I know, I know, I’ve been really quiet lately. For people who have been following me a while, you may have seen this happen before, and it’s a good sign there’s some sort of big announcement on the horizon…Today is no different.
I’ve been writing For Whom The Gear Turns for over three years and I have loved every minute. I’ve got over 500 posts under my stylish Steampunk utility belt, and in recognition of my hard work, I was recently approached by Matt Grayson of the Steampunk Journal. He was looking for a co-editor to help him run the world’s most popular Steampunk website, and when he made the offer to merge our sites into one super site I knew I had to accept.
You heard right folks, I’m moving on over to the Steampunk Journal!
Starting in February, you’ll be able to find my new articles posted at the Journal alongside updated versions of old reviews and articles you may have missed. For Whom The Gear Turns will stay up for a few months during the transition, but eventually I will move completely into my new digs at the Journal.
And I hope you’ll join me!
You didn’t think I’d leave you out in the cold now, did you? There are more ways than ever to hang with me on the interwebs and share in the growing Steampunk community. Pick your favorite or do all three; each has a different focus.
- Follow the Steampunk Journal – It’s a WordPress site just like this one, so it is easy to subscribe via email or your WordPress reader. This site began within a few months of my own, but Matt and I cover very different topics. I love history, books, and movies, and Matt does interviews, music and game reviews, and photography, so we have a really complementary balance of all things Steampunk to offer! So if you are in it purely for the Steampunk, follow me at the Journal.
- Check out my new author page and subscribe to my newsletter. I’m still setting up this site and editing excerpts to share, but if you are interested in hearing about what is going on with my fiction writing and appearances at conventions, this is the best way to follow along. I won’t inundate you with emails, either. The plan is to create a monthly newsletter that includes excerpts and news about my book-length projects like No Rest For The Wicked, Riftmaker, and my blog-to-book project, The Steampunk Handbook.
- Join the United We Steampunk, Divided We Fall group on Facebook! There are weekly threads devoted to fun topics and tips, plus opportunities to post links to items for sale. The goal is to act as means to get makers and writers in contact with the fans and bloggers they need to succeed, but there’s plenty of fun and silliness there, too! If your goals involve connecting with the greater Steampunk community, then I highly recommend getting in on the ground floor of this new group.
Thank you all for sharing this journey with me, I couldn’t have done it without you!
I’ve loved running my little corner of the internet, and I appreciate your ongoing support of my projects and writing. I spent weeks struggling with this decision, but ultimately I believe this is the best way to ensure the future of the content I’ve already created, and to reach the largest possible audience moving forward.
Was there an article I wrote or something I recommended that has really stuck with you? Do you have concerns about the transition or not sure how to keep getting the type of content you want? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
This yummy little concoction, either called ‘Aviation’ or ‘The Aviator’ depending on the source, is as pretty as it is tasty, though you probably don’t have the ingredients on hand.
The name comes from the distinctive “sunset” look you get from the purple cocktail and the deep red of authentic maraschino-soaked cherries. No, not those weird sugary things you used to get in your Shirley Temple that are made by brining the fruit, but a delightful burst of dark cherry flavor laced with a kick of maraschino liqueur.
The other special ingredient you won’t find in your average home bar is crème de violette. Flower-flavored liqueurs were all the rage during the steam era, but fell out of favor somewhere in the 20th century about the same time that floral breath mints gave way to mint ones. Crème de violette could still be found in France and sometimes in the formerly French-occupied areas of the American South, but for the most part it became almost impossible to acquire for several decades. In 2007, an entrepreneur named Hans Alpenz started to import the liqueur to the US, and the recipe for Aviation was dusted off in high-end bars all over the country.
If you get technical, this exact cocktail wasn’t recorded for the first time until 1917, so most precisely it’s a drink that could possibly show up in Dieselpunk setting more than a Steampunk one. Still, crème de violette was definitely popular during the steam era, and the Victorians were no strangers to manned flight, so I think it deserves a home here in my Booze, Glorious Booze series.
