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Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Steamland's Third Annual Fleet Week, in Winterfell!


The long awaited Fleet Week is just around the corner, which is an opportunity to fly the colors of the Steamland fleets, starting this Sunday, and lasting until the next liberty call!  Taking place in Winterfell, which is quickly becoming a haven for classic ship combat in the Second Life Steamlands, it will host a number of events this upcoming week, including...

Sunday, November 13th - The Shipbuilder's Exposition; the Exhibit of Naval Arts; and of course, the Fleet Week Opening Ceremonies, starting at 1pm SLT.

Tuesday, November 15th - The first Sailship battle of Fleet Week (6pm SLT)   

Thursday, November 17th - The Iron Melee (6pm SLT)

Friday, November 18th - The Fleet Review (2pm SLT); The New Toulouse Ball (3pm SLT)

Saturday, November 19th - The Windjammer Race (12 pm SLT); Submarine Races (2pm SLT); The Third Annual Uniform Ball, (6pm SLT).

It will be a busy nautical week, but I'd highly suggest taking a moment, pressing your uniform, and perhaps paying a visit to one of the Steamland's most popular events!  To read more details, I'll suggest you cross the brow and head to the smoke pit, where you'll find a copy of the Primgraph, at: http://primgraph.blogspot.com/2011/11/third-annual-fleet-week.html

Friday, November 11, 2011

Kudos on Veteran's Day, 2011!


Just wanted to send my appreciation on Veteran's Day to all the active duty personnel serving in the Armed Forces, and a BZ to the sailors putting in some hard sea-time!


Friday, November 4, 2011

The Golden Age, in 3D


Ideally, someday SL will approach the beauty of this Blender-designed work... but for now, please do enjoy the excellent design, (and amazing water) of the trailer for The Golden Age!

(a thanks to my dear Breezy :D for the link!)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

SL Nautical Steampunk: The Waterbug


Continuing on with Nautical Steampunk items, the Waterbug is a unique and nicely designed work, perfect for any "surfacing / landing" RP adventures or photo shoots one might be involved.  Love the texturing and design of this small, 13 prim gem!



However, it is *not* a driveable work, so to keep this in mind when looking at it!  It is copy/mod, so one could conceivable add appropriate scripting to make it driveable, and at being low-prim, its quite easy to add the necessary items to provide an appropriate appearance.



If this vehicle is perhaps something that might be of use , do pay a visit to Miss Devious Noyse's Marketplace location, at : https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Water-Bug/1248201 . There are more photos and stats there... and at 200 L$, its a steal regardless!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What goes on in the mind of an octopus?


One of natures' mysteries of the deep is the mind of an octopus... long considered to be one of the most intelligent creatures, IO9 had an interesting cross-post with Orion Magazine regarding the intellect of cephalods... I've taken the liberty of cross posting from IO9's captivating post just below...



I had always longed to meet an octopus. Now was my chance: senior aquarist Scott Dowd arranged an introduction. In a back room, he would open the top of Athena's tank. If she consented, I could touch her. The heavy lid covering her tank separated our two worlds. One world was mine and yours, the reality of air and land, where we lumber through life governed by a backbone and constrained by jointed limbs and gravity. The other world was hers, the reality of a nearly gelatinous being breathing water and moving weightlessly through it. We think of our world as the "real" one, but Athena's is realer still: after all, most of the world is ocean, and most animals live there. Regardless of whether they live on land or water, more than 95 percent of all animals are invertebrates, like Athena.

The moment the lid was off, we reached for each other. She had already oozed from the far corner of her lair, where she had been hiding, to the top of the tank to investigate her visitor. Her eight arms boiled up, twisting, slippery, to meet mine. I plunged both my arms elbow deep into the fifty-seven-degree water. Athena's melon-sized head bobbed to the surface. Her left eye (octopuses have one dominant eye like humans have a dominant hand) swiveled in its socket to meet mine. "She's looking at you," Dowd said.


As we gazed into each other's eyes, Athena encircled my arms with hers, latching on with first dozens, then hundreds of her sensitive, dexterous suckers. Each arm has more than two hundred of them. The famous naturalist and explorer William Beebe found the touch of the octopus repulsive. "I have always a struggle before I can make my hands do their duty and seize a tentacle," he confessed. But to me, Athena's suckers felt like an alien's kiss-at once a probe and a caress. Although an octopus can taste with all of its skin, in the suckers both taste and touch are exquisitely developed. Athena was tasting me and feeling me at once, knowing my skin, and possibly the blood and bone beneath, in a way I could never fathom.

