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!