Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Word Wednesday: "Majuscule"

A majuscule, the letter B
Today's word, majuscule, is an over-sized capital letter, like the ones used at the beginning of passages in illuminated manuscripts.  The word is French, from the Latin majusculus, meaning "somewhat larger."  It is, effectively, the opposite of miniscule.  Medieval books like the "Book of Kells" and many early hand-written Bibles were written in this illuminated style, and majuscules were often decorated with the forms of mythical creatures, or illustrations that related to the following text.

The Lonely Alchemist

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Word Wednesday: "Gilet"

A modern take on a gilet.
Today's word is gilet, or "vest," from the French gilet, from Spanish gileco or chaleco, from Turkish yelek.  Though today it refers to a waistcoat or vest, it used to refer to any sleeveless jacket or vest that could be waist or knee length.  In women's fashion in the 1800, a gilet was a fitted dress bodice resembling a man's waistcoat.

There is also a municipality in Spain called Gilet, and a Medieval French-Hungarian noble family named Gilet.  We're guessing they are both named after the vest: the town perhaps because it was a center of Spanish gilet-making, and the family perhaps because they had tailors in their ancestry.

The Lonely Alchemist

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Word (and recipe) Wednesday: "Remoulade"

Today you get both a word, and a delicious recipe!  The word of the day is remoulade.  Remoulade is a creamy French sauce popular in many countries.  Here in America, Cajun remoulade sauce is a flavorful, spicy condiment perfect for any kind of seafood.  We here at the Lonely Alchemist love our remoulade on halibut or crabcakes (or shrimp, or po boys, or salmon, or steak, or french fries, or mussels, or scallops, etc... yummm), and encase you are feeling adventurous in the kitchen this holiday season, here's our favorite recipe for remoulade to spice up your December cuisine:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Word Wednesday: "Physiognomy"

The word for today (and a little history lesson) is physiognomy, which refers to the pseudoscience of studying the structure of a person's face to reveal their temperament and predispositions. This word was probably used 100 times in Jane Eyre. People of that era put a lot of faith in facial features and skull shape to reveal character. It was even used in police work to find criminals (it was closely associated with phrenology, the pseudoscience of measuring the skull and feeling its bumps to reveal a person's character). People with irregular features were often arrested for deeds they didn't commit simply because their face supposedly predisposed them to crime. Of course most of them were probably innocent. They couldn't help that they didn't have perfect faces.

Phrenology is still practiced by many people today who believe that a person's future can be felt in the bumps on their cranium.  But, like many Victorian practices, it is a hobby today and isn't used in psychology or forensic investigation (good news for those of us who may have bumpy heads!).

The Lonely Alchemist

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Poetry Tuesday: "Merciles Beaute" by Geoffrey Chaucer

A Triple Roundel.

I. Captivity

Your yën two wol sle me sodenly,
I may the beaute of hem not sustene,
So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.

And but your word wol helen hastily
My hertes wounde, whyl that hit is grene,
     Your yën two wol sle me sodenly; 
     may the beaute of hem not sustene.

Upon my trouthe I sey yow feithfully,
That ye ben of my lyf and deth the quene;
For with my deth the trouthe shal be sene.
     Your yën two wol sle me sodenly,
     I may the beaute of hem not sustene,
     So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.

II. Rejection. 

So hath your beaute fro your herte chaced
Pitee, that me ne availeth not to pleyne;
For Daunger halt your mercy in his cheyne.

Giltles my deth thus han ye me purchaced;
I sey yow soth, me nedeth not to feyne;
     So hath your beaute fro your herle chaced
     Pilee, that me ne availeth not to pleyne

Allas! that nature hath in yow compassed
So gret beaute, that no man may atteyne
To mercy, though he sterve for the peyne.
     So hath your beaute fro your herte chaced
     Pitee, that me ne availeth not to pleyne;
     For daunger halt your mercy in his cheyne.

III. Escape. 

Sin I fro love escaped am so fat,
I never thenk to ben in his prison lene;
Sin I am fre, I counte him not a bene.