When I stroked her soft head with my fingertips, she changed color beneath my touch, her ruby-flecked skin going white and smooth. This, I learned, is a sign of a relaxed octopus. An agitated giant Pacific octopus turns red, its skin gets pimply, and it erects two papillae over the eyes, which some divers say look like horns. One name for the species is "devil fish." With sharp, parrotlike beaks, octopuses can bite, and most have neurotoxic, flesh-dissolving venom. The pressure from an octopus's suckers can tear flesh (one scientist calculated that to break the hold of the suckers of the much smaller common octopus would require a quarter ton of force). One volunteer who interacted with an octopus left the aquarium with arms covered in red hickeys.


Occasionally an octopus takes a dislike to someone. One of Athena's predecessors at the aquarium, Truman, felt this way about a female volunteer. Using his funnel, the siphon near the side of the head used to jet through the sea, Truman would shoot a soaking stream of salt water at this young woman whenever he got a chance. Later, she quit her volunteer position for college. But when she returned to visit several months later, Truman, who hadn't squirted anyone in the meanwhile, took one look at her and instantly soaked her again.

By all means, take a moment to eye the IO9 article, followed by the Orion Magazine article... after reading them, you'll be even more impressed at how intelligent Captain Nemo had to be to fend off its cousin's attack on the 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Steamland's Third Fleet Week to be held in Winterfell!


From the Primgraph, news is breaking that the Steamland's Fleet Week will be held in Winterfell, from the 13th to the 19th of November!  For more details, please visit the Primgraph's entry, at: http://primgraph.blogspot.com/

Saturday, October 8, 2011

SL Nautical Steampunk: The Anake Nereide Flying Submersible


The next SL Steampunk submersible for review is the Nereide (Sea Nymph), from the classic Steampunk vehicle designer, Miss Carrah Rossini.  Perhaps better know for her ubiquitous Steampunk Dreamline, the Nereide is a excellent compliment to the Dreamliner, with touches of her skilled design still apparent and appreciated long after its original release.



A classic submarine silhouette on the Nereide

As a long time owner of a Nereide, I can easily confirm the quality of this vessel, and its excellent construction.  Its wide open interior not only makes it a excellent travel vehicle, but also a very comfortable abode, if one so chooses to use it as such.   



The piloting section not only holds three seats, 
but has classic analogue gauges for a better "classic" effect!

Although its a bit on the pricey side (~2500 lindens, or just north of 10 USD), its is one of the "top of the line" vessels in Second Life.  However, at the Marketplace site, it currently has 91 reviews, at 4.5 stars (out of 5), with its owners lavishing praise on its design, utility, and overall function.



A luxurious interior amidships... including a televisor!

If you are looking for an excellent purchase for a Steampunk submersible, do consider the Nereide, and to learn more about this well done vessel, please visit the designer's SL marketplace page, at:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Ananke-Nereide-Flying-Submarine/463653



It does have a "flying option", but as my "discussions" with the previous mayor of New Babbage reflect,
not everyone concurs (or perceives) the aeronautical version of the ship!

Friday, September 23, 2011

SL Nautical Steampunk: The JD Barracuda Submarine


Main advert for the Barracuda

AS one likely knows from reading the main blog, SL is a significant part of my Steampunk persona.  One of the nicer aspects of virtual Steampunk is indulging in a variety of odd and unique modes of transport.   As I have been eyeing a number of vessels to replace my current submersible, I felt I would start with one designed by one of SL Steampunk more innovative builders, Miss Jenne Dibou, and her signature submersible, the Barracuda!



The Barracuda surfaced... with its signature light

Miss Dibou has many stylish Steampunk builds (including the New Babbage wall, just north of the sims of the Palisades, and Industry).  However, with the psudo-aquatic design of the Barracuda, she pays homage to classic Steampunk ships with a ichthylogical bent. 



