Zazzle Store

You may have noticed that Drake and I have a couple of D&McT t-shirts that we occasionally wear while traveling to and from cons, or on the last day of Comic Con when we can’t face shlepping those heavy leather coats around for one more day. Well, some fans have noticed. And they’ve also noticed that we have them and they don’t. Happy fans = good. Grumpy fans = bad.

Zazzle to the rescue! We have set up a
Drake & McTrowell store on Zazzle. I love that they print and ship your shirt directly to you.

We currently have two offerings. The first is a sand-colored shirt with the
&McT Artwork: Jake Rieman">Jake Rieman illustration on the back and our logo on the front.


Classic D&McT - Back


Classic D&McT - Front

The second shirt is yellow with Drake’s own “
It’s Not That Kind of Serial,” illustration on the front and the punchline on the back.


It’s Not That Kind of Serial - Front


It’s Not That Kind of Serial - Back

Comic Con 2013

Oh my word, where to start? Well, the weather was cooler this year than it has been the last couple of years, so we didn’t roast in our leather coats. (Insert mental image of D&McT in leather “brownin” bags like you use for your holiday turkey. There’s a somewhat-related, but true, super-funny anecdote about a Christmas goose that overcooked for hours. The pictures are not for the faint-of-heart.) But, I digress. We just said, “no” to Hall H and Room 20, which contributed to this year’s sanity. I’ve heard some epic tales of amazing surprises that awaited the stout-hearted souls who braved the interminable lines to get it, but we just couldn’t do it this year. Instead, we opted for smaller, more personal panels.

You may not know this, but both Drake and I read
Mad Magazine as kids. Go ahead, say it, “That explains a lot.” And we both adored the little incunabula that Sergio Argones drew. So, we lined up to see the Mark & Sergio show. Sergio came out before hand to chat with the fans. How cool is that? As he was standing next to us talking to another fan, when a young boy and his dad approached. The boy was carrying a sheet of card stock with a piece of paper covering the top. When he got to Sergio, he uncovered the card stock to reveal that he was simply a messenger. The sheet was from Nick Meglin and it contained nothing more than a couple of scribbly doodles and a challenge from Nick. Apparently this is a “thing” they do. One of them makes the scribbles and the other has to make a picture out of it. I’m not sure, but perhaps the result is always supposed to be a comic portrait of the two of them. Below is Sergio’s response.



Epilogue: during the actual panel, Sergio got to talking about what had really mattered in his career. When he tried to explain how important the fans are to him, he started to choke up with emotion. It was heartwarming to see one of our hero’s softer sides. This is why I brave the lines and the non-parking to go to Comic Con!

We now return you to our regularly scheduled steamy, pithy commentary. I want these wings.

Fairy Wings

Fairy Wings

You can’t really tell from this pic, but each of the six wing elements is hinged in the middle of her back so they can be arranged separately. They’re made by
Fairy Wing Factory.

Okay, this isn’t steampunk, but for all you Whovians out there, I just had to share because this costume is so good.

Novice Hame
Novice Hame

I swear it’s going to be steampunk from here on out. I ducked out of Comic Con to visit the
Gaslight Gathering Steam Worlds Fair for a few hours on Friday night. I caught Poplock Holmes’ show that was sadly shortened by technical difficulties. It was still good fun.

Run DM Steam

Poplock Holmes

Veronique Chevalier organized a very thoughtful panel on Steampunk as a Super-Culture. Her panelists were Trevor Crafts and Bruce Boxleitner (Lantern City), Thomas Willeford (Brute Force Studios), Paul Guinan (Boilerplate), and Brian Kesinger (Tea Girls and Walking Your Octopus).

Veroniques Panel

Veronique’s Panel

Sorry for the blurry picture. My hands must have been shaking from excitement.

Of course, the big event for the steampunks is the steampunk meetup on the back stairs that includes a massive photo op followed by the
Starburner Awards. I’m sure we all save up our best new costumes for this event and here’s the proof.

