Penny Blake

Extraordinary Everyday

Category: Steampunk

The Curious Adventures Of Messrs Smith And Skarry

The evil overlord Wiz has seized control of all the tea, cake and magic in the universe.  In a world crammed with dubious science and cream-powered technology, crippled by sugar tax and loose leaf ration books, overrun by cake smugglers, tea fiends and lemonade dealers, ruled over by Tea Time Lords and policed by vigilante mechanical angels, only a band of truly extraordinary adventurers can bring down this oppressive empire and save the good people of earth from this tea time tyranny. Could these two would-be wizards, Messrs Smith and Skarry, and their band of relentless rogues, be the anti-heroes The New World has been waiting for, or have they simply stirred up an enormous storm in a rather tiny teacup?

Most of you are familiar with the graphic novel I’ve been working on for the past two years and I’d like to thank you all so much for the kind encouragement, advice, support, psychiatric assessments and asylum referrals you’ve offered during that time. I’m happy to say that Smith and Skarry now have their own website and thanks to the awesome talents of illustrator Robin Eisenberg, the print version of the graphic novel is beginning to take shape. You can read the full text along with the illustrations as they are completed here:

https://smithandskarry.wordpress.com/

Thanks again for all your support, I really hope you enjoy what we’ve put together so far 🙂

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Escapological Marbles

Entry Taken From Weapons Of Choice And Miscellaneous Combatalia For Extraordinary Ladies And Gentlemen

Escapological Marbles

Whether you are tailing a notorious villain or being tailed yourself, no extraordinary adventurer should ever be caught without their marbles. Make sure you always have a nice sized bag to hand, ready to thwart the expeditious actions of your enemies.

How do they work?

Er…are you serious? You honestly don’t know how to use a bag of marbles to make good your escape? Tush and Fi what sort of an upbringing have you had? Go and find a five year old to explain it to you!

Spot Of Bother Boots

Entry taken from Weapons Of Choice And Miscellaneous Combatalia For Extraordinary Ladies And Gentlemen:

These awesome items of exemplary expeditional footwear are equipped to hoist the wearer out of any amount of adventurous difficulty. The boots cut such a spectacle of indomitability that they cannot fail to impress upon the senses the notion that the wearer is certainly an extraordinary individual who is aptly furnished to deal with absolutely any amount of bother (perhaps even a modicum of catastrophe).

 

How do they work?

In case of the need for expeditious retreat: The souls of the boots are packed with gunpowder tea which can be ignited by stamping down on the heel, causing the two pieces of metal concealed therein to strike together producing a 3,000degreeC spark. The resulting explosion forces a blast through circular holes in the sole of each boot, thus rocketing the wearer 800 ft into the air. At this point, the concertinaed wings on the side of each boot may be extended by unleashing them from their metal restraining clips and looping the leather guide ropes around each wrist, thus locking the wings in an outstretched position and allowing the wearer to both remain upright and to maneuver the wings to utilize warm air currents and optimize lift. An internal gyroscopic mechanism located on the top of the boot’s toe allows the wearer to navigate and maintain balance.

In case of the need for sudden invisibility: A switch operated with the big toe sends an electrical current from a single GORGON mini-battery through a copper filament coiled around several glass vials arranged along the outer edge of each boot. Each vial contains dry ice which, when heated in this way, becomes a thick, impenetrable fog and rises from the vials to surround the wearer, thus rendering their personage invisible.

In case of the need to do bloody murder: Attached to the side of the right boot is a holster perfect for housing one of the compact models of the GORGON aether-colliding energy ray pistol, such as the ladies’ 00HOWDELIGHTFULLYTINY or the gentlemen’s 00DEARWHATAPITYITALLHASTOENDLIKETHIS.

In case of the need for mass annihilation:

Attached to the side of the left boot is a mammalian heartbeat short-range transponder mounted atop a GORGON portable pocket cannonette. The transponder locks the cannon onto a target at a range of up to 20ft and fires one shot before locating a new target.

In case of the need for swift incapacitation:

Three incapacitating poison darts are located in a leather pouch on the side of the left boot.

In case of the need for emergency biscuits:

Emergency biscuits are located in a leather pouch on the side of the right boot, along with one vial of emergency absinthe and one vial of emergency super-strength earl grey.

Power source?

Various.

Possible limitations / set backs?