Bottoms up 🙂
“The green fairy” first twinkled into existence in 1792 in the hands of a French doctor named Pierre Ordinaire (yep, his name was basically Pete Normalguy but with a better accent). He was looking for a delivery method for wormwood, which at the time was thought to have healing effects. By 1797, Ordinaire sold his recipe to a Swiss father and son team, who eventually moved production to Pontarlier, France in 1805. Absinthe production rose to as high as 400 liters a day over the following decades and mostly in service to a growing demand by elite imbibers, but this was nothing compared to the demand create by the “absinthe fever” that took over mid-century Bohemia.
During the 1850’s, many artists and writers turned to this spirited spirit to find their muse, and by the 1870’s people from all walks of life were drinking it. In addition to being a jolly good time, absinthe was also used to fight off bacterial infections. In those days the water quality for the average French urbanite was very bad, and people added alcohol in order to “purify” before drinking. Believe it or not, wine was actually more expensive than absinthe, so many poor people saw it is the economical choice. Adding water to absinthe also has the strange effect of making it cloudy, so absinthe-water would be a delightfully minty green color.
One American city started a long-lasting relationship with absinthe as well. New Orleans embraced the green fairy as early as 1869, and within a few years was known as the “Absinthe Capital of America.” Special absinthe cocktail lounges opened all over the city, and local brands like The Green Opal and Legendre were born. At a bar called The Absinthe Room, the owner installed a special fountain that dripped the diluted alcohol over lumps of sugar and into waiting glasses. These lounges attracted several notable end of century figures such as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and Oscar Wilde.
While something that calls itself absinthe is available in the US, the truth is that it’s missing the special ingredient: wormwood. Though many European countries do not restrict its sale, the original recipe for absinthe is considered toxic by the FDA. I tried some old world absinthe during my travels and I didn’t think it was all the special, personally. Maybe I needed to be drinking alone and staring at a canvas or something, but my muse was pretty mute. Absinthe tastes very strongly of anise, so if you aren’t a black licorice fan I’d stay steer clear.
Have you ever had a run-in with the green fairy? Leave a comment below!
I have started work on the sequel to Riftmaker, and I am planning to include a super cool Steampunk submarine. I have been collecting images for inspiration so I thought I’d share the fruits of my labors with you. When possible, I have credited the artist but most of these images came via Pinterest so if you see something miss-credited or you know who was the brains behind a certain sub please let me know.
Like Steampunk gadgets? Of course you do! So check out this short little film with some cool gear, and check out the It’s A Trap! channel for more episodes, plus tutorials on how to make what you see.
Katzenjammer is an English-speaking band out of Oslo, Norway and they kick some serious ass. I can’t stop listening to this song and dancing around, and I love their eclectic mix of costumes and instruments.
This is probably one of the coolest movies you have never heard of. It only ended up in my possession because The Mister was digging through a DVD bargain bin and came across something he thought I’d like. So we saddled up our whiskey 7’s and had ourselves a movie night.
The story centers on Yang, the greatest swordsman in the world. He gains this title at the very beginning of the film when he brings down the head of a rival clan. Yang’s mission is to obliterate the whole family, but when he is met with the innocent eyes of his rival’s baby girl, he throws away his whole life to keep her safe. In an effort to flee his past and ensure her future, he sets sail for the American West to find a friend whom he has not seen in many years.
When he arrives, the once-thriving town has fallen on hard times due to the marauding of local bandits (and probably because it is in the middle of a desert. Which desert, or even the year in which the film is meant to take place, is never revealed). He takes over a laundromat, and he and his adopted daughter are taken in by the circus folk who remain even after the fair has been closed. He even makes a few friends, like the local drunk (Geoffrey Rush), and the diminutive ringleader (Tony Cox), and finds himself falling in love with a feisty knife-thrower, Lynne (Kate Bosworth).
When the bandits return, Lynne vows to take her revenge on the man who ruined her life (Danny Huston) and Yang is forced to pick up his blade to defend his new home. Too bad for Yang that his enemies can hear his sword singing even from across the sea…
So far, this dystopian West-meets-East flick is the only offering by writer/director Sngmoo Lee, but if he made another film I would see it in a heartbeat. The cinematography was bold and beautiful, and I felt like it was a tight film that, like a ninja sword master, didn’t waste any of its energy on the extraneous. There is certainly violence, but as often as not it is handled either as art or pure spectacle, which takes away a lot of its bite. The broken down circus and the decrepit town make an incredible backdrop for both pathos and action.