I'm writing my paper now and I was wondering if we ever came to the conclusion as to who the adult marijuana addict was? (I think we may have speculated that it is Hal) This section goes from page 17-27. It's about a man who is waiting for a woman to come with marijuana so he can hunker down in his house for weeks. He has gotten tons of cartridges to watch on the teleputer. My question is, if it is Hal, then why aren't his emotions screwed up?
I loved this portion on 641 where Randy is describing his grandmother, Mary Smith, wife of Lawrence Waterhouse. "the world of physical objects seemed to have been made solely for the purpose of giving the men around Grandma something to do with their hands; and not, mind you, for any practical reason, but purely so that Grandma could twiddle those men's emotional knobs by reacting to how well or poorly do it." I thought this was hilarious, but it also reminded me of the discussions we've been having about gender. She has the last word here and it seems like she has the power, but it seems like this paragraph is talking about insignificant stuff.
We were talking today in class about the way that the book portrays everything as some type of code. There is the way that we percieve people, which Enoch Root theorizes is not who that person actually is but rather who we have catalogued that person as. Lawrence imagined that there were people across the ocean who were reading the waves of the ocean that had changed due to footprints he'd made in the sand. On page 670, Randy uses the phrase, "The most cigarettes" which meas nothing to other people, but to Avi and Randy, who understand it, it is a shortened version of the phrase, "We could end up in prison married to the guy with the most cigarettes." I really liked this use of code because Randy and Doug use predetermined words that they use to stand for other things, but we rarely see our everyday conversation as a type of code.
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.
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.
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
I thinkt the whole idea of Detachment 2702 is hilarious. It's all a game of "I know that you know that I know that you know..." They have the information and they want to act on it, but they have to pretend like they don't have it. But it gets complicated with the sinking of the merchant ships because the merchant shipping code was broken. The Germans crack the Allies merchant codes. The Allies have cracked the German code so they know this. So then the Allies have to change the shipping code But if they change the shipping code, the Axis will know because they will intercept it and realize it's different. So they will change their code. And then the codes keep changing.
All the books we've read so far have had the theme of connection. In the books we read before Cryptonomicon, the book connects little stories into one cohesive connected network of people whose lives influence each other. Cyrptonomicon has this aspect too. However, Cyrptonomicon focuses a lot on information and Avi and Randy's entire venture in Southeast Asia is to connect civilizations together. The book is about connecting people together and enabling them to pass information to each other in a variety of ways. On page 327, Goto Dengo is being gunned down by American soldiers while in the ocean which is on fire due to an oil spill. He thinks to himself as he is underwater, as a bullet flies in and slows to a stop quickly in the water.
I love Tom's story (359-365) about his fetish for black stockings. I thought the whole thing was hilarious especially the ending when he realizes that she has one too, even if she may not realize what her own fetish is. I started to think about why this story was particularly important to the novel, as in why did the author include this story? It sort of reminded me of Infinite Jest, in that everyone has their own addiction, whether it's tennis, or drugs, or alcoholics anonymous. Later in this section Enoch Root talks to Shaftoe about his connection with morphine. See the first paragraph on page 374. The whole thing is great. Here's a little bit:
On page 218, Tom is showing Randy some old Japanese air-raid shelter in a cave in Manila and they have the following conversation.
Randy sits down on the floor and grabs his ankles. He's staring open-mouthed at the books in the chest.
"You okay?" Tom asks.
"Heavy, heavy deja vu," Randy says.
"Yeah," Randy says, "I've seen this before."
"In my grandmother's attic."
I guess I was confused as to whether his relating the pile of books to his grandmother is a general statement, in the way that old people tend to have piles of useless stuff lying around or whether there was another meaning that I didn't get.