He may answere, and seye this or that;
I do no fors, I speke right as I mene.
     Sin I fro love escaped am so fat,
     I never thenk to ben in his prison lene.

Love hath my name y-strike out of his sclat,
And he is strike out of my bokes clene
For ever-mo; [ther] is non other mene.
     Sin I fro love escaped am so fat,
     I never thenk to ben in his prison lene;
     Sin I am fre, I counte him not a bene.
The Lonely Alchemist 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Word Wednesday: "Noctivagant"

Today's word of the day is noctivagant, meaning "walking or wandering at night."  It comes from the Latin noctis, "night," plus vagans, "to wander."  This is a perfect word to know if you happen to like vampires...  The real kind.  Not the sparkly kind.

The Lonely Alchemist

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Poetry Tuesday: "In my eyes he matches the gods..." by Sappho

Sappho was a famous female poet of Ancient Greece.  Though her poems only exist in fragments today, they still carry immense beauty and emotional power.

In my eyes he matches the gods, that man who 
sits there facing you--any man whatever--
listening from close-by to the sweetness of your 
          voice as you talk, the

sweetness of your laughter: yes, that--I swear it-- 
sets the heart to shaking inside my breast, since 
once I look at you for a moment, I can't
          speak any longer,

but my tongue breaks down, and then all at once a
subtle fire races inside my skin, my
eyes can't see a thing and a whirring whistle 
          thrums at my hearing,

cold sweat covers me and a trembling takes 
ahold of me all over: I'm greener than the 
grass is and appear to myself to be little
          short of dying.

But all must be endured, since even a poor... (fragment ends here)
The Lonely Alchemist 

Monday, November 26, 2012

What's on your Christmas wishlist?

Now that Black Friday is over, it's time for those of us who did't spent the day after Thanksgiving attacking each other in Kohl's and Walmart to get our Christmas shopping done.  I hope you all partook in "Small Business Saturday" and supported your local small businesses (and online small businesses), as supporting small business is one of the best ways to stimulate our waning economy and support indie artisans.

And now of course is the fabulous Cyber Monday, the biggest day of online sales in the year, and there are plenty of places online, from Amazon to Etsy shoppes, that are offering specials on Cyber Monday you just can't miss!  So if you need a little inspiration for your Christmas lists this year, here is a little rundown of what the Lonely Alchemist is buying online this year (both for myself and for gifts):

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Word Wednesday: "Esculent"

The word of the day is esculent, meaning "something that is edible."  It comes from the Latin esculentus, from esca, or "food."  Plural is esculents.  It sounds a bit like escarole and escargot, which are both esculents.  Happy Thanksgiving and I hope all of your esculents are delicious!

The Lonely Alchemist

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Best Perfumes on Etsy

"Tarot" Steampunk perfume from BirdcageandLabyrinth
I love perfume! Who doesn't? Making it and wearing it are some of my favorite hobbies. And since commercial perfumes can be quite unhealthy, organic perfumes, natural perfumes, and botanical perfumes are quickly rising in popularity and making a huge niche market for themselves on Etsy and other hand-made goods websites. While there are over 200 shops on Etsy that sell perfume and scents, I am obligated to say that not all perfumes are created equal. Those that I am listing are either all-natural or mostly natural and have a less mass-produced feel than some of the shops. I have not tried perfumes from all of these shops, but from the sellers profiles I can tell that healthy personalized scents in small batches are their priority.  So here are just some of my favorite (and the best) perfume sellers on Etsy:

BirdcageandLabyrinth: Steampunk and Gothic perfumerie.  I can vouch for how awesome these perfumes are; I make them! New Zealand Award Winning & Handcrafted Solid Perfumes in various themes.  I've never tried these, but they look lovely.

Madame Scodioli makes unique and intriguing perfumes, soaps, etc...  I've never tried these, but they look lovely.

pixxxiepieandposie: Fantastical fragrance creations from the land of the fairies.
  I've never tried these, but they look very whimsical.

GreenManNaturals: Eco-friendly literary themed solid perfumes and perfume oils.  I can vouch for how awesome these perfumes are; I make them!