One more surfaced view

Though she has an inworld store, those who are intersted in a quick view may want to pay a visit to her SL Marketplace location, where she has additional vehicles and sundries available.  To do so, please turn to...
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/JD-Steam-Barracuda-sculpted-submarine-for-3-persons-Group-use-option-tagSteampunk/266839


Taking the mini-submersible for a spin!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Horrible Histories - The Royal Navy!


I believe that by the Steampunk era, the bulk of these practices had been eliminated, but I couldn't resists posting one last Horrible History, from the lead provided by the Trial by Steam!  Do enjoy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Nautical Steampunk Art: Kawaii Octopi, by *egyptianruin!



For those who may not be familar with the term Kawaii, you've actually see much of it over the past few years.  According to the "urban dictionary", Kawaii is...

"An adjective in Japanese meaning "pretty; cute; lovely; charming; dear; darling; pet"... It's stem is two kanji meaning "can love".  It is commonly used by anime and manga fans."

One can gather that the octopus is a very popular kawaii topic, so as I searched DeviantArt, I came across a designer named *egyptianruin.  Her work, which can be found at her Etsy store, Kelly's Keychains, have a cacophany of unique items, including plenty of little octopuses!




If these little fellows do catch your eye, then consider a visit to her Etsy shop, at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/egyptianruin?ref=top_trail
... where she has many more little fellows to eye!  Do enjoy!



Left to right... Sherriff Octopus, Gentleman Octopus, Sombrero Octopus, and Fez & Bowtie Octopus

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nautical Steampunk Art: Octopus Month! - Art Set #1



One new topic I'll be starting up with the Steampunk Shipyard will be a focus on nautical Steampunk art, with a different theme each month.  I haven't quite planned out all of the schemes as of yet, but I'll kick off September of 2011, with an icon of the sea - octopuses!  Please do enjoy!









Sunday, September 11, 2011

Submersible Steampunk Nautical Terms, Part 1




As with any specialty, there are terms which are unique to any environment - and submarines are no different.  As a subset of Naval terminology, sub have a twist of linguistics all their own.  To add upon that, though not all transfer to a Steampunk subset, many do, as some below are listed (with their possible Steampunk associations in parenthesis)...


1-MC: The ship-wide intercom system aboard U.S. submarines.
(Steampunk translation - I'm confident that there would be some translation of inter-ship communications aboard a vessel, be it air or sea.  So though it may not be a shipboard system run off of electricity, it would be an essential component of a ship.  If the captain has to make a ship-wide announcement, it would be over a general announcing circuit.
One thought, still used to day is a "sound powered phone", which as one can see an interesting concept dating back literally decades.  Some version of this might work, and the genre being what it is, pushing it back a bit further to the 1890's wouldn't be too much of a stretch, I'd say!)


Ballast Tanks: Large tanks are filled with seawater, which acts as weight, causing the submarine to lose buoyancy and sink. To surface, compressed air is pumped into the tanks, forcing the seawater out and restoring positive buoyancy.  
(Steampunk translation - Physics are physics, and since the first implementation of a using a ballast system, I'd say it wouldn't have changed much, though it might affect the ship design.)








Battle Stations (aka, General Quarters): Areas throughout the ship which crew members man during engagements with the enemy. These may or may not be their standard assigned sections.
(Steampunk Translation - Conflict is essential to just about every story, and if a person is part of a ship's compliment, they will have a job to do, somewhere on the ship - navigation, gunnery, engineering, damage control, etc...  If a person is a guest (aka - "rider"), unless they have an amazing skill, and are trained on a specific useful combat system, and have the Captain's blessing... they'll likely be sent to the mess decks, standing by to help in any way they can.)


Boat: Submarines were originally referred to as boats due to their smaller size. They are now as large or larger than many naval vessels and are considered ships. Generally a boat is a vessel that can be carried by a ship.


Bridge: On a submarine, the small observation area on top of the fairwater or sail.


Captain’s Mast: Session aboard ship at which the captain administers non-judicial punishment or commends outstanding performance.
(Steampunk Translation - Originally based on the "Rocks and Shoals", and after being consolidated with the other use forces regulations to become the "Uniform Code of Military Justice" (aka "UCMJ"), going to Captain's Mast is a big step down from a "Court Martial", and usually issued for lesser infractions at sea.  They are usually decided by the Captain, and the accursed attends in their formal dress uniform.  Also called "shooting pool with the old man", as the table the Captain and two officers in judgement sit behind a table with a green felt.  Not a fun time.)


