Midterms suck

I was planning on having chapter 8 done and posted by now but a series of events has left me with less time than I need to make my self appointed weekly dead line and I refuse to compromise quality in this particular project. Camping was fun but when I got home I had tests in every class that week. Come the end of that week and my computer goes in to major failure mode. I’ve had a long standing hatred for Windows and this was the final straw, so I’ve been Windows free for 2 weeks now and I’m starting to get the hang of Ubuntu. Today is my birthday and I’m spending it writing (mostly, also midterms are coming up the next two weeks thus the title). Rest assured I’m working on it but for those who have read the book (as I advised) you will understand that the formatting of chapter 8 and 9 are very funky and thus will take a bit more time. I’m about half way through 8 and hope to have it posted by next Sunday. If yeh get bored or just want to make sure I’m still posting, you can check out my other blog that gets updated a bit more often just due to its more leisure content and length of articles.  My other blog, “zombies and other brain-droppings” is mostly a fun one featuring events in an around the St. Louis area, reviews on craft beer, with a colouring of zombies. Hot sauce reviews pending.


To my student readers, Good luck with midterms and I’ll be back on here soon.

-S.G. Miller



A Temporary Setback on Scheduling

I’m planning on being out of town camping from Thursday Sept 6th to Sunday Sept 9th this week. I will try to post chapter 8 before skipping town, but between school and only 3 days available to me this week no guarantees.


Happy Labor day!
-S.G. Miller

Analysis of Chapter 7 (pages 80-96 footnotes 83-109)

Chapter VII analysis: Holloway

Themes; Exploration, naive testing of ones luck

-The quote from Jack London‘s short story “To Build A Fire” is read in context that the Young man mentioned isn’t bothered by the terrain because he has no imagination, what is meant is that the man lacks experience or knowledge so he doesn’t think about the consequences of extreme cold or harsh landscape which then renders him with a child-like naivete driven confidence. (Here’s The story in full: “To Build a Fire” Jack London

-this quote seems to set the mood for Holloway Robert’s arrival onto the stage, Holloway Roberts being the man.

Page 80

A visual reference for those of us who are visually oriented: the Weatherby 300 Magnum. A nice rifle, nothing to be trifled with. (I’m assuming anyway as I am not a gun person.)

“Born in Menomonie, Wisconsin…” Menomie seems to be a pretty small place at roughly 16,000 population and has a rich Native American Heritage. The Menominee tribe is thought to predate the state’s existence and to even have roots as far back as 10,000 years ago. (Source)

The Menominee’s supposed first encounter with the tribe is pretty funny. The French explorer, Jean Nicolet came upon this tribe as he was looking for a northwestern route to China. Seeking to impress the Chinese, he don the traditional silk robes, stood up in his canoe and shot off two pistols. For several decades the interpretation and teaching of this first encounter was said to have frightened the Natives of the white man because he was “the caller of thunder” however in more recient revelations what the Natives probably actually feared was for the light skinned man because anybody who wasn’t mentally deranged would know better than to stand up in a canoe while traversing the Green Bay. (source) This little antidote paints a funny but possibly accurate portrayal of Holloway’s arrival onto the Nadavidson’s land: Here we have this white man seeking to impress the “natives” with his knowing scowl and his guns and interpreting their fear as reverence for his experience while the Nadavidson family and company are more fearful for this conquistador because he simply has no idea what he’s up against.

Page 81

Jed Leeder – Mike Leeder is a big name in many Asian films such as: “David Carradine: A Martial Arts Journey,” and Sony’s The Art of Action: Martial Arts in Motion Picture (2002) (TV). He’s also made contributions to many martial art magazines including: “Black Belt,” “Inside Kung Fu,” “Femme Fatales” Probably a reference to Mike, rather than a misleading forshadow as Jed taking over leadership position.

Kirby “Wax” Hook – Apparently a “kirby-hook” is a fishing hook with a even curve. (source) Here’s a picture of one they’re basically the hook I think of when I think of a regular fishing hook. The only thing I can guess at his nick name “Wax” is maybe he keeps a bald head and shines it to make it look “waxed”. Purely a guess.

Jed Leeder lives in Seattle… – A second man on the exploration team from a city with strong Native American heritage. The city it self was named after Chief Seattle (source) who was a prominent member of his tribe.

Here’s a bit about Lyle Lovett (also a native Texan, seems like Jed has a thing for the Lone Star State)

Most noteworthy thing about Aspen Colorado is that it’s the place where Hunter S. Thompson (my favourite journalist and sports writer [and I don’t even really get into sports]) had a retreat home and once tried to run for Sheriff (that’s a pretty funny story, I’d recommend reading about it in his book The Great Shark Hunt vol 1

Mt. McKinely or Denali is a famous mountain in Alaska and is the Highest mountain peak in the United States.

