The Spittoon List!

We’re are very excited to present The Spittoon List, a weekly vlog featuring adventures in geekery. Conventions, games, dares – think of it as our not-so-mature bucket list.

We’re even more excited to launch the vlog with two videos this weekend. The first is a special music video of the International Steampunk Symposium, complete with music by AUTOMATON. Second is a smaller-scale adventure, where we learn about DEDing.

Next week we might have another double feature where Melissa and I give proper introductions to both The Spittoon List and ourselves.

Have something you think we should add to our Spittoon List? Be sure to tell us in the comments!

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Raggle Taggle Gypsies, Oh!

I have, sadly, been neglecting an alarming number of projects lately, this blog included. So my plan is to restore my – er – web-cred, before helping promote some really talented artists and amazing projects I’ve had the privilege of encountering in person. Until then, I will continue sharing my own work and little bits of awesome gathered from the web.

For today, I share as much as I can about my annual gypsy adventures without breaking the cardinal rule: What happens in the gypsy wagon, stays in the gypsy wagon. Or in the Fun Barn.

I maybe fell in love with the panorama tool on my camera…

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It’s the End of the World… No, Seriously… the Aliens are Coming.

So, the other night, a couple of my friends kidnapped my flatmate and I because they “had something to show us.” I was understandably disturbed. If you knew my friends, you’d understand. If you have friends fond of scheduled kidnappings, maybe you get it. Anyway. They put us in the back of the car, drove us out along half-flooded country roads during a flash flood warning and then had us cover our heads with a thick red cloth.

Sasquatch was driving, and suddenly he stopped and told us to take off the cover and look immediately to the right.

We screamed.

TARDIS

Literally.

We. Screamed.

The Doctor is in Ohio. He’s wandering around saving the world, and I’m afraid the aliens are gonna kill me on my commute now. I also have the urge to quite literally ‘dress like you’d run away with the Doctor in those clothes.’ Because I just might need to.

(As an aside, I believe Curio ate one or two of my posts earlier this week. I posted them. I swear. I just don’t know where they are. Ah, the joys of working in a curio…)

Story Vote (Please vote… please…)

Hello, hello. Waddaya know, I’m posting before nine in the evening. It’s a miracle, folks, especially since I’m doped up on allergy meds.

I NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE, PLEASE.

I plan to start a secondary blog for a novel-length project. I’m not a big fan of my short fiction, and I want to make a little venue to share a proper story. I will update the blog once a week with a full chapter for each post. Now we come to the problem: I don’t know which story to use. I’m placing the decision in your hands. The options are: The Boy with the World on His Tongue (urban fantasy), or Second Star (fantasy-esque scifi).

Here’s a brief flavor of each:

The Boy with the World on His Tongue:

This is a dark urban fantasy tale set in Cincinnati, a city rife with half-forgotten Victorian elegance, art nouveau monuments, and the largest abandoned subway system in America. Creatures range from classic fey such as Der Erlkonig, to modern monsters like Slender Man. This story has changelings, Seers, action, and liberal doses of things that go bump in the night.

Summary: When a singer vanishes from the backstage of Music Hall, the latest in a string of disappearances,Ross finds himself drawn into the world he’s always fought to ignore, the world that stole his voice as punishment for a crime he couldn’t help committing: possessing the Sight. And he’s not the only one pulled into the game. Old forces in the city are rising, and something dark is calling from the shadows.

Second Star (Working Title):

Effectively, this is what happens when Star Trek, Peter Pan, and The Hunger Games make a baby. Though the story is definitely scifi, the majority takes place on an isolated planet with little advanced (or basic) technology and leans heavily toward adventure/exploration themes, along with an examination of group dynamics and peace/conflict studies.

Summary: In a post-bellum society, two planets agree to peace – with one condition. They must both surrender their weapons. Their weapons, however, are people. The people of Ressec already shipped their genetically engineered weapons (“Gens”)  to an isolated planet turned penal colony. Each weapon is general and foot-soldier in one – abnormally strong and exceptionally intelligent. Sage, the eldest of the Terren Gens, must face the fact that her own side will soon be sent to the same world. However, unlike the Ressec Gens, she and her kind are younger – none above twenty, some under a year – and they have been trained as technical masterminds. They have always fought from a distance, but they will doubtless be forced to fight for survival against the Ressec Gens. Each possesses a unique genius, but can they adapt that genius to their new problems? She must lead her friends and family in a new life, and she must be prepared, at all times, for war with the very deadliest of enemies.

So – which would you rather read? VOTE!

The World Between

There’s a certain romance about the open road, a calm stretch at the heart of every adventure that quiets the soul and speaks to the mind. It’s where you have many of the best conversations you will ever enjoy, or where you’ll think some of the clearest thoughts you will ever savor. You’re surprised by the charm of small towns or just the incredible beauty of a shifting sky after rain.

This weekend I drove over four hundred miles alone in with only patchy radio stations and campy pop tunes for company. It was glorious. The state has enjoyed several waves of storm systems recently, and most of my drive was in the rain. The clouds made a gunmetal silver ceiling, turning the world into one big open room. Summer is in full swing, and because it hasn’t climbed to the scorching temperatures July often does, the trees, grass and fields are all lush emerald. When the wind blows, the trees become flickering patchworks of silvery green, and the golden crests over the corn fields ripple and sway like a yellow sea.

I’ve always been the first to poke fun at northern Ohio, and I often direct people to my old college with, “Just keeping going until there’s nothing but corn and soybean. Then you’re about there.” And it’s kinda true. But during my drive, I was struck by a strange appreciation for those wide open fields and the broad sky they revealed. Ohio isn’t Big Sky Country, but sometimes it feels like it. There’s more sky than earth sometimes, and as I passed through all those storm cells, I watched the clouds fold, dance, and fade. Clear beams of angled light pierced the ceiling, shining through the cracks. The ceiling crumbled, and then there were clumps of cotton piled high at the edge of space, set in a blue sky. The colors shifted and turned with the light. In college, my roommate was an art major, and she would leave colorful smudges from her paints and pastels on everything she touched. Indigo, lavender, blue, white, grey, tangerine – the sky was like that, color without form.

Clouds carried spots of shadow across the roads and fields, and it was like walking through a forest without the trees. It’s funny, because one of my greatest problems with the north is the lack of trees. I like my forests thick, and full, and shady. There are small stands of trees up north, but nothing you could call a proper forest. However, in just about every field there are one or two old sentinels. They were left behind when the land was cleared to mark the original boundary lines between farmers’ crops and territories, and though those borders have shifted, the trees remain. Because they haven’t had to strain against their brothers in a mad climb toward the sunlight, they’ve spread out and grown thick with horizontal limbs. They’re beautiful. Minimalism isn’t usually my thing. Give me a crowed Victorian flat cramped with strange bric-a-brac and dusty stories any day. You can keep your unrealistically white rooms and posh dots. Nature’s minimalism, though, makes an impression. Taller than the crops, the trees are easy to see from the road. Their color, texture, and shape mark them as separate from the green and gold fields over which they preside. And when you’re alone in your car, climbing a low hill where the road looks like it disappears into the sky, you get those trees. You have a conversation without words, and come to an understanding without terms.

The road is open, and you’re alone. There’s no traffic, and no rush. You left a place, and you’re heading towards another, but until then you’re nowhere. Your existence is in transit.

You’re on the road.

Dragons, Thistles and Giants

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So, it’s been a while (months) since I posted any original photography (except for the teaser shot, which in connection with the short film, so it doesn’t count – so there). These are some older shots taken in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Kudos if you know which are which.