Head: An original naval term for a toilet.  On olden ships (aka, wooden surface ships), it was at the "head" (forward bow) of the ship.  No toilet paper, just salt water to be refreshed.  Subs are a bit more civilized, but the "special" tanks need to be blown to sea, so they can be refilled.


Helmsman: Crew position from which the attitude within the water and direction of travel of the submarine are controlled.


OOD–Officer Of the Deck: An officer on duty aboard ship acting as the commanding officer’s representative, usually on the conn.
(Steampunk Translation - If the Captain isn't on the conn, the the OOD will have the conn.  Usually, the OOD will be an experienced officer who has the CO's trust to run the ship while s/he is otherwise occupied)






Periscope Depth: The depth at which a submerged submarine can extend its periscope above the surface.
(Steampunk Translation - If you are looking out of a periscope at something, then you'll be at periscope depth.)


Periscope: Any one of several varieties of optical instruments allowing submarines, while remaining submerged, to view activity on or above the surface.


"Rig for …" : Command reference indicating that the ship needs to be placed in some specified condition as in “Rig for dive”.


Rudder: A movable waterfoil attached to the stern of a ship, used to determine the lateral direction of travel of the ship.


Sail: The streamlined conning tower protruding from the top of a submarine.


Screws: The technical term for a ship’s propeller.


Sea Mount: An under-sea mountain.


Watch Section: The officers and men on duty in a specified area constitute the watch section for that area.


XO–Executive Officer: Second in command of a naval vessel. The XO is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the ship while the captain keeps track of the “big picture”.  Usually s/he has to be the hatchet-man/bad-guy/ass hat who enforces things the CO wants happen (e.g. field days, watchbill modifications, other unpopular decisions).  Thankless job, and a precursor to eventually taking command of a ship.


(These were culled from the following location:
http://blastmagazine.com/the-magazine/sidebar/silent-steel-glossary-submarine-terms/, with the "Steampunk analysis" appended by my own observations and thoughts)!






For a few more casual terms, I've included a listing from the "Author's Den" - many of which I would certify are still in use!...


CO- Commanding Officer
THE OLD MAN- See above
DINK- A person who is not progressing in his submarine or watch station quals.
MANUVERING WATCH- Stationed when the sub in leaving or coming into port. This watch puts the best crewmen is the right place. 
NON-QUAL- A person who ha yet to earn his Dolphins
NUB - A new unqualified member of the crew. Having just been through boot camp and sub, or nuke school they still have very little hair. 
RACK - A bed on the submarine. This might even  be on top of of under a live torpedo.  Usually very cramped - like a coffin.


This list just *begins* to scratch the surface of nautical terms, not including "saltier" one.  For more intersting and amusing terms, please consider visiting...
http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewArticle.asp?id=29461, and 
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Glossary_of_U.S._Navy_slang
There are quite a few not mentioned here, but do apply to RL Submarines!)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The legendary SL designer Sextan Shephard, and his migration from Second Life... (*update!)



(*Update - Mr. Shephard left a comment on the main blog that might have gone unnoticed, so I decided to repost it here....

Just one thing, don't you think that this sound a bit like an obituary blog.. I am not dead!!!! (yes..this is Sextan speakin) it's not that I have left SL.. it's simply that, for now, I don't have any free time to get online... and I have prefered to totally stop to sell stuff and having a land just because I have no time to answer customers requests, IMs, land fees .. and to do everything that must be done daily when you owe a brand and a runing business in SL.
So I still build, but for a private company/foundation and on a private grid (12sims) and I have a lot of stuff to build (no steampunk stuff this time!. But most important thing, I have been hired for my first serious job as a music composer... and as already I have a regular daily job.. I spend my nights working on those other projects.. and I still have to save time for my family. So I'am not dead and gone.. I'am just a bit busy ^^. Anyway, I think I will be back on SL but I just can't tell when. 

... So we'll be looking forward to the day the Mr. Shephard returns to the Steamlands!)

