

Steampunk manly men doing steampunk manly things!

Red trying on a corset

A pretty pair of steampunk lassies

Steampunk pinup!


A battle of wrenches

You feelin' lucky, punk?


The amazing Terrance Zdunich and myself

The bikes of yester-year

The line waiting for Abney Park

Culture Clash

A pic snapped by someone else on the second day while I was still in my first outfit.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The long awaited day is almost upon us

The Steam Expo begins tomorrow. I'm not sure what to say, beyond that. It's been long in the coming - I've been anticipating the Expo since AUGUST - and finally, all the work, preparation, and saving of money will pay off. Tomorrow I don one of the five outfits I've prepped exclusively for the event and march - Parasol in hand, hat at a jaunty angle - off to amaze and be amazed by my fellow gear-heads. I will try to vlog after each day of this gigantic con, and I intend to take an airship load of pictures. I do have to say, however, that I'm most excited about the masquerade ball, where, when all are hidden behind visages of their choosing, people's true nature - and wild side - tend to come out a little more.

If any of you, dear readers, happen to be at the Expo, just keep an eye out for my hat - you know the one - and feel free to say hello. I don't bite....or at least not enough to leave marks.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Back into the dating pool. Hiyo!

As my twitter and the title of this post suggests, I have a potential guy on the line. And I'm more than a little nervous about it. I've been gradually climbing back into th skin of the unflappable, invincible woman I used to be, but my train wreck of a last relationship has me biting my nails. Said relationship went belly up when it became abundantly clear that my lover and I, while we made great friends, could not tolerate each other as BF and GF. He and I loved to spar verbally, teasing, debating, and arguing, but once we became a couple the rules changed. I didn't want to stop being able to criticize him, but he expected me to support him all the time. Even when he was flagrantly wrong. This I refused to do, and, as consequence, there were long periods of snapping and sulking and general unpleasantness. Words were exchanged (and now our debate skills, honed with each other's help, became the weapons we turned on each other. Oh, irony, you sick and twisted bitch). The relatonship ended in shambles, and it deffinitely hurt my pride and shook my confidence.

But now Cupid is sidling up to me at the bar of Life, offering me a drink, and I'm not sure whether I should accept it or toss it into a potted plant to see if the leaves whither. I've been forced to play the game of love with my cards held so close to my chest for fear of being hurt or losing that I'm unsure what to do. Of course, however, to continue in my vein of ridiculous, over-used metaphors, it's often easier to get into a pool by diving head first than sliding in inch by painful inch. Heh, now all I need is a 'Confucius say' maxim and this paragraph is completely cliche.

Oh well. It's once more into the breach for me, dear friends. Grab some popcorn and watch the show.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Being a steampunk aristocrat is a full time job. As such, it also has a tendency to be difficult to manage and sometimes can run me into the ground, or else I make the mistake of letting something slide once and suddenly all my self-discipline has rolled over and died and I'm left realizing that I've lost sight of what I aim to be.

And that, frankly, drives me more than a little insane.

It is so easy to loosen my grip and say 'that doesn't matter' or, 'why should I bother, there's no one who cares', and slide back into what some people refer to as 'normalcy' and I refer to as 'a stinking hell'. Trying to maintain the constant glittery exterior of an aristocrat may require endless effort, but, as I once told my freshman roomie (also known as the room-mate from the black lagoon) when she asked me why I didn't just try to 'stop being strange and act normal': 'I'd be unbearably miserable without my oddness.' The facade of a well-heeled lady from a sci-fi 1890s may be just that for me, a facade, but to take it off, to confront life bare without the glam and pomp my bustles and parasols afford, would be intolerable. It may drive some people crazy, and it may piss people off - I know it weirded my aforementioned roomie out - but that's who I am. I treasure the manners and the class and the decadence of the aristocrat. I may be only their pale shadow, but it is what I have to offer, and it is the shield I wear against people who have no interest in beauty, elegance, or etiquette. I won't or can't descend to their level, so instead I'll always aim at the highest spot on the ladder, and no matter how many times I fall off, I'll doggedly climb my way back up.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Restablishing Routine and the Importance of Black Coats

I'm home. After a good but utterly wearying year, I am home. Back to beds with springs, pillows that actually support my neck, and food that's been cooked by means other than dunking it in grease. Already I'm looking better, my skin ceasing to break out like I have some horrible plague, and my hair no longs frizzes so much I have to question whether or not I am, in fact, the bride of Frankenstein's monster. I'll soon be back to looking and acting like my self-imposed title demands, rather than a battered, bitter husk of it. Step one: Tomorrow I repaint my nails. They're currently atrocious, my manicure having worn off a week prior to my return, but my need for study prevented me from clipping, repainting, filing, and generally attending to them as I usually do. And how can I think to call myself an aristocrat with ragged nails and chipped polish? It's just not done! (For those interested, I wear Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's Trading Post nail polish, in the shade 'Destroying Angel'.)

