Monday, April 26, 2010

still around...

I am not dead, just very worn out.  I need to stop being a perfectionist and bringing work home with me.  Being a workaholic is not healthy--I lost 10 pounds in six weeks by habitually skipping lunch, and yet I eat sugary foods or fast food all of the time.  I am trying to lessen my workload for my new job, but I tend to make new projects for myself all of the time. Instead I am dropping my last part-time job and focusing on moving fully out of Pittsburgh, where I'll be closer to Bushy Run Battlefield.  That will give me more time to exercise and hopefully calm down, gain some muscle weight back and eat healthy and balanced meals so my teeth don't rot and I have more energy.

There are a few things I'd like to mention as a general update, as I have mostly been out of the neo-Victorian loop for several weeks:

  1. For those I interviewed for articles, I am still in the process of writing them.  I have had many computer problems recently and work-related events that take priority.  I just want you to know that I haven't forgotten about you.
  2. My updates will not be as often any more.  Due to the nature of my job I cannot focus as much on my first love, Victorian history, as much.  Most of my reading is now geared towards 18th century colonial America and its military aspect especially, not the refined social aspects 19th century England or the fictional steampunk world.  That and I need to spend more time away from the computer.
  3. If anyone knows where I can get a cheap 18th century frontier dress, let me know.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

aeronef attack!

Thanks to Scott for pointing my attention to one of the many amazing facets of Victorian Science Fiction wargaming: aeronefs.
image source: The Miniatures Page
image source: Lead Adventure Forum
What's an aeronef?  My guess is it's pretty much like the airships that were so prominent in Howl's Moving Castle:
image source: The Steampunk Tribune
Except the wargaming aeronefs look more like traditional battleships than Miyazaki's.

View more flying battleships that never were and other VSF projects at Bleaseworld.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

rap like a victorian

This video has restored my faith in hiphop.  No practically naked chicks, terrific rhymes, and the best part is, it's about the best drink ever invented:

Friday, April 9, 2010


image source: Married to the Sea
Frankly, I prefer books to video games.  They generally don't die on you when you're on Chapter 13, whereas I've had Super Mario crap out on me at Level 8.  Except The Red Badge of Courage.  Had to drop it after 60 pages because it died long before then.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"one lump of sugar or two?"

I have two things to share with all of you:

1)  I may be starting a new blog soon for Bushy Run Battlefield, the museum for which I currently work.  The new blog will be integrated in the 18th century rather than the 19th, and will be more specific in its focus than this blog is.  And probably more professional and straightforward and less candid than this blog.

That being said, I don't plan on ending this blog anytime soon.  The Victorian era is still a passion of mine.  I will strive to keep both blogs as updated as possible and as interesting as possible.  Methinks Unlacing the Victorians will be the more intriguing one for people uninterested in history, simply because it's a broader topic that covers social history.  From my experience, most people who like military history like social history, but it usually doesn't go the other way around.

2) Let's talk about tea parties.

I am currently working on a Mother's Day 18th century Mother-Daughter Tea Party for Bushy Run Battlefield.  No one has ever attempted such a thing at the battlefield before, probably with good reason- the individuals who ran the battlefield previously were all men.  Having previously gone to Mother-daughter teas with my own mother, including an 18th century one at Colonial Williamsburg when I was nine, I thought my project would be taken advantage of by the local mothers and their daughters who are looking for some sort of unusual bonding experience on that day.

The tea party won't be purely 18th century, but I have been researching as much as I can to make it so.  As I was looking, however, I discovered that the concept of afternoon tea was actually made popular during Queen Victoria's reign.  According to The Fairmont Hotel MacDonald in Edmonton in Alberta, Canada (and the numerous websites like it who have copied and pasted the following information from an unknown original source):
image source: Victorian Tea Lover's Corner
According to legend, one of Queen Victoria’s (1819-1901) ladies-in-waiting, Anna Maria Stanhope (1783-1857), known as the Duchess of Bedford, is credited as the creator of afternoon teatime.

Because the noon meal had become skimpier, the Duchess suffered from “a sinking feeling” at about four o’clock in the afternoon. At first, the Duchess had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few breadstuffs.

Adopting the European tea service format, she invited friends to join her for an additional afternoon meal at five o’clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets, and, of course, tea.

This summer practice proved so popular, the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for “tea and a walking the fields.”

The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.
No wonder I find more information on Victorian tea ceremonies than colonial American, or even 18th century English ones.