Friday, January 31

It's about time!

Wilde Imagination
Momma and I have been in mourning ever since Wilde Imagination announced in December 2012 that it was discontinuing its Imperium Park steampunk line.

It took a year, but photos of the newest Ellowyne Wilde were released today in all her steampunk glory.

Introducing, Just in Time!

Pru insisted we take a walk by the bay
But I didn't want to come out to play.
It's much too early, I rightly say.
But she talked me into it, Hip Hip Hooray.
I had to scurry, I had to race
to make it before the sun bared her bright face.
A stroke of luck!
I get to see the sun rise,
Isn't it sublime?

Just in Time Ellowyne features a hip steampunk-inspired ensemble and arrives bearing shiny hazel inset eyes behind thick lashes and a full rooted mane of mink. Including a cream bodysuit with elaborate collar, rich burgundy wool jacket with golden buttons and cameo detail, burgundy stripe skirt with fashion chain and bow detail and ribbed cotton tights, even Jules Verne himself would be proud! Our fashionable time traveler's ensemble is complete with sassy period button-up booties, a burgundy top hat with ribbon and chain deco, and of course, goggles. I dare say, the game is afoot! 

A limited edition of 1,000 dolls is scheduled to be available in April.

How shall I wait until then? Thank heavens my birthday is April 9!

Thursday, January 30

Here comes the bride

Alena Mokhan
Here comes the bride, all dressed in white....

No, I'm not getting married, I am way too young. But if I do, Momma has gotten a job as an Alterations Specialist at a bridal salon.

Color, style, and ceremonial importance of the gown depend upon religion and culture. In Western cultures, brides often choose a white wedding dress, while in Eastern cultures brides often choose red to symbolize auspiciousness. (White is a symbol of death in many cultures.

White became a popular option
after the marriage of Queen Victoria to Albert of Saxe-Coburg on Feb. 10, 1840, when she selected a white dress made from heavy silk satin with Devonshire Honiton lace.

Queen Victoria has been credited with starting the tradition of white bridal gowns although she was not the first royal to be married in white.

Wearing white was quickly adopted by wealthy, fashionable brides. Godey's Lady's Book, wrote about a decade after Victoria's wedding:

"Custom has decided, from the earliest ages, that white is the most fitting hue, whatever may be the material. It is an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one."

If (and that's a BIG if) I ever get married, it will be in a beauty like this Steampunk Victorian Costume by Alena Mokhan.

This adorable steampunk wedding gown designed to be worn on multiply occasions to give your doll that unforgetable ooak look! It would be perfect for a wedding, First Holy Communion, Halloween party, for a Steampunk Convention or like a Victorian fancy Costume! Let your little dolly go bold in this beauty! She is sure to steal the scene!

The set is limited edition - only one of a kind.

The outfit includes 10 pieces: bolero, corset, skirt, petticoat, hat, umbrella, gloves, necklace, garter and shoes. The excellent quality, highly unique design is simply sensational, offering a vintage Victorian style.

White is an impractical color and many brides wore what was, or what would become, their best dress. White became a way to show off one's wealth, as in, "Hey! I'm so rich I'll never wear this dress again!"

It even became a Victorian rhyme:

Married in white, you will have chosen all right.
Married in gray , you will go far away.
Married in black, you will wish yourself back.
Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead.
Married in blue, you will always be true.
Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl.
Married in green, ashamed to be seen.
Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow.
Married in brown, you’ll live out of town.
Married in pink, your spirits will sink.

 I think I will go with gray....

Tuesday, January 28

Oh, my stars and garters!

Wonder Woman #28 by J.G. Jones
Two years ago DC Comics announced its launch of "The New 52." 

Now, DC Comics has been around since 1934. Momma and I both enjoy the occasional comic book, but we were clueless what "The New 52" meant.

