In my post about things I collect, I mentioned that one of my interests was beer tap handles. A little over a year ago I was able to obtain the #1 tap on my wishlist, a steampunk tap from a brewery called Dogfish Head out of Milton, Delaware. Dogfish Head was already on my radar for their “Ancient Ales”…re-creations of ancient recipes found from various archaeological sites around the world. These amazing brews include Midas Touch Golden Elixir, a strong ale based on residue found on drinking vessels from the tomb of King Midas, dating back to the 8th century BC and containing ingredients including Muscat grapes, honey, and saffron. There’s also Chateau Jiahu, a spiced strong ale based on residue from pottery found in the Neolithic village of Jiahu (in central China), dating to the 7th millennium BC, with ingredients such as rice flakes, wildflower honey, hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers (this is the oldest known beer recipe to be brewed in the modern age).
Certain Dogfish Head tap handles are some of the most expensive and sought-after, with the steampunk tap (pictured left) routinely going for over $400 on eBay. I came across another rare Dogfish Head item on eBay that I just had to have. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you:
the Dogfish Head Steampunk Clock…
This rare beauty (there are fewer of these than the tap handles) was picked up for quite a deal, considering they were $300 + shipping when they were originally available from the Dogish Head store; they sold out fairly quickly. The last one on eBay (before mine) sold for $408, and there’s one currently listed for $935! It does need a little work – the left gear is supposed to turn and the right needle is supposed to spin, but neither of them do. There’s also a section of LEDs not functioning on the right side. But these are all minor issues that I believe I can repair/replace without too much expense. The bottom line is that I now have a clock to match my tap!
I had big plans to attend Steamcon IV in Seattle this year. I had a costume I was going to work on, and though my Time Machine Pinball wasn’t ready for submission in the Art Exhibition, I was going to attend some of the presentations and maybe even one of the parties. Then, when I knew I wouldn’t have the costume ready, I thought, “no big deal…I’ll see what everyone else is wearing and then adjust accordingly next year.” However, as sometimes happens to the best-laid plans, it all went awry when I was struck down by a nasty cold bug a few days before the trip. Attending on Friday was out of the question, but I was hoping to wake up Saturday morning and be able to give it a go…
Well, I woke up Saturday to find I was in no condition to drive, but I thought I might be able to pull out of the miasma by late afternoon with some rest as a passenger. So after sleeping through most of the three hour drive, we stopped at Pike’s Market for lunch. However, lunch did not sit well and after some Codine I curled up in the backseat and went to sleep. My traveling companions decided to take me to the hotel, so I slept through the ferry ride, ate a little dinner, and crashed. Sunday morning I woke up early, took more Codine, and went back to bed. After a late start and another ferry ride, I arrived at my Dad’s for a quick, groggy visit, then it was off to Steamcon.
As we arrived at the Bellevue Hyatt mid-afternoon, we discovered that Steamcon was pretty much done. The Art Exhibition had ended at noon. To make matters worse, we were one of the few not in costume, which was sad, but gave me high hopes that my outfit that I’ll wear next year will be well-received. Fortunately the Grand Mercantile was still open, so I was able to snap some photos of goods, as well as people in costume. Although I was disappointed that my first Steamcon didn’t work out the way I had hoped, it did wet my appetite for next year’s event. Photos to follow…
Many thanks to the individuals who took time to pose for the photos. Next year, I hope to arrive in similar style – and without a cold! Until then…
A quick trip to Powell’s Books last night yielded a couple of new steampunk titles to add to the queue, in oversized paperback format:
Tin Swift from Devon Monk. I reviewed Dead Iron a while back and am really looking forward to this sequel and immersing myself once again into Monk’s wonderful prose.
The Affinity Bridge by George Mann. This one has been out for a few years but I kept putting it off for some reason. Liviu C. Suciu over at Fantasy Book Critic gave it high marks for being charming and entertaining, and that’s all the encouragement I need to read it. Powell’s had the sequels as well, so if I really like the book I’ll have to make another trip…
I’m still not ready to write my review yet, I don’t have time to hit Powell’s Books, and my Arkham Horror novels have not yet arrived from Amazon. Although I have some other books in the queue like Knife of Dreams and Against All Things Ending, those are some massive tomes that I was hoping to save for my Christmas break. What better time to pick up a steampunk novel?
I had completely forgotten that several months ago, I won a contest over at Fantasy Literature, and the prize was a copy of Dead Iron by Devon Monk. As a fan of steampunk (I’m currently building a Steampunk Pinball Time Machine), the book sounds very intriguing: a frontier setting, with magic, werewolves, evil-doers known as the Strange, and of course steampunk elements. I’ve happily added it as my current read.
Devon Monk lives in Oregon, which is very close to where I’m at. Unfortunately I missed her at the Beaverton Powell’s Books, which she was at in May, before Dead Iron was released. Hopefully I’ll catch up to her for an autograph and conversation at some point…
I have been absent from this blog, to my great regret. The problem is I stumbled across two projects that I found amazing, and ended up combining them into one.
The first is a Virtual Pinball Machine. As a lover of pinball (I own 5 games of my own: Elvira’s Scared Stiff, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Popeye, Junkyard, and White Water), the virtual pinball machine made immediate inroads into my psyche. I have neither the money nor the space to add the other dozen pinball machines (that I so very much desire) to my collection. This seemed like a great way to get close to satisfying that desire.
At the same time, while I was in the process of deciding how I wanted the cabinet to look, I just happened to google search a MAME cabinet done in steampunk, and since then my life has become a quest to build the Steampunk Virtual Pinball Machine.
If you’re at all interested, I decided to blog about it and you can follow my progress at:
(Sorry, I’m having trouble with links, and the staff at WordPress tells me they had some issues but everything is ok now. Yeah, right.)
Since the weather has been good lately I want to use the time to work out in the shop and do sanding, painting and staining before it gets bitterly cold. When the cold does hit, I’ll be going back to the book reviews in earnest.