There have been occasional reports of mishap when attempting to use the spot of bother boots to get out of spots of bother:

  1. Although the rocket booster can usually be relied upon to catapult the wearer to a height of approximately 800 feet, allowing them to extend the wings and make good their escape, instances have been noted when the boots have failed to quite reach this height. One example is the unfortunate case of Mr. Arthur. J. Aldershot who found himself stranded on the roof of his tithe barn after attempting to escape from an irate band of milkmaids whom he had recently dared to replace with GORGON Agri’ton farm machinery.
  2. As heat is used to activate a large number of the boots’ most excellent bother-defying features, close proximity to external heat sources may accidently trigger one or more of the functions. For example, Lady Grace De Coup, sitting with her feet upon the fender in the drawing room of her mother’s country mansion, suddenly found herself sitting amid the blighted wreckage of the lower floors surrounded in billowing clouds of fog. Thankfully the explosion had not damaged the emergency biscuits and the simmering mixture of absinthe and earl grey was, according to her ladyship, ‘the perfect reviving beverage to be taken under the circumstances.’
  3. It is vital that the boots are kept clean and free from dirt and debris which may clog the mechanisms, causing some of the features to backfire, and also to be aware of the precise actions of the feet and toes which will activate the boots’ various features to avoid accidental activation and possible loss of life and limb.

More Miscellaneous Militant Millineria

From the upcoming book: Weapons Of Choice And Missileaneous Combatalia  – A Pocket Book For Extraordinary Ladies And Gentlemen by Penny Blake

 

2. Shocking Bad Bonnet Of Frightful Impropriety

This bonnet is as frightful, shocking and improper in its visage as in its propounded effects. Its ability to remove the inhibitions of the wearer in a fashion comparable to six bottles of absinthe but without any of the unpleasant (physical) after effects, instantly affords it a wide variety of uses.

How does it work?

A series of electrodes inside the bonnet send inhibitory signals into the behavioural inhibitory centers within the cerebral cortex of the wearer, thus inhibiting their natural inhibitions as long as they are wearing the bonnet. The bonnet does not affect any other part of the brain and once removed the wearer experiences no ‘after effects.’

Power source?

One standard sized GORGON battery will power this bonnet for approximately 12 months depending on useage.

Possible limitations / set backs?

This bonnet should only be used by ladies and gentlemen who know no limits.

 

3. Blinking Cap

The Blinking Cap looks deceptively like any ordinary everyday workman’s cap, the difference being only that when the wearer puts it on they are cursed with a sudden involuntary plague of violent and rapid spasms of the eyelid.

This rapid eyelid movement allows the wearer to see miraculous visions of the past, present and future. The wearer is thus able to see what is occurring in a place even though they may be some distance from it, also to see what has happened previously in the past and, most astoundingly, to predict what will happen in the future.

How does it work?

The blinking cap utilizes the medical phenomenon of the glabella tap and replicates it on an intermittent basis via a small metal hammer attached to the front peak of the cap. The hammer tapping on the forehead of the wearer stimulates a primitive nerve reflex causing the subject to blink, however in order for the reflex to continue to function, the tapping must not be continuous, otherwise desensitization will occur and blinking will cease. The intermittent mechanism can be set and controlled via the metronomic function device secured within the brim.

Power Source?

The metronomic function device which controls the hammer mechanism is available powered by clockwork or by GORGON mini-battery.

Limitations?

Those wearing the blinking cap for long periods have complained of immense irritation, headaches, hallucinations, chronic insanity and blindness. Of course it is impossible to control, or indeed sometimes to interpret, whether the visions induced by the hat pertain to the past, present or future, or indeed whether they are real at all.

Aethernautation

This song is sung by Jack Diamond and his cousin Eightcups Max during chapter one of The Dangerous Exploits Of Smith And Skarry as they set off in search of The Lost Tribe Of Siberian Soup Seers on board their landship The Chronic Agro …

 

Aethernautation: A kite-flying song sung by two splendidly relentless rogues : 

 

Aethernautation is my fascination

There’s no place on this wide world I’d rather be

Than soaring up high through the billowing sky

Over green rolling valleys and white rolling sea

 

Some call it affliction

For sure it’s addiction

No fiction

My earth-bound soul harbours within

The Icarusian lust

To dance up with the dust

Of the universe, certain sure somebody must

Unfathom, uncover, dissect or discover

The avian mystery mortals call flight

But while they all tax

I will simply relax

And make do holding tight

To the strings of my kite

 