Mysterious Marine MIchelle

Mysterious Marine Michelle

I swear I didn’t realize this was Michelle until she took off the scallop breather mask thingy.

We had not one, but two steampunk Batmen.



I don’t recognize the fellow on the right, but that’s Bob Mogg on the left, astonishing all with his creativity and skill as usual.

Max Metzler, aka
Alastar Hyde, had a new hide.

Alastars New Hide

Alastar’s New Hide

Seriously, you didn’t think I was going to let that one slide by did you?

I’m still having nightmares about this one.

Steampunk Raptor

Steampunk Raptor

Remember back before all these nifty pictures I mentioned that this event culminates with the Starburner Awards? Or perhaps you missed my previous bloop on the subject, but we
won one of the awards for our radio show! Congrats to all this year’s winners:

  • Jeffrey & Lisa Vaca - Community Support
    • Anastasia Hunter – Events
    • Max Metzler - Public Relations
    • Michelle Scrimpsher – Costuming
    • Erica "Unwoman" Mulkey – Music
    • Brian Kesinger – Art
    • Fred Jeska - Gadgetry

And hats off to the 2013 Starburner Galactic Courier Service inductees:
  • Daniel Bissonnette
    • Paul Bailey
    • Jeb Haught

We hear that there will be more awards and inductees at other events later this year, so keep an ear out for the details.

The last steampunk event of Comic Con was the Steampunk Generations panel organized by Daniel Bissonette. It was a multi-generational look at steampunk’s attraction and direction. The panelists were
Hannah Vaca (our very own Gertrude and the voice of Margaret O’Malley), William Swanson, C.J. DeAngelus, Kim Hutsell, and Duane Matthews.

Hannah and Her Brothers

Hannah and her (Steam) Brothers

The highlight for me was when Hannah admitted that her mom, Lisa, is the coolest mom in the world. Now it’s on the Internet; it must be true.

None of us really wanted to admit that Comic Con was over, so we hung in the hall for a while catching up. I’m not sure what these two are up to.

Amethyst + Phineas

Lady Amethyst + Phineas Sinclair

Maybe she was bragging about being the coolest mom in the world.

I’ll just close by saying, “I’m a fan of Jeb’s work.”

I'm a Fan

I’m a Fan

Starburner Award

I’ll do a full bloop about Comic Con later, but this piece of news is too exciting to wait. We won a Starburner Award at Comic Con 2013 for our radio show of “London, Where it All Began!” They’re the matching medals with the red and black ribbons. Congrats to all the winners and thanks to the Starburner Galactic Courier Service for promoting and recognizing contributions to the steampunk genre and community.

Starburner Medals

This Rocks!

By the way, if you missed the radio show when it ran on
Krypton Radio, you can buy yourself a copy from our shiny new General Store for the low, low price of $2.99.

Our Third Anniversary

Following my theory that, once you do something twice, it’s a tradition, we had our “traditional” anniversary party at Eclipse Chocolat. They’ve moved to a new, larger location since last year and their new digs have a private back room. Good thing because the steampunks completely invaded!

Gear Hands

Invasion of the Gear Hands

Of course, there were lots of delicious chocolate goodies.

Sea Salt Nib

Now That’s a Chocolate Bar!

Now Children

Now Children

There’s plenty for everyone; no need to fight over it. Gertrude wonders why the adults are behaving like children.

Pensive Gertrude

Pensive Gertrude

In addition to eating, drinking, and admiring each others’ costumes, we sampled a bit of one of our Krypton Radio shows. And then we handed out the special CDs we made of the entire radio show + the interview on Event Horizon. We made a disc for each friend who volunteered their voice talents, many of whom were present.

Handing Out the CDs

Handing Out the CDs

You might think these two are Thelonius Rex and Mellivora Rathbone. They also happen to be the voices for Mrs. McCreary and Alistair Bennington Rutherford/Constable Higgins.

