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"All Good Things..."

A project log for The Homebrew Steampunk Laptop v2

"Admiral, this is an almost totally new Enterprise." (...er, Homebrew Steampunk Laptop)

StarhawkStarhawk 04/22/2019 at 05:030 Comments

This project has concluded, quite successfully, and this is me taking the time for a bit of reflection before I put up the Glamour Reel.

I have to say, it's a kind of a bittersweet post, this one. I've had real fun here. Yes, any number of challenges have presented themselves, but they were overcome, one-by-one, and in the end it was more than worth all the blood and sweat and tears, proverbial and otherwise...

I'll share three bits of relevant wisdom. One, from one of my favorite songs -- "Closing Time" by the band Semisonic -- "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." It seems to me that this is only the start of something. After all, I built this machine with a purpose in mind, and that was not just to replace the first Steampunk DIY Laptop I made.

See, I was a lucky asshat when I was born. I got a double dose of creativity. My father has always been an artist or illustrator or designer or something involving the graphic arts basically since he was old enough to hold pencil or pen. My mother has been literary to largely the same degree for largely the same length of time.

I started drawing probably around age 8. I haven't stopped yet :) although most of my early work is so awful in retrospect that TBH I kind of want to burn it. (I suppose we all start somewhere, however.) For the longest time, however, every time I tried to write -- the result was so bad I could smell it (and it didn't smell very good at all.)

But, then, in 2012, something happened. A short story grabbed me and wouldn't let go. It eventually mutated into a novel, and then got completely rewritten once, abortively about halfway three more times, and completely once more. In the next few months, I think, I will be publishing it -- I'm in the very last stages of the very last pass of edits. After that, it's getting submitted to two literary agents (unless the first one picks it up right away) -- and if they both reject it I'm self-publishing on Amazon.

This computer was specifically created to help me finish that book and write its (hopefully many) sequels.

I took inspiration for this machine from a number of sources, obvious and otherwise. The MYST series of games, which I adore. The obvious overall 'steampunk' theme, which I also enjoy and appreciate quite a bit. Typewriters, of course. Various bits and bobs from my scrap pile lended themselves to the task, from the copier drum, to the brass gear from an actual brass clock, to the red cable tidy that was left over from my grandfather and his passion for cars and his aptitude for working with their engines. (I still remember his 1968 -- or was it '67? -- candy apple red Mustang with the canvas soft top -- I think -- and the little compass ball under the rear view mirror. I have never heard an engine with the same note since... sadly it had to be sold to settle his estate... I wonder where it is, now...)

I do hope that this project inspires others to build their own systems -- beautiful and otherwise -- although, all things are beautiful in some way to someone, I'd say. It's really not that hard to put together a computer that looks and works quite well, if one can get past the "OMG IT'S A COMPUTER" intimidation, and do a little research with the help of The Great Goog. On that note -- if anyone is having trouble with that and wants help, PM me. I'm here for that.

...and, with not much further to say, here, I shall close this post, with the second and third bits of wisdom -- the second, a quote from the character Atrus at the end of the game RIVEN, the sequel to MYST: that, in this project and in all things, "...perhaps, the ending can never be written..." and the third, and more significant, being the last line from the two-part "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode (the series-ender, specifically) from which this post takes its title -- "The sky's the limit."

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