This entry is part 4 of 12 in the series Meanwhile..

Did I say two weeks?  Erm… here!  Look at some process art!


Please understand that at present my priories are necessarily:  1. Job 2. Pub 3. Comic 4. Food, laundry, etc.

I tend to do roughs while waiting for renders (that invaluable source of idleness in the visual effects industry).  Something else I do is Scholarship.  Some scholars search for Truth; here at 2dgoggles we search for Entertainment.  Something I was surprised to discover was that Charles Babbage was really, REALLY famous, back in the day, if by famous you mean, useful as a punchline in popular comedy.   A few highlights of my researches:

Celebrity Chef fears Babbage’s army of steam-automota line-cooks!

‘Charles Babbage’ as useful shorthand for ‘really smart person’.  Nowadays you’d use Stephen Hawking for that kind of gag, who oddly enough holds Babbage’s old position of Lucasian Professor at Cambridge.

-Babbage the logarithmetical Frankenstein! :D

– How was Babbage’s autobiography received by his peers?  Yeeeeaahh.. that’s about right.

And I’m not even touching on the street music thing, which was HUGE.

Ada coverage from the period is far fewer and farther between, as a Lady only appears in the papers on her birth, her wedding, and her death, and that time they publish a huge paper on computer programming.  I did find an interesting entry in an 1860 encyclopedia (about 9 years after her death), which gets in the ever-popular horse-racing but also remarks on her as excelling in chess.   She turns up as a footnote in Hereditary Genius (with special section on Oarsmen, which are no insignificant part of the community!) under her father’s footnote of “strange, proud, passionate, and half-mad.”

Babbage AND Lovelace miscellany:

Great little bunch of anecdotes about both them— she’s too mathematical for one guys taste, but Babbage ‘loved to talk of her’; kids made fun of Babbage at school– you just wait till I get my time machine you little bastards!

Babbage to Michael Faraday: Ada Lovelace is an enchanted math fairy! I can’t cope with the whole Enchantress thing, which is why I needed a stiff drink or twenty to get through much of her correspondence.

The  motherlode of Babbage anecdotes! with special Lovelace cameo! A ‘Babbage’ search turns up, among plenty else, “Charles Babbage: Hot or Not?”, Babbage taking some ladies up to his place to see his etchings Ada Lovelace’s math, and proof that I’m PSYCHIC as his place is described as “crammed with books, papers, and apparatus in apparent confusion.”  Stereotypes: never wrong!

Man, when I read too much about Lovelace and Babbage’s unhappy ends I get so depressed I can hardly carry on with the comic.  However, I shall RESCUE THEM and keep them safe in a pocket dimension, where they will have a giant difference engine to play with in exchange for being made to do funny things.

Anyways– not too many more days until the Client Pt2, depending on how many gags I can throw overboard to lighten the load..

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  1. Jha on August 23, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Oh, but their unhappy endings ought to have you press on! Think of it, you can re-write their unhappy endings into awesome endings full of steam and explosions and fighting crime!

    I love the process you use – it’s fascinating to see how people work!

  2. Bella Green on August 5, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Thank you so much for all this, and I’m talking about the whole site: the history and the links as well as the comic. Please do not apologize for those important things. We will be here when you get back! I second David’s t-shirt idea

  3. David Oakes on August 4, 2009 at 12:52 am

    If you make “Enchanted Math Fairy” t-shirts, I will buy them.


  4. ted on August 3, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    I’m excited :)

  5. Tobias on August 3, 2009 at 8:09 am

    This was a most informative post, I thank you greatly. Also, I am still unsure of how to interpret the whole “Enchantress” thing. I may need some brandy…

    • sydney on August 4, 2009 at 8:19 pm

      Tobias- Babbage and Lovelace were both deeply, DEEPLY weird people.. I mean, they were weird even for Victorians, who were all messed up to begin with.

      John- it says 1838 on the google books overview page, although those can be unreliable sometimes– Babbage’s parliamentary run was in 1832, so that makes sense.

      Bill- Thinking of working Crosse into ‘The Organist’, for various reasons.

      David- ah, tshirts.. must make more tshirts.. lol that would be a good one.

  6. Mark on August 2, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    depending on how many gags I can throw overboard to lighten the load..

    Closely followed by an out-takes entry: “Lovelace & Babbage: The Blooper Reel!” Your adoring public demands it!

  7. BillJ on August 2, 2009 at 4:39 am

    I was surprised to learn in the anecdotes that Lovelace was a fan of Andrew Crosse’s experiments. I wonder if she was more interested in the electrical experimentation or the rumors that he had created life in his lab. He’s a pretty interesting guy who would fit in well with your cast of characters.

  8. Ceridwen on August 1, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    It would be kinda cool to work in the ghost(s) in the mirror in Chas. Babbage: Hot or Not? link.

  9. John on August 1, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    1- Don’t rush on our account, and if you feel like even eating before drawing, I don’t think anybody’ll scream too loudly.

    2- These are amazing references, and yes, other than the ending, the reality of their stories are (almost) better than the fiction.

    3- If we wish on other enchanted math fairies, can we have the two of them instead whisked through some obscure part of the planet where they made their programmable computers with bamboo and coconuts?

    4- I can’t find a year on that “Friendly contributions” book. Do you have one? I ask because there’s a semi-creepy short story that might be based on that steam-powered Parliamentarian gag.