As a byproduct of the popularity of science fiction movies, books, and games, an entire subculture has entrenched itself in our current culture. This avid following of all things science fiction is more commonly called “SF Fandom” and has some interesting roots.
In the Beginning
In the late 1800s, science fiction stories were first published in book form. Jules Verne is credited as the first to write what is considered “pure science fiction” where stories solely centered on technological, futuristic, fantastic, and alien or otherworldly content.
Sci-fi Fan Interest Grows
Science fiction started making more headway into the public eye in the early 1900s as magazines would sometimes run single stories or serialized versions of a story mixed into their normal content to capitalize on the growing interest in the topic. Magazines like Argosy, a children’s weekly publication, would publish stories with science fiction themes, but, as a whole, there were no genre-specific publications like we have available today.
Despite an influx of new science fiction stories being published in those early years by Argosy and other similar magazines, science fiction fans of all ages were looking for lots more material.
To meet the demand, the mid-1920s saw the explosion of what was called “pulp” magazines. These publications were typically issued monthly and featured short stories produced and illustrated mostly by fans but sometimes featured works by already established science fiction authors.
A well-known example is the 1926 pulp magazine Amazing Stories which featured only works of a true science fiction nature. Not commonly known is that Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Edgar Allen Poe all provided significant contributions with stories published in early copies of Amazing Stories while many authors found their first publishing success in the myriad of other pulp magazines.
Even More Fan Access
While this may seem strange now, science fiction fans reading Amazing Stories were encouraged to contact each other via a letter column included in the publication. Amazing Stories’ letter column provided the the names and addresses of its fans in print. Publishing such information meant fans could contact each other (and sometimes professional authors or artists) via mail to discuss characters, stories, and plots or to arrange for the swapping of magazine issues. This connection of like-minded science fiction buffs became the first organized type of fan club for the genre’s enthusiasts. Essentially, this was an early equivalent of social media helping to boost and share information on a beloved topic
A further outgrowth of the fan clubs was the creation of fanzines. Fanzines were typically amateur magazines often produced to provide further exploration of the genre via elaboration on story lines or to provide outlets for artistic contributions like character or scene illustrations. Additionally, fanzines afforded a platform for novice writers who hoped to join the ranks of professional science fiction authors.
An example of one of the earliest fanzines was The Comet, created in 1930 by Raymond Arthur Palmer who was a member of the Science Correspondence Club of Chicago.
After the introduction of The Comet, many other fanzines came as went as the creators often found keeping up with the publishing of them was too demanding of their time and sometimes too costly.
However, while short-lived, fanzines did make a significant mark on the genre with some of the most successful writers being Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Rice Burroughs (Mithra series), and J.R.R. Tolkein (Lord of the Rings trilogy).
Today, science fiction fandom has taken on a life of its own. Some popular outlets include Sci-Fi conventions, themed events such as weddings or graduation parties, role playing games, and many others where attendees can hear or converse in fanspeak, a jargon used by die hard fans to communicate with each other about all things science fiction.
Original article on ThatVintageSite.com
For those that love mid-century kitsch, why not dig deep into your wallet and get ready to roll on over to Hillsborough, California where you can once again purchase the iconic “Flintstone” house.
Visible from Interstate 280 and overlooking Crystal Springs Reservoir, the purple and orange residence is a local landmark. Created in the 70s by the original owners and local architect William Nicholson, this house is anything but conventional.
According to Realtor.com, “The swingin’ ’70s are evident in the stylized conversation pit, with an amoeba-shaped window that looks out to Crystal Springs Reservoir. The 2,730-square-foot home, nestled into a hillside, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a game room, and a loft space. ‘It’s very comfortable. It feels cozy but airy,’ the agent says.”
Architect Eugene Tsui designed the “biologic” kitchen with storage compartments that seem truly cellular. Other unique features of the home, aside from its “prehistoric” outer design, include a game room, a conversation pit, a garden visible from inside, and the 3rd bedroom with a loft. This is an amazing opportunity for buyers who appreciate distinctly unique architecture and design elements and like a home that makes a statement.Architect Eugene Tsui designed the “biologic” kitchen with storage compartments that seem truly cellular. Other unique features of the home, aside from its “prehistoric” outer design, include a game room, a conversation pit, a garden visible from inside, and the 3rd bedroom with a loft. This is an amazing opportunity for buyers who appreciate distinctly unique architecture and design elements and like a home that makes a statement.