But, to be honest, it didn't worry us until we heard 20 of the February covers are steampunk variants so we turned to an expert, Albert Ching

Momma used to work with Ching, but he is now Senior Editor at Comic Book Resources, so he is definitely the one to ask.
Superman/Wonder Woman #5 by Dan Panosian

Steampunk Addie: "What the !@#$% is 'The New 52'?"
Ching: "The New 52 is the branding used for most of DC Comics' current line -- it launched in Sept. 2011. They relaunched all of their comics with new #1 issues, 52 series in total."
SA: "Ok, so the February issues are #28, so they have 24 more issues to go? Then what?"
AC: No, "52" only refers to the number of titles. As in, there are 52 series total -- counting Batman, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, more, etc. -- the books could go on for any number of issues."
SA: "Dumb question, are the February issues out yet or do they come out in February?"
AC: "Out in February -- and not a dumb question at all since normally the date on a periodical is in advance of coming out!"
SA: "I see. What about the ones that combine Superman and Wonder Woman? Do they count as a separate issue or part of the WW or Superman series?"
AC: "Counts as separate, but honestly "New 52" is basically just branding at this point. There aren't necessarily 52 different comics coming out every month. It hasn't been exact in a while."

Now, DC Comics announced its plans in November 2013 to feature special steampunk-themed variant covers for 20 of its February releases.

Tonner Dolls released its now sold-out Wonder Woman, Steampunk #1 in 2012.

How did they know?

No Tribble at all

It has taken way, way too long, but Steampunk Uhura is finally on her way to Nichelle Nichols!

In case you're late in joining this story already in progress, Momma took me and my dear friend Phoebe to Phoenix Comicon 13 last May to meet Nichelle Nichols - AKA Lieutenant Nyota Uhura of Star Trek: The Original Series fame.

Ms. Nichols liked me so much she asked for one just like me! 


Well, we all know there is only one ME, but Momma worked hard to recreate a steampunk
doppelgänger just for her.

Sadly, between the time it took to create Steampunk Uhura and Momma's bouts with pneumonia, Bell's Palsy, a hospitalization, etc., it took until today for Momma to send Steampunk Uhura on her way.

But Steampunk Uhura is really and truly headed to California to live with Momma Nichols.

I hope she likes her!

BTW, someone commented on Ms. Nichol's Twitter page about the lock and chain I was wearing.

I want to say that I wear the Master lock and chain as a symbol of my origins, but only I have the key.

So Long, It's Been Good to Know You

Smithsonian Folkways
I tip my tiny top hat today in memory of an American legend who died late last night, Pete Seeger.

Growing up in the late '60s and early '70s in Appalachian Ohio gave Momma an appreciation for folk music. In fact, my darling Clementine is named after his rendition of the old ballad, Clementine.

Seeger, who was 94 when he died, was an American folk singer. A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s but was blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. In the 1960s, he re-emerged on the public scene as a prominent singer of protest music in support of international disarmament, civil rights, counterculture and environmental causes.

If you have never truly listened to this musical genius, Momma and I highly recommend Seeger's American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 1 by .

Dolly'll never go away again

As previously mentioned, Momma has never cared for blond, blue-eyed dolls.

Maybe it was because she was a brunette, brown-eyed girl.

Or maybe it was because of all of the blond, blue-eyed dolls on the market in the late '60s and early '70s when she was in her formative doll years.

Almost all the dolls she saw of that era were blue-eyed blondes - at least in the town she grew up in. Momma had Ideal's Velvet and Mia (she preferred the brunette Mia) and didn't even know there was an African American Chrissy until she was an adult.

She and her brother both collected Marx's "Best of the West" and
her brother collected their "Noble Knights and Vikings" action figures. Momma had Jane, Janice, and Josie West, as well as Princess Wildflower, while her brother collected the males in both lines. (Momma would have liked to collect girls from the "Noble Knights and Vikings" but there was none.)

At the end of her doll-playing days (but not collecting!) she had Mattel's entire Sunshine Family and Happy Family lines - mostly because she liked the multicultural and multi-generational aspect of the dolls. (Mattel did not make a "Black" Barbie until 1980!)

But her biggest regret? Not keeping the two Barbies given to her by her older cousins.

Why? Her cousins are 6 to 12 years older than Momma and gave her two of the earliest Barbies when they outgrew them!

Sadly, Momma did not like what she now thinks was a 1961 Mattel Barbie Titian-Hair Bubble-Cut Barbie, and what was possibly the first 1959 Teenage Fashion Model Blonde Barbie.