Ellison’s Cave in Georgia features the deepest obscured pitch in the continental United states.

The Nepalese Cwm (pronounced coom) or better known as the Western Cwm also known as “The valley of Silence” (a pretty sweet name) is a bowl like structure that terminates at the Lhoste face of Mt. Everest. Based on these credentials Holloway and company are some serious pros in their field.

Page 82

“Tellingly, this hardly strikes Tom as news.” I’m not sure what this is telling of since Tom left before Karen forebode Nadavidson from exploring the hallway further. I guess it’s a testament to Tom knowing his brother, ie he’s not surprised that Navy would explore the passage despite the warnings from others.

Page 83

“Unfortunately he also refrains from openly considering the significance of these feelings.” This paragraph really sets up the tone for how feet and love are intimately related. Toes are related to love and here we see at the height of the strain in their relationship since moving to Virginia we see Navidson’s feet are rotten, swollen, bleeding, and cracked just like the state of his relationship.

-A note about hallway & Holloway: the placement of Holloway just above hallway on p. 83 got me thinking about etymologies. Hallway breaks down to “hall” and “way” and the etymology of “hall” led me to discover that both “hell” and “hall” share the same root word in “cell”. Most interesting is that cell was originally used to refer to caves (O.E. hol “cave”) Earliest sense is for monastic rooms, then prison rooms” then cave etymology lead me to “hollow” which is also linked to “cell” (also take note that the old english word for “cave” is “hol” [house of leaves])

Etymologies of: hall, hell, cell, cave, and hollow.

“Florencia” is a Spanish variant on the name “Florence”. “Calzatti” or “Allen Calzatti” is a reference to a cinematographer, director, photographer, and movie editor.

Page 84

-”…a series of lefts…” A lot of lefts are made in the explorations of the hallways which reminds me of the significance of making left turns in Dante’s Divine Comedy. (need to refresh my knowledge of that book and the clear significance of lefts in that book)

Page 85

-A note one the etymology of Anteroom: Anteroom breaks down to “ante” and “chamber” which chamber is rooted in the latin word “camera”, which by it self has interesting connections to Navidson but ancient meaning for camera is a “vaulted room” but also was a shortened version of the modern latin phrase “camera obscura” (dark chamber) (a black box with a lens that could project images of external objects) which then was the natural word for a the picture taking device when photography was invented.

-”…clear cut example of the classic male struggle for dominance:” This paired with the fictional Ryan Murray’s evaluation of Navidison as having “Oepidian Anxieties” reveals a psychological theme for the chapter.

-”…never heard them hit bottom.” This rings a bell about something I read on echos. Not sure of the source but it goes something like “when one drops a rock down a well the sound of it hitting bottom, no matter how long the drop, is rather comforting compared to it just being swallowed.”

-”tenebrific” meaning gloomy essentially but it lead me to the tenebrism movement in art where artists used stark contrast between light and dark to create enormity of depth

-”Sotano de las Golondrinas” (the cave of swallows) nothing much revealing but the way the birds enter and exit (under etymology) the cave sounds extremely excellent. Worth looking into seeing. s Here’s a bit about the Mountain Range its in, Sierra Madre Oriental

Page 87

“Only knowledge illuminates that bottomless place…” This quote makes me think about the nature of illumination and knowledge and their relationship. It’s a well established one linguistically in the English language, we have many phrases that express their intimate relationship such as “taking a stab in the dark”, “shine some light on the subject”, and even we assigned ages to the respective ideas (The Dark Ages ie the age of ignorance and the age of Enlightenment ie the age of knowledge) we even assign these relationships to our deities (God the god of light and all good things is also the All knowing one and the Devil who dwells in darkness and plays to the ignorance of man and is unable to know all things because it doesn’t know of love and forgiveness and the like). These associations of knowledge with light and ignorance with dark also present some interesting ideas as to limits. Light is finite, light can only travel so fast, so far, so much ect where as darkness can be complete and infinite. Darkness has no limits, it serves to create the barriers for light. So to say knowledge is light is to say that there is a quantifiable amount of knowledge and darkness is infinite and grows in the absence of knowledge. Also, light always has a source and darkness just is. So in my search of trying to find a quote that doesn’t exist (“Only the ignorant are truly blind.”) and it’s origin which would (to turn a phrase) shed some light on the subject I found this essay: Augstine’s Theory of Illumination and Divine Ideas. Basically this paper deals with early philosopher’s quandaries with the nature of knowledge and it’s origin. It’s an interesting read but largely defunct in ideas due to it’s age.

