Oct 172014

Oh hell yes. In this bloody gorgeous 2004 animated movie, we get to see the British ancestor of Macgyver  fight off a powerful mercantile syndicate and a shady division of the government that all want to use this (magical) steam generator ball thing to do stuff.  And a crazy old man. This movie has a very different feel than the others we’ve watched so far, being very much a ‘coming of age’ story combined with some ‘resisting corruption’ (of like three different flavors no less).  This is certainly the group favorite, though personally I would probably say AB is a very close second. The only real regret I have is that there’s no sequel (watch the ending credits- Marvel has clearly taken a pointer from this movie).


Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

 Posted by at 10:37 pm
Sep 122014

So wow. Been a bit. But we’re coming back strong with a podcast about a movie suggested by a fan (thanks Fire Drake!).  Thankfully, we were not lied to this time, as AB was not only more steampunk than Mutant but also an enjoyable viewing experience. It’s clearly an older movie, so if you went into it expecting awesome CG action scenes or the like, you’ll be disappointed but that just means you’re a silly person. AB is darn well written (saving only the somewhat forced feel of the two main characters getting involved with each other), with an interesting if far-fetched plot, good characters and a lot of funny moments that are clearly spoofs of more serious spy thrillers.  All in all, a rather pleasant way to spend a few hours.


And the links! (this is a long one, folks)

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Good Lord We Talk a Lot

 Posted by at 8:32 am
Mar 142014

Alright then! We have this month’s steampunk (sorta kinda, Amazon lied to me but you’ll have to listen the podcast to hear the details) for your listening… well, pleasure might be a bit much. Vague feeling of amusement perhaps? Anyway.  We, gods help us, watch Mutant Chronicles. We’re going to skip next month as Yami and Chaos will be out of town (and country, continent and hemisphere for that matter) but we’ll resume after that with Firedrake’s suggested viewing of The Assassination Bureau.


Firedrake, if you lied to us and it’s a terrible, horrid movie, I will cry.  If’s okay, or just not our taste, that’s cool. But if it’s as badly made as MC… I will actually weep.


Right. Links!


Part One.

Part Two.

Deleted Scenes and other Chatter.



 Posted by at 5:05 pm
Feb 152014
Well, the first podcast is done and posted. The first four parts are the movie itself- the last (and biggest) chunk is our After-Hour Bonus Ramblings. In order to make it so anyone that has subscribed via iTunes can auto-download the podcasts, Yami has created five separate ‘podcast’ type posts that won’t be pushed to the front page. So here are the links for your convenience.Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

After-Hours Bonus Ramblings

And, as a teaser/accompaniment, here are some links and trivia that really only make sense if you listen to us ramble.

Dogs and gramophones!

Caffeine at room temperature!

Fish house punch! (not bowl, like I think we called it more than once)

Umm, a non-drunken list of the movies!

That should just about do it for this- go and listen to the podcast.

 Posted by at 12:32 am
Feb 102014

In an attempt to get a regular event going that the three of us (Chaos, Yami and myself) can do at home, I came up with the idea of watching a steampunk-esque movie every month. And podcast it. While drinking. Yeah, well, it worked kind well for the first podcast so…

Anyway, I poked around Amazon a bit and ordered eight movies so far:

Wild Wild West (1999) with Will Smith and Kevin Kline, one of the more mainstream accessible steampunk movies.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) with Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, which has giant robots.’nuff said.

The Rocketeer (1991) with, umm, Timothy Dalton and Billy Campbell (had to dig for actors there), which is a bit more diesel- than steam- punk but whatever.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) with Sean Connery and some other people. A bit of the supernatural there, but it has Captain Nemo and so instantly steampunk.

Van Helsing (2004) with Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale. More supernatural here but that works with Yami and Chaos’ new characters so I’m kind of hand-waving that the gadgets Helsing uses are all steampowered.

Mutant Chronicles (2008) with Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman and John Malkovich. Alright, to be honest, I’m not sure if some of these really qualify but Amazon assures me they’re part of the Steampunk genre so I’m going to trust hat the entity that is trying to sell me more DVDs isn’t being overly flexible to move merchandise. Crap.

Steamboy (2005) with the voices of Anna Paquin, Alfred Molina and Patrick Stewart (Picard?). Alright, this one is animated, which could put some off (I’m a fan personally) but the plot is about a guy named Roy Steam who is an inventor.  I think we can safely bet there’s gonna be some steampunk doings going on.

And finally I have Metropolis (1926) with Brigitte Helm and Alfred Abel. It’s a black and white silent film- and thus not the animated movie of the same name I had meant to buy. Whoops. Chaos suggested that we should watch both, perhaps the silent one off-air, then the animated recorded right afterwards.


