a style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.
In my extensive research in to streampunk, I have come to believe that steampunk started as fixtures of necessity, lights and other devices made from scavenged and found parts. They were first made by persons with a non-standard number of teeth and a look in their eyes that makes you glad you left your spouse and children at home.
When the culturally aware discovered steampunk, its creation became the domain of MFA’s named Joshua or Séan/Shawn/Shaun/Chon/DeSean. They have scruffy facial hair and man buns and eyes with a vacant intensity not seen in mere mortals. Five years ago they had dreadlocks, now it’s mostly man buns. And Keens, they all wear Keens.
The increased popularity of steampunk created an opportunity for steampunk parts makers. On/off switches that look like a shut of valve for instance.
This is an improvement. Traditionally, switches were made with an old gate valve, a penny and the foil wrapper of two sticks of Beemans Pepsin Gum. (Not true. Beemans Pepsin Gum didn’t have foil wrappers. It had waxed paper wrappers. Makers used the foil from Juicy Fruit Gum.)
But Now It’s Gone Commercial
You can now get your steampunk fix at mall furniture stores. It’s come to that. Killing time, I wandered into a mall furniture store and saw this:
But this really bothered me:
There is an implied risk in owning authentic steam punk. Life on the edge. You go to bed each night feeling good that your house didn’t burn down. Today.
They also have faux steampunk furniture:
As you all know, I am not a collector. From time to time I might find a piece that is culturally signicant and I can justify adding to my non-collection. Recently I was stymied in my attemp to purchase some signicant steampunk art. Three times. They claimed it wasn’t for sale and further, wasn’t theirs to sell:
I really appreciated the abstract representation of our tangled life on the floor to the right.
If you are of a certain age, you will know this is one of the iconic lines from Firesign Theater’s The Further Adventures of Nick Danger (1969). Depending on how you’ve lived your life, you might have been surrounded by college friends that, from memory, would constantly reenact entire Firesign Theater routines. Often on a daily basis. Possibly more often but you only saw them on a daily basis. (For extra credit, explain regnad kcin.)
That phrase has also recently become my life. A bridge that links us to the world is being replaced. Bridge 77 on Route 1133 was built in 1954 and has been declared Structurally Deficient and Functionally Obsolete. I was born 1954 and have been declared Structurally Deficient and Functionally Obsolete.
With Old 77 missing, the only way out of here is to go 3.5 miles south or 1.5 miles west on an unpaved road. From one side of the bridge to the other is 6.2 miles on the unpaved road or 9.3 miles if car cleanliness is important to you. I observed the gentleman servicing the job site toilet discovering this the other morning. Our access to Chapel Hill and Carrboro is unaffected so we can still eat well.
Here is the bridge as it is being removed:
Why wouldn’t I want this wood. No one can positively say how it’s been treated. Creosote is a given. It was once widely used by all including the homeowner before coal-tar based creosote’s carcinogenic properties became known. And there could be other things in there including heavy metals. The supervisor told me it costs around $2000 per dumpster to dispose of it properly (legally).
Demolition being finished, construction is well underway.
It takes a big crane to build a bridge:
Depending on weather, the replacement could be ready by month’s end. The one thing we will miss is having the road to ourselves on our early morning walks:
We have two hummingbird feeders hanging outside our breakfast area. Our cats enjoy watching them feed and I am constantly amazed by their aerobatics and dogfights (bird fights?) Seems hummingbirds don’t get along all that well.
Unfortunately, the hummingbirds prefer the cheap copper toned available from Home Depot. We have tried nice, more expensive feeders but all are rejected. Are these feeders really cheaper when they rust so quickly and need to be replaced annually?
Over the weekend, our feeders started emptying themselves overnight. 2/3 to 3/4 full at dusk and empty at dawn. Hummingbirds don’t feed that much overnight. I’ve heard that some bats might feed there but emptying them both? Suspecting leaks, I brought them in for testing and put last year’s out. In the morning, the old ones were empty with one screw-on base on the ground.
The next step was technology. I place one of my Nikons on a tripod and programmed it to take a picture every two minutes and left the outside lights on at sunset. I got a whole lot of this picture:
At 10:41, I got this:
First racoon we have seen in the eight years we’ve lived here. Deer. Opossums. Rabbits. Squirrels. Chipmunks. Cyotes, Foxes. Groundhogs. But no racoons.
Might explain what happed to all the asian pears…
Woodworking is where you find it.
Over the next few blogs I will present the balance of my pictures from the Barcelona Museum of Design (Museu del Disseny de Barcelona). We were there in early November of last year. Perfect timing to avoid the election. (Who won? My wife still won’t tell me.)
I have already shared some pictures in a previous blog, Mules of Another Autonomous Region, a collection of eight slightly (extremely) over the top mule chests from the Catalan region of Spain. There is a history lesson back there too if you have yet to read it.
This blog is a quick one to highlight some pictures that don’t fit into other categories or topics of discussion.
I’m sure that most people realize the shape and volume 19th century dresses did not come entirely from petticoats and starch. But did you ever stop to consider what did the work. This did:
And this one:
The hoops were typically steel but whalebone and various forms of vulcanized rubber were also used. These hoops looked to me to be wood but short of climbing the cases, I couldn’t be certain. I just need them to be wood for the purposes of this blog.
Regardless of the material, I wouldn’t want to wear one. There were many health ramifications to such garments including being burned alive when the well-aerated fabric caught fire.
There was also an exhibit of 18th and 19th decorative fans:
An interesting Wikipedia article about crinolines HERE.
Next, beds of Catalonia. And it’s not what you think.