Momma disliked them so much she dressed them in white slips (yes, they made dolls wear slips back then) and forced them into domestic servitude for her Mod and Malibu Barbies.


Monday, January 27

Steampunk Addie's Improbable History

It probably will come as no surprise that Momma and I are both looking forward to the upcoming moving picture, Mr. Peabody & Sherman. 

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a computer-animated adventure comedy film based upon the characters from the Peabody's Improbable History segments of the 1959-1964 animated television series, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show

Although the television show ended days before Momma was born, watching reruns was an anticipated event in her life. 

The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show (known as Rocky & His Friends during its first two seasons and as The Bullwinkle Show for the remaining seasons) featured the serialized adventures of the two title characters, Bullwinkle the moose and Rocky the squirrel.

Supporting segments included Dudley Do-Right (a parody of old-time melodrama), Peabody's Improbable History (a dog and his pet boy Sherman traveling through time), and Fractured Fairy Tales (classic fairy tales retold in comic fashion), among others.

Rocky & Bullwinkle was known for its quality writing and wry humor. Mixing puns, cultural and topical satire, and self-referential humor, it appealed to adults as well as children.

That is why we are looking forward to the moving picture's (re)scheduled March 7, 2014, release.

Mr. Peabody, the most accomplished dog in the world, and his mischievous boy Sherman, use their time machine - The WABAC - to go on the most outrageous adventures known to man or dog. But when Sherman takes The WABAC out for a joyride to impress his friend Penny, they accidentally rip a hole in the universe, wreaking havoc on the most important events in world history. Before they forever alter the past, present and future, Mr. Peabody must come to their rescue, ultimately facing the most daunting challenge of any era: figuring out how to be a parent. Together, the time traveling trio will make their mark on history.

Are you ready to leave your mark on history?


Sunday, January 26

This week in the Civil War: Jan. 26, 1864

More fighting in Tennessee

The Union forces pushed back from Dandridge, Tenn., were still in the area 150 years ago this week in the Civil War. For the time being, they disrupted Confederate attempts to capture Union supply wagons and restock their troops in need of shoes, further weapons and additional ammunition. On Jan. 27, 1864, a Confederate force smashed into a Union cavalry brigade. Hard fighting erupted and Union forces took advantage of dense fog to drive back sharply. Union troops swiftly routed Confederates in the area of Fair Garden Road and pursued many of the rebels, capturing and killing several. Union troops attacked another Confederate unit before withdrawing, weary from combat and running short of ammunition.

Thursday, January 23

Reading brings us unknown friends

I, of course, am (very) loosely based upon the American Girl Addy Walker books. But did you know my Dear Friends, Betsy, Tacy, Tib and Naifi, are based upon the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace?

National Reading Day is an annual event which celebrates and encourages reading by younger children. National Reading Day is celebrated in thousands of schools all around the United States. This literacy event is designed to help Pre-K through Third Grade students develop the literacy foundation they need to become lifelong learners. Schools, libraries, nonprofit groups, and parents participate in a variety of activities with younger readers on National Reading Day. Join in with the hundreds of thousands of other young readers who will celebrate National Reading Day on Jan. 23, 2014.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis

“She is too fond of books, and it has addled her brain.”
― Louisa May Alcott


– · – · – – · – – · ·

Did you know that on Jan. 23, 1909 the RMS Republic, a passenger ship of the White Star Line, became the first ship to use the CQD distress signal after colliding with another ship, the SS Florida, off the Massachusetts coastline, killing six people. The Republic sank the next day.

CQD, transmitted in Morse code as  – · – ·    – – · –    – · ·  is one of the first distress signals adopted for radio use. It was announced on Jan. 7, 1904, by "Circular 57" of the , and became effective, beginning Feb. 1, 1904 for Marconi installations.

Land telegraphs had traditionally used "CQ" ("sécu," from the French word sécurité) to identify alert or precautionary messages of interest to all stations along a telegraph line, and CQ had also been adopted as a "general call" for maritime radio use.

