AutomataCon!

fierystudiosClockwork Game, Comix, History, Nerdery

It’s been a long while since I’ve been out to a convention, so I’m happy to announce that I’ll be attending AutomataCon, which will be held May 18-20 at the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ. It’s the a convention aimed at collectors, historians, and makers of automata, and based on the reports from the first con, it sounds fascinating and wonderful. I’m looking forward to seeing automata both historical and new, and meeting incredible artists such as Dug North, and John Gaughan.

The convention is also timed to coincide with the museum’s “Curious Characters” exhibit of kinetic art, which looks like a perfect match:

Here’s a bit of video from the 2016 convention, to whet your appetite. If you’re in New Jersey, stop by and say hello. It looks like a very family-friendly event.

Von Kempelen gets his own statue

fierystudiosBooks, Clockwork Game, History

It is said that whoever touches the finger of Johann Wolfgang Kempelen’s statue receives an idea that can change the lives of people. At least that is what the legend claims, which has come to light only a few months since the unveiling of the statue of this great scholar and inventor in the garden of the Waterworks Museum in Bratislava.

“Kempelen was the Leonardo da Vinci of Bratislava; he was an artist, a designer, and a polyglot,” said Andrej Aleksiev, chairman of the FabrikArt civic association, on why they decided to remind citizens and visitors of Bratislava of this 18th century inventor, designer and thinker.

Today only a street in Bratislava’s borough of Karlová Ves recalls the prominent native of then Pressburg. In the past a street in the Old Town close to the place where he used to live bore his name. In 1945 this street was renamed Klemensova and has retained this name until today.

The life-size bronze statue of J. W. Kempelen is the first statue of this great thinker and inventor in Slovakia. Its creator, sculptor Robert Czingel, was inspired by the personality and topics to which Kempelen devoted his life.

“We chose a conservative approach,” said Czingel. “so that the final sculpture would not be about its creator but about Kempelen and his ideas.”

The result is a realistic statue of Kempelen, contemplating over the chess figures of the rook and the queen at his feet.

Read the rest of the rest of the article in The Slovak Spectator.

AnomalyCon Report

fierystudiosClockwork Game, Comix, My better half, Nerdery, Steampunkery, Vogelein

Paul and I just returned from AnomalyCon, and boy, was that trip worth it. The con was just the right size, with friendly attendees. The costumes were astonishing, the panels wonderful, the show well-run. And I got to Tea Duel for the first time (current record: 1-1, with a dirty-nom victory, and a belated clean-nom loss)!

I had initially been very nervous about my panels, so I made up handouts, which the panel attendees snapped up, so I must have done something right. My fellow panelists were both knowledgable and welcoming, and made me feel right at home.

AnomalyCon also prides itself on being open and accepting of all its attendees, and has a superlative Anti-Harassment policy to back this up. I’ve been to some pretty sketchy conventions in the past, and this was not one of them. I felt completely safe and had a wonderful time, not a single problem and nothing but good things to say about my fellow guests and con-goers. What a fun time!

But of course, the very best moment of all was when Rebekah W. of Wandering Rabbit Cosplay surprised me with her Vögelein costume. I was completely floored seeing it in person. I fangirled my own fangirl. It was amazing. I am told that I squealed so loudly that other con-goers turned around to check on my safety, and so high that I hit a register usually reserved for dolphins. I also may have frightened Rebekah a bit in my rush to meet her, though she graciously forgave me. I am nothing if not enthusiastic.

Seriously, though — it’s hard to think of a higher compliment to pay an author than to dress up as one of her characters and drive across the state to meet her. I’d blogged about Rebekah’s costuming before, but seeing it in person was so incredible, and I’m so flattered that she took the time to make a special trip out just to meet me. I’m so lucky.

My only regret about this trip is that it wasn’t long enough! I had such a great time, and I hope that I can get back to Denver again soon when I can tack on a few extra days and go hiking in her mountains, rather than staring at them longingly.

Thanks again, Kronda, for inviting Paul and I out to AnomalyCon, showing us such a great time, and making us feel so welcome. You run a great show, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone in the Colorado area, steampunker or not.

AnomalyCon!

fierystudiosComix, Nerdery, Signal Boost

This coming weekend, Paul and I have been invited as guests to AnomalyCon in Denver! This is the first time in nearly twenty years that I’ve been invited as a guest at a SciFi con, and I’m super excited. Though I’ve been going to cons for ages, I’ve never been to a Steampunk-centric convention before, let alone one with such an impressive guest list. I’m really looking forward to seeing all the costumes and attending some of the writing-focused panels. I’m also impressed by AnomalyCon’s straightforward policies: they have separate, well-defined statements on anti-harassment, cosplay respect, and accessibility, all of which are vitally important and necessary to create an environment where every attendee can feel safe enough to enjoy themselves.

When I’m not helping Paul man our table in the Vendor’s Room or studying up on writing tips, I’m going to be speaking on several panels myself. I spent a big hunk of the weekend preparing… anybody want handouts?

FRIDAY
Fri 4pm Chasm Creek B

Indie Comics You Should Be Reading
Artists discuss the best comics you haven’t read yet.
D. Edwards, D. Harris, J. Irwin, K. Hearne

SATURDAY

Sat 12pm Wind River B
The Future of Steampunk
Steampunk isn’t dead, or even plateauing. New fiction, exciting ideas and where the genre is going beyond the world of written words. M. Tanzer, S. Adina, J. Irwin, M. Davis

Sat 1pm Chasm Creek B
The Critic and Me

Ever felt like something was terrible about three seconds after you finished it? This is about controlling your control freak and making things even with the doubt.
P. Sizer, J. Irwin, D. Malki, N. Maslakovic, S. Tatroe, G. Mulowayi

Sat 5pm Main Events
AnomalyCon Celebrity Tea Duel

The grandest excitement on stage! Our biggest guests battle each other for the best cuppa!
S. Rahmsdorff, C. Wendig, D. Dawson, L. Mantchev, E. Jackson, B. Dornbusch, Frenchy and the Punk, S. Adina, E. Bear, S. Lynch, M. Davis, J. Irwin, D. Malki, P. Sizer, B. Yovanoff, K. T. Okopnik

SUNDAY

Sun 3pm Chasm Creek B
Digital Art

If you’re still using pencils and paper, you might be missing out on a world of easy erasures.S. Yan, S. Menzel, S. Schafer, J. Irwin, G. Mulowayi

Thanks again to Kronda Siebert for inviting us — I can’t wait. If you’re in the Colorado area, I hope to see you there!

PaulSizer.com gets a makeover

fierystudiosMy better half

Nearly a decade ago, I built a custom WordPress theme for my husband Paul. The intervening years of web advancements left the site looking outdated — but being a web developer forty hours a week, by the time I got home from work I couldn’t stand to do any more updates. Last month I took advantage of my employer’s incredibly generous holiday vacation and finally gave the site an upgrade, this time using a pre-purchased theme along with some custom code, just in time for Paul’s biggest design news in a while.

Paul’s site now features client spotlights, upgraded galleries of his work, and an online store where you can buy all his comics, and soon, his posters, too. Go take a look around! Paul’s work has come up by leaps and bounds in the last couple of years, and I’m really glad that his site’s finally a match for it.

As an added bonus, I learned enough about WordPress development that I was able to take on some additional WordPress theme / php development at work — all the more reason to keep up my after-work studies.