Drake genned up a special treat just for that evening, a brief comic skit entitled “Panic in the Apothecary.” We “recruited volunteers” to read the parts including some repeat offenders such as
Dr. Edmond Pogue. Kelly Varner also demonstrating once again what a good sport she is.

Panic in the Apothecary

Panic in the Apothecary

We made a serendipitous find: Drake’s beer and Sparky’s root beer. We rounded up a few for folks to take home as gifts in addition to the lovely logo chocolates that Eclipse has been making for us since this time last year. Where does the time go?

Drake's and Sparky's

Drake’s and Sparky’s

Pictures by Lisa…as if you didn’t see that coming.

We want to thank everyone who attended and made it a great celebration of another year of all things Drake & McTrowell.

Clockwork Alchemy 2013

Question: why do two people need to bring so freaking much stuff for a weekend convention? Answer: who cares, as long as I (Sparky) get to spend my birthday with my steampunk friends? We spent Memorial Day weekend in San Jose at Clockwork Alchemy. We arrived on my birthday and headed to a French restaurant for dinner with the bestest fans ever…Lisa and Jeff.

Birthday Pig

Dîner, Birthday Girl?

In addition to the customary delight of dressing up, hanging with friends, being gawked at by mundies, and being chronically amazed by the creativity of others, the weekend had some very special treats of its own.

First, Clockwork Alchemy hosted a tearoom; very civilized. That was our very first stop in order to consume some delightfully refreshing and energizing caffeinated beverages while making our plan of attack.

Tea at Clockwork

Tea @ Clockwork

The Mysterious Gentleman Admirer was so mysterious in the tearoom, that you can’t see any of him except his coat and boutonnière.

On the advice of our pal, Karina (aka
Mellivora Rathbone), we had badge ribbons made up for this first time. Of course, the first ribbon had to go to Lady Amethyst, all kitted out here for one of her cryptozoological expeditions.

First Ribbon

First “HOT POTATO!” Ribbon

We made new friends. Aaron and Belinda Sikes came to our Team Writing panel.

Aaron and Belinda

Aaron and Belinda Sikes

Wikipedia Thumbs Up

Drake Gives Wikipedia the Thumbs Up During Team Writing

They just had their first co-authored short story published in Mechanized Masterpieces! And then, to prove what a team they are, she volunteered him as a guest author for Drake & McTrowell’s Hot Potato School of Writing™ when we came up short one author. True love.

Hot Potato Part Deux

Hot Potato School of Writing, Part Deux,
The Game of Sticking It to Your Fellow Author

Normally I wouldn’t post a picture like this (below) because it suggests disharmony in our (D&McT) creative enterprise, but I imagined a snippet of dialog that goes like this:

Sparky -
Seriously, you’re going to pick that Hot Potato?

Erasmus -
Hey, with my incredibly fabulous new double-breasted waistcoat in delicious butterscotch and cinnamon candy stripe from Mr. Alan Jeffries, I can pick any Hot Potato I want.

You're Going to Use That Hot Potato

Seriously, You’re Going to Pick That Hot Potato?

I can’t continue this post without sending extra special thanks to Thena McArthur and Gene Forrer. This is the first con we’ve attended where the writers got first class treatment. They set up a special room for writing panels, called “The Library,” that was actually decorated like a library.

Clockwork Library

The Library

So cozy. And Thena was responsible for organizing all the writers and writing panels. It was so well organized and welcoming!

Jake Von Slatt was there! I can’t help it. His work is just so amazing and I’ve never seen him in person before. Did I mention that he’s a really nice human being?

Tin Etching with JVS

The Über-Maker Himself

And the Mysterious Gentleman Admirer was there getting tin-etching tips.

Mysterious Gentleman Maker

Mysterious Gentleman Maker

As fortune would have it, our radio show on Krypton Radio was scheduled to run during the last day of the con. With a little bit of scrambling, we managed to set up in the hall outside the Library for folks to listen live. (What am I doing here?!)