ForStrangeWomen: Natural Perfumery - Forest & Victorian-Inspired.  I've tried some of these and they are definitely an acquired taste.  Some people love them.  Some people don't.  I happen to love them.

ArabesqueAromas: A Botanical Apothecary
I've never tried these, but they look lovely.
Hand-made aromatherapy, fragrant, and metaphysical oil. 
I've never tried these, but they look lovely.

Maoli: Fun and Natural Perfumes made with Aloha. 
I've never tried these, but they look lovely.

The Lonely Alchemist 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Steampunk Game Review: "City of Steam"

It is one of the great travesties of the world that Steampunk themed games are few and far between (and it's hard to find the good ones).  So we at the Lonely Alchemist are committed to testing and reviewing every Steampunk-ish MMORPG and casual game we can find, just for you!

Today we review "City of Steam," the first mainly Steampunk MMORPG in the history of games!  This game mixes Steampunk, Fantasy, and Sci-fi aesthetics (mostly Steampunk), and take it from us, it does not disappoint!  We had the pleasure of playing the closed Beta last night, and the game exceeded our expectations for so many beautiful reasons.  So let's take a gander at our favorite aspects of the game so far:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Poetry Tuesday: Salvinia Molesta, a poetry book review

The book Salvinia Molesta by Victoria Chang is a tangled trellis of image and emotion, weaving a story of fear, loss, and violence.  From this framework of intense and frightening subject matter, each poem hangs like an over-ripe fruit, eloquent words making the outside palatable, while the inside remains an upsettingly truthful vision of humanity’s disillusionment and depravity.  In her uniquely gentle and motherly tone, Victoria Chang reassures us while simultaneously forcing us to open our eyes to the gloom that surrounds us, as in the elegant yet desolate opening stanza of “Ars Poetica as Dislocated Theater:”

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Poetry Tuesday: "Risk" by Anais Nin

And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to Blossom. 

The Lonely Alchemist

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A selection from "The History of Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes

In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind, there lived not long since one of those gentlemen that keep a lance in the lance-rack, an old buckler, a lean hack, and a greyhound for coursing. An olla of rather more beef than mutton, a salad on most nights, scraps on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, and a pigeon or so extra on Sundays, made away with three-quarters of his income. The rest of it went in a doublet of fine cloth and velvet breeches and shoes to match for holidays, while on week-days he made a brave figure in his best homespun. He had in his house a housekeeper past forty, a niece under twenty, and a lad for the field and market-place, who used to saddle the hack as well as handle the bill-hook. The age of this gentleman of ours was bordering on fifty; he was of a hardy habit, spare, gaunt-featured, a very early riser and a great sportsman. They will have it his surname was Quixada or Quesada (for here there is some difference of opinion among the authors who write on the subject), although from reasonable conjectures it seems plain that he was called Quexana. This, however, is of but little importance to our tale; it will be enough not to stray a hair's breadth from the truth in the telling of it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Quote for Thought

"I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."
-- Marilyn Monroe

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Word Wednesday: "Mungo"

Here's a weird tidbit for you:

The word mungo can mean "low quality wool" or "mongoose" and is the first person singular present indicative of the Italian word "to milk." (Put that phrase in your pipe and smoke it!) It has another slang meaning though; it means "dumpster diver." While this seems of little significance, it has shed light on one of the great questions in my life. I always wondered why the roguish character Mungojerry in "Cats" was called Mungojerry. It seems like a meaningless name. Now I understand. He is a wandering cat, a slightly bad cat, and surely isn't too high and mighty to do a little dumpster diving of his own.

Whether or not Tim Rice actually intended this hidden meaning in Mungojerry's name I don't think I shall every know. That is beside the point. The mystery has been solved


The Lonely Alchemist

Monday, September 17, 2012

Steampunk Game Review: "Azada: In Libro"

It is one of the great travesties of the world that Steampunk themed games are few and far between (and it's hard to find the good ones).  So we at the Lonely Alchemist are committed to testing and reviewing every Steampunk-ish MMORPG and casual game we can find, just for you!

Today we review a fabulous casual game by the name of "Azada: In Libro."  Another beautiful and fun-to-play creation from ERS Game Studios, this is a sequel to the other Azada games but, at least in our opinion, it is more worth the price than the others.

