Defining Steampunk

A throwing-down of the gauntlet by an academic:

Steampunk is an aesthetic that mixes elements of technofantasy, and neo-Victorian retrofuturism.

One of his points that I most agree with is likening “an aesthetic” to a glass container; we need to examine the container rather than the contents if we want to describe Steampunk more closely.

Go on over and throw in your two cents (30 comments as of this tardy reporting): Steampunk Scholar: Defining Steampunk as an Aesthetic.

It was a dark and stormy night . . .

Although, in real life, it is going to be a beautifully sunny, not-too-warm, holiday weekend afternoon for me, I invite you to join me at the Ruined Watermill in Caledon Mayfair.

The Duke of Mayfair Steadman Kondor invites you to join him at the launch of the Ruined Watermill exhibit in Caledon Mayfair.

The jagged edges of a ruined watermill is the setting of gothic fantastical and urbane art and photography. Participating artists include: Elize Foxclaw, Monty Streusel, Elgyfu Wishbringer, Tali Rosca and Soliel Snook.

Exhibit launch and dance: May 29th, 1:00PM to 3:00PM
Dress code: Gothic or as you are

Your DJ is Otenth Paderborn. He will play gothic inspired music, including some ‘dark wave’ genred tracks from Scandinavia.

The exhibit opens through to the end of June.

They just don’t get it

Linden Lab has published their rationale for the most controversial 2010 Linden Prize Finalist: SionChicken and SionCorn. There are a variety of opinions in the comments so far, including, predictably, Prokofy Neva calling everyone who disagrees with Sion as a finalist “high-minded elitist socialists.”

I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to deny that Sion products were a commercial success, nor that they spawned community. (I’ll note that the Sion Labs Update group currently has only 121 members, however.)

They also seem to have innovated a type of product, and perhaps a technology—although I’m not a programmer, so I can’t know for certain. (We do know, however, that their products as first released were incredibly resource-intensive.) They also gave rise to a multitude of related businesses.

All of this is well and good, and I have no argument with it. Good for everyone involved, congratulations, etc.

What Linden Lab and the people supporting Sion Labs with their comments on the blog just don’t get is: What does any of that have to do with the stated purposes of the Linden Prize?

an innovative inworld project that improves the way people work, learn and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world. This annual award is intended to align with Linden Lab’s company mission, which is to connect all people to an online world that advances the human condition.

No one has yet to address this question. The only effects outside the virtual world that anyone has mentioned are: Google search results and financial returns. Once again: These things are not in dispute (although one can always dispute gross Google search result numbers), but they do not reflect the purposes of the Linden Prize.

Gabrielle Riel at “Music!” Aether Salon

I am oh-so-tardy in drawing your attention to the presentation given by her Grace, Gabrielle Riel at the New Babbage Aether Salon. Do go and read Aether Salon: Music! Edited transcript.

The first part of my presentation is all about the historical contexts in which Victorian Music existed. After a brief Introduction, I will discuss what is often referred to as “Classical Music” and its composers.

Then to the Ballroom, where I will give you an overview of the many types of dances that were invented in the Victorian Era, as well as the music that was needed to accompany them! Reaching further back into history, earlier than the Victorian Era, I will discuss Folk Music and its place in the 19th Century.

Next, a huge development in music that still affects us to this very day: Popular Music. I'll explain what it was and how it is the foundation of contemporary music. Finally, we travel inside of the Victorians' homes with Parlour Music.

Once I have provided you with the history, I can bring you into the present, and into what I call our “Imagined Past”, both in terms of music and how we all choose to live our Second Lives. Please keep in mind that many, many people would probably take issue with the overview I am giving you here of Neo-Victorian Music. They can go give their own presentation. 🙂 These are the examples I have chosen to give you today.

I'll speak about the music that is considered to be the some of the earliest “conscious” Neo-Victorian Music. And then I will delve into Goth (get out your black lipstick everyone), Steampunk, Dark Cabaret, Carnivale and Marching and Klezmer Bands.

And I will wrap up with how people in Second Life are using or applying both Victorian and Neo-Victorian Music in this environment.

