Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Portland Mini Maker Faire, Pt. 2: Josh Tannenbaum

Josh Tannenbaum, Steampunk Fabricator
I have been a bit busy this past week and haven't done as much blogging about the Portland Mini Maker Faire as I was planning to do. So, here's a quick post with a pic from Steampunk artisan Josh Tannenbaum's booth. Josh and Karen Tannenbaum's Etsy store is here at Tannenbaum Fabrications.

Also check out their Tannenbaum Fabrications website. I like their tagline: "Fantastic Artifacts from the Future Past."

I will be following up with some more pics from his displays in another post. He had some very nicely designed and crafted work on display. More to come...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Buildatron 2 3D Printer from Buildatron Systems

Buildatron 2 3D Printer
Buildatron Systems in New York City designs and builds open source 3D printers. The basic design is apparently adapted from the RepRap printer, but is much more robust.

I believe the price for a fully assembled system is $2500, and a DIY unassembled kit is $1599. However, I went to the Buildatron online store page and could not see how to put a unit on order online. A contact number and email address is given there, so if you are interested in a printer you can give those a try.

Buildatron has several galleries of printer pics and parts pics here. Their blog is here.

If you would like to get into the research and design of 3D printers, Buildatron wants you to know that the company is looking for engineers and interns. You can contact the research and design department here.

I have embedded one of their YouTube videos here.

William Gibson's Neuromancer Headed for the Big Screen

Neuromancer Concept Art from BlueSunCorp Website
Popular sci-fi website io9 is reporting that William Gibson's cyberpunk classic, Neuromancer, is indeed headed for the big screen after many fits and false starts over the years. They link to the GFM Films Neuromancer page with concept art and some minimal information about the production and direction personnel, and a synopsis.

Liam Neeson and Mark Wahlberg have reportedly been offered lead roles in the movie. The budget is claimed to be $60M.

There is a further link to a recent io9 interview with William Gibson in which he discusses the novel and the film.

I haven't yet found any info concerning a timeline for the film's release, thought it still seems to be early days in the production cycle.

I also found a page of cool Neuromancer concept art at the website of BlueSunCorp, though I have no idea if they have any connection to the film or not.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sportster Bobber Seen at the Portland Maker Faire

Ballsy Sportster Bobber in Portland Today
I saw this cool, ballsy-looking Sportster Bobber at the Portland Mini Maker Faire today. Had to take some snaps to share it with you here. Thought this one showed it to best advantage.

The custom pipes are wrapped with high-heat ceramic tape.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Portland, OR Mini Maker Faire, Sept. 15-16

The Portland Mini Maker Faire is coming up fast. It will be setup in the North parking lot of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), this coming Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15-16. The Faire is open both days from 10am to 6pm.

Admission is $12 for adults, and $8 for kids 3 to 13 and seniors (63+). Two-day passes are available for a discount, $20 for adults and $15 for the kids. Seniors can get a two-day pass for the same price as daily admission, just $8. Admission for children under three is free. You can buy tickets online here.

A map and driving directions to OMSI are here.

OMSI is looking for volunteers to support the Faire. To volunteer your help, contact OMSI at

Check out MAKE magazine online while you're at it. See MAKE's online schedule of upcoming Maker Faire's all around the globe to find the date and time of a Faire near you.

UPDATE 9/15: Getting out the door now, heading for OMSI.

UPDATE 9/15pm: Just got back... took lots of pics. Had a great time. Will be blogging up a storm about it.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"Beast from the Sea," A Supernatural Noir Thriller

Beast from the Sea is an unusual novel of speculative fiction written by a very talented author, a young woman who is a relative of ours writing under the pen name R.B. Kannon. It is a tale of the supernatural and the metaphysical, a murder mystery with a noir flavor, a political thriller and a horror story all rolled into one... The disparate strands of this subtle, sophisticated novel are artfully woven together into a seamless whole.

This tale is set in the (fictional) desert city of Babylon (not the actual city in Iraq!). Here is my short teaser introduction to the story with no spoilers:

Babylon, "a city both ancient and new," sprawls on the edge of an evaporating sea, and burns beneath a desert sun. Five years ago a popular uprising against her ruling Ministry and its allied religious establishment, the Unity, was put down with extreme violence. The city, now embargoed by the outside world, simmers with suppressed rage and teeters on the edge of chaos.

The brutal murder of Ministry Undersecretary Aaron Crowley has Detective Maxwell Summers caught in a dangerous bind. A powerful and feared Apostle of the Unity, Lucrecia Grey, was present at the scene when Crowley was murdered. Summers knows that the Apostle is essentially untouchable, even if guilty. Yet despite the dangers to his career, and perhaps to his life, Summers is driven to a relentless pursuit of the truth of Crowley's murder. Unfortunately for him, truth is a rare and unwelcome commodity in treacherous Babylon. 