The game begins in an industrialized Edwardian Europe where you, the player, are informed that a distant relative in Prague has left you an inheritance.  After traveling there, you are cast into an enchanted world from which you cannot escape until you defeat the evil magician who wishes to destroy the magical world and then your own.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Selection from "The Shunned House" by H. P. Lovecraft

From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent. Sometimes it enters directly into the composition of the events, while sometimes it relates only to their fortuitous position among persons and places. The latter sort is splendidly exemplified by a case in the ancient city of Providence, where in the late forties Edgar Allan Poe used to sojourn often during his unsuccessful wooing of the gifted poetess, Mrs. Whitman. Poe generally stopped at the Mansion House in Benefit Street—the renamed Golden Ball Inn whose roof has sheltered Washington, Jefferson, and Lafayette—and his favorite walk led northward along the same street to Mrs. Whitman's home and the neighboring hillside churchyard of St. John's, whose hidden expanse of Eighteenth Century gravestones had for him a peculiar fascination.

Now the irony is this. In this walk, so many times repeated, the world's greatest master of the terrible and the bizarre was obliged to pass a particular house on the eastern side of the street; a dingy, antiquated structure perched on the abruptly rising side hill, with a great unkempt yard dating from a time when the region was partly open country. It does not appear that he ever wrote or spoke of it, nor is there any evidence that he even noticed it. And yet that house, to the two persons in possession of certain information, equals or outranks in horror the wildest fantasy of the genius who so often passed it unknowingly, and stands starkly leering as a symbol of all that is unutterably hideous.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Quote for Thought

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
-- Albert Einstein

Friday, August 31, 2012

A selection from the Gothic romance "The Monk" by M. G. Lewis


——Lord Angelo is precise;
Stands at a guard with envy; Scarce confesses
That his blood flows, or that his appetite
Is more to bread than stone.
Measure for Measure.

Scarcely had the Abbey Bell tolled for five minutes, and already was the Church of the Capuchins thronged with Auditors. Do not encourage the idea that the Crowd was assembled either from motives of piety or thirst of information. But very few were influenced by those reasons; and in a city where superstition reigns with such despotic sway as in Madrid, to seek for true devotion would be a fruitless attempt. The Audience now assembled in the Capuchin Church was collected by various causes, but all of them were foreign to the ostensible motive. The Women came to show themselves, the Men to see the Women: Some were attracted by curiosity to hear an Orator so celebrated; Some came because they had no better means of employing their time till the play began; Some, from being assured that it would be impossible to find places in the Church; and one half of Madrid was brought thither by expecting to meet the other half. The only persons truly anxious to hear the Preacher were a few antiquated devotees, and half a dozen rival Orators, determined to find fault with and ridicule the discourse. As to the remainder of the Audience, the Sermon might have been omitted altogether, certainly without their being disappointed, and very probably without their perceiving the omission.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Quote for Thought

“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
-- Bob Marley

Thursday, July 12, 2012

David Antionette? Marie Bowie?

This is what David Bowie would look like if he were Marie Antoinette.

Or maybe what Marie Antoinette would look like if she were David Bowie?

The Lonely Alchemist

Friday, July 6, 2012

Recipe: Stuffed Mushrooms

One of the hors-d'oeuvres staples of any proper Victorian hostess's party is the stuffed mushroom.  Easy to make for even the most beginner chef, classy, and delicious, stuffed mushrooms add elegance and flavor to any dinner party or wine tasting.  We absolutely LOVE them!  So for you hostessing pleasure, here is the Lonely Alchemist's very own stuffed mushroom recipe.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Steampunk Game Review: "House of Brass"

It is one of the great travesties of the world that Steampunk themed games are few and far between (and it's hard to find the good ones).  So we at the Lonely Alchemist are committed to testing and reviewing every Steampunk-ish MMORPG and casual game we can find, just for you!