However, in landline usage there was no general emergency signal, so in 1904 the Marconi International Marine Communication Company added a "D" ("distress") to CQ in order to create its distress call. Thus, "CQD" is understood by wireless operators to mean, "All stations: distress."

Contrary to popular belief, CQD does not stand for "Come Quick, Danger", "Come Quickly: Distress", or "Come Quick — Drowning!"

SOS was first adopted by the German government in radio regulations effective April 1, 1905, and became the worldwide standard on July 1, 1908.

On April 14-15, 1912, RMS Titanic radio operator Jack Phillips initially sent "CQD," which was still commonly used by British ships. Harold Bride, the junior radio operator, reminded Phillips that the new code was SOS and allegedly said, "Send SOS, it's the new call, and it may be your last chance to send it."  The two codes were alternated until they abandoned the ship. (Phillips died before rescue, but Bride survived.) 

Incidentally, SOS, the international Morse code distress signal (· · · – – – · · ·), is thought to stand for "save our ship," "save our souls," or "send out succour," but SOS does not actually stand for anything.

SOS remained the maritime radio distress signal until 1999, when it was replaced by the Global Maritime Distress Safety System. SOS is still recognized as a visual distress signal.

Wednesday, January 22

My Stardust memory

Momma has become quite interested in "slim-bodied" 18 inch dolls ever since she got Carpatina's Ana Ming. When she was looking into them, she discovered a line of dolls that is, sadly, no longer in production.

Not only that, but she discovered that I am not the first time traveler!

Stardust Classics dolls were produced from 1997 to 2001. The 18 dolls were designed by Vernon Thornblad, who later  designed the Carpatina dolls.

The three Stardust Classics dolls all have a fantasy theme and are Laurel the Woodfairy; Alissa, Princess of Arcadia; and Kat the Time Explorer. Each doll had a series of four books with accompanying outfits, accessories, and furniture.

We (of course) like Kat - even if she is a blue-eyed blonde. (Maybe we'll have to make an exception for her someday?)

The following descriptions came from an old Stardust Classics catalog.

Kat the Time Explorer: Ten-year-old Kat is excited about spending a year with her aunt Jessie. Her excitement turns to amazement when she discovers that Jessie is working on a time machine. Soon the two are sent spinning back to London in 1851. They're thrilled to learn they've arrived during the Great Exhibition, the first world's fair. But the adventure turns into a wild search when the time machine is lost. Without it, they're stuck in the past! 

Kat is as curious as her namesake. So when her aunt repairs a time machine, she eagerly plunges into the adventure. The Stardust Classics doll celebrates Kat's enthusiasm. Her blue eyes reflect her lively curiosity. And with long blond curls and blushing cheeks, she's at home in the most elegant -- or practical -- outfits from long ago. Kat is 18 1/2" tall and easily posable.
Kat comes dressed for her first adventure in Victorian England. The floor-length gown, in dusty rose and ivory, is accented with rose bows and pearls. She also comes with slippers, tights and underwear, plus a copy of Kat the Time Explorer. Accessories sold separately.
Kat's Extras: This four-piece set sweetly complements Kat's Victorian ball gown. Her choker is a miniature cameo on a rose ribbon. The ivory and dusty rose accents are carried over into Kat's ribboned hair comb. And for true elegance, add the parasol and fan in lacy white. Both open and fold like the real things.

Kat's Egyptian Adventure 

Kat and the Secrets of the Nile: In 19th-century Egypt, Kat and Jessie join excavators looking for ancient treasures. They quickly learn that some of those treasures have been stolen. As Kat sets out to find the thief, she dodges dangers from sandstorms to crocodiles. But the greatest threat proves to be a clever villain, who's figured out Kat's on his trail.

Kat's Egyptian Outfit: Kat's Arabic teal dress, edged with golden coins, is topped by a fuchsia robe. Gold slippers and a gauzy veil with jeweled headwrap complete the look.

Egyptian Jewelry: Jewelry worthy of a pharaoh. The golden collar and armlet are fashioned from flexible metal for easy fit.

Plum Traveling Suit: Kat's perfectly suited for 19th-century Egypt in this stylish skirt and peplum jacket. The outfit is a mix of plum and gold florals, with velvet and braid trim. Comes with blouse, boots and socks.

