“It’s a long way up…


“And I know it’s hard when you’re falling down. And it’s a long way up when you hit the ground. Get up now, get up, get up now”
-Imagine Dragons

Quote of the night-my inspiration and motivation to not give up in the face of fear.

4.Corsets, Goggles, and Steam-OH MY!

I consider myself to be a partaker of the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) community. I like to tinker, I like to make things, and I especially like receiving gifts that have been hand made (hand-knitted Grandma’s sweaters, count me in!). But what I really consider myself to be a connoisseur of is the Steampunk Culture, or counterculture. But before I go into the aesthetics and beauty that is behind the culture, let me give you a little history (sorry, I’m going to nerd out here).ImageSteampunk is an aesthetic movement and arising subculture that arose from science fiction.The art was initially founded in fiction, but has since been crafted into art, music, graphic novels, film, and home décor. Steampunk as a genre descended from Cyberpunk, which questions scientific optimism prevalent in mainstream science fiction and instead offers a gritty, grimly realistic world in which corporations rule the earth, empowered by the development of communications technology. Steampunk authors realized the same sorts of values could be used to re-imagine the Victorian era, with the empire serving a similar role as corporations” (Steampunkmagazine). Steampunk has been around since the 1980’s with the regularly recognized author, Paul Di Filippo, who coined the term in his short stories. Since then and roughly starting around 2006-07, steampunk has “become an art and craft movement as well as a subculture with its own fashion and music” (Steampunkmagazine).
So, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering, “Well, this sounds like an art movement more than a culture.” True! Steampunk culture is mostly fixated around aesthetics and beautification to a Victorian style. But, it is a subculture. Many believe it to be a way of life and a way of looking at the world (an anti-mass produced consumerist outlook).

Steampunk takes the mass produced and makes it unique. It’s a DIY culture in a very unique Victorian meets technology grit. Furthermore, steampunk enthusiasts make these things for the sake of their own self-identification. AND, they post how they make their things on blogs and websites for others to try their hand at. Mostly this culture doesn’t sell their stuff. Unless your name is Insect Lab and you make such unique and cool stuff that it doesn’t matter. I mean who wouldn’t want to own a modded-out beetle fitted with clock gears?Image

Steampunk is more than a mere art movement, it’s a lifestyle, and for many a giant middle finger to the status-quo.Similar to punk’s notion of anti-conformity, steampunk stresses the importance of remaining an individual in a capitalized and mass-marketed society. Steampunk says that as culture grows, this is especially directed towards the U.S., people have a sense of lost values in community, identity, and strength and value in the human condition. Most people buy products which are manufactured in foreign countries and have been processed to the extent that it no longer serves being a unique item, but a mass production of the mainstream society. Steampunk address this in a counterculture movement which destroys the modern day technology to become a vintage style, turn of the nineteenth century artifact that still functions the same as modern technology.
In this sense modern society can learn from this subculture as it offers solutions and possibilities within frameworks that inspire and support movement towards positivity and progress.

So there you have it in a nut shell. Steampunk, it’s a subculture, an outlook on life, a kick-ass DIY art-form, and creative hobby.

3. Oh PAX

Something very exciting happened to me on Wednesday…I got tickets to PAX Prime (cue music).

Pax logo
PAX stands for Penny Arcade Expo. Similar to your anime-cons and comic-cons, it is a convention that has been held every year since 2004. From panels to concerts to exhibits, PAX runs a 4 day course in Seattle, WA. But what really makes PAX neat is the amount of things there are to do and that it is a convention solely focusing on gaming. This includes handheld consoles, smart phones, computers, and consoles that range from the Wii U to the PS3. It is also a convention to meet artists, designers, and developers; to partake in freeplay and demos of up coming games. They also feature tabletop games and computer hardware and software. You could sit down and listen to panels, go meet-and-greet with some game developers, play a few rounds of “Munchkin,” compete in a tourney of video game prowess, or sit down and freeplay on PCs until 2 in the morning.pax4

So what’s the big deal? I mean, it’s a convention for gaming just like any other expo convention.Pax Prime1
But wait! PAX Prime and PAX East are the two largest gaming events in North America. AND considering when ticket sales went live via Twitter, within 20 minutes of them opening the floodgates, all 4-day passes sold out. Within 6 hours of releasing ticket sales, all single-day passes had sold out. CRAZY! Of course most of these tickets are now being resold for ridiculous amounts of money. I was lucky enough to snag day passes for Friday and Sunday.

So to put it lightly-I’M SO EXCITED! They haven’t put up any information on who is going to be there or what exhibits will be shown. Actually, they’re still taking submissions for panels and speakers. But what I do know is I will be walking up and down that exhibit hall all day, soaking in the culture, games, and awesome costumes that many have worked on for months-and it’s only 139 days away.

PAX5Pax prime2Pax6

2.Let’s talk Legos

Lego PunkAs a child, Legos were the best tools for creativity. They allowed me to fly high in the sky in my B-52 plane or escape to the Swiss Alps in my luxury cabin on the mountain side. They gave me the literal building blocks to create anything I wanted, and at times, would play war and peace between my brother and I.

lego-mindstormNot only did Legos ingeniously allow rectangular square blocks to aspire young creatives to build, question, seek, and create, they also are gender and age inclusive. Anyone can play with Legos–from the young to the old, the hippie to the punk–they are fun and inventive; they are also educational. From colleges to grade schools across the U.S, teachers are using Legos with students in constructing and programing robots to solve various problems. This includes agricultural problems to solving math solutions. Lego has also created an education starter by teaching “educate to innovate” (www.legoeducation.com).

So Legos have been pretty great…
Then they released the Lego Friends product.
LEGO-Friends-Olivias-WorkshopOlivia, seen to the right, is studying quantum physics with her robot pal while juggling her studies and being a sophisticated girl who can only be calmed for her love of science….or better yet Lego is trying to keep their same brand ideals but marketing more blatantly and loudly towards girls. What was once gender inclusive is now targeting small girls who might be “a little too girly” for the Lego world.

What gives Lego?
As girl myself, I grew up playing with Legos, and as much of a tomboy that I was, I still played house with my pretend Lego family (it was way better and cheaper then a doll house). Lego is carefully walking a thin line that could easily topple them into loosing their credible brand. Continuing down the path of gender-typed toys might eventually push their loyal customer base and lose those who deem themselves, brand loyal. I personally think it was a nice try and I get what they were trying to go, but let’s face it, the original Legos are for everyone. What they should be doing is producing more of the  buckets containing the basic blocks and less construct kits. Those were the best and gave you creative freedom!
Legos everywhere

1. My Journey…

Hi, I’m Leslie! I’m an advertising major and senior at the UO. I’ll be graduating Fall term ’13 and while this is super exciting it is also very intimidating. Am I ready? Will I get a job in my projected field? What does my future hold? Will I be successful? Will I make it?
And so on…

I’m the type of person that likes to make plans and precautions. Not only am I a student at the UO but I am also a staff member. I work in Housing as a Food Service Worker 2; creating new menu items while supervising a small staff of students. It’s also a type of job that I can fall back on after I graduate (something I hope I will never have to do). BUT it has prolonged my college experience. If you must know I’m a 6th year senior.
College thus far has been an adventure. Much like the game “Journey,” it’s been more about the journey itself rather then reaching the end point. I’ve learned so much by taking classes that seemed interesting rather than classes I’ve needed just to graduate. From learning about subcultures to taking MANY writing classes, I feel that I have grown as a person and am ready for what life has to offer (not to sound too cheesy). While the journey has been a long one, I plan on using the knowledge and lessons learned while at the UO in my future plans.