So those are the movies I’ve gotten already and we’ve already watched Wild Wild West and recorded it (still working on the edits though, sorry) but we’re interested in getting some opinions on where to go from here. Anyone have any suggestions on the viewing order? Or even have a movie or two that you’d recommend we watch that’s not on the list? If I can find it on Amazon for under ten bucks, I’m very willing to give’em a shot. And if it looks interesting, I might go over that to be honest. The only real restriction is that horror movies result in Yami having nightmares and beating up Chaos so we’re going to avoid those. Other than that, we’re going to be drinking so we’ll watch anything. Okay. Maybe not Jack and Jill or Gigli…

 Posted by at 9:33 pm
Feb 012014

Okay, we had some problems getting the photos off the bloody camera (for whatever reason, the computer would recognize the camera was plugged in but trying to access the photos on them would cause the camera to crash and the computer to freeze up. fun times) but success is mine!


I should probably explain what I meant with the title. The CZU (that’s Cleveland Zeppelin Union for those new around here) managed to get use of Parma Township’s public library (well, one of the conference rooms anyway) to host a ‘Making Day.’  What that is, exactly, is the lot of us doing something of a show and tell about some of the things we make to support our obss- hobby. Enjoyable pass time. Activities of interest. For interest, we brought in the business cards Yami has created for our group complete with a short but nifty little slide show. I also whipped together another slide show about general creating idea, using the steampunk wreath we made as the main example.

Gabriel hard at work making a trinket for a curious attendee.

Gabriel hard at work making a trinket for a curious attendee.

We also had a booth showing off some LED creations, one that helped explain some of the common character ‘archetypes’ and paper wind-fish (think of a windsock but made of paper and in the shape of a carp).  It was pretty neat to see how far the gambit can run, from the relatively cheap and easy to make calling cards to the really impressive LED-studded costume pieces that can take weeks or even months to create.  Of course, props and costumes are only as cool as the ideas behind them, so even having a platform to explain to a few people about how to start ‘thinking steampunk’ was really great.  



Some of the CZU members trying to get the FB page up on the projector.

Some of the CZU members trying to get the FB page up on the projector.


The star of the show, however, was Gabriel  and his jewelry, ornaments and doodad creation seminar. He brought his hot glue gun, boxes of small metal, plastic and paste-gem bits and some chains, then did some quick tutorials and demonstrations of how to assemble some very simple creations. I, for example, worked with him and another CZU member to create my Owens persona a fake pocket-watch to go with his new vest.  It’s a simple piece, just a false watch face attached to a metal chain on one end and a decorative weight on the other.



It was half ‘hey, nice to see you all again!’ and half ‘PSA: Hello people, this is Steampunk!’ And personally, I think both halveswent great. Sure, we may not have gotten as many visitors as a panel during a con, but we had at least two dozen or so people attend our little three hour session. That’s not bad for a bunch of people who just want to share their fun.

Not a bad sized crowd.

Not a bad sized crowd.

And we also got to debut some new additions to the  Owens costumes (most of which has been covered elsewhere):

Got some nifty new vests and button-up shirts.

Got some nifty new vests and button-up shirts.


Nothing new technically but we haven't had a 'in costume' photo of Nettie as yet.

Nothing new technically but we haven’t had a ‘in costume’ photo of Nettie as yet.


The new pocket watch (and weight, which is what you can see) for Owens.

The new pocket watch (and weight, which is what you can see) for Owens.

 Posted by at 7:43 pm
Dec 192013

Alright, as part of the current/upcoming holiday season, a lot of people are visiting friends and family. I just got back from a graduation party/pre-Christmas visit with my brother and parents myself. Of course, one of the questions that everyone asks is ‘what have you been up to lately?’ or something of that sort. After going on about finals and classes and other stuff, I eventually came around to the Cleveland Zeppelin Union meet-up the three of us attended a few weeks ago. Which in turn lead to explaining what the group is based on- steampunk. Every single person’s reaction?


“What’s steampunk?”


So I was wondering- what is everyone’s best method or strategy for trying to explain what steampunk is to friends or family that have no  idea. I used to try and use the movie ‘Wild Wild West’ but… for one thing, besides Will Smith and Kevin Kline having some pretty good buddy-cop type chemistry, the movie kind of sucked. And not a lot of people have seen it so it really doesn’t help.


Any tips?

 Posted by at 7:30 pm
Nov 262013

Yami, Chaos and I went to the one night only showing in theatre last night to see the 50th Anniversary showing for Doctor Who. And, okay, maybe it’s not hard-core steampunk but… one of the major plot devices (and I mean an actual doohicky, not a literary convention) was tricked out all kinds of steampunk. And a lot of the various Doctors wore sorta steam-punk-esque clothes. And… hey shut up. It’s my blog and I’ll post if I want to!