Excavation Accessories: A handy set on desert digs. The straw hat shelters Kat from the hot sun, while the backpack holds the fragment she found and her pick for unearthing finds.

Egyptian Furnishings: Shopping the market of Minya, Kat spots two handsome pieces: a wooden trunk and a colorful fringed rug.

Egyptian Treasures: Four reminders of Egypt's rich past: pharaoh's crook, hawk-headed burial pot, serving tray and statue of an Egyptian cat. 

Kat's Mongolian Adventure

Kat and the Emperor's Gift: Kat and Jessie travel to Kublai Khan's court in ancient China, where their arrival sets off a power struggle. Caught in the middle are Kat's new friends, Princess Cocachin and Marco Polo the explorer. While Chin is being forced to leave China to marry a cruel man, Marco is forbidden to depart. But when Kat tries to help them, a crafty enemy plots to trap her in the past.

Blue Velvet Gown: For Kublai Khan's dinner, Kat wears this deep blue velvet dress with trailing skirt. Comes with sash and red lace-up slippers.

Silk Coat and Cap: An exotic addition to Kat's dress. The pleated coat, cut longer in back for dramatic flair, is magnificently matched by the silk cap.

Statue and Banner: Two striking pieces from the Khan's court: running horse statue and bold banner.

Mongolian Winter Outfit: Kat's cozy ermine-look coat is trimmed with black fur at the cuffs and collar. Comes with suede-look cap and boots, also edged in black fur.

Oriental Treasures: Four Oriental objects crafted with extraordinary beauty: floral teapot, two teacups, green perfume bottle, umber vase.

Kat's Renaissance Adventure

Kat and the Missing Notebooks: In Renaissance Italy, Kat tries to get a young artist apprenticed to Leonardo da Vinci. But her scheme is derailed by the theft of da Vinci's notebooks -- which she shares blame for. And more than her friend's career is at stake. Unless Kat finds the books, a spy may execute an evil plot and a masterpiece may be lost.

Satin Gown and Accessories: Kat is breathtaking in a gown of midnight blue with ice-blue overskirt and matching slippers. A delicate drawstring bag and beaded headpiece complete her elegant outfit.

Florentine Treasures: Three mementos of Florence: leather-look satchel, cloth-bound artist's sketchbook and ornate wooden chest with domed lid.

I am especially interested in her Egyptian and Mongolian adventures. Have you explored time with Kat?

Tuesday, January 21

To Echo with love
Heads up on a new doll blog.

My Dear Friend Echo has started her own blog, From Echo With Love.

I love Echo. She has a wicked sense of style and appreciates Yours Truly, too.

Hello! Thanks so much for coming to my blogsite. I'm Echo and I love visual art and design! Some of my favorite types of art include painting (with all different mediums), photography, and sculpting. I also enjoy crocheting and doing graphic design and illustration. I created this little website so I could share some of the things that I have created and I hope you like what I share.

Thanks so much for visiting my site and please don't hesitate to look around and stay awhile if you like! I LOVE sharing what I create and design and I hope I inspire YOU to create some art and share it too.

She's starting her own Etsy site soon, too. I can't wait to see what she has to offer!

I'm hoping for a steampunk jacket for me.

Sunday, January 19


Momma and I have been longtime Sherlock Holmes fans, and we've especially enjoyed the recent treatments in both Sherlock and Elementary.

We especially enjoyed Sherlock's Season One episode, The Blind Banker, because the teapots that Momma collects had a starring role.

Some internet sleuthing told us the teapots for the show were indeed Yixing and were supplied by the British tea company, Canton Tea Club.

A few months ago the production team for Sherlock (the new BBC series) approached us for some authentic Chinese teaware including yixing teapots that would comfortably pass for priceless museum artifacts. The star of the piece was our Shi Piao yixing teapot, ably supported by our bamboo tea accessories all used so tenderly by the beautiful but tragic Chinese heroine in her role as a Tea Master.

Remind me to tell you someday about the more than 100 teapots Momma has, including one from the 18th century.


