Tuesday, January 1, 2013

end of an era

Happy New Year's dear readers. Maybe 2013 be better than 2012 was.

It pains me to write this, but I had some news to share- I am temporarily shutting down this blog.

Several months ago (around the time of my hiatus) something terrible happened to me at a party. I was roofied (for my non-Native English speakers, that means that someone drugged my drink without my knowledge or approval).  I passed out in the front lawn of a friend's house on a 30-something degree night.  If I hadn't been found I could have froze to death.  Fortunatly I was discovered, but no one took me to the hospital because everyone just thought I was really drunk. Nevertheless, some people I know took care of me so no one was able to actually physically harm me.

It was only when I fully can back to consciousness the next morning that I realized that something bad had happened.  I went to the hospital and the police.  Unfortunately, the authorities will do absolutely nothing because I was not sexually assaulted or physically harmed as a result (although I don't see how having a strong sedative in your system without your permission is not considered to be "physical harm.")

The other problem is, this happened at an event with most of my close steampunk friends.

I have tried to recover from it mentally and emotionally. I joined some other alternative groups and tried to pack my schedule to overflowing in an attempt to get over it and show that I was not afraid of living after what had happened to me.

Instead I think I was running away from my problems instead of facing them. I am not having fun in this scene right now- steampunk, alternative, and goth. I am miserable and unhappy and still rather broken- partially because others are being hurt by what happened, and partially because I'm still afraid. As a result steampunk has become rather hateful to me out of a fear that I will run into the responsible party.

I am removing myself entirely from this scene effective now. I just need time to step back from steampunk, neo-Victorian culture, and all general alternativeness and decide if I really like this scene enough. I may have to join a different Pittsburgh steampunk group or I may drop it altogether. Before anyone accuses me of overreacting- this is something I have been considering doing since October. I have had much time to ponder it more so in the free time I've had in the past few weeks. Such a break will help ME, and in my world I am numero uno. I need to come first. My safety, my mental health, and my happiness are too important.

And who knows- maybe steampunk and my blog were distracting me from finishing the editing on my Victorian historical fiction novel I wrote eight years ago.

I apologize for the hurt feelings that may result from this decision. I did not intend to personally hurt anyone. I don't blame the scene- I blame the bad egg(s) who did this to me. But I strongly believe that my career, my future, and my overall happiness and wellness are more important than hanging out with people who I can't fully trust right now.

I am shutting down this blog because, like my steampunk hobby, it has ceased to be fun in light of what happened.  I need to reevaluate and see whether it is worth continuing or if that, too, needs to go by the wayside.  I predict that I will be gone for some months.  In that time I will focus on my fiction writing, a regular exercise regimen, and hope to be fully off of my medication by then.  I have been pursing a no-alcohol policy since the incident and hope to also start a healthier eating regimen as well.  Despite what happened, my depression IS getting better.  I just need to focus on helping it along without fear of poisonous individuals trying to stop me in my tracks.

Thank you, dear readers, for being so supportive of this blog.  Thank you for sharing your experiences, your interests, and your steampunk and neo-Victorian discoveries.  I hope to be back one day.

Friday, December 28, 2012

bizarre foods of the victorian dinner table

I'm sure many of you readers spent this last holiday sitting down to wondrous feasts of pork, turkey, lamb, geese, or chicken.  I certainly had my fill of ham and turkey, and lamb and pork will be ample over New Year's and Serbian Orthodox Christmas.

The Victorians themselves enjoyed a good- or not-so-good- cut of meat.  Listverse presents readers with a sample of the kind and quality of food to grace the Victorian table: from calves' foot jelly to broxy.  And I thought the tales of my own relatives partaking of pickled pigs' feet in the 1950s was unique.

Click here for the list of ten bizarre food items that Victorians ate.  Note: Vegans, vegetarians, or those easily made queasy by descriptions of dead and cut up animals may find some of the descriptions and images disturbing.  Proceed with caution.

image source: Listverse

Thursday, December 27, 2012

early 20th century "steampunk" home furnishing

One of the museums I work for recently received a mention in the New York Times for one of its new acquisitions: a "steampunk jellyfish!"

image source: New York Times

The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh has acquired a newly discovered chandelier designed by the Belgian innovator Henry van de Velde in time for next year’s celebrations of the 150th anniversary of his birth.

The 1904 fixture, a slab of perforated copper and brass studded with opalescent glass blocks and light bulbs, originally hung over a dining table at an industrialist’s villa in western Germany. Van de Velde (pronounced vahn de VEL-duh) had supplied roomfuls of woodwork and furniture for the house.

The chandelier remained in the family, and scholars did not know it had survived until the Carnegie bought it for an undisclosed six-figure price. It measures about five feet tall, and installers spent a day wielding a forklift to attach it to a gallery ceiling.

Rachel Delphia, a decorative-arts curator at the Carnegie, said in a recent phone interview that she was particularly fond of a custodial staff member’s description of the piece: “It looks like a steampunk jellyfish.”

The museum is contemplating lending the chandelier to next year’s van de Velde exhibitions and tours in Germany and Belgium. Research for a retrospective, which will open on March 24 at the Neues Museum in Weimar and travel in September to the Cinquantenaire Museum in Brussels, has uncovered other objects long believed lost. A silver pendant from 1900 has turned up, with an intertwined L and B, designed for van de Velde’s niece LĂ©ona Biart.
For anyone visiting Carnegie Museum of Art, you can currently check out the "steampunk jellyfish" chandelier in the museum's Bruce Galleries.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

"we three kings" by abney park

It's Christmas Eve, which means I am getting ready to attend Mass, then have a dinner of Chinese food with the immediate family and exchange a few gifts.  I hope your evening is as joyously filled within the company of those you love.

So I leave you with the holiday musical machinations of steampunk band Abney Park.  I love the intro to their rendition of "We Three Kings."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

christmas in 1862

I apologize for getting this event up so late- I only just found out about it myself yesterday!

But if you aren't too busy and are looking for some historical and CHristmas tunes to brighten up a dark winter night, consider attending this holiday concert in the Pittsburgh suburb of Carnegie.

Event: Holiday Christmas Concert – Christmas in 1862
Location: Andrew Carnegie Music Hall, 300 Beechwood Ave, Carnegie, PA 15106
Date: Saturday, December 22, 2012
Time: 7pm
Cost: Free (donations accepted)

Description: The year is 1862. Both Union and Southern troops are becoming demoralized in this 2nd year of fighting.

To boost the spirits of those at home, and our own Company A, 9th Regiment, home on leave, the Pittsburgh Historical Music Society, orchestra in residence at the Depreciation Lands Museum, will be offering a Free Concert in the incredible Andrew Carnegie Music Hall in Carnegie, PA.

Both musicians and Company A will be dressed in period attire, and music includes the popular tunes of this 2nd year of war, as well as Christmas favorites new (new to 1862!) and old. This concert will appeal to all and is definitely family friendly.

Donations will be accepted to benefit the Pittsburgh Historical Music Society and the Andrew Carnegie Music Hall.

Thanks to Getty of the Steel City Steam Society for bringing this to my attention!