Aethernautation is my fascination

Libation at the feet of some god I’d pour

If only I could, as an aviest should

Over mountains and oceans on gilded wings soar

 

Some call it affliction

For sure it’s addiction

No fiction

My earth-bound soul harbours within

The Icarusian lust

To dance up with the dust

Of the universe, certain sure somebody must

Unfathom, uncover, dissect or discover

The avian mystery mortals call flight

But while they all tax

I will simply relax

And make do holding tight

To the strings of my kite

 

 

Aethernautation is my fascination

My pre-occupation

insation, they say

But I know if I dream

It enough it will seem

That I’m truly the stuff

Of the aether above

And I know that one day I’ll dance

Up with the universe

Though they call me perverse

Still the thing could be worse

To be enslaved

By the stuff of the grave

Well I call it a terrible

Curse

I’m dismayed

And amazed that no tinker

Or forward free thinker

With all of their springs

And their cogs and such things

Has not yet uptaken

Unless I’m mistaken

The torch from the lad

Who lies dizzied and dazed

On the pages of history

 

MOCK NOT HIS FALL

(For friends it would seem it ha come to us all)

 

But my heart will rise high

With my soul to the skies

And not be embittered by

Man’s latest gall

 

Some call it affliction

For sure it’s addiction

No fiction

My earth-bound soul harbours within

The Icarusian lust

To dance up with the dust

Of the universe, certain sure somebody must

Unfathom, uncover, dissect or discover

The avian mystery mortals call flight

But while they all tax

I will simply relax

And make do holding tight

To the strings of my kite!

 

Celebrating 20 years of the Fairtrade Mark #Steampunk style

Pinkies Around The World

2014 celebrates 20 years of the FAIRTRADE mark and, seeing as tea features so prominently in Steampunk culture, this is a great opportunity to celebrate the fact that we can now enjoy this delicious beverage guilt-free by choosing to make sure that the brew that stews in our pot has been ethically produced.

I’m proud that the tea in my larder is fairly traded and I want to persuade (not bully or shame but just encourage) as many other people as possible to switch to Fairtrade too.

There are lots of campaigns out there trying to do the same thing and I’m not trying to steal their thunder or tread on their toes but this is a project especially for Steampunks because, well, come on guys, we do drink a lot of tea between us… 😉  (And coffee but shhh, that’s a secret…)

Really, it’s just a bit of fun to celebrate 20 years of hard work and splendid tea. If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of then all you have to do is this:

sept20142 001

1. Pledge for one whole day (or longer if you like!) to drink only Fairtrade tea / coffee.

2. Take a photo of your pinkie finger (yeah, stick it up in salute like you would with your middle finger if you were flipping someone the bird – which of course you would never ever do I am sure.. and neither would I… ever…never…ah-hem.)

3. Put the photo on your blog, facebook wall or any other social media platform you use, with the caption “I’m Giving Unfairly Traded Tea The (pinkie) Finger” with a line or two about why you’ve chosen to drink fairly traded tea or a link to a fairly traded tea you like or something like that – anything that lets people know why you are doing this is fine. The link below will take you to the Fairtrade website where you can vote for your favourite Fairtrade product and join their official celebration events too:

www.fairtrade.org.uk

3. Tag 3 other Steampunks and challenge them to do the same (‘challenge’ here means ‘politely enquire whether they would care to partake in this worthwhile and vaguely amusing venture’ not ‘bully, shame or cajole’ – remember that some people who would like to buy Fairtrade simply can’t afford to and this isn’t about judgement it’s about raising awareness in a fun way.)

And that’s all there is to it! Hopefully we can make a lovely chain of pinkies around the world and celebrate 20 years of good work on the part of The Fair Trade Foundation and its supporters 🙂

Hopefully Not Necessary Disclaimer:

Now before anyone decides to get shirty and remind me that Fairtrade isn’t always as ‘Fair’ as it makes out or that any form of tea growing isn’t really ethical or blah blah blah, if that is your opinion, fine, you are certainly entitled to it, possibly correct and if you can restrain yourself from consuming any amount of tea whatsoever on those grounds, or if you have discovered the world’s one and only brand of truly ‘ethical’ tea then I take my hat of to you sir, or madam, please feel free to share your wisdom politely. But otherwise, please remember that each of us can only do the small things we can do. And this is one small thing I can do. So I’m doing it. You are in no way obliged to join me but if you would like to then you are most welcome.