-”aber da, an diesem schwarzen Felle / wird dein stärkstes Schauen aufgelöst” translates to “but here within this black fur / is your strongest gaze dissolved” (my source) or translated in footnote 99 as “But here within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze will be absorbed and utterly disappear.” This quote comes from a poem by Rilke called Black Cat. Basically it’s about a man who stares into the abyss and is driven mad by the sight of absolutely nothing and then the abyss turns to look at you and you see your self. Very Nietzscheian. Also relevant “He who fights with monsters might take care least he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the gazes into you too.” (Nietzsche Beyond good and Evil, Aphorism 146)

Page 90

-”…defies any normal means of determining direction.” This could account for the discrepancy of what direction the hallway faces (North or West).

Page 91

-”Daisy, on the other hand, keeps close to Navidson, picking at tiny scabs on her wrists…” I’m not sure why this jumped out at me but normally little children have scabs on their knees but with out mentioning anything about the cat and given that Daisy is the more home-bound of the siblings, it’s unusual that she’d have scabs on her wrists.

“[Chad]…returns home from school with a bruised eye and swollen nose.” Absent of a strong father figure it’s natural to see the boy acting out in an attempt for attention or to otherwise learn how to raise him self and how to establish him self as a prominent male figure in his own mini-culture. This also reminds me of how Jonny starts fighting in school while absent of a proper father figure (whether he was completely absent [after his father’s death] or whether he’s a deranged individual who doesn’t serve as a proper role model for anyone [such as his stepfather Raymond]).

Page 94

For those who don’t know much about The Lechugilla Crystal Cavern, here’s some information. It’s the cave in the continental United States and the 7th longest cave in the world at 134 feet in length.

“Holloway tries to make sure everyone stays as busy as bees…” this reminds me of a particularly from when we first met Holloway on page 80 and it goes “…[Holloway] steps onto Navidson’s front lawn….bees flying near his boots…”. It’s a rather strange detail to include and even harder to explain why bees would be so attracted to his feet in the first place. However this could serve as an illusion to the quote on page 94 implying that Holloway keeps his people at bay and under foot (in his control) by making them like the bees whom flew around his boots.


Page 80

Number 83: Aramis Garcia Pineda – I found an artist (not related to the book based on time frames) named Aramis Garcia. He’s good. I like his fruit compositions but he’s also very talented with portraits.

Aramis is one of the 3 musketeer’s in Dumas’ work “The Three Musketeers”.

Field and Stream online

Page 81

Number 85: Don’t bother trying to find The Reston Interview as it only exists in the bits referenced through out the book. (Also in my version the period after this footnote is unusually large.)

* 5 ½ * Paul Reller is another obscure musician reference.

Number 86: Susan Wright, as it turns out, was a murder from Texas. She was put on trial in 2003, so the name coupled with the footnote about Jed’s fiance being from Texas. Since the trial didn’t happen til 2003 this is probably just a coincidence but an interesting one though.

Number 87: Bentley Harper has a ranch where they seek to preserve and educate people about the noble Bufflo.

Page 82

Number 88: This thread contains more information on the subject of Newt Kuellster than I could have gathered alone (much less put together [newt backwards = twen sounds like = twin, related back to navy and tom being twins and the Myan story of the hero twins. Brilliant]) possibly related to four big cats discussion (see “The Panther” p. 559)

Tiffany “Balter” – Balter is actually a verb meaning “to stick together” which makes the “newt = twins” thing more plausible.

Number 89: Chapter XIII – page 313

Page 83

Number 90: Footnotes 19 and 20 can be found in chapter II page 16.

Iona Panofsky – Probably a reference to Erwin Panofsky’s pioneering the study of icongraphy. His theory of “The Three Strata of subject matter or meaning” is pretty interesting which pathed the way for art historians to appreciate art in a new way.

WHL hockey player Ryan Murray probably has no significant connection to the book since he was only 7 in 2000

Page 84

Number 91: Bingham Arzumanian – this name turned up Canadian producer, song writer and recording artist Ared Arzumanian

Yvonne Hunsucker – A pretty hot Swiss actress (Her full name is Michelle Yvonne Hunsucker) (I like to imagine Thumper looks a bit like her)

Elfor O’Halloran – Elfor is some Italian renewable energy company and O’Halloran is an old Gaelic name roughly meaning “from beyond the sea”. (source)

Page 85

Number 93: Frannie Lamkins – I found a Ellis-Lamkis who seems to be a power player in Silicon Valley and in the sustainable energy movement. Go Ellis!

Number 94: Not a break through discovery but, I keep seeing “Ibid” in books with foot notes and I guess it’s never bothered me enough before now to look it up but it basically just means this foot note comes from the same source as the previous footnote. (Source)

Page 86

Number 96: Chapter XI starts on page 246

Number 97: Marjorie Preece was a minor actress in a couple of films.

Kaos Journal – to me “kaos” can be pronounced one of two ways: “kaow-s” or “chaos” and in this context I prefer the latter in that chaos is a disruption of order and Holloway becoming the “Tribe leader” is a clear disruption of the established hierarchy.

