Notes to Organist 10

Belated, but (somewhat) more sober notes on the Organist 10.


“Wheastone has given me some very striking counsels. I did not think the little man had such depth in him. I can’t write it all to you, or even a small part, but I know you will agree fully, with him when you do hear it.” — Lovelace writes this to her husband, in regards to Wheastone’s schemes for Lovelace’s scientific writing career, or else it’s about the world domination plans. We may never know!


The Organist

– Here is some visual reference of that Shadowy Kingpin The Organist being EEEEEVIL:


Machines that have absolutely nothing to do with each other that coincidentally use similar mechanisms to perform operations to pre-defined patterns

– This enchanting little machine is a serinette or ‘bird-organ’:

These machines go back to the early 18th century, and I’m told the purpose of them was to teach canaries to sing (though surely it would be starlings that can learn tunes?). Ada Lovelace was an enthusiastic keeper of birds- she and Babbage were both big animal-lovers– isn’t it nice to think of her having demonstrating one to Babbage? It’s not very loud and he could have watched the mechanism!

– Babbage’s Analytical Engine used both peg-barrels and punchcards. The punchcard roller from which our heroes are fleeing is of this kind:


– The Genius/Music chart–

Babbage gives us a single data point on this issue:

This is simply not enough information from which to construct an accurate chart, so I you should know the Genius vs Music Exposure graph in the comic should not be used in any citations. I thought of just having a simple linear progression, or else maybe the effect only really sets in under severe exposure? However given the unending cliffhangers of this storyline and the extreme levels of music to which pocket-universe Babbage is subjected the inevitable convergence on zero was too dire to contemplate. So I went with a tapering slow-in and slow out of the effect:

In actuality it could actually be anything really– I mean it could be a bell curve where at some point the effect reverses:

But that would just be silly.



I am reentering Gainful Employment in a couple of weeks, this is what I’m doing:

I spent all weekend trying on metal bikinis and turns out they want me to play the Giant Monster! Oh well. Fear not for the continued life of the comic however! Perusing the history of postings to this site I’m surprised to see that I’m producing very nearly as much comics when I’m on a film as when I’m not.. I think when I have too much time on my hands the comic becomes more of a ‘job’ and loses the all-important feeling of skiving off that is so essential to creativity.

Sorry to be so late on replying to comments, I’m several months late at this point I believe. At some point I will compose replies, no doubt long after the original commenter has forgotten they ever read the comic. Please believe that I love each and every comment I get and my only difficulty is in making an adequate reply.


  1. sydney on January 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Brian– yes but unfortunately Mars is a DESERT. I’m roasting in all this fur!

    Ray– You and Babbage should have lunch!

    John– ahaha, definitely a hyperbolic curve! I will work that into the next pass..

    Rohit– sorry to be so long replying, yes I believe that’s the Late Great Frank Frazetta. Look forward to seeing your comic!!

    Dvon– there’s no justice I tell ya.

    Mark– I think the plan is to make 3 mars films, if the first one does well!

    Tallulah– eh, Milt Kahl. What did HE know? Personally I listen to audiobooks while I animate, to drown out the terrifying existential silence of the universe.

    Barsoomcore — when Lovelace and Babbage cough up some cash, then they can have my devoted attention, but all their money seems to get poured into ponies and the difference engine. An astronomical episode would be pretty awesome though!

  2. barsoomcore on January 10, 2011 at 3:49 am

    As the resident Barsoomian, I beg leave to point out that that illustration posted is in fact by the marvellously talented Frank Frazetta, and not Mr. Vallejo.

    Obviously I’m ridiculously keen to hear how the Barsoom project goes along, but I’m far more keen to have more Lovelace and Babbage comics. Unfortunately our heroes were not around when Lowell starting barking about canals on Mars…

  3. Tallulah on January 7, 2011 at 2:24 am

    There is an opinion by a very influential animator: Milt
    Kahl. (Ah search engines. If only you blew steam too.), that
    Babbage would have highly commended, found in the Animators
    survival kit in regards to music’s affect on the focus and
    productivity of the artist. You can find most of it on page 42-43
    on the “look inside” option on amazon. The punchline is that the
    animator couldn’t do two things at once (listen and work) PROPERLY.
    I’ve tried it and I must agree that it makes a difference.

  4. mark v thomas on January 6, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Re: Rohit Banerjee’s comment…
    It is indeed one of Boris Vajello’s art works, & personally I believe, that it would make a great poster for said film (John Carter of Mars), though in reality, they’ll do something completely different, in order to avoid paying Vajello’s estate…
    As for the “Chainmail/Metal Bikini” mpegs, if they ever do make any sequels to the above, the part of Phaidor, (Female adversary/nemesis of John Carter, from the later John Carter books), could be up for grabs…

  5. Dvon on January 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    “I spent all weekend trying on metal bikinis…”

    Mpeg, mpeg! er, I mean, tough luck, you would have made a great Dejah.

    Anyway, can’t you just see Lovelace staring at a ‘museum exhibit’ and Brunel growling “Get caught in the works.”

  6. Rohit Banerjee on January 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Hi Sydney, isn’t this the work of Boris Vallejo?

    BTW, I love 2D Goggles… Already in the process of creating my own steampunk web comics. You and the Foglio folks are my main inspiration.

  7. John on January 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Congratulations! Especially since you won’t need to wear that silly hat. I mean, you probably could if you wanted to (but not indoors), but you don’t have to feel obligated.

    It’s not useful mathematically, but one would think that the curve should be a hyperbola, of course. Or at least hyperbolic…

    Regardless, I love that he actually carries the chart around.

  8. Ray Girvan on January 5, 2011 at 1:27 am

    “Genius vs Music”

    Oh, interesting. Sorry to say, I have known (disclaimer – but not at this instant) very many deeply stupid and boring musicians: people who are little more than punch-card-readers able, very capably, to convert sheet music into playing an instrument.

  9. Brian on January 5, 2011 at 1:09 am

    The Giant Monster’s outfit looks a lot warmer in that night air, anyway.