Moving on. Something I came to contemplate towards the end of term was the usefulness of long black coats. My own, a black velveteen greatcoat, has served me well and faithfully without fail since the onset of winter all the way through the schizophrenic weather of April, as it did the year before. Such coats prove their worthiness in that, for a hard-pressed steampunk, they can cover a multitude of sins (literally), permitting one to cut a stylish figure even when the clothes one wears beneath it are less than up to one's preferred standard. I cannot count the numerous early mornings when I threw that coat on over a tshirt and sweatpants and traipsed off to purchase food from the college cafe, secure in my appearance thanks to the elegant bearing of that coat. But wait, there's more! Long coats (color irrelevant) can also double as handy blankets. I have had several occasions where I was either without a blanket or the available blankets were unsuitable for my needs (as was the case a few days ago when the dorm was too damn hot but they wouldn't turn the air on, and all my normal covers were far too hot). Faced with that predicament, I just drew my trusty coat overmyslf and went to sleep.

Finally, I was overjoyed to discover that Terrence Zdunich, the creator of Repo! The Genetic Opera, will be coming to the Steam Expo! I've been longing to review Repo!, but have waffled back and forth on the issue as the movie, being as weird and awesome as it is, is hard to class as overtly steampunk. Now it's creator's presence at the Expo finally gives me an excuse to review it, exact parameters of Steampunk be damned!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring cometh and it bringeth Sandman and cotton skirts

Well I'm post spring break and feeling pretty good about life at the moment. Spring has arrived, and though generally I dislike both spring and summer this time I'm actually eager to see both. The winter has been long, hard, and face-pressed-to-a-belt-sander grueling. The weather was brutal and the sun seemed to shine about once a week, if I was lucky. Now the weather is mild, the flowers are in bloom, trees are budding, and I can shuck off my thick winter hide of heavy black greatcoats, worn corduroys, and battered leather boots in favor of brightly colored skirts, light jackets, and sandals/clogs. I'm particularly happy about the skirts, as I haven't worn one in ages. They just aren't suitable for winter, what with vicious updrafts freezing my legs and bitter winds whipping the hem around my ankles to trip me up.

The spring has also brought with it a new obsession for me: Neil Gaiman's Sandman. I'd been meaning to read it since time immemorial, but only now have I had an excuse to do so, as I'm in a course on comic books and the first four books of Sandman are part of our syllabus. I read the first one, got hooked, and have proceeded to buy two more, namely A Game of You and Fables and Reflections. I've even gone so far as to develop a little bit of a crush on Morpheus, pathetic though that may be. And in the 'something trying to tell me somebody' tradition, I also recently ran across a brass ankh necklace in one of the many dusty little shops I frequent. Y'know the kind, where you quietly think they've got a mummy in the back room and a shoggoth under the sink. Anyway, I bought the necklace, am wearing it as I type, and feel a strong compulsion to screw around with my eyemakeup to see if the 'wadjet eye' look suits me.

In more steampunk news, I'm now registered for the Steam Expo, and you can expect to see me there. Just look for the aristocrat in the leather hat with the ridiculous feather plumage. Indeed, I'll most likely be too ostentatiously dressed for you to miss. So is anyone else going? Tell me in the comments!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

All aboard train rant, bitch, and moan!

My final hell Monday has come and gone. For those who have been keeping tabs on my Twitter or my life in general, you know that I've been half mad with work for weeks now. It's the prime reason I have't been able to make more prompt reviews. But we've come to the end of it all. THANK GOD. The prime reason for my anguish was a four hour long scuba-diving class that, in no uncertain terms, ate my life. Every Monday revolved around a scramble to study and finish all my work before trudging - usually through heavy snow - into the bowels of a bubbling, respirator-filled hell that smelled of chlorine and damp locker-rooms. The misery of wetsuits that didn't fit right, combined with the irritation of someone who avoids all non-martial physical activities like the plague (if it doesn't involve one-on-one combat, I usually hate it. And don't get me started on team sports), and the physical discomfort of having to tote a heavy metal tank on my back or having my ears refuse to equalize, meant that these last few Mondays were the definition of vile. That, however, is all behind me now.

