Concert: Refugees of Steampunk Extravaganza

‘You look tired’. I am an introvert with slightly downturned features who struggles with chronic anemia, so yes, I know. I really wish perfect strangers would stop mentioning it. You might be well-intentioned, but it always comes off as rude.  No, I was not up unusually late last night. No, it’s not really any of your business. This is just how I look. And right now, I can guarantee you, however bad it looks, it feels way worse. I have fallen against the front door or the kitchen counter more than a few times this weekend. But, life must go on, right? Right.

At least, within reason. To make a long story much shorter, the Steampunk World’s Fair imploded shortly before it was supposed to happen this year and, after various twists and turns, what replaced it was a community organized COGS Expo, and a Refugees of Steampunk concert up the road.  My original plan for the weekend was both.  I knew Friday night was impossible, but I’d planned to check out COGS Saturday and the concert on Sunday.

Honestly, it was a relief when the schedule for the COGS Expo went live and a I realized there wasn’t a lot on it that I wouldn’t be able to see the following day at the concert. Let me rephrase that: there wasn’t a lot on it that I was strongly interested in.  So, I decided to take Saturday as a recovery day. I’ve been suffering for a few days and I knew, at the very least, I was in no condition to wander around a festival all day. If the things I wanted to see were close together, it maybe would have made sense to go for an hour or two, but in the end, as much as I would have liked to check it out, there was just no way I had the energy.

Today was better, but not by a lot. I slept a perfectly average amount, and soundly, which basically means I feel like I’m running on about 3 or 4 hours of sleep. But, there was a very long concert, and I really wanted to go.  There were a few bands I’d seen before and/or follow, and others that I just kept missing over and over again. Every time I tried to check out Montague Jaques Fromage before today, something happened – the weather mucked up a stage, or he was scheduled opposite something else I absolutely didn’t want to miss. In spite of all efforts to the contrary, this is the first time I’d get to see both halves of the Eternal Frontier in the same place, at the same time.

So, I didn’t really care if I was tired. I was going. I hauled my butt out of bed, got all ready, made a bit of breakfast…and stained my only steampunkish t-shirt in the doing. I absolutely didn’t have energy for costuming, so I knew that crap wasn’t going to happen, but I was like ‘oh! I have a t-shirt with a raygun on it! Perfect!’  …it would have been, but I had to wash it before it stained, so couldn’t wear it and ended up just grabbing whatever was clean instead.

Mercifully, the drive was a little shorter than I expected, so the fact I ended up getting going a little later than planned due to my last minute wardrobe change didn’t really affect me much.  But, holy shit, Dunellen, what is wrong with your roads?! There are more potholes than pavement!

The concert was good, though, and it was a relief that I could sit for it, and that they had food that the venue had food that probably wouldn’t kill me. I went with their sort of untraditional nachos. They were tasty, and I was able to casually pick at them all day, but the brisket definitely sat a little heavy on my overly sensitive tummy. Still, probably worth the cost, in the long run – red meat may be a bit heavy, but the anemia’s bad enough that heme iron will do more good than harm as long as I can keep it down.

I’m going to gloss over a lot in this post for two reasons:

  1. I’m tired.
  2. I’ve seen a lot of these acts before, so I’ve already talked about them on this blog.


I came in to the tail end of a performer playing tv themes on keyboard. They said her name several times, so I feel bad that as I type I can’t seem to grasp it, but I do remember something about a radio station called ‘In Goth We Trust’, so maybe google that and you’ll get more info. I should be doing the legwork for you on this, but I just can’t right now. Sorry about that.

What a cool looking venue, though! Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse just has the perfect vibe for a steampunk show. The decor is sort of…gothic circus kitsch? I’m not sure if that gives you quite the right mental image, but it’s the best description I’ve got for the moment. Maybe I’ll come up with better adjectives later, when I’m a little less haggard.

After that we had Montague Jaques Fromage, doing a short set of “steampunk funk”. I genuinely had no idea what to expect from this, but it turns out it was sort of a combination of storytelling and what I’m going to loosely define as rap. It was fun – will look him up again later when I’m fully conscious.

Montague Jaques Fromage/Steampunk Funk Bizarre

Next was opera singer Nicole Oliva, who I won’t say much about on the grounds that I talked about her last year, and that I still know fuck all about opera. Her voice is pretty, but I really don’t have the knowledge necessary to tell you much beyond ‘soprano’.

nicole oliva
Nicole Oliva

Scott Helland was next, and it’s no secret how much I love his stuff, so there’s not really much to say here, either. He’s awesome and you should check him out if you haven’t yet. That is all.

Scott Helland

Interspersed throughout the performances, Coveilance Dance Project would come up and do their thing, or fill the time while the stage was changing. I can’t really give you any more info about dance than I can about opera, I’m afraid. I’m sure they’re great, but I don’t care about dance, so it really just looked like well-choreographed jiggly girl bits to me. I have no culture at all, I know.

Coveilance Dance Project

Next up was the Eternal Frontier. This was another one I seemed to have an ill-fated relationship with until now. Either there was a scheduling conflict, or something happened and one of them had to cancel. So, I’d seen Professor Adam Smasher once before, but I’d never actually seen them in the same place at the same time. They were adorable – which, for the record, coming from me, is the highest form of compliment.