In the past 2 years, the price of this home has dropped and currently, all of this can be yours for $2.8 million. If that’s out of your league, don’t worry! You can stay there as part of an Airbnb stay.
Want to see more? Take a look at this video walk-thru.
Original blog post on ThatVintageSite.com
For my first wedding (don't even ask how many years ago!) I had only a handful of things to consider when picking my invitations. This was at a time when we didn't have the Internet and had to use a local print shop. Paper stock, black ink or blue, embossed or not, and what font style were pretty much the only things to think about. Fancy meant putting a small stock image on your invitations. Back then, you would put in your order along with handwritten notes and sketches showing what you wanted, wait a month, and then hope like crazy that you got what you'd envisioned.
Today, this is far from the process. Thanks to all kinds of technology, choices on the Internet are abundant. In looking, I’ve found that the top trends in wedding invitations for Spring 2011 bring together multiple colors, bold graphics, and a theme for the wedding.
Add Some Color
Color seems to play the biggest part in the new look of wedding invitations. Whether bright colors or more subtle tones are being used, it’s the combination of colors that seems to be the most important. Invitations should act as a preview of the wedding, so choosing invitations that encompass at least two of the colors that have been selected for the wedding’s color palette is common. According to Lisa Barr, NY Fashion Bridal Examiner for Examiner.com, natural palettes and hot colors were the top trends for 2011 at this year’s National Stationery Show. Michelle Mospens, who annually follows wedding color trends has put together a great display showing the range of bright colors coming next Spring at “A Wedding Sketchbook.”
Pop In a Graphic
Graphic design is being strongly incorporated, be it through monograms, silhouettes, photographs, patterns or other meaningful images–right on the front of the invitation.
Themes Are the Way to Go
And for themes, vintage or retro designs are HUGE! One of the top ideas trending in wedding plans is a “Mad Men” inspired wedding. This trickles down to the invitations and an unbelievable array of designs. Reflective of the TV show, darker and more earthy colors (see Part 2 of Michelle Mospens display) are used along with bold and sleek designs and large but minimalistic copy. Think of slick magazine advertising from the ‘60s and you’ve got a perfect invitation that will evoke the feel of this theme.
Show Who You Are
Since society has become much more accepting of invitations that are brighter, more fun, and really represent the engaged couple, they are more readily available and the costs are less prohibitive.
Whatever combination, today’s invitation should be fun and offer a glimpse into the spirit of the soon-to-be newlyweds.
Why I Make Fresh Pumpkin Puree from Scratch for Pumpkin Pies and More.
Several years ago I began getting interested in cooking pies around the holidays. Since I really prefer to cook from scratch whenever possible, I thought the best place to look for recipes was in a collection of cookbooks that had been handed down from my grandmother. I come from a long line of Yankees and this was reflected in the types of cookbooks I reviewed - they all featured very basic recipes from the New England area.
The beauty of recipes from that region is their simplicity - both in terms of the number of ingredients, and also in the amount of steps needed to cook something. I found a pumpkin pie recipe that sounded good except for one thing. It said to use fresh pumpkin, but it didn't tell how to prepare the pumpkin. Several years later, and after many different methods were explored, I developed a way to cook the pumpkin and then process it into a puree with a consistency that makes for a fabulous pie. Baking the pumpkin lends to the process - it keeps the flavor from being parched out as it does when you boil the pumpkin. Plus, baking the pumpkin allows the sugars to slightly caramelize - another bonus in any dessert.
In this short video, you can see how to make both the pumpkin puree and the pumpkin pie. This will give you the instructions with many pictures showing the process of making the puree plus a great pumpkin pie recipe - one that I've developed over time as well. If you'd like to see the printed how-to guides, click here for the pumpkin puree process, and this link shows how to make my Best Ever New England Deep-Dish Pumpkin Pie.