So, normally, I start out with a ‘what did we think’ before showing some pics and giving some details. Of course, pictures won’t exactly work in this case, what with the whole ‘illegal’ and ‘Kae would not enjoy prison time/fines’ deal but even the first part is hard to do in this case. See, while I can honestly and completely say the movie itself was everything you could want in a Doctor Who super-episode/movie, summing up the entire experience is… murky.  The plot was solid, the characters were- well, hellsfire. We had Ten and Eleven. In the same scene. A lot. Talking to each other and by talking I mean making fun of each other. So the movie was great, in and of itself. Well, most of it. I can’t be sure how good about three or four minutes in the middle of the bloody climax of the movie was… which leads us to…


As for the ‘total experience?’ First off- the Doctor Who fandom is full of some of the most awesome people you will ever meet. See, the theatre we went to had some technical issues come up during our viewing. After almost twenty minutes of seeing the same six minutes or so of ads, the screen goes black. Cool- it’s 7:50 for our 7:30 showing, it must be getting ready to start, right? No. Not so much start as not anything. Just black screen. In any other fandom, there would have been cursing and near riots. Instead, there were witty remarks, great ‘bad’ jokes and much whirling and humming as people tried to sonic the movie back to working right. Dam projector must have been made of wood or something… or dead-locked.  So a guy finally comes out around 8 or so to tell us they’re almost ready to start, they were just having some issues.

And it starts and things were good.  Right up until that climax I mentioned, when the sound cuts out for about ten seconds. The entire theatre, in unison, gasps and then cursed. Ten seconds later, we all start to sigh with relief as we hear something start to- wait, what? Why is- why is the Doctor advertising for freaking Adventure Time? The hell? Yeah, for a few good minutes the audio got replaced with the same ads we watched for over twenty minutes before the movie.


So pissed.


Still, they gave everyone a free ticket for later without even having to be asked, so points to them for making it right. The three of us already have plans to buy the 5oth to watch at home later- it’s entirely worth re-watching, I assure you.  Still, I’m glad we did go, technical issues aside, it was a great experience thanks to the super fans that came out to the movie.  Hope you managed to catch it yourselves- and if you haven’t… well, wait are you waiting for? Grab your fez and get started watching! Or a duster. Both are cool.

This guy. This guy is cool.

This guy. This guy is cool.

 Posted by at 6:50 pm
Nov 162013

One of the great things about the internet is that it’s pretty darn easy to find people that like the stuff you like. A quick search with pretty much any engine will find at least a few hundred hits for even the most niche of interests. Unfortunately, finding people offline near you that like your particular hobby or interest can be a lot more challenging.

Well, given that you’re on a steampunk blog (if you’re not, then I am amazed and astounded by your ability to be reading this), I think it safe to assume you like steampunk. That said, I might be able to help you out, provided you live in northern Ohio.  Introducing the Cleveland Zeppelin Union,  a fan run online community centered around the Cleveland area that ‘The CZU provides docking space for individuals and groups of all nature to exchange ideas, events, and promote all that is essentially Steampunk.’ They have a facebook page to help coordinate things and a group page on the Steampunk Empire website (which is a much more widespread umbrella organization that covers several states).

We’re somewhat new to the group, having only been to two of their events, but both of them were very enjoyable. We did a simple ‘meet-and-group’ at a locally owned coffe shop where the group did a little planning for future events- such as attending the Mixer at the Cleveland Art Museum on the first of November. The Museum was doing a ‘costume themed’ event after-hours so we all donned our steampunk attire and toured the museum as a group.

It’s rather nice getting a chance to hang out with people outside of conventions that nevertheless share your interests so both of those were great days.

Here’s to hoping that we at Radiant Vanguard get to met any of our readers in person- be sure to leave a message if you’re ever in the area.

 Posted by at 7:26 pm
Oct 262013

After a through scouring of my room, the apartment, Yamiko’s car and all of our luggage (three times each), I finally have to admit defeat. I lost the camera somewhere between the Pandoracon parking lot Sunday afternoon and getting home. My best theory is that it got left at Buffalo Wild Wings (our traditional post-con lunch before we get on the road to return home).  Obviously, this not only puts me in the doghouse for loosing Yamiko’s camera, it means we I don’t have any photos to put up of the Con. Yeah, pretty stellar move there on my part. My apologies to everyone, mostly Yamiko and Firedrake. I’m thinking I should try to get into the habit of saving photos to my netbook every night during a con and actually using the camera bag Yamiko got the week before this Con.

 Posted by at 10:53 am