For those who are involved with Second Life, they are aware events and locales tend to happen at a blazing quick pace.  Sims rez, change, or disappear, as do individuals.  I've heard (through passing discussions, mind you), that often times a person involved in SL will at one point become "burned out", or have pressing RL issues, and withdraw from the virtual Steampunk world, sometimes dramatically, sometimes quietly.  As I was busy planning future entries on the Steampunk Travelogue, to my surprise, I came across some disturbing clues which indicate one of Second Life's premeir Steampunk builders, Sextan Shepherd, has quietly left Second Life, for destinations unknown!




For those who may not know, Mr. Sextan Shepherd was one of Second Life's most innovative Steampunk builders.  His ground breaking "Nemo I" build (the first video above) became a stunning example of the potential of genre building in the virtual Steampunk worlds.  Prior to Nemo I, he had been known for his breathtaking textures, which were not only iconic in its Art Nouveau influence, but his unique works (his first store was a floating set of island, which harbored his first few ships, which also became a standard in the virtual Steamlands (New Babbage)  



(unfortunately, this is simply a link to the YouTube video, but still worth the trip!)

He followed Nemo I, with Nemo II, Nemo III, and finally Liberty Cove - all exceptionally impressive builds.  Over the time he was in SL, he developed a loyal following, and one could easily see (and recognize) his works.  In fact, his last work, the aforementioned Liberty Cove, had his unique thumbprint on it, as well as his playful genre sense of humor (note the giant Steampunk robot to the right of the photo - it would greet you upon arrival at the sim)!




So, as I mentioned earlier, I was researching work for the Steampunk Travelogue (a kind of repository of Steampunk sims which is sadly not quite up-to-date), when I started to come across clues that Sextan had left Second Life, including....

1) Liberty Cove (below) is, for lack of a kinder word, gone...
2) His online shop in the SL Marketplace is gone, and most telling...
3) His profile states that he is (now) a content creator on another grid.

Based on the above... I have to assume he has moved on from Second Life to greener (steamier?) pastures.



Liberty Cove in September

Can't say exactly why he moved on, though speculation can run rampant (e.g. SL demands, SL business cutting into his building time, or even worse, the demands of RL).  Still, its sad to see someone of his established building skill, impressive genre vision, and excellent customer service depart SL.  Afraid I don't know where he has gone off to (I gather he wanted it to remain a secret, else he would have announced that fact), but nonetheless, the SL Steamlands are richer for his time and skills, so I do wish him fair winds and following seas, and the best of luck on his future endeavors!

To see more photos of Mr.Sextan Shepherd's amazing work, please turn to:
(above (stunning) photos by Lyloo Mitter)


My own copy of Mr. Shepherd's classic ship leaving New Babbage

Friday, September 9, 2011

Back "Underway" with the Steampunk Shipyard....



Well, its been a busy summer, but with the return of the fall, the Steampunk Shipyard is (and will be) back.  I did have to make some difficult choices on blogs to continue and let go on hiatus.  The Steampunk Tribune will obviously stay on as the "flagship" blog, but others (SL Jazz After Midnight, SL Dark Realms, and SL Ports of Call) will be put on hold for the formidable future.  Additionally, with two major Steampunk conventions with nautical themes on the horizon, it seemed like a good time to brush off the virtual dust from the Shipyard, and continue on with the projects I started earlier.  So do keep an eye here, for fairly biased and nautical Steampunk topics to come!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

SL Ports of Call - a new SL pirate blog has arrived!


I looked about and the combination of a lack of a good SL Pirate blog/website and the fallow remants of the Ships of the Line (which wasn't absconded as the Antiquity Gazette was) struck me as a poor situation, so... I went ahead and rebranded the old Ships of the Line blog to the SL Ports of Call.  The new blog will focus on SL Pirate sims, ongoing events, and more SL related items.  I've added a few locations/SLurls that can be easily arrived at, but if one desires to indulge in providing a bit of information regarding the SL Pirate genre, please feel free to contact me at TheSteampunkTribune [at] yahoo [dot] com!

To view the blog - please head towards: http://slportsofcall.blogspot.com/

Friday, July 1, 2011

Breaking news: Antiquity facing a partial closure!


Difficult times have hit the Antiquity sims in SL - it seems that due to financial issues.  As this event continues to develop, with efforts to maintain some of the current sims, and others being put on the open market, the future of the current state of Antiquity and its extensive waterways are in jeopardy, one does have to have concern about the future of nautical combats in SL.  To keep tabs on the developing story of Antiquity restructuring, please visit...