Our review today is for "Fantastic Creations: House of Brass," a casual game from Big Fish Game Studios.  The premise of the game is a thoroughly Steampunk-y one: a young woman (your character) finds a mysterious package from her grandfather Edwin Gogglethorpe (whom she has never met), to her grandmother, Gwen.  She follows the letter to a strange, broken-down mechanical house and, inevitably, gets trapped inside with a vengeful mechanical woman.  The house is full of clockwork creatures and strange devices and is decorated in a decidedly Late Victorian style.  Throughout the game, you are guided by the voice of Mr. Cogglethorpe, who has kept himself alive in a machine for over a hundred years, waiting for Gwen.  Things take a sinister turn and you find yourself fighting against a madman and a malfunctioning house that wants to imprison you for all eternity.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Movie Monday: "Cutthroat Island"

When it comes to swashbuckling films, we at The Lonely Alchemist are addicts.  We've watched nearly everything from Douglas Fairbanks to Johnny Depp, but just a few weeks ago, we came across a gem of a film that we had never even heard of:  "Cutthroat Island."  And we love it!

Made in 1995 with a budget of $98,000,000 and a handful of big name stars, "Cutthroat Island" is one of the biggest flops in movie history and, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is the biggest financial loss to date (this statistic is out of date by now). 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Turn it off!

What are you doing on the internet?  Just putzing around?  I thought so.  Now turn your computer off and spend some time outside.  Enjoy the sunshine, or the rain, whatever's happening.  Take a nice solitary walk, or spend some time with friends.  I don't mean chatting with them over text; actually spend some time with them.  Take full advantage of the day!

The Lonely Alchemist

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Quote for Thought

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”
-- Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Poetry Tuesday: "The Fist" by Derek Walcott

The fist clenched round my heart
loosens a little, and I gasp
brightness; but it tightens
again. When have I ever not loved
the pain of love? But this has moved

past love to mania. This has the strong
clench of the madman, this is
gripping the ledge of unreason, before
plunging howling into the abyss.

Hold hard then, heart. This way at least you live.

by Derek Walcott


The Lonely Alchemist

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Assassin's Arsenal: beautiful and deadly

We are taking a little hiatus from Madame Yvina/ Sybil's fascinating tale here at the Lonely Alchemist while we move, so to tide you over, here is a little collection of some of the items in the famed assassin's traveling kit.  If you see anything you like, just click on one of the links below.  Everything in Yvina's arsenal is from Etsy sellers who love Steampunk/Victorian/Gothic arts and crafts!

(just click the picture to enlarge)

 Corsets from:

Accessories from:

Fine Art from: 

Tarot Cards from:

Perfume from:

Poisons/Weapons from:

Tea from:


The Lonely Alchemist

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Alchemist Files: Part 5

Here is the latest installment of the Steampunk novella "The Alchemist Files."  To catch up on the beginning of this story, click here.

In the offices of Henton Clode, Alistaire Templar was reading a telegram from the Ministry Main Offices in London which was as follows: Description of woman matches all available information on Bergamot STOP Advised to apprehend suspect for questioning STOP Negotiate situations with caution STOP Do not allow suspect to escape STOP Sending re-enforcements to Paris immediately STOP Keep us apprised of all actions STOP.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Alchemist Files: Part 4

Here is the latest installment of the Steampunk novella "The Alchemist Files." To catch up with the beginning of the story, click here.
The nights were dark in the countryside outside Marseilles. The ancient abbey that housed the Agency training academy was always quiet and dark, but the calm was worse in the darkness after curfew. It seemed like time was stagnant in these hills, waiting for something violent to waken the old Mediterranean spirits and lift the land from its warm benign stillness. Nothing ruthless ever happened here. No one died here. While they were inside the walls of the academy, the world couldn’t touch them.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Poetry Tuesday: "Without Hope" By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing-
And Winter, slumbering in the open air,  
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!  
And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing,          
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.    

Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,  
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.  
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,  
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!   
With lips unbrighten'd, wreathless brow, I stroll:  
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?  
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,  
And Hope without an object cannot live.

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


The Lonely Alchemist

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Word Wednesday: "Anabiosis"

Since vampires and zombies are such a craze nowadays, I thought that today, I'd give a word related to death. Anabiosis is a scientific term that refers to a state of suspended animation (a death-like apppearance) that many animals, reptiles, and amphibians take on during times of extreme drought so that they can survive by almost shutting down their vital systems.