But, of course, when one problem vacates its chair, another takes its place. In this case, the irritant arose out of an article in my college’s newspaper. It discussed dating outside the scope of our school, and basically implied that such is the moral superiority of those who attend that they don’t even want to consider getting involved with someone who didn’t go here. The article’s smug, self-satisfied, and condescending tone nearly sent blood boiling out of my tear ducts. College is important, but there is SO MUCH MORE to life. What about grad school? What about, I dunno, LIFE. My college is not a bleedin’ plane crash that effects people so deeply that they can’t marry anyone who’s never had the experience, and those who think it is are in desperate need of a colonoscopy to locate their heads. Honestly, our brains haven’t even finished maturing at this point in life, yet these blockheads think that it’s here and only here that they will meet the person that they will spend THE REST OF THEIR LIFE WITH. No exploring the world, no looking hard and long for a mate who is your true other self. Just marry here and get with the breeding. Ugh. The logic, I do not see any.

Blah. Why do relationships or lack thereof always manage to weasel their way into my posts?

I’m writing again, in other news, working on several projects simultaneously and as they interest me. This, of course, usually leads to one or more of the works dying unfinished, much like twins or triplets fighting for nourishment and space. But such is life. I also am listening to Stephen King’s Dark Tower series (yay for audiobooks) and am considering reviewing it/them when I’m done. So don’t hold your breath – this will take awhile. In the meantime I should have the new review up by next week.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Feeling My Faustian Oats

Settling into my maddening routine becomes easier and easier, though doing so has me in a bit of a swivet. As per example, my insomnia has flared up, leaving me staring at the ceiling at 3 AM and wishing that I could simply find my hard reset button and power down for the night. That aside, however, things are going well, and insofar as I don't drop dead of exhaustion things should continue to be good.

More interestingly, I feel fully returned to my old self. Lacking the interference of a significant other I function so much better. In the constant search for a romantic companion I became blind to the fact that at this point in my life the search is essentially useless and, as a general rule, will cause more problems than it solves. It is not that I would be averse to having a relationship if the right man came along, but he's not here, and I'd much rather savor my time alone than waste effort in futile romances based around desperation and loneliness rather than attraction and self respect.

On the Steampunk front, I'm soon going to be registering for the Steampunk Expo. I've been waiting anxiously for this event since August, and it's crawling nearer by the day. This will be the first Con I have ever been too, (you can bet I'll vlog about it) barring a rock and mineral convention that I went to when I was a great deal younger and only was there for the shopping. Related to this is the fact that I will soon get a chance to witness a performance of the opera Faust, which I've been dying to see since I was 15. Goethe's Faust is one of my favorite books of all time (I need to re-read it), and the legend itself has fascinated me since I was a child and saw Wishbone reenact it (who else remembers that show?).
Here's the link to the Steampunk Expo, by the way: http://www.worldsteamexpo.com/

Safe flying, airship pilots!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Overworked, overwrought, overcaffienated

As some of you have no doubt noticed, things have been DAMN QUIET for a long while. Nearly two months have gone by without a post, and nearly a month has gone by without a review. I'm terribly sorry about the abrupt slowdown, but know that I am busily getting back into the saddle and back to my position of steampunk and aristocrat. Life has been a rare shade of hell recently, and trying to combat that has left me in a state of near apoplectic frenzy. I also have an obscene amount of work on Mondays, thus meaning that I get back to my dorm and have a chance to rest in the wee hours of the night, and as such I'm going to switch my posting date for reviews to Thursday, since there is NO WAY IN HELL that I can actually get anything done on Mondays.

Emotionally things have been a bit of a pit as well. The relationship I had came to an abrupt and dissatisfying end for all involved, and at the moment I'm too bogged down with studying and commitments to even think of persuing another romantic liasion. I am also pretty damned SICK of the men I'm around, and know full well that any dalliance with them would leave me even more jaded and pissy than I already am. Better to conserve my emotions and energies in that feild for now, put them on ice, and focus on work. Of course by saying this I guarantee that Mr. Right (or at least Mr. Right Now) will drop out of the sky on my head and prove a massive disstraction, but dammit, I don't care.

Nothing of explicitly steampunk interest has gone down recently, though I am closing on my first hundred subscribers, something I never dared dream of at the beginning of all this. I thank all who have subscribed, and I promise to provide you with more steampunk entertainment in the days to come.

Safe flying, airship pilots!