The Eternal Frontier

Next was A Halo Called Fred, who I’ve talked about enough that I don’t think there’s a lot new to say. They’re silly and fun and make the world a brighter, happier place to be in, at least for the duration of their set, so you should look them up. Also, they seem entirely incapable of completing a set without calling sidekicks to the stage, which is part of their charm, really.

A Halo Called Fred

The day finished off with Victor and the Bully, from the UK. I’d seen them last year, so I already knew they put on a good, high energy show, and they didn’t disappoint. They have a new album out, and while I do usually buy albums at the venue, I’m on pretty tight purse strings until payday; so I decided I would just have to be patient and grab it off Amazon at the end of the week.

Victor and the Bully

By the way, the only reason I haven’t mentioned any of the acts having albums until the end is that I’m already up to date on all the ones I’ve been following except that last one. They all have things, though, and you should look them up.

So, that’s that. I don’t get a recharge weekend until the end of the month, and I want a nap, but it still a good day.



Photos: Perrineville Lake Park (Baird Rd Trailhead)

This morning, it was off to the car dealer for some repairs under warranty. There were two up sides.

1. My center console lid no longer flies open to smack my elbow.

2. Getting to check out a new park.

I’m never in this area except for car things, so I relied on Google to tell me what was nearby. It produced two parks. I chose the one that was a bit farther, but had a lake.

There’s this fun thing Google Maps always does to me with new-to-me parks. It directs me to the weird, satellite part of the park first, rather than the main entrance, which is how I ended up on this little 3/4 mile out and back trail that was nowhere remotely near the lake I’d chosen the park to see. It was completely vacant aside from me. So, either the GPS on my phone is antisocial, or it knows I have really antisocial hiking habits.

Either way, it was a nice light walk, level and mostly abandoned over all dirt and grass. Next time I’m in the area, though, if the weather is nice, I want to find the other entrance and check out the park properly.

(so much longer than) 6 Mile Run: Photos

When my friend, who shall henceforth be referred to as “D”, suggested a hike at 6 mile run, he said we would not do the entire thing, ‘just the prettiest part’, and that that should be approximately 3-4 miles, so, as a group we all decided to go. 3-4 miles is a lot for most of us, but doable. Most of our friends would have said no to 6 miles. I’m currently grossly out of shape, and my comfort zone atm is around 2-3 miles but potentially up to 4 or so, depending on trail difficulty and how my one inexplicably messed up hip feels on a particular day. Some days, the hip can handle 4 miles. Other days, it has a hard time with two. Percentage of dirt vs gravel also makes a difference. For reasons I don’t understand and can’t explain, gravel is harder on me, so paved trails tend to be harder even though the opposite should be true because they’re usually more level. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t and don’t try to explain it other than to say things can get hit or miss.

What none of us knew is how little our hike leader actually knew about 6 mile run. For example: he knew one side of the loop he was planning to have us do was longer than the other, but he thought it was a “little” longer, but flatter. It was flatter, but it was also MUCH longer. What he also apparently didn’t know was that 6 mile run branches off to 9 mile run. NINE, guys, NINE. By the time we got back to the car, my handy dandy pedometer said I had gone 11 miles and well over 25000 steps. Now, my pedometer probably overestimated a bit, so we’ve rounded down – we’re assuming overall it was around 20k steps/10 miles. I had blisters the size of fingers on the sides of my heels. I couldn’t wear shoes for a days and I couldn’t wear shoes with backs for three days. I hobbled around in my slip-on skechers like I had a broken foot for that entire time. TG I own a pair of open-backed slip on sneakers. My calf muscles, sore as they were, were genuinely the least of my worries. I was severely dehydrated, having planned enough water for a 4 mile hike and having done more than twice that.

Things I’ve learned:

  1. My friend underestimates distances. This is good to know for future excursions.
  2. Socks probably would have been a good idea.
  3. Even enormous blisters will deflate in two or three days.
  4. I’m pretty fricking stubborn. (oh, wait. I knew this one already.)

It was a pretty hike, but I won’t be doing the entire thing again any time soon. It seems better suited to (or at least more frequented by) bikers, and yielding can get old fast. I would go back (to do a partial hike, not another ten fricking mile hike of doom), but I don’t think I’d suggest it myself due to the frequent necessity of yielding to traffic. My favorite hiking sites are always the ones where there’s a possibility I might not run into anyone at all, and 6/9 mile run, pretty as it is, is not quite that, at least not on the shorter side, And, the longer, more isolated side is not scenically different enough from my usual haunts to make a special trip for. If I want pretty meadows and rolling hills, I can find that a lot closer to home, is all.

Still, it was a very pretty hike if you’re in shape enough to manage it without murdering your feet, and as much as this hike is partially a memory of being in mild pain for days, I’m also glad I did follow our distance-ignorant leader to the prettiest part. I am still setting an absolute limit of 5 miles for a hike, though, at least for now.

Also, yes, am attaching more photos than usual. It was a much longer hike than usual, so there are more to choose from. You can see the whole crapload of them on instagram if you are so inclined.

Photos: Deep Cut Gardens

I broke my 3-4 photo rule for this post. When the botanical garden is in bloom, it’s impossible to pick favorites.

This is still only the tiniest sampling of the photos I took on this walk, all the same.

Also, major pet peeve: if you can’t hold onto a damn plastic bottle until you can get to a trash can, don’t bring it into the park. Cleaning up your litter is not other people’s responsibility. Stop throwing Gatorade bottles in the grass. Shitheads.