In a non-scientific sense, anabiosis is used to refer to resuscitation or restoration from a death-like state (like waking up from a coma or recovering from a catatonic state).

Anabiosis comes from the Greek anabioun or "to return to life" and has Indo-European roots.


The Lonely Alchemist

Monday, April 9, 2012

Movie Monday: "Murdoch Mysteries"

"Murdoch Mysteries" is a Canadian television show set in Toronto in the late 1890s. It centers around Detective William Murdoch who solves crimes using new technological and forensic techniques that are the predecessors of our crime solving techniques today. The show has a decidedly Steampunk feel (Murdoch himself is a devotee of Nicola Tesla) and the period-appropriate costuming and makeup is a refreshing break from modern TV.

Detective Murdoch is an exceedingly sexy man who manages to balance a deep Catholic faith with a firm belief in the immutable facts of science and technology. He is quiet and melancholy, perhaps still in grieving for his fiance who died a year before the show takes place.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Support your fellow Steampunks!

The Steampunk web-series "Dirigible Days" is about to start production! You can help them out by donating to their Kickstarter campaign here. There are only 13 days left to donate, so be sure to help them out! The series looks promising and I can't wait to watch it.


The Lonely Alchemist

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Quote for Thought

A quote for thought:

There is no conflict between the ideal of religion and the ideal of science, but science is opposed to theological dogmas because science is founded on fact. To me, the universe is simply a great machine which never came into being and never will end. The human being is no exception to the natural order. Man, like the universe, is a machine. Nothing enters our minds or determines our actions which is not directly or indirectly a response to stimuli beating upon our sense organs from without.

Nicola Tesla


The Lonely Alchemist

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Alchemist Files: Part 3

Here is the latest installment of the Steampunk novella "The Alchemist Files." To catch up with the beginning of the story, click here.
The woman known as Marie Albion put a pot of tea on the stove, then removed her hat and hung it on the rack next to the belt of throwing knives and the black opera cape. Needless to say, her name was not Marie Albion. To most of Europe she was known as Madame Yvina, a talented psychic whose brief but influential reign over the carnivals and salons across the continent ended five years ago when she disappeared. In America, she was known for a few years by the pseudonym of Ginger Ginnie when she sailed with the crew of the pirate airship “Emelia’s Revenge.” And in South America they called her “Cuchillo Rojo,” or “Red Knife.” The Agency however, the world’s premium extermination service, called her by the code name of Bergamot, the delicious black tea that is fatal in large doses. To her roommate and fellow assassin, she was simply Sybil.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


(ST. LOUIS, MO) March 6, 2012 - Independent film company Day 304 Productions is developing a new web series to the world of steampunk. "Dirigible Days: Hierophant Unbound" will follow the crew of the airship S.S. Beatrix as they transport a shady lawman and his dangerous prisoner from the Cult of Cthulhu, who escapes and runs rampant on the ship.

"Dirigible Days: Hierophant Unbound" will consist of five 7-15 minute long episodes. The adventure takes place in an alternate reality nearly 1,000 years after a catastrophe transformed the surface of Earth and raised floating islands, launching a new age of exploration and colonization. The crew of the S.S. Beatrix includes comedic engineer Hooper, mute pilot Josie and gun-arm wearing captain Santiago Dunbar.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Quote for Thought

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king."
-- J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blog Neglect!

This is just a heads-up to let all you readers know that I will not be adding any new posts until after Feb. 25th. I'm directing/choreographing a lovely charity show that is using up all my time and I just don't have the energy to continue posts until the show is over.

If you are in the Orange County area, I hope you join us at the show next Friday as it promises to be a blast! For everyone else, I will be back in the blogosphere in a week and a half. See you then! And keep your eyes peeled for additions to Madame Yvina's story!


