Saturday, February 2, 2013
I have a cosplay planned for this year that could REALLY use one of these:
- Michelle S. shared an older game (it debuted in 2010) that's new to me this week: The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom. In it you play a top-hatted gentleman in search of pie. Heh. [Insert "the pie is a lie" joke here.]
- After I featured my skeleton key necklaces, Maggie M. send me a few photos from her skeleton-key-themed wedding. She had them everywhere, hanging from bunting, etched on her wine glasses - even the cake had a heart shaped keyhole as the topper!
- John and I got hooked on the show American Pickers a while back, but we're several seasons behind. Several of you pointed out that the show recently featured something awesomely steamy, though: Dr. Evermore and his Forevertron. (You can tell just from the name that's its gonna be cool, right?)
So what is it? Well, the Forevertron is a scrap metal sculpture - the world's largest, I believe - and it's the work of artist Tom Every:
Every's story goes that the fictional Dr. Evermore built the Forevertron to "blast him into outer space on a beam of sheer lightning." Every began building it in the 1980s, making the Forevertron almost pre-steampunk, really, but the the Victorian influence and gadgetry are pretty unmistakable to the style.
I couldn't find any footage from American Pickers, but there's a fantastic article with lots more photos here on Kuriositas.
- I will never get enough of steampunked computers and keyboards. NEVER. To that end, Tara G. spotted this sweet setup by HiFidelity featured on Lifehacker:
Since I have my own keyboard mod that's been in the works for at least 2 years now, I'm always keen to see how people solve the all-important key hurdle. So I spent a solid 20 minutes going through every photo in Hifidelity's Flickr stream, trying to figure out how he did his keys. He tried what looks like a dozen different methods, but never just came out and explained what he finally ended up doing. GRRR.
As near as I can tell, he used buttons glued to the dremeled-down keyboard keys, then used typewriter key stickers from Micheals on the buttons, which I *think* come with a clear domed plastic cover.
I did a little searching, and it looks like these are the stickers he used:
And here's a closeup of his keyboard, so you guys can take a look and tell me what you think he did:
And finally, BoingBoing just featured another great video by Mark Day of San Francisco's Edwardian Ball. (The Ball took place two weeks ago, and there's another one in LA at the end of this month.) It's not purely steampunk, of course, but this is a spectacle any steampunk fan can appreciate:
Here's my favorite shot, though:
Hope you liked this week's roundup! As always, please share your steamy finds in the comments or over on the Epbot Facebook page.
Friday, February 1, 2013
I keep forgetting I promised you guys a review of the new restaurant in New Fantasyland! Of course, calling it just a restaurant is a disservice: this thing is basically a walk-through attraction where they also happen to serve food.
There are plenty of far better photos out there, but mine should at least give you an idea of how cool this place is. Here's the entrance, as we waited in line:
Immediately inside the doors and to the left you're greeted by this stone alcove. The "stained glass window" is actually mosaic tile, and beautifully done.
Directly in front of you is a large archway leading into the main ballroom, supported by these two unfortunate-looking characters:
The line takes you to the right, though, through this doorway:
And into the hall of armor:
Each side of the room is flanked by three magnificent suits of armor, each of their own unique design:
(Here's the cool hidden "magic" of the rose: you place it on the table where you want to sit, and that tells the kitchen and servers where to bring your food. Works like a charm!)
From the ordering room you walk through a small archway into this jaw-dropping vista:
Through those giant "windows" there's a perpetual snowfall, which is really beautiful with all the lights twinkling in the glass reflections.
I was especially enamored with the ceiling:
My pics make it seem much darker than it actually is. In reality, the hand-painted ceiling is a sweet mix of blues, pinks, and purples, and every cherub has a unique face - which makes me suspect they're all based on real people. (The Imagineers' children, perhaps?) [Confirmed! A few of you have told me the cherubs are actually based on the Imagineers' own baby pictures. Too cool!]
We barely had time to get our drinks and gawk for a few minutes before our food "magically" appeared on this spiffy serving cart:
I ordered the braised pork (with green beans and mashed potatoes) based on a friend's recommendation, and I was blown away by how amazing it was. I've since had it confirmed by several sources (including Ricky of Inside the Magic) that the pork is the best meal on the menu, so I can't recommend it enough. The cupcake-like desserts all seem to be pretty fantastic, too, so I don't think you can go wrong with any of those. (John & I split the strawberry one.) And, shockingly, the prices aren't bad! Desserts were only $3, and the entrees are around $11 or $12. Considering the quality of the food, that's light years ahead of normal Disney park fare. [You can see the whole menu - complete with pics & prices - on Disney's site here.]