The best part about this pumpkin puree is that you can store it in the freezer for quite a long time. I put mine into small Ball or Mason jars (one-quart or smaller) and use a vacuum sealer machine to close them off. Done this way, the puree can keep for many, many months - allowing you to make fresh pumpkin goods for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even July 4th if that's what you like!
Other really good things to make from the pumpkin puree include muffins, cookies, breads, cakes, pumpkin rolls, and even soup.
Though it may initially seem like a lot of effort to bake and process the pumpkins, it really isn't. Most of the time is taken up by the baking process (about 45 minutes) and then the cooling process (another 30 to 45 minutes). Take that as an opportunity for a little "me" time!
You'll find that this method of processing pumpkin is well worth the effort and that you will end up creating pumpkin-based dishes that your family and friends will love.
Originally published on Yahoo.com, October 7, 2009
In the 1960s, the undisputed kings of the Las Vegas Strip, the epitome of cool sophistication, and the lords of Hollywood’s Sunset strip, the Rat Pack was once a highly newsworthy subject of interest.
The term “Rat Pack” was coined by journalists during the 1960s to refer to the collective of its members: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford. It was said that they were a closely knit group, not allowing access to outsiders.
Of the five Rat Pack members, Joey Bishop was known primarily as a comedian and talk show host, Peter Lawford as an actor, and the other three (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr.) were considered the real singers.
People have loved songs by the singing members of the Rat Pack for quite some time, even before their resurgence into today’s mainstream music. Something about their voices and the musical compositions always seems to put everyone in a better mood.
When asked which Rat Pack Christmas songs were favorites, people don’t have to think long. Their choices vary from highly classic Christmas carols to some not-so-traditional compilation. In no particular order, here’s the list:
“White Christmas” as sung by Frank Sinatra
The ethereal quality of Sinatra’s voice in this song is hard to match. As we flick around music stations during the holiday season listening for something good to stop on, this one always causes us to pause and enjoy.
“Let it Snow” as sung by Dean Martin
Those of you who love this song (and winter) say hearing Dean sing it makes them wish for a big, big snow storm so they can get out and enjoy the white stuff.
“Christmas Waltz” as sung by Frank Sinatra
Some people said they remember hearing this song a lot when they were younger and it’s always stuck with them as one of the most romantic Christmas songs. They love the background vocals, as they always thought it was angels singing along with Frank.
“Christmas Blues” as sung by Dean Martin
Only Dean can nail a song about being alone at a time when it’s important to be with others and still make you feel good. This one is an often-missed classic, but well loved by those familiar with it.
“It’s Christmas Time All Over the World” as sung by Sammy Davis, Jr.
Sammy didn’t do as many Christmas recordings as the others and, to be honest, a lot of people don’t really care for the other songs that he did. But this one is liked quite a bit. People say it seems to capture his spirit and his voice is top-notch on this Christmas tune.
“Marshmallow World” – a duet by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin
This Frank & Dean duet is such a fun song plus the always amiable combination of vocals and attitude from these stellar performers makes this less-heard song yet another favorite.
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” as sung by Frank Sinatra
It’s hard to explain the allure of this version of this holiday classic. Some people say it makes them feel very sad and yet secure in what they have when at other times it might not seem like a lot.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” as sung by Dean Martin
This rendition of the well-know Christmas classic is so good because it shows off Dean’s childlike sensibility and his very playful nature. How can you not smile when you hear him sing this song?!
“Winter Wonderland” as sung by Dean Martin
Hands down, this has to be the most “swingy” version of this classic holiday song ever recorded. People say when they hear it, they envision being outside with fluffy hand-knit hats, scarves, and mittens and playing in the snow like you see in old movies based in New England during the winter.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” as sung by Frank Sinatra
This classic Christmas song easily puts people in a reflective state of mind. In particular, older individuals say it makes them think about their parents or grandparents during war time and what it must have been like for them to be away from each for the holidays.
Originally posted on Yahoo Entertainment