The Lonely Alchemist

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Alchemist Files: Part 2

Here is the first chapter of our Steampunk romance/adventure novella. To read previous episodes click here. Enjoy!
The sign on the door read “Henton Clode, Missing Persons” but the visitor knew that Mr. Clode had been dead for at least two years. Wheels in this small Ministry office moved slowly. Though the office was in Paris, arguably the most exciting city in the world, this office had long been determined (by the higher ups of the Ministry, or course) to be superfluous. But the woman who turned the door handle in her lace gloved hand knew that “Missing Persons” was a misnomer. The office of Henton Clode dealt with all incidents related to the Agency.

Inside, an elderly clerk was nestled behind stacks of files, typing. He looked up when she entered and pushed his glasses up. “May I help you, Miss?”

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Quote for Thought

A quote for thought:

"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral."

Antione de Saint-Exupery


The Lonely Alchemist

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Word Wednesday: "Brumal"

I love the word brumal. It sounds like a fancy color from Rembrandt's palate, but it isn't a shade of sepia at all. Brumal is derived from the Latin brumalis ("of or pertaining to winter solstice; wintry") from bruma ("the winter solstice; winter") from brevima ("the shortest day"). Winter is my favorite season, and you can be sure I will be using brumal some time soon. Brumal is also an anagram for umbral, another great word for another day...


The Lonely Alchemist

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Perfume Review: "Headless Marie" from BirdcageandLabyrinth

"Headless Marie" from The Birdcage and Labyrinth Steampunk Perfumerie is a lovely, if morbid, tribute to Marie Antoinette. The perfume description reads: "This is a perfume in honor of that decadent woman, Marie Antoinette, who lost her head because of her expensive tastes. France’s most famous queen, lovely and naïve Marie was the toast of Versailles before her unfortunate rendezvous with the guillotine. The luxury of Marie and her king are legendary and have been immortalized in countless novels and movies. The opulence, the palaces, the food, the gardens, the clothes, the jewels… all are again immortalized in this perfume."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Poetry Tuesday: "We Are All Upset and Talented" a collaborative poem

"We Are All Upset and Talented"

Our banner fell from slanted rooftops:
frayed fabric, clay tiles (clothing, lodging).

I guess I like to break stuff—as long as you don’t mind
sexy sista tripping past love(ly) trays, gasps,

flutters, strays, pulls the glass
from her teeth, then shudders, drops in shards

on feet underneath. And away,
away we go to lick

the grease from the deep fryers.
Nothing could ever haunt me—as dangerously,

no, not a form as subtle as the closet’s shadow
but louder than the shouts of July

on that amaranthine summer’s night. Everything’s better
with absinthe (wormwood) twinged

with the value(less) vomit of other people’s words.
Fine then. I can carry the weight (wait!)

of the world’s sarcasm alone.

by the ENG 403 Poetry Class at Chapman University. Lovely job guys!

The Lonely Alchemist

Monday, January 23, 2012

Movie Monday: "What's Up, Tiger Lily?"

So this week's movie review is definitely out of the ordinary. This movie isn't a Rom Com. It isn't Steampunk or Gothic, and it isn't suspense, historical fiction, or sci-fi. This movie is pure cheesy comedy, with an extra side of cheese, topped with more cheese.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Alchemist Files: Part 1

Only a few days ago, a strange collection of papers came into our possession at "The Lonely Alchemist." We have finally broken the code with which the papers were coded (it was a simple alpha-numeric system) and have completely decoded one of the papers. We present it for your perusal here, and hope to decode and post more of this fascinating story soon. (Revisit the beginning of the story here, or click "Madame Yvina" in the tags section to see all related posts.)

Ministry File: Madame Yvina, see also “Bergamot”
Cover: fortune teller
Origin: unknown
Age: unknown
Preferred method of extermination: poison
Current location: unknown, presumed dead
Often wears: sage green and blue colors, as well as black
Known associates: Melchizedek Quinine Aurocross, Captain Victoria Zylphia Potsworth, Elizabeth MacMormont, Belladonna (real name unknown)
Status: level red, report all sightings to Henton Clode, Ministry Office #495, London

Notes: Madame Yvina is just one of many aliases belonging to possibly the most dangerous women of our time.
Our knowledge on the early life of Madame Yvina is scant to say the least.