This week in the Civil War: Jan. 19, 1864

Fighting in Tennessee

Union forces intent on better securing eastern Tennessee for the federal government march in mid-January 1864 on Dandridge, Tenn., not far from a vital rail supply line linking eastern Tennessee and Virginia. The Union advance forced Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet to fall back. But on Jan. 17, 1864, fighting erupted between the opposing forces. Confederates backed by artillery and Cavalry forced the Union fighters under Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis into retreat by nightfall. But for lack of more shoes, supplies and ammunition the Confederates were unable to destroy the federal forces outright.

Friday, January 17

Walk of shame

I don't know when I last saw Momma laugh so hard.

Look at what she found this morning on eBay:

Limited edition 'Walk of Shame' My American Girl Doll. Beautiful brunette with brown eyes and olive complexion. Classic morning-after-party hairstyle. Wearing a custom-made summer party dress of embroidered white cotton, wrinkled of course, one purple shoe, one fuzzy bunny slipper and no underwear. Accompanied by a small fluffy calico stray that must have woken up with her in the alley.... Original box included. Bottle of Yukon Jack NOT included.

Momma told me that  "walk of shame" refers to a person who must walk alone past strangers or peers before reaching a place of privacy. Most commonly, it occurs the morning after a night out at a bar, nightclub, or party. The "walker" may often be identified by his or her disheveled appearance and incongruous evening attire, particularly on Saturday or Sunday mornings.

I still don't see what is so funny. She looks like most of the dolls in my Big Sister's room.

Minus the bottle of Yukon Jack, of course.


Wednesday, January 15

Slower than molasses in January

Did you know that today is the 95th anniversary of the Great Molasses Flood?

Molasses is a brown, syrupy by-product of the refining of sugarcane, grapes, or sugar beets into sugar.

Momma has loved molasses ever since reading about Laura Ingalls Wilder eating it on her cornbread in Little House of the Prairie. Over the years she has collected many molasses recipes, so she was quite interested to hear about the Boston Molasses Disaster.

Also known as the Great Molasses Flood and the Great Boston Molasses Tragedy, it occurred on Jan. 15, 1919, in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Mass., when a large molasses storage tank burst, and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 miles per hour, killing 21 and injuring 150.

Several factors might have contributed to the disaster. The tank was poorly constructed and insufficiently tested. It leaked regularly and Boston's poor frequently collected the leaking syrup for home sweetening. In fact, it leaked so often that the owners painted the tank brown to hide the leaks.

Jan. 15, 1919 was also unseasonably warm for Boston. The temperature had risen above 40 °F, climbing rapidly from the frigid temperatures of the preceding days.

It took four days before they stopped searching for victims and many of the dead were so coated in molasses, they were hard to recognize.

It took more than 300 people about two weeks to remove the molasses from the cobblestone streets, theaters, businesses, automobiles, and homes. The harbor was brown with molasses until summer.

The event has entered Boston folklore, and for many decades residents claimed the area still smelled of molasses on hot summer days.

Tuesday, January 14

Raising Arizona Geeks

My Steam Team and I have been invited to participate in Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative Geek Week and Geeks’ Night Out in Tempe, Ariz!

Tempe is known for its technology companies, its entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, and groundbreaking research at Arizona State University and many other colleges. And, of course, if there’s one thing Tempe knows, it’s how to throw a party.

Join us for Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative Geek Week and Geeks’ Night Out. We’re blending science, technology and fun to celebrate the Arizona SciTech Festival. Best of all, the events are free.

Geeks are really important to Tempe. About 20 percent of the jobs in our city are tech-related. We are, perhaps, the most tech-heavy town in Arizona, depending on how you slice it. We love geeks. They're smart, fun and want to change the world for the better. They've cured diseases, built robots, and yes, even helped us get to Mars.

Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative Geek Week
Visit the Gallery at the Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe Public Library, Tempe History Museum for pop-culture, science-related fun throughout the week. Tempe schools will also host classes and bring in special guest speakers throughout the week.

What is Geeks' Night Out?
Be part of a very special Third Thursday on Mill Avenue on Feb. 20 from 4:30 to 9 p.m., themed to bring out the curiosity within. There’s science behind everything you love and we want to show you how it works. From science fiction to the business of science and everything in between, we’re celebrating smarts. Join us. It’s fun, smart and very Tempe.

