Waterhouse: proto-nerd


I'm really loving this book, largely because I find the characters so identifiable. I'm constantly reminded, especially by the Waterhouses, of xkcd, a webcomic that is repeatedly quoted by nerds because it's so ubiquitous. The entire archives of this comic should be required reading for anyone who considers themselves to have an even remotely nerdy bent, but a few seem to speak to Cryptonomicon in particular. (Make sure you hover your mouse over the comic and read the alt-text for an additional punchline/explanation of the really obscure punchline.)


Santa Monica

One of my favorite parts of this book so far is the chapter entitled "Santa Monica" starting on 442. Waterhouse's description of Santa Monica pier, and especially the plants and design of the area is hysterical and quite true. "The are too geometric and perfect. They are schematic diagrams for plants sketched out by some impossibly modern designer with a strong eye for geometry but who has never been out in a woods and seen a real plant. They don't even grow out of any recognizable organic matrix, they are embedded in sterile ochre dust that passes for soili n this part of the country."
All the beach towns in Southern California have this feel- beautiful but somehow not real. Santa Monica to Venice Beach to Laguna- they're perfect for those TV dramas. Of course, there is the litter and the screaming kids and the too-many-seagulls, but the landscaping is very much other-worldly.

Where's my pollz, yo??


When you click on "my blog," it only shows you the entries you put in, not the polls! I know the polls are kind of silly, but 1. I used one to hopefully get comments on something useful, and 2. What if they don't get counted as part of your blogging quota because they don't show up?
So 2 is self explanatory, but 1....I don't really want to sift all the way back through the annals of the main page to see what you guys said as the comments attached to the poll. Is there a way to get them to be part of your personal page?

In the Beginning, There was the Command Line


Has anyone downloaded the rest of the article on the Cryptonomicon website called "In the beginning (there was the command line)"? The first part is pretty interesting, but my stupid new Vista system won't let me see the rest of it. I apparently don't have enough internet administrator privileges for the ensuing coolness.

What book are you writing on?

Gravity's Rainbow
17% (1 vote)
17% (1 vote)
Infinite Jest
33% (2 votes)
0% (0 votes)
A combination of the above
33% (2 votes)
Total votes: 6



I'm having the least fun time ever finding sources to supplement my paper with. It makes me wish desperately that I had chosen Gravity's Rainbow to write about just because it's older and has more written on it. Then I remember reading Gravity's Rainbow, and think better of it. It's just so frustrating to search and search but know deep down that a book that's 10 years old will not have much of a wealth of information on it. Amusingly, the best book I found on Underworld includes the essay Professor Fitzpatrick wrote, which we already read for class...so, still not as much info as I need.

some thoughts

It's interesting how Bobby Shaftoe knows Glory has his child. He seems completely sure, even know he can't really be sure. Yet he's willing to find his way back to manila for Glory and the child.

It's also interesting to see how the ancestors' personalities show up in their descendants. Randy has similar social leper moments like Lawrence Waterhouse. Amy and her father have very Bobby like qualities.

I was highly amused at Amy's way of dealing with her emotions. Namely, running Randy off the road. She so tough but, in a very realistic moment, shows her insecurities about Randy's affection.

Infinite Jest and Cryptonomicon

These books are so similar in the weirdest ways. The word antimacassar (antimacassars are the little cloths that hang on the arms of couches) is so rare and yet it has been in 3 of the books. But more importantly, the jeepney that Randy takes into the jungle is called "Grace of God" as in, "but for the grace of God" which straight up took me back to Infinite Jest and Joelle's ranting.

Randy and Lawrence Waterhouse

I think that Stephenson does a really good job of connecting the personalities of Randy and Lawrence. The first thing I noticed was that they are both described as having trouble remembering names. I recently noticed a paragraph on page 488 about Lawrence, that reminded me of Randy's idea of License-Plate-making. "The rest might seem like glorious conquest to people like the General, but to Turing, and now to Waterhouse, it just looks like tedious mopping-up. It is exciting to discover electrons and figure out the equations that govern their movement; it is boring to use those principles to design electric can openers.

Portrayal of World War II

I've been thinking a lot about the way that the books we've read so far have protrayed World War II. i guess that mostly means Cryptonomicon and Gravity's Rainbow, but maybe a little bit of Underworld. It's interesting that both Cryptonomicon and Gravity's Rainbow are books about World War II, but somehow it doesn't feel like that because they are set in locations or ways that don't reflect what we would traditionally think of when we think fo WWII. Why do you think that these books focus on this other part of the war that we aren't used to? When I'm reading, I forget about the European co

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