Listening Live

Listening Live

More thanks are in order for all of the Clockwork Alchemy goodness. Here goes…

Gene Forrer got the troops rallied to advertise the playing of the D&McT Krypton Radio Show on less than a day’s notice. Seriously, a sandwich board!

Sandwich Board

Good Old Fashioned (Just-in-Time) Advertising

And Gene Turnbow at
Krypton Radio adjusted his programming schedule overnight so folks could hear two shows in a row, both the first and second. That explains why we all look so happy in this pic.

Gene Turnbow + D&McT

Just-in-Time Radio Programming

Steam Powered Giraffe was there and they actually played two shows.

Hamming with Hatchworth

Hamming it Up with Hatchworth

But then there was this other special moment when the band was hanging in the foyer chatting with fans. And Michael Reed was just sitting in the corner playing whatever he felt like on the piano.

MPR on Piano


Okay, I saved the best for last. All of you who are FoL (Friends of Lisa) know that 1) she has really long hair and 2) she has a really wacky imagination. Put those together and WHA-BAM! You get this.

What Octopus

What Octopus?

It’s been nearly a month and I’m still laughing about this.

Are You Looking at Me

Are You Looking At Me?

I really hope Clockwork Alchemy invites us back next year…hint, hint, hint because we had an amazing time!

I need to come up with some clever acronym/meme for thanking Lisa once again for providing excellent pictures for us to use. Thanks, Lisa!

Krypton Radio Update


This is just a quick update on our show on
Krypton Radio. They’ve agreed to double up our shows each week in our assigned time slot. This means that when you tune in on the hour, you’ll hear the previous week’s show followed immediately by the new show. So, if you missed the show the week before, fear not, you have three more chances to catch up!

Remember, the times are:

  • Monday, at 3:00 AM PDT (6:00 AM EDT)
  • Monday at 11:00 AM PDT (2:00 PM EDT)
  • Thursday at 5:00 PM PDT (8:00 EDT)

So, to put it simply, on Thursday, May 30th, Krypton Radio will air shows 1 & 2 of “London, Where It All Began.” Next week, they will be airing shows 2 & 3.

Thanks, Krypton Radio!

Gaslight Gathering 2013

It seems like we barely get our “steampunk” attire clean and pressed before we need it again. The weekend after Wild West Fest, we were back in our D&McT duds for the local convention, Gaslight Gathering III. We stopped for a quick photo op under one of the many rose arbors that dot the grounds of the Town & Country Hotel.


Drake Under Roses

To sail along with us, click here.

Wild West Fest 2013

It was hot…hot like a western, silver mining ghost town. Oh wait, it WAS a Western, silver mining ghost town. Calico to be precise. We popped up early on a Saturday morning to head out toward Barstow for the inaugural Wild West Fest at the Calico Ghost Town.

Wild West Fest Sign

First Annual? Wild West Fest

For all the smokin’ hot shenanigans, click here.

Steampunk Picnic

On the list of San Diego coolness is the Poway Midland Railroad in Old Poway Park. It’s like honey for steampunk bees. So on a warm, sunny weekend day, we put on our finery and headed east for a choo choo train ride! Who’s still five years old, huh?

Rogues Gallery

Picnicking is Hard Work!

For a steamy stroll in the park, click here.

Krypton Radio


If you’ve been following us on Facebook or attending any of our panels at conventions lately, you know that we’ve been talking about
Krypton Radio for a few months now. Well, folks, this is the big announcement!

We’ll be interviewed on
Event Horizon, Krypton’s on-air science fiction, fantasy and technology discussion panel on Saturday, May 18th at 5:00 PM PDT (8:00 PM EDT). The show repeats that same night at 9:00 PM PDT (midnight EDT) immediately following DJ Willow Leafstorm’s Steam Powered Cabaret, and again on Sunday, May 19th at 4:00 PM PDT (7:00 PM EDT).