Invade City Hall! (Or at least walk around it in your costume)
Phoenix Comicon hosts its annual Geeks' Night Out costume contest. Strut your stuff before the judging. Members of the Tempe City Council will lead the zombies, super heroes, super villians and creatures of all kinds on a walk around Tempe City Hall. Parade starts at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome to participate.
Tempe School District Robotics Clubs

Tempe robotics clubs will bring the amazing robots they've built in class. What was once science fiction is now able to be designed, built and operated by high school and middle school students.

R2-D2 Builders Club
Check out full-size replicas of R2-D2 and other Astromech Droids with the R2-D2 Builders Club. With more than 10,000 members in 30 countries worldwide, the club’s replicas have appeared on behalf of Lucas Films in Deal or No Deal, The Rose Bowl Parade, The Fiesta Bowl Parade, movie premiers, sports events, Star Wars in Concert, the White House, Halloween events and the Today Show.
Greathouse Labs
Evil robots take over the world! Lance Greathouse has robots that shoot fire and look like they came out of Terminator or the Matrix. Check them out!

Video Games
GameTruck has been operating mobile video game theaters in the Valley for over five years with over 50 franchises nationwide. Come play with us as we show off the latest multiplayer video games in our state of the art environment. GameTruck will also be demonstrating Evil Controllers so you can experience gaming with the industry leader in modded controllers. The truck is wheelchair accessible.

Pop Culture and Sci Fi

Ghostly Fun

The Southwest Anaomalous Research Center will be at Tempe City Hall showing the equipment they use in researching potential ghostly hauntings. They’ll lead a tour of Monti’s Restaurant, reported to be haunted, at 8 p.m., if you sign up with them at their booth.

The Arizona Ghostbusters are ready to believe you! Check out this group of do-gooders in ghostbusting swag. See the proton packs and check out the rest of their gear. You might even win a ride in Ecto, their car.

Dr. Who?
Step into a full-size replica of Dr. Who's Tardis, which will be located at the corner of Sixth and Mill in present time, brought to you by Az Tardis.
Phoenix Comicon Costume Contest + Photo Booth
Dress like your favorite inventor, invention, science project gone wrong, whatever. Show off your Star Trek and Star Wars gear. We want to see your favorite SciFi costume on Mill Avenue! Strut your scientific stuff in front of Tempe City Hall. Prizes!

Comic Book and Graphic Novel Signings
Pop Culture Paradise is bringing several graphic novelists to sign their goods. Their display will be located in the ground floor retail space of the City Hall Parking Garage located on Fifth Street adjacent to Tempe City Hall. Look for Ecto, the Arizona Ghostbusters mobile, near there!

Desert Dolls Roller Derby
Desert Dolls Roller Derby will show how they can thwart gravity. Find them as they roll through our downtown.
Which will you like better? Their skating, their attitudes or their costumes?

ERIC Knows Recycling
What goes in the blue barrel and what goes in the trash? What happens to an aluminum soda can after you drop it in the recycling bin? Meet ERIC, Tempe’s mobile Educational Recycling Information Center – a 38-foot trailer filled with innovative and interactive opportunities to learn about the recycling cycle.

Chemistry in Your Storage Closet
Tempe’s Household Products Collection Center will demonstrate why you shouldn’t store your pool chemicals along with brake fluid in a cardboard box. Or why it’s not a good idea to have, say, cleaning supplies, paint thinner and paper towels on the same shelf. Many common household products can be dangerous – to your family, your pets and the environment – if not used, stored and disposed of properly. Learn more about how you can help protect the earth and your family by making smart choices about household products.

Tempe Elementary and Tempe Unified High School District have outdone themselves with amazing science displays. See how the future of our society is learning STEM and using it to change the world.

Kid Zone
The youngsters of Tempe Kid Zone will have a display of their artistic talents around the railing of Tempe City Hall while Kid Zone staff will provide an interactive science activity for everyone to enjoy.

It's about time I got some public recognition.

A dragon lives forever

Momma is frantic.