Ok, now back to the restaurant itself.
As big as the main ballroom is, there are still two more large dining halls to choose from. The Rose Gallery features a large rotating "music box" statuette of Beast and Beauty in the center, but is otherwise fairly nondescript:
Is it wrong that my favorite part of this room is the base of the statue?
The far more interesting of the two side halls is the dark and foreboding West Wing:
Here you'll find the slashed portrait of the prince and the famous rose, both of which have a bit of Disney magic to them:
And I think that's a fitting photo to end my review with. I hope you guys enjoyed the virtual visit! You can bet you'll be seeing more photos of Be Our Guest here in the future, just as soon as I can get back with a tripod in tow. (CAN'T WAIT!)
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
You know what they say: when life hands you lemons...
To those completely lost right now: yes, it's another Portal thing. Click here for the game tirade that (kind of) explains it.
Your other key ingredient is the fake lemon. Wal-Mart has the best fake lemons I've ever seen; they're weighted in the middle and textured so realistically I half expected juice to squirt out when I started cutting.
I believe these cost $1.99 each.
Disassemble the grenade by removing all the tiny screws (but don't lose them!), and slide out the switch mechanism and small speaker:
Using a slim utility blade, start cutting a square hole into the top of your lemon, pausing every now and then to check the fit:
Keep checking the fit for your battery box; you want it to slide in perfectly, like so:
There's a concrete weight in the center of these lemons, so your blade might hit it as you're cutting down. Fortunately I found there was still enough room for the battery box to fit, though.
Ok, now on to the grenade top:
Snip off the top of the grenade with pliers. I did one side at a time, and found the plastic was easily bent and snipped. Try to keep those prong bits all the same length, if you can. Use a metal file to smooth out the sharp corners and any jagged edges.
My grenade was Army Green, so next I taped off the gunmetal sections and spray-painted the rest matte black, including the grenade handle:
Now comes the tricky part: putting it all together.
So what holds the plastic grenade topper in place? Pins, like these:
You'll need to drill tiny holes in the "prongs" of your grenade head for the pins to fit through. Enter your trusty Dremel:
Here John's drilling the first hole, but I later took over and can assure you: it's not hard. The plastic is easy to punch through, so the only tricky part is making sure you angle your drill bit so the pins will be guided down into the lemon at a roughly 45 degree angle.
To show you how this is all going to fit together, here I'm holding one half of the grenade topper in place, with the speaker and wires tucked underneath:
I don't have a process pic for this next step, because it took too many hands for me to spare one for a photo, but it's just a matter of holding the grenade topper in place, wires and speaker nicely tucked underneath, and inserting the pins through the topper's prongs into the lemon. (Get a second person to help you.) Because the pins will all be inserted at an angle, there's no way the top can be pulled off without removing them. Trust me, I carry my grenade around by the head all the time; it's very secure.
Oh, and my pins were a little too long - they kept hitting the concrete center of the lemon - so I had John snip off the ends a bit. You may need to do the same.
Once you've got the grenade top secured to the lemon, it's time to DECORATE. (Woot!)
I printed the Aperture logo on plain paper, and then used a craft knife to cut it out for a stencil.
Using a stencil on a bumpy rounded lemon isn't the easiest thing to do, but it WAS easier than I expected. I used an adhesive putty to stick the paper down on 2 sides, and then held each panel down with my fingers as a pounced acrylic paint on with a stiff brush.
Tada! I also found and printed the little yellow Flammable symbol, which I laminated with packing tape and then glued in place on the top.
I wasn't happy with the plastic pin that came with the toy grenade, so I replaced it with a stainless steel cotter pin (find them at the hardware store for cheap) and a keychain ring. That's completely optional, though.
I thought an official sounding plaque would be a fun touch, so we ordered this one from our local trophy shop for about $8. The patent number actually DOES have significance: it's an obscure number found in Portal 2 - and if you already knew that, you get about 267 million geek points. (Can't stand the mystery? Then look for it here in the game's ending credits.)
So that's my lemon grenade!
I hope you guys enjoyed the tutorial, because now here's the best part: I made two lemon grenades, just so I could give one away here on the blog!
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