Celebrating a community treasure

It will be my pleasure to DJ for the Palm Court Tea Dance at the Bashful Peacock, Sunday May 23, 3-5pm SLT. I started wondering just how long Sir Rudolfo has been hosting these events “for ladies and gentlemen who prefer the company of ladies and gentlemen, respectively,” and the earliest mention I found was a Radio Riel blog post on April 13, 2008. I’m very sorry we have not marked the second anniversary of these events!

In spite of other events in Caledon having been scheduled against the Tea Dance, I anticipate the same wonderful company and witty banter as always. Please do join us!

And I thought the Steamlands had DRAMA

Not. Even. Close.

I have a sekrit alt who dips into SL fashion/freebies/hunts from time to time, and so I occasionally add a fashion blog to my RSS reader. (I use Google reader, by the way. If you’re not familiar with RSS feeds, a reader can allow you to be aware of any new posts on the blogs you follow by going to one central webpage or application.)

So, I came across Penned Down, by Pennelope Thiessam. It was a small, new, snarky fashion blog meant for a few friends until the behemoth Shopping Cart Disco mentioned it. (Just to be clear: I don’t want anyone to get the mistaken idea that I follow Shopping Cart Disco. The ensuing brouhaha was tweeted about by someone I follow.) Tenshi Vielle called Pennelope classless and not worthy of a link back. Needless to say, traffic to Penned Down went through the roof.

Penned Down is certainly not for everyone. The self-description?

Self Appointed SL Quality Control Coordinator

Welcome to my blog. Beware, entrance is not for the feint of heart. My language is crude, my honesty is blunt, it is almost guaranteed you will be offended. Please proceed.

Something I didn’t know is that there’s a large contingent of SL fashion bloggers who believe strongly that if you don’t have something nice to say you should say nothing at all. Pennelope chose not to play by those rules, and the comments on her posts have been mind-blowing. She also says she’s been banned from several sims. This post asking whether she should post a list of the sims from which she has been banned has an amazing 134 comments as of this writing. Reading only a few comments will give you an idea of the vitriol.

Several sentiments have been repeated and repeated by the commenters on Penned Down and on other blogs that got drawn into the fray (and apparently a lot of drama has been going down on Plurk as well). Some of them just really get my goat, and so I thought I’d reply.

But these designers whose clothing you say negative things about are really nice.
I don’t buy things because the business owner is “nice.” I buy things because I like them or they meet a need.
“This is a lie and you are crazy.” —Ivey Deschanel
I will, however, choose not to patronize a business if the owner is rude, annoying, bigoted, or any number of other things I don’t want to support. I can always do without or find someone else to buy from.
But these designers worked so hard on these things.
And your point? People work far harder on businesses that fail every day. If people (read: potential customers) say something negative about your work, you have two choices: you can decide you don’t care about their business, or you can work harder or create something different in order to attract their business. It’s more pleasant when they give only constructive criticism and do it only privately, but that’s really nothing you can control or should expect.
But I’m selling this for pennies/giving it away!
I consider 50L Fridays (and other group theme events) and hunts advertising, not favors to me. Hunts, especially, are a LOT of work and annoyance for the hunters, with very, very little payoff. If designers put crap in a hunt or make the object extremely difficult to find, they should expect to get a negative reaction. Even if you think of these items and events as loss leaders, they need to have some virtue beyond being free, or you won’t actually be attracting a paying customer. And that is what you want, right?
It’s my sim, and I can ban anyone I want, for any reason.
Are you running a business or not?

And finally. Sn@tch? Really? Really? Someone thought Sn@tch was a good name for a business?

I’m looking for a tenant

Update: I’m no longer looking for a tenant, because I sold my sim! I now rent a couple of parcels elsewhere in the steamlands and a bit of mainland. Orcadia and Murdann continue to exist as noncorporeal thought experiments, just as they always have.

It’s a quiet, stable sim with good, long-term neighbors. Only four parcels. The other residents are me; nox Pinion, one of my original partner tenants; and the Consulate of Europa Wulfenbach.

1/4 sim available on Murdann.
Price per week: L$7200
Minimum rental weeks: 4
Maximum rental weeks: 8
Prims: 3750
Terraformable by agreement

contact Otenth Paderborn via IM or email to