Over the weekend I had dropped in on a number of performers to hear what they were like. The trio in the hallway with the hurdy gurdy
and lacking a name was entertaining. A few of the others I liked until someone opened their mouths to sing and then my interest quickly faded. I had heard a little bit of Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band the night before and wanted to have myself a good listen.
There was no mistaking the genuine energy they generated and people literally danced themselves into a frenzy. And, there were no lyrics to distract from the raw fun.
Buying their CD was done before the end of the first song. I couldn't stay to the very end of the set, though, I had to walk to the neighboring hotel to compete in the Epic Facial Hair Beard and Mustache Competition.
Normally, I think of myself as having a longish interrupted circle beard. But, in seeing the styles of facial hair around the convention, over the weekend I had been drawing my mustache out away from the beard horizontally. In so doing, I seemed to catch the attention of a larger number of people in the hallway who liked the beard. I still think I need some sort of product to manage it properly, should I go with this style, but that would require much more practice. For the competition I would just need to make due.
There were fewer contestants than I would have thought. There were certainly more people at the con with fine beards and mustaches but having the lower turnout was to my advantage. From the half dozen entrants, it came down to myself and the gentleman with the waxed mustache that stuck out at least six inches from either side.
The judge and the crowd could not seem to decide between the two of us. In an effort break the tie we resorted to fisticuffs, his rubber fish outreaching the lacy glove that had been handed me. The next round went to myself as I could sing much better than he could recite a dirty limerick. Finally it came down to a best of three in rochambeau
I was defeated. But I was not a sore looser by any means. He was fully deserving of all accolades.
On Saturday, I had talked to someone with an interesting electronic charm that was just the sort of thing I had been looking to include in a project. It consisted of a ring of LEDs wired together around a marble. The wire wrapping and light was like the arc generator from "Iron Man" but with a rotary engine style. It seemed the sort of thing that anyone with a little soldering talent could do with the right schematics. The person he had bought it from was supposed to be around the con somewhere but I was led to believe that the plans were available online somewhere. I looked on line but couldn't find what I was looking for.
On Sunday, I found Drew
, the artist/manufacturer. It turns out it's not just LED's wrapped around a marble but ultraviolet diodes exciting a fluorescent hexavalent uranium doped glass marble. I imagine that regular LEDs and a common marble would be cool enough but this radioactively rocked. Well, the alpha particle emissions barely make it out of the glass and wouldn't make it through clothing or skin so it's not dangerous so long as the device isn't taken internally.
I emptied my wallet at him
No, really. I had enough cash left to buy gas to get me as far as about Harrisburg.
Before leaving for home, I pulled out my laptop and ripped the Emperor Norton's disk to MP3 and uploaded them to my iPod so we could listen on the way home
I learned that attendance may have been around 3,000. Spectacular! The Steampunk Worlds Fair was a rousing success by any measure one could think of.
The World Steam Expo is in two weeks.