But wait, there’s more! The Drake & McTrowell radio show premieres on Monday, May 20th at 3:00 AM PDT (6:00 AM EDT)! This means that our friends across the pond will hear it first (we’re talking to you Ickenham and Linköping). For those of you who keep more civilized hours, tune in at 11:00 AM PDT (2:00 PM EDT) that same day or 5:00 PM PDT (8:00 EDT) on Thursday, May 23rd. Coolest birthday present I ever got…except from Drake who purveys birthday gifts like no one else.

A new show will run in these same time slots for nine weeks until we’ve covered all of “London, Where it All Began.”

Perhaps you’re asking yourself, “Self, why should I tune in?” It will be egoboo for some local San Diego steampunks who lent their voice talents to our little enterprise (and a certain professor from Brunel). But mostly you should listen because it sounds like this!

Click the controls below to listen to the five and a half minute teaser:

For details on Krypton Radio shows and air times, see their table of show times.

Wild Wild West Con 2013

True confession: I lived in Tucson for a decade and only went to Old Tucson once, and that was the version that burned down in 1995. So everything about the old western set was entirely new to both Drake and me when we arrived for Wild Wild West Con.

As promised in “
Oh Hats!,” we premiered our new Drake-and-McTrowell-before-they-were-D&McT costumes. Luckily, Lady Amethyst was there to capture us in our new finery. (Thanks, yet again, for making us look good.)

Sparky del Pecos

Can You Say Pecos Incident?

Drake as Pirate

Thar Be a Fancy Pirate

For (lots) more dusty, steamy fun, click here.

Oh Hats!

I’m pretty sure that at some point in my life I uttered the words, “I’m not a hat person.” Wrong-o! I now have one whole shelf at the top of my closet stacked up with hats and hat boxes. Maybe I should put hooks into the ceiling.

For some time now, Drake and I have been talking about developing “Drake & McTrowell before they were Drake & McTrowell” costumes, i.e. costumes for our back stories. If you’re not sure what that might mean, here are a couple of clues.


Other Clues are Hiding in this Pic

If you’re still not sure, I recommend catching up with “
The Pecos Incident” and “The Parisian Party.” Failing all else, catch us at Wild Wild West Con next week where we’ll be premiering our new ensembles. Not a hat person, indeed!

Steampunk Saturday

There was a perfect storm of steampunk-ness in San Diego last Saturday (not to be confused with the Saturday before). First, there was the Friends of Villa Montezuma Victorian Valentine Tea at the Westgate Hotel. All the most fashionable steampunks were there including Lady Amethyst and Her Mysterious Gentleman Admirer, although they were in disguise as proper Victorians.

FOVM tea 1

Lady Amethyst and Her Mysterious Gentleman Admirer (sans Mask)

To get the scoop on all the day’s happenings, click here.

Me and My Baby

…love Saturday night. Surely you didn’t think I could go this long without an SPG post! Notice how this picture looks like we’re way in the back? Not so. We had pretty good seats. The show sold out with 800 attendees, and by the show of hands, about half of them had never seen Steam Powered Giraffe in concert before. In addition to enjoying the fabulous show they put on, we really love that they sold out this bigger venue. We’re looking forward to being able to say, “We knew them when…”

Me and My Baby
Steam Powered Giraffe at the Four Points Sheraton

Doc Synchronous, L.O.S.E.R. Leader

Chief Inspector Erasmus Drake of Scotland Yard has succeeded in tracking a most notorious collection of villains that have organized themselves into the League of Supremely Evil Revolutionaries (L.O.S.E.R.)! Their leader, Doc Synchronous, is the latest addition to Erasmus’ Logbook of Intriguing and Noteworthy Persons.

There are numerous reports from published newspapers in the American colonies attesting that Doc Synchronous is a snake oil salesman, a charlatan, and a dealer of weapons. In the wilds of the Americas, these crimes may be taken lightly, but not in London! Our man from Scotland Yard is most concerned that this “Doctor” leads an international organization of villainy. Check out the details and photos of Doc Synchronous in
his Logbook entry.