Meanwhile, on the city's outskirts a controversial paleontology dig has uncovered mysterious artifacts of Babylon's ancient past. Some find it troubling that the Apostles of the Unity seem to have more than a merely scientific interest in these strange findings. Summers, as he wonders at the presence of the Apostle at the murder scene, finds it troubling that the murdered Undersecretary was the Ministry's sponsor of the dig. 

Crowley's handpicked dig site supervisor, Elijah Carver, may be the wild card in the deck. An outsider to Babylon, a man with an unknown past, the scientists on the dig team respect him but are puzzled by Crowley's choice, for Carver has no scientific credentials from Babylon's University, or any other, for that matter. Yet his apparent knowledge of the site and its ancient past is uncanny. 

As unwelcome as truth of any kind is to Babylon's rulers, truth will ultimately out when the paths of the Apostle, the detective, and the enigmatic Carver cross. Each of these three characters is in relentless, obsessive pursuit of his own conflicting objectives, and when they collide with one another the truth of Babylon's ancient past and troubled present cannot help but be revealed. The only question is, can Babylon survive the revelation of truth, or can it subsist only on lies?

The prose is beautiful and poetic, the settings are evocative and atmospheric. The characters are finely drawn, and the dialog is noir-detective-story snappy. One reader told me the world of Beast from the Sea is so vividly realized that from the first page he felt like he'd walked into a real world with a real history behind it. Another reader, a former professional photographer, called it "cinematic," like "a sequence of storyboards." I found it to be a compelling story, filled with gorgeous textures of light and color and sound. In some places it is horrifying, though never gratuitously so; in others it is heart-breaking, but throughout you sense that it is informed by a humane and compassionate sensibility.

Check it out, and especially see the reader reviews at the Amazon Kindle listing. And note that although author R.B. Kannon is young --- in her twenties --- this is not to be classified as young adult or teenage fiction, this is a book written for grownups, though it certainly can be enjoyed by intelligent young readers, also.

It's available now on Nook and Kindle... see our Kindle listing link below. If you don't have a Kindle e-reader, you can download a free reader for PC from Amazon, or one for the  iPad. If you prefer Barnes & Noble, they have free downloads of a reader application for Android mobile devices and also the iPhone and iPad.

The cover artwork was created by web and graphics designer Jason Sikes of Village Green Studios.

Update: Blogger Clayton Cramer has his capsule review here: Clayton Cramer's Blog: Beast From The Sea

Update 10/6/12: Hmmmmmm... a mysterious fossil find, the sea beast of Cincinnati...

Steampunk Corsets from Corset-Story

Brown Steampunk Corset w. Chain Details
Corset-Story is a UK-based company that designs and makes artsy, very high quality corsets. Their corsets are constructed in a modern, 15,000 square foot factory in India.

They've got several design lines... I am featuring their Steampunk line here.

If you are looking for something to wear to a Steampunk gathering, such as next year's Steampunk World's Fair, check out Corset-Story.

(Corset-Story also has an amazing line of "Vintage Goth" corsets.)


State Bicycle Company

State Bicycle "Midas" Model
I've seen a lot of Web ads for State Bicycle Co. lately. They focus on the design and manufacturing of their own line of elegantly styled fixed-gear bikes for sale at low prices. I love their clean and colorful good looks.

State Bicycle is located in Tempe, AZ. You can look for your nearest dealer here. Of, you can be online from Amazon services, see our product links below.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Devon Works Tread1 Steampunk Watch

Devon Works Steampunk Watch
The watch designers at Devon Works in Los Angeles have created this unique, limited-edition Steampunk timepiece, which is based on their innovative Tread1 model. The Tread1 and the Steampunk employ a patented system of four micromotors driving timing belts to control the hours-minutes-seconds display numbers.

The design team members at Devon Works say they were inspired by the conveyor belt driven machinery of the Industrial Revolution. Check its design out in more detail at the Devon Works picture gallery. I also recommend that you see this excellent article describing the history and technical features of the Tread1 development.

Only 150 Steampunk watches will be issued, and at a price of $25,000 each... definitely an item for the serious collector, only! It will be available to buyers this fall.

About the emotive power of the steampunk aesthetic, Devon Works founder and Creative Director, Scott Devon quotes Robert Brown, leader of the steampunk band, Abney Park:

Steampunk is a sort of dream, the way we used to daydream. It's like part of your childhood is just bursting forward again.

Acceptance of the Steampunk among timepiece aficionados has been outstanding. In fact, Devon Works Managing Director, Ehren Bragg, said that conceptual artwork was shown to select timepiece collectors in the early design stages, and their response was so enthusiastic that the Steampunk was moved up ahead of several other scheduled projects at Devon Works. 

The success of the Steampunk is a testament to the cultural resonance of the steampunk sensibility. You can see another great gallery of pics here at the Watch Anish tumblr site.   

A sidenote here: Devon Works is also known for supercar design. Check out the Devon GTX supercar video below.

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