The Antiquity Times story and details
(not as good as the classic Antiquity Times, but alas, that has been shut down... by others... more on that story later)

SL Universe Forums

... and Flickr?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/primperfect/5891381153/

**********

It appears that they have sorted out their issues - looks as if they have consolidated their endeavor, which is now appearntly 15 sims in size.  More details on their effort is located here: http://www.antiquitytimes.com/?p=1836

And the Steampunk Sub has returned to port...



I've had a few comments on why the Steampunk Shipyard (SPSY) hasn't been updated in quite a while (longer than a standard patrol).  Alas, I have been meaning to keep it up to date, but the other sites I blog (e.g. The Steampunk Tribune, The Steampunk Travelogue, and SL Jazz After Midnight) have eaten into my available time, not to mention other pesky RL responsibilities.  Nonetheless, I will endeavor to bring it back up to speed, and return to adding nautically-themed topics and issues, as they relate to Steampunk.  Do keep a sharp eye out, as I'll be adding here - at least more regularly than in the past!





Friday, March 18, 2011

The amazing art of Mr. Meinert Hansen



Happened upon the website of an outstanding artitst, a Mr. Meinert Hansen.  I had previously seen his work (uncredited, unfortunately), but while digging around, I unearthed his website.  Of note are the thematic work involving Nautical Steampunk, including fascinating designs, constructions, and perhaps in my estimation, the most impressive version of Verne's Nautilus since, well, the original!  After an absence, it seems he has taken back up with maintaining his blog and displaying his endeavors.  To take a peek yourself, please visit:
http://utamoh.wordpress.com/


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Did someone say "Air Kraken"?


Caught note from the excellent SL Steamlands blog, A Caledonian Journey, that Miss Rihanon Jameson has spotted the first Air Kraken of 2011 in the SL Steamlands!  This giant behemoth is generally peaceful, unless angered or feels its territory has been encroached, which seems to be the cause of if infamous temper and destructive abilities.


An Air Kraken over New Babbage, circa 2008

For more details on this mysterious creature, please visit her journal, at: http://rhianonjameson.blogspot.com/2011/03/air-kraken.html

... and more on Air Krakens, at:

Air Krakens over New Babbage in the Steamlander...

Historical reviews of Air Krakens, at:

... and the Facebook site of "Not Being Eaten by an Air Kraken", at...

NOTE! - Don't forget March 17th (two weeks from now), is Air Kraken day!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

TeslaCon to have a Nautical Steampunk Theme for 2011!


As I was working about to attempt to update the Convention page on the Steampunk Tribune, I noticed that TeslaCon will have a "20,000 Leagues beneath the Aether" theme this year.  Obviously, I'm quite elated that this year has had a focus on the seafaring aspects of Steampunk (good for this blog as well), and it will be interesting to see how TeslaCon 2011 will develop.  To visit their temporary site and forums, please take a moment to peek at: http://www.teslacon.com/main/

Friday, February 18, 2011

SteamCon III to have a Nautical Theme


It appears that SteamCon III will have a nautical theme this year.  I do laud them for the choice, and it will be interesting to see how much seafaring interpretation will be added it the event.  No plans have been released as of yet, but as this is of particular interest, I'll be keeping posted on the evolution of the next NW Steampunk event.  For further information, please visit: http://www.steamcon.org/

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Where (on the boat) am I? An introduction to shipboard life...



One of the most important narratives on any shipboard type (e.g. surface ship, submersible, or even airship), is the organization onboard said vessel.  Interesting enough, this is perhaps one of the most important parts of a ship, but one of the least understood by those without a Naval background.

Its likely that the most exposure that those in the Steampunk (and Science Fiction) realms have to any kind of shipboard organization (also known in military circles as the “Chain of Command”) is via the Star Trek series.  The officers, who generally comprise the main characters, are easily identified on this series, albeit with a few modifications as compared to current day crews (aka, there is no such thing as a “councilor” of any sort!  Back in the day, the Navy wasn’t “touchy-feely” as it is now, but that is a different topic entirely!)  Still, the overall basics of the chain of command can be easily reflected by a brief overview of some of the more frequented compartments of a submersible.


(It always helps to do a bit of research on a topic... and it would be the Officer of the Deck instructing the Diving Officer to conduct a dive, btw).