Doc Syncronous Thumb
Doc Synchronous

Want to add your character to the Logbook? Follow the directions on our Submitting and Terms of Use page. After it’s posted, your character will have its very own web page! A jolly good way to tell the world about your steampunk character.

Phineas Sinclair Joins the Logbook Crowd

Drake and McTrowell have known Phineas Sinclair for quite a while; frequenting the same steampunk conventions, Comic Con, concerts, museum shows, and the like. His latest activities with the L.O.S.E.R.S. has landed him in the Logbook of Intriguing and Noteworthy Persons.

Phineas Sinclair is
known for being an airship smuggler, Confederate sympathizer, villainous rights supporter, horse thief, train robber, and Cthulhu cultist. That’s quite a Victorian rap sheet! And, for the first time, Chief Inspector Erasmus Drake has illustrative evidence of a crime in progress. One of Scotland Yard’s men doesn’t take this lightly. Check out all of Phineas’ details, with a photo showing a train robbery in progress, in his Logbook entry.

Phineas Sinclair In Big Chair
Phineas Sinclair

Want to add your character to the Logbook? Follow the directions on our Submitting and Terms of Use page. After it’s posted, your character will have its very own web page! A jolly good way to tell the world about your steampunk character.

Our 15th Logbook Entry

The Logbook of Intriguing and Noteworthy Persons continues to grow. Chief Inspector Erasmus Drake has added another couple that deserve close attention. Please don’t let their smiles fool you! Both of them, Oliver Von Bremen and Alva O'Dell, are known for their rampant gadgetry, conflagrations, and random transmogrifying magic. They are actually proud of this, and are willing to tell everyone about their exploits. More details can be obtained in their logbook entry.

Oliver Von Bremen and Alva O'Dell

Want to add your character to the Logbook? Follow the directions on our Submitting and Terms of Use page. After it’s posted, your character will have its very own web page! A jolly good way to tell the world about your steampunk character.

New Logbook Entries!

Chief Inspector Erasmus Drake’s Logbook of Intriguing and Noteworthy Persons is gaining more suspects. We are now on our thirteeth page, and a more unsavory lot of untrustworthy miscreants would be hard to find.

Let’s ponder Gertrude (illustrated below), a cyborg of questionable allegiance. She’s an aethership concierge by occupation, and Erasmus has proof that her sideline is as a procurer of all things rare and precious. More details can be obtained on
her logbook entry.

Gertrude thumb

Our other entry is
Professor Ambrosius, an evil boy-genius aspiring to join the L.O.S.E.R.s. He is currently under the tutelage of Doc Synchronous, who is a charlatan and purveyor of remedies and medicines (of questionable efficacy). I ask you gentlefolk, what is this world coming to?! As with the rest of the mischief-making lot, the Chief Inspector has more details regarding the lad in his logbook entry.

Professor_Ambrosius thumb
Professor Ambrosius

Want to add your character to the Logbook? Follow the directions on our Submitting and Terms of Use page. After it’s posted, your character will have its very own web page! A jolly good way to tell the world about your steampunk character.

It's Not That Kind of Serial

We were recently exchanging email with a friend who wasn’t entirely certain of the spelling of “serial,” as in “cyberserial.” She spelled it “cybercereal.” Because Drake and I only have one brain between the two of us after so many years together, we both instantly had the same mental image. But it took Drake’s skill to render it thusly.

Cereal Box v1

Now With Pocket Watches!

We’re thinking of printing greeting cards, but we’re also considering it for the next round of Drake & McTrowell t-shirts.

HRM Steampunk Symposium 2013

One of the dangers of my catching up on past bloops before the end of 2012 is that I don’t feel the tremendous weight of the previous backlog. Oooo, I could just go on for pages and pages about our first event of 2013, Her Royal Majesty’s Steampunk Symposium aboard the amazing Queen Mary. I’ll try to restrain myself, but I make no promises. There were pirates.

Blue pirate

A Pirate in Blue, Not to Be Confused with Bluebeard (Who Was Also There)

Click here for the rest of the fun and frivolity.