Disney revealed yesterday a new float coming this spring to the "Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade" at the Magic Kingdom Park: Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty" – in the form of an enormous, Steampunk-inspired dragon.

Stretching 35 feet in length and reaching 26 feet above the parade route, the Maleficent Dragon was designed in partnership with Tony Award-winner Michael Curry.

So why is she frantic? Will they, or will they not, have one at Disneyland?

Monday, January 13

Jeepers Creepers!

As mentioned at least once or twice, Momma and I love the Monster High students and their pets.

One of our few complaints was the pets were a bit small, but that has been rectified with the new Secret Creepers!

Pets can be the best friends and the best secret keepers. The pets of the core Monster High ghouls have come to unlife to keep your secrets! Each of these five scary cute sidekicks (sold separately) has a secret-keeping feature.

Called Secret Creepers Critters, Captain Penny (Robecca Steam's mechanical penguin), Azura (Nefera de Nile doll's scarab beetle) and Hissette (Cleo de Nile's cute cobra) figures each come with a basic pen and paper that can be used along with their secret-keeping and note-passing features.

Count Fabulous (
Draculaura's pet bat) and Neptuna (Lagoona Blue's piranha) figures come with one invisible ink pen along with paper and a "reveal" feature. Write in secret - or in the open - but expose your thoughts only when it's safe! 

Additionally, Secret Creepers Pets Watzit (Frankie Stein’s stitched-together pet), Sir Hoots A Lot (Ghoulia Yelps’s wise, but not old, pet owl) and Shiver (Abbey Bominable’s cool pet wooly mammoth) figures have a creepy cool secret-keeping feature: pop open their heads to reveal voice-recording brains. 

(I can neither confirm nor deny, but I have heard that Dustin [Twyla's pet dust bunny] and Chewlian [Venus McFlytrap's pet sentient venus flytrap] are to be added to the line!)

I simply cannot wait to assemble my own waddle of steampunk penguins.

Mwa ha ha!

Sunday, January 12

Magic, imagination, and fun

Momma and I have become increasingly interested in Carpatina Dolls since Ana Ming arrived, so we asked her to tell us more about herself and the Carpatina line.

Founder Mikaela Hinkle was born in Romania and immigrated to the United States in 1993. By 1996 she was working for Childhood Companions (which made doll lines including Stardust Classics, and Little Sisters) using her degree in Textile and Apparel Engineering. 

Carpatina Renaissance, a line of fine apparel for adults was founded by Hinkle in 1998 and named after her beloved Carpathian Mountains.
Incorporated in 2002, Carpatina LLC introduced
a line of 18 inch vinyl-bodied dolls called Fantasy Adventures® in July 2002.

The Girlfriends Collection® was launched a year later.
Clothing from the Girlfriends Collection fits 18 inch cloth-bodied dolls, such as American Girl.

One of the things I like about Carpatina (other than the quality!) is the imagination.

According to the story, Great-Aunt Cordelia once gave cousins Ana Ming, Julia, and Kohanna each a Magical Moonstone Necklace which transports the wearer back in time. 

The ancient Orient fascinates Ana Ming; the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and fairy tales fascinate Julia; while Kohanna likes to transport herself into the books she adores.

And steampunk! Don't forget their Steampunk Adventures!

This week in the Civil War: Jan. 12, 1864

Northern war strategy

In wintertime 150 years ago in the Civil War, speculation arose in the North about the road ahead to the long conflict. The New York Times, in a dispatch Jan. 13, 1864, noted that the North would need to "bisect" the Confederacy if the Union were to prevail. "But there is much to do — indeed, there is much being done — which is all-important and highly essential to future operations." The paper noted that the spring warm-up comes first to the South and a key to the Union war strategy would be laying down new supply and communications lines by rail and other means to eastern Tennessee. The paper noted that the Union's recent victories in eastern Tennessee would make that one base for launching further strikes into the Deep South. And the paper exhorted Lincoln's government to supply Grant with sufficient troops for the fight ahead. "Let the Government not fail to see to it that Gen. Grant has an army in numbers sufficient for his work ... the last fatal blow to the rebellion is to be struck by Gen. Grant."