The humble little indy game I’ve been spending the last few months building is finally up on the App Store!

Get it here!:

While I’ve released many games in my regular job, this is was my first experience working alone on every aspect of a complete game, and taking it from concept all the way to market.

Please give it a try if you have an iOS device! If you like it, spread the word and leave a review! If not… well you can still leave a review; I appreciate any feedback you’re willing to offer :). The Android version is in the works, so stay tuned.

Thanks for checking it out!

The Balloon Zenith

Lunar halo and luminescent cross observed during the balloon Zénith’s long distance flight from Paris to Arcachon in March, 1875.

The Tissandier brothers were balloonists, who made many ascents and documented their travels in writing and illustrations. Gaston (1843-1899), a writer, and Albert (1839-1906), an illustrator, worked together to develop a design for an electric-powered airship in 1885. Albert made this drawing of their balloon called Zénith and the spectacular lunar halo and luminescent cross they observed on a March 1875 ascent. (Library of Congress)


Revving up for AU week a bit early. This long one-shot was sparked by a reference to the Montgolfier brothers and is mostly just an exercise; in it, Helena isn’t intended to be THE H.G. Wells (the timing is right-ish, but I tried to make it work, and things got really complicated, so I said forget it), and the Wells family isn’t that H.G. Wells’s family. They’ve got way too much money to be those Wellses (right, duckling?). Anyway, Richard Holmes, author of the delightful Falling Upwards, says of hot-air balloons that they “are mysterious, paradoxical objects. They are both beautiful and ephemeral. They are a mixture of power and fragility in constant flux. They offer a provoking combination of tranquillity and peril; of control and helplessness; of technology and terror. They make demands.” If there is a piece of writing that more accurately describes Helena George Wells, I myself have not seen it. (Also bearing in mind that the real, historical H.G. Wells wrote The War in the Air.) The thing is, sometimes an idea is like “hey guess what you will not sleep again until this thing is done.” And I am like “You are bugging me shut up also I would like to sleep.”


London, 1895

Myka Bering, investigative reporter for the New York World, had formulated some ideas about what she would encounter upon arriving at the estate of the Wells family. She had been sent to look into sensational stories of an inventor—a woman inventor, the daughter of said Wells family—who claimed to be on the verge of a major breakthrough in flight. Specifically, balloon flight…. but balloons had been decorating the air in Europe and America for at least a century; everyone knew that. What could be done with them that had not already been done? Myka’s editors also had expressed their doubts about whether a woman, this Helena Wells, could truly be the source of such extravagant claims. Surely, they had said, some man is behind it. The woman is involved merely to attract attention. “To London you go!” Mr. Pulitzer himself had directed Myka. “Woman reporter debunks claims of woman inventor! That’s a story that’ll sell papers!” And however much Myka might have wished that could be merely “reporter” debunking “inventor,” she too had to acknowledge that Mr. Pulitzer’s formulation would be more likely to catch readers’ attention.

Keep reading


Inspired by the story of Sophie Blanchard, the first professional female balloonist. Sophie was a character who obviously enjoyed flair. She cultivated an air of danger when she flew, forsaking the staid baskets of her compatriots for a tiny chariot that barely held her weight (some have described it as looking like an oversized champagne bucket). She also sometimes fired off fireworks from the balloon…which ultimately proved her undoing, the balloon catching fire and dropping Sophie unto her death.

I came across this story in ‘Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air’ by Richard Holmes. A fun read! 

Celebrating the Bicentennial of Flight

On November 21, 1783, French balloonists Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes made the first manned untethered flight in history when they soared over Paris, France in a hot air balloon made by the Montgolfier brothers.  President Ronald Reagan designated 1983 as the Bicentennial of Air and Space Flight, calling upon all government agencies and the American people to observe this year with appropriate ceremonies and activities.  At this event in 1983, the Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise and a hot air balloon were on display.

The Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise (OV-101), mounted on its NASA 747-123 carrier aircraft, on public display to celebrate the Air and Space Bicentennial. A hot-air balloon is on display in the foreground, 06/12/1983

The Death of Mme. Blancharde

While not the first female hot air balloonist, Mme. Blanchard was the most well-known, and Louis XVIII named her the “Official Aeronaut of the Restoration”, after she performed for him. She was the first female to pilot her own hot air balloon, and the first to make ballooning her career.

Unfortunately, several years after her husband (also a balloonist) died in a ballooning accident, Blanchard was also killed. During a demonstration for a large crowd in Tivoli Gardens, she lit several fireworks, which ignited the gasses within her craft, causing her to fall to the ground and sustain fatal injuries.

Her legacy lived on, though, as the Tivoli Gardens announced that all admission proceeds would go to her children, and an additional 2400 francs were raised for them before the night was out. As she had no surviving children, the fund was used to erect an elaborate statue memorial at her grave site, and the remainder was donated to the church she attended.

Jules Verne and Dostoevsky both paid homage to Blanchard in their writings.

To Parisians there was probably nothing excepcional about Thursday, 21 October, in the year of grace 1784. Did poetry lovers notice an ode published on the 19th in the Journal de Paris, celebrating the achievements of the intrepid Montgolfiers, ancestors of our cosmonauts? The poet saw the balloonists as rivals to ‘the lofty eagle’:

Man soars to the ranks of the Gods
To make the world tributary
To the daring of his genius…

His readers could not guess that fifteen years later the young man who came to Paris that day would be hailed in similar fulsome terms.
It was in fact on 21 October 1784, that young Bonaparte, then 15, with four of his comrades, escorted by Father Berton, set foot for the first time in Paris.

—  Maurice Guerrini, Napoleon and Paris, p. 3. (Not sure if I’ve posted this before, but surely is lost somewhere in the archive).