I’ll simply touch on a few highlights regarding shipboard design and organization.  Most of the specific details of shipboard life would be academic for translation to a Steampunk setting (aka – explaining how shifts rotate onboard would probably be a relatively boring topic to the average reader, though of immense importance on a real ship), but there are some basic narratives that are essential for being on a boat.


The control room of the USS Becuna (SS-319), in a "rigged for red" lighting arrangement, commonly used for "Battle Stations".  Its very cramped, and in RL, very crowded.  

The Bridge
The “Control Center” of the ship (and better known as “Control”) – the location where the ship is controlled, is historically most of the “action” onboard takes place.  This location in itself merits its own entry, which I will follow up with in time  – but for now, suffice to say, the Bridge (or known more commonly as “Control” on the subs), is where the major decisions take place.  Usually on US subs, there will be an officer in charge (aka, “Officer of the Deck”), a senior ranking individual responsible for submerging operations (aka, the “Diving Officer”), a senior enlisted individual manning a control panel responsible for a vast quantity of ship systems (the “Chief of the Watch”), two junior enlisted personnel “driving” the ship (one helmsman, one planesman), and a rotating number of radiomen (for communications), quartermasters & electronics technicians (for navigation duties).  This is the proverbial “tip of the iceberg”, as every watch on the ship interacts with Control in one way or another.

Steampunk note – A good amount of interaction onboard a submersible will include the control room.  This would include where the Captain (or in his absence, the Officer of the Deck) would take charge of directing the ship.  Major decisions would require the Captain’s presence, though other individuals may or may not be present for ship’s operations.
There are many variations on how a Steampunk control room might appear, but I’d say that the biggest issue would be the number of personnel in the room.  In Hollywood productions, there are at most a handful (four to six) people in the control room.  In real life, its not uncommon to have at least ten people during regular operations, and the number can double, depending on circumstances.   Again, I’ll touch on that in a later entry.



Maneuvering / Engineering Spaces
The second most important location on the submersible (arguably if you speak with the engineering individuals), this location is where commands from control are received for the propulsion of the ship, and from there are acted upon.  The most common image of this (and I’ll be making these references as they are likely the most visible comparison that non-seagoing individuals might have) is in Star Trek, when the Captain implores Engineering to magically fix things in an emergency or somehow “provide more power” to the ship.  In real life, the engineering individuals are exceptionally bright sailors, and enjoy the extra training their field provides them – though they don’t always work miracles on a daily (or episodic) basis.

Steampunk note – Unless there is something which involves engineering spaces, it tends to be overlooked in general Steampunk narratives.  Aside from explaining propulsion systems (say, how “cavorite” works), involvement in some kind of shipboard operations, or someone being in this area without permission, this part of a ship likely to be minimal.

The Wardroom
The Wardroom is both a location and informal title for the officers aboard a ship.  The physical location relates to a space where the commissioned officers eat and study, and is usually considered to be “off-limits” to enlisted personnel, unless they have official business which needs to be addressed.  In reality, on a submersible, it is treated with more formality than most other spaces, but it is still accessible to the crew (especially when the acquisition of good coffee is concerned).  Additionally, the Wardroom can also refer to the officers (excluding the Commanding Officer and Executive Officer), in a general sense.

Steampunk note – In a Steampunk narrative, just about anyone “involved” with a ship (sea, air, or land) seems to be a ship’s Captain (I have yet to encounter any Steampunk Executive Officers or Chiefs, in Real or Virtual Steampunk worlds).  Portraying an individual with a commission is likely a tad more complex than the general media portrays it, so to provide a baseline, I’ve included a few general links on Wardrooms for your review…



Staterooms
This is where officers sleep and generally do (paper) work, two to a room (unless they are Junior officers, in which they may be set three to a room).  Some senior officers may have their own office somewhere else on a ship, but generally speaking, if they have business to attend to (e.g. copious amounts of paperwork), they’ll do it in the part of a stateroom.

Steampunk note – Fictional staterooms tend to be much more spacious than their real counterparts, which may be no larger than a typical bathroom (a small bathroom at that).  In 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Captain Nemo had a sparse stateroom, so the choice would depend on the Steampunk narrative in question on the size and appearance of the officer-in-question’s stateroom.