Page 90

Number 100: Rosemary Park from the sounds of it, was a prominent figure in the development of women’s education particularly in liberal arts. She was a force of nature in the academic world, building new buildings and gaining science labs to universities such as Connecticut College for Women and Barnard College, she held presidential position at the same colleges and vice chancellor at the University of California. Yale even awarded her an honorary degree in 1958 for “adding a bright star to the galaxy of liberal arts colleges for women.”

Number 101: Devon Lettau – I found this German writer Reinhard Lattau. This footnote about directions and such reminds of his book “Zur Frage der Himmelsrichtungen” or “On the issue of direction” The excerpt for the book: What does East mean? Where is West? If you stand in San Francisco and look out over the ocean, you are looking at China and Russia – most certainly the East. If you are in Erfurt (or Berlin!) anyway you look – North, South, East or West – is East.

The Faraday Conclusion – The best I can gather as to how this fictional author came to this conclusion is this: a compass works by having a magnetically charged needle which is affected by the magnetic fields the earth gives off. However strong currents of electricity can tamper with the functioning of magnetic fields since they’re both different faces of the same force (electromagnetism). An experiment conducted by Hans Christian Oerstead in 1820 proved the relationship between electricity and magnetic fields in that when a compass is held near a wire with an electric current passing through it it affects the needle and reverse the current and the needle’s position will also reverse. (source) So having an area where the needle can’t seem to “find north” the fictional Devon Lettau, can then come to the conclusion that the house has a pulsating electromagnetic force around it that’s stronger than the forces of the earth’s electromagnetic fields (which isn’t hard considering that the average refrigerator magnet has a stronger magnetic force than earth’s field). I don’t have the credentials to say whether if an annomoly like existed whether it would be able to work the way they’re speculating but the idea does seem a bit ahead of its time (considering the recent explosion of magnetically powered generators. For those not in the know, here’s how they work and how to build one [yes the instructions are free]).

Page 94

Number 105: Leon Robbins – Leo Robin was an American composer, lyricist, and songwriter. He’s worked on such projects and songs like “Thanks for the Money” sung by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross in the movie “The Big Broadcast of 1938”. His main focus was Broadway musicals, his credits include “Hit the Deck”, “Men Prefer Blondes” and “Girl in Pink Tights”. (source)

Number 106: Cave Passages by Michael Ray Taylor (surprisingly a real book)

Page 95

Number 107: Gavin Young was a journalist for the London Observer and travel writer.

Number 108: This got me thinking about the phrase “the last straw” and prompted me to seek the origin. It comes from the phrase “the last straw that broke the camel’s back” or an alternative “the last feather that broke the horse’s back” meaning the final tiny thing that tipped the scales from manageable to overbearing. The quote here “There is no such thing as the last straw. There is only hay.” is particularly amusing and thought provoking in that “there is no such thing as one too many straws because the hay is a burden in it self and given time will break the camel’s back.” This quote also seemed particularly relevant: “It maybe very well for Mr. O’Connell, in his own exultation of heart, to ascribe the success of the Catholic Relief Bill to his ‘agitation;’ but the fact is, that ‘agitation’ was the only cause of Emancipation in the same sense in which it is true that the last feather breaks the horse’s back.” (The Edinburgh Advertiser, November 1829) (source)

Jonny’s Story (footnote 98 pages 87 – 90)

Number 98: (p. 88) “…and yet directly beneath a street lamp…was the only street lamp around for miles.” A still of this scene would be done in tenebrism style. Very cool image: sports car planted just under the only street lamp around, edges of the light being hugged by the oblique dark, overlooking a farm of lights. This whole sequence with Kyre and Jonny reminds me of a dream sequence (all reinforced by the imagery and the conclusion about sleep).

(p.88) etymology of inane: silly or empty-headed, used to mean “empty” stems from the word “inanity” which means “emptiness, hollowness” figuratively and literally

(p.89) etymology (and definition) of revenant: a being that returns after death (a zombie imo) but the etymology lead me to the word “Ghost” (on the same page, being of similar relevance) which seems to have been a reoccurring theme for a few chapters now but what interested me the most was this part of the “ghost” entry: This was the usual West Germanic word for “supernatural being,” and the primary sense seems to have been connected to the idea of “to wound, tear, pull to pieces.” The pull to pieces part particularly reminded me of the Pan/Echo myth. The Narcissus/Echo myth could apply here too since ghost also implies a spirit removed from the body

(p. 89) clutch: to grip or hold with hand or claw (italics mine)

Jonny’s Story (footnote 104 pages 92 – 93)

Number 104: (p. 92) tesselled – to compose a mosaic, usually from bits of stone. The etymology lead me to the word “four” (a play on words since most mosaics were square having four sides) which has a surprisingly colourful etymology, the height of it being used as a euphemism for “a shit”