prof_folderol, steampunk

Professor Folderol's Journal

Steampunk, Questionable Science & Obscure Observations

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A Steampunk Survey
prof_folderol, steampunk
prof_folderol

I ripped this survey off from the Steampunk Fashion blog since it seems a good intro for a first post here.


Name:  Jim J.  (I've stopped publishing my last name due to the pleas for bail money from 'old friends'.)

Home:  Leander, Texas (a bit north of Austin)

Why do you like Steampunk?:   Where else may one find the convergence of Victorian elegance & opulence, a 'what if' appreciation of the permutations of history, a strongly developed DIY ethic with a genuine appreciation for the hand made, a love of the absurd and incongruous combined with a non-malignant dystopianism, an appreciation of the concept that all things are possible no matter how improbable, the intellectual curiosity to experiment and innovate, the courage to publicly present oneself in divergent mode of dress despite a society that's growing increasingly intolerant... and all done with panache, elan and genuine good humor.

What's not to love about Steampunk?

Favorite bit of clothing:   Electrically heated vest for cold weather motorcycling.

Favorite accessory:  Electric gloves. (see above.)

Cake or Pie?:   Yes, please!  And thank you kindly, ma'am!  (Have you ever noticed that the most dangerous sociopaths have the nicest manners? Do donuts qualify as cake?  What if they're filled?)

Best music in the world is?:   Everything I haven't tried on the harmonica.  When folks say "You're really BAD on that thing!" they don't mean it in a good way...  (Someone once said I put the 'harm' in harmonica... but only once.)

Do you have a Persona?:   Why, yes as a matter of fact: Professor Folderol

If so, who are they and what's their story:  Professor Folderol is a Summa Cum Lugnut graduate of Miskatonic University's prestigious DeBacle School of Engineering.  Following graduation, he became a teaching assistant and researcher while pursuing his Masters degree.  He was seated in the Atheric Energy Studies Department as a full professor after three years, immediately following the disappearance of two of the faculty members -- not a particularly notable event at a school with such a traditionally high mortality rate.  But I digress...

While the Professor was universally despised by the students for his exceedingly acerbic wit and a penchant for particularly vicious exam questions (the marks of an excellent educator!) he quit his post after several disappearances and a couple of rather ghastly deaths at the University, not wishing to remain at a school whose reputation had been so tainted by the horrible events which transpired there.

It should be noted here that most of the rumors of Professor Folderol's involvement in these events are patently untrue!  These base canards by the faculty and police resulted purely from the spiteful innuendo of jealous and inferior minds.  I would also point out that the good Professor was never formally charged with any of the disappearances or the later gruesome discoveries on campus.

Personally, I feel the Professor is not the amoral and sociopathic madman some suggest: merely a misunderstood explorer of the lesser-known byways of science.


I was thinking 'Doctor' Folderol would be too ostentatious but I thought something in the Mad Scientist vein would be a good fit as I do love a good experiment now and again, so I chose 'Professor.'

Actually, my most recent large-scale experiment was the extraction of Orbitally Rearranged Molecular Elements (ORME: q.v.) from the local limestone.  Unfortunately, large quantities of limestone in combination with lots of acid produce huge volumes of carbon dioxide gas.  Fortunately, the huge cloud of toxic gas killed off the spider infestation in the garage which resulted from my spider farm being shattered by a ricochet from a magnetic driver BB gun I was developing.

(The spider farm was a bust -- they kept eating each other rather than running around their little treadmills and producing spools of silk -- and the solenoid driver wouldn't accelerate a BB to hypersonic speeds as hoped.  Most disappointing!)

BUT... I'm currently gathering parts for a high-voltage plasma experiment that looks promising.  The last time I tried this I burned off my eyebrows (ergo: goggles = good!) and scorched my workbench a bit.  The shrapnel was surprisingly low-velocity so no serious damage there, ha ha! 

This time around I think I've got the containment system figured out (and I've also obtained an asbestos welding blanket) but I'm having some trouble with the mercury vaporizer and metering system. (Hot mercury vapor can be terribly reactive!)  When it's all working, I should be able to fire a small, high-velocity plasma torus with an effective range of 100 yards. (At least that's the preliminary design goal.)

If anything goes wrong, I should have sufficient undamaged parts left over to build quite a nice Jacob's ladder.  With minor modification it can be used for some really interesting gaseous chemistry experiments!  You'd be amazed what a 50,000 volt arc can accomplish in the correct mixture of gasses!

But, I digress...

What does the steampunk style test tell you and does it ring true to you?:   Oddly, it came out 'Mad Scientist.'  I'd really hoped for 'Handsome, Dashing, and Extremely Studly Gentleman Adventurer' but I think my swash unbuckled a few years back.

Are you on the Facebook group?:    Is that where they have the mug shots?

Now post photos so we know what you look like and can hug you when we see you on the street:
I'm regretfully unable to post a photo of myself at this time since my camera is somewhat indisposed owing to a minor mishap involving a bore sighting laser and a large fresnel lens.

Would it be acceptable to post an older photo of a DIY muffler and exhaust pipe I constructed from electrical parts and air conditioning ductwork?  I'm really quite proud of this as it hasn't exploded, melted or injured anyone in almost a year!

On a more somber note, I have to avoid excessive hugging due to a rather distressing back injury resulting from the admixture of hydrazine, nitromethane and a leaf blower (a most unfortunate combination!) but please feel free to show yourself and gesticulate wildly should we meet.

Does this help you out?:  Well, boisterous gesticulation is often amusing...

Are you a good egg?:  I'm really much better since the therapy. 

Pimp your stuff:   I believe that's illegal here in Texas and I need to remain 'below the radar', so to speak.  (It's a minor issue... nothing to be concerned about.)

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Did I mention I enjoy a bit of leg-pulling from time to time?  ;^D


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