The Steampunk World

Being the continued explorations of a living steampunk.

The steampunk world is all around us, lying just out of sight, in a continuous thread of steampunk builders and culture that extends from the Victorian era to the present. You'll find no science fiction here: This is real life steampunk.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

This week has been extremely intense. I have to get it all down but I can't possibly remember the details.

On Wednesday I went to the Museum of Science and Industry to repair the catapults at the Da Vinci exhibit. It was pretty fun. They're a little more complex than a real trebuchet, because the public has to be able to use them again and again. Oish I'm glad I'm not the lead on that project because the prospect of making seige machinery that doesn't kill anybody seems like something I'd fail. Then again my metalworking skills are growing by leaps and bounds, learning every day. I realized that I hadn't applied for a job in two years- people call me instead. It's a good place to be. I've worked at the museum twice now, it's good to build a relationship with them.

On Thursday I helped a guy move his 1800-s era printing press. And desk after desk full of letters. He found out I used to work on Fiery and flipped out, begged me to come work for him, wants me to apprentice as a typesetter. I must admit that the idea of wearing a visor and sleeve garters while I set type is alluring, but still, I know there's some printing student somewhere who would give their left eye to be able to work on this machine and do old-fashionedy typesetting. If you know that person have them email me. The guy is desperate because who cares about that old stuff anymore? At any rate my destiny is Steam Locomotive Mechanic, and the same thing happened when I went to that locomotive barn- the old guys were like "you CARE about this stuff AND you are a metalworker?!?!?!?! Get to work!" and they put me right to work. So now my plan is to head out to Union on the weekends to help with the steam engines. They have a process whereby you can become an assistant fireman, a fireman, assistant engineer, then engineer. When I'm old, I feel that steam restorers will be in high demand because everybody who does it now is over 60.

Thursday night I found out that my buddy is buying the clock tower slash water tower at Damen and Pershing. I am SO going to live there.

Redmoon asked for all of my time, but they pay less than the other metalworking I do, so I'm torn. Redmoon is always more fun- this time it's pedal-powered cranes they want. Meanwhile this corporation is bringing me out west to handle their bicycle problem. I'm learning a lot about international shipping and material handling. Meanwhile this guy wants me to be an apprentice typesetter. I'm going to help him out with his monthly big push because it pays very well. Meanwhile I don't have any time to go down to the blacksmith's shop these days, which is too bad. I should start taking a day off work to do that. I'm realizing that money lets you do bigger things. If I can preserve my simple lifestyle while increasing my income I'll have lots of money to play around with. Oish I'll have to pay taxes this year, that's not an appealing prospect. When you work don't think about how the first hour of each work day will go to taxes which will go to the military. That's a depressing thought.

Went to the Pirates of the Kornfield. It was a drunken blast as you can imagine. Folks came from Champaign, Missouri, and Arkansas. The first night we actually pulled van seats out into the front yard of a trailer in a trailer court and drank Old Milwaukee. Some guys from the court brought their storebought choppers by and we went for a ride down to the rail depot. There was a sweet rail go-kart there, I wish I could have ridden it. I loved getting back to the trailer court, reminds me of good times from my childhood.

We actually made the race at 7 AM (because folks were just still up drinking) but three blocks in we were distracted by an awesome dumpster. So we didn't make the sixty miles, shucky darn. Saturday night was all about the bonfire and the grillout and the skinny dipping. Amazingly some bikes got jumped off the pier into the water, never saw that coming. Jared let me ride his motorcycle, it's a 900cc which is too big and too fast, but all of my muscle memory came back and I could ride it just like that. Why oh why did I ever sell mine? I must obtain another. It was wayyyyy too fun. I'll wait until the winter when nobody wants to buy one. Then I can fix it up all winter and next summer I'll be good to go. My electric motorcycle project will still continue, because that's something that can be snuck onto bike paths. But man I saw a rat chopper motorcycle that changed my life. Before I'd only seen cherry fancy storebought choppers (booooring) and ratty ass crap choppers (cool). But this was the sweetest, cherryest, most postapocalyptic rat chopper I'd ever seen. He used a wrench for the shifter lever and every bolt was a spike. It was the combination of simple means with handsome results that really stunned me. Once I get my steamcycle going I'll have to remember what I learned. Watch out, Crabfu, I'm comin' for ya!


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