The Goat Locker
The “Goat Locker” is the informal name (in the US Navy) for the senior enlisted personnel, the Chiefs, which range in rank from E-7 to E-9.  Though they live in bunk-room like setting as do the rest of the enlisted crew, they are is separated from the rest of the enlisted personnel (E-1 to E-6).  With their own head (bathroom) and meeting area, they attend to various middle managerial issues in this location.

Steampunk note - As with most fiction, enlisted personnel seem to be a somewhat overlooked necessity, with the bulk of interaction of with enlisted personnel taking place with the Chiefs, who then address any tasks to his department or division (e.g. the Navigator talking to the senior enlisted Quartermaster).  Again, I wouldn’t think that this area would have much play in any Steampunk fictional work… heck, I have yet to see any kind of Goat Locker mentioned in any of the Star Trek series, so I’d find it hard to see any fictional narrative unless there was a very good reason.

Berthing
Finally, berthing is where the bulk of the enlisted personnel reside.  Generally a darkened area with subdued lighting, it remains quiet, as the people in the bunkroom will have differing sleep schedules, depending on the watch they stand.  Bunkrooms can vary from being very clean to, well not so clean, but you’ll find most the crew there – watching movies, reading, listening to music… or sleeping.

Steampunk note – In a general narrative, no one really cares about a bunkroom, for enlisted personnel, since they aren’t main characters in a story!  Even in real life, its pretty boring – so unless someone is going to be woken up on watch, or something lost in going to be found, the berthing areas are yet another location which would be a non-issue in a Steampunk setting

Well, that’s it for now… I have enough for a second entry on this (which I’ll post later on), but I hope this is a small glimpse into how life on a submarine works… and how it might translate to a Steampunk narrative!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Kraken Spiced Rum


(This is a repeat of an article from the Steampunk Tribune last December, but I did want to ensure that it made a posting here!)

It isn't often that a I see a product which solicits a "WOW" reaction, but "The Kraken" rum is certainly one!  Just in time for the New Year, the Kraken spiced black rum ("Put a Beast in your Belly"), is unique, as I haven't indulged (or at least remember in indulging) in any black spiced rum, but the company's marketing department has done an outstanding job in extrapolating the mythos behind the Kraken of lore.


(Chapter One of Three)


(Chapter Two of Three)


(Chapter Three of Three)

In addition to these amazing works / informative videos, their website has a plethora of themed items, so I would certainly recommend a visit to it, and perhaps order a few of their beautiful items (along with a few bottles of rum)!  For more information, please visit: http://www.krakenrum.com/

(A thanks to IO9 for their heads up on this delicious beverage!)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Virtual Ports of Call - The Lotus of the Sea (Vernian Sea, New Babbage)


The Lotus of the Sea, in "Full Bloom"

"Tucked away  deep in the Venian Sea Welcome You have entered  The Lotus of Sea. A Magical Build with a character and personality. Preserved and Kept by Breezy Carver   for all to experience , feel , see and enjoy.  Oct 08 2008." - Introduction to the Lotus of the Sea


"Inky" paying a visit to the Lotus!

Second Life, for those who may not be familiar with it, is replete with Steampunk locations, including a good number of Nautical Steampunk destinations.  One of the goals of the Steampunk Shipyard is to visit these "Ports of Call", and highlight their impressive construction.  One of the oldest Steam-esque bodies of water is the Vernian Sea, in the City-State of New Babbage, and in (under?) its, is the gem known as the Lotus of the Sea.


Standing in the tube-ways in the Vernian Sea

First, let me explain a bit about the Vernian Sea.  It is a series of locations connected by an underwater series of tubes (as shown above).  These tubes lead to differing builds, from personal abodes to laboratories.  They are exceptionally well done, but out of all, the Lotus of the Sea is arguably its pearl!


A snippet of the interior of the Lotus

The Lotus could be base-ly described as a flower, albeit one made of steel, and under the water.  Circular in shape, the "petals" open or shut - but when open, one can peer up though the glass enclosure to the sea above - a very picturesque view!


Peering out from the Lotus into the depths of the Vernian...

Thanks to the generosity of my partner Breezy, the Lotus will be the "home base" of the Steampunk Shipyard, so please do feel free to stop by, put your seabag down, and take a break in the Lotus of the Sea!