Dec 30 2010



Check out the vintage electronics on this baby!

Slightly, blurry -- because I was so excited!

Blurry -- because I was so excited!

I was at the DayJob, taking one of my scheduled walk-around breaks (without which I would spend eight straight hours hunched over the keyboard and end the day looking and feeling like a gargoyle), when I came across the electronics-cleaning staff working on this. Instant nerd heaven!

Really, this tech is so old that it’s practically alien. Thus, my fascination at its weirdness. We Do Not Do It Like This Any More.

Still blurry, but you can see the essentials

Still blurry, but you can see the essentials

I should have included something for scale in the picture above, because what you cannot see is that these resistors are each about the size of your finger. This because they are from the days when electronics were, in effect, hand-rolled. Ranks and ranks of ’em, lined up like zipper teeth…

At least, I think they’re resistors, and not capacitors. Because I did not see any other object identifiable as a resistor.

One of you out there knows the answer to that — what say?

I do wish I’d gotten better pictures, but the item is no longer out on the premises.

This shot is better; you can see the tubes glowing! And that vague object to the right is vague not because I’m moving, but because it is. Because that’s what it does.

Justin St. Pierre's right hand provides scale.

Justin St. Pierre's right hand provides scale.

Because that component is a leslie.

Which makes this —

Old Hammond electric organ

Old Hammond electric organ

a Hammond.

I had been just strolling by, minding my own business, when I was struck blind by the beauty of the electronic innards on display. I didn’t even know it was an organ until I walked around to the front. Then: double dose of geekitude!

The cleaners were taken aback and nonplussed, watching me geek out over this lovely device. They had never seen me in that mode. To them, I’m just one of the girls in Accounting. (Yes, I said “girls”, because that’s what they say; that’s what everyone around here says. Even the women. All females are “girls” no matter what their age or station. It’s that kind of culture. Yes, I do feel like I’m on some other, less advanced, planet.)

The one guy who was on the same wavelength as me was Justin (he who also fixed my car), who is a true geek of the best 21st century sort. The Hammond was under his care, and he definitely appreciated what he was working on.

So I was going, “Whoa!” and “Sweet!” and “This is so freakin’ cool!”; and he was going, “Yeah, and look here!” and “Check this out!”

So we pulled out all the stops and made some noise.

the term STOPS left over from air-powered pump organs

the term "stops" left over from air-powered pump organs!

Alas, neither of us were keyboard players… that Hammond deserved, oh, maybe Billy Preston? Who was it who played organ for the Doors? Someone like that.

Feet pedals play bass notes!

Feet pedals play bass notes!

Seriously, I was so thrilled to see this.

And it got me thinking — exactly why was I that excited?

And I realized: it hit me on three of my geek points:


Three at once! Triple dose of gladness!

The only way it could be better would be if the organ also was:

Built by the Elves of Rivendell
Powered by steam from a DRAGON
Used for communicating with alien civilizations
In the process of achieving true independent consciousness

That would cover: science, tech, music, fantasy culture, fantasy zoology, SETI, cognitive sciences…

That would pretty much hit all my buttons at once. My head would probably explode…

No, hold on a minute…

There is something that hits all my geek points at once.

Yeah. My novels.

Well. That explains a lot.