Annotations for The Orb, the sixth chapter of One Rainy Day In May.

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Big Surprise Power Draws a Crowd

Page 133 Edit

Do you like our owl?

Full quote:

Rachael: Do you like our owl?

Deckard: It's artificial?

Rachael: Of course it is.

Deckard: Must be expensive.

Rachael: Very.

Rachael: I'm Rachael.

Deckard: Deckard.

Rachael: It seems you feel our work is not a benefit to the public.

Deckard: Replicants are like any other machine - they're either a benefit or a hazard. If they're a benefit, it's not my problem. (IMDb)

Page 134 Edit

Marfa, Texas

Marfa is a tourist destination and a major center for Minimalist art. City is known for Marfa lights - They have gained some fame as onlookers have ascribed them to paranormal phenomena such as ghosts, UFOs, or will-o'-the-wisp, etc. Reports often describe brightly glowing basketball-sized spheres floating above the ground, or sometimes high in the air. Colors are usually described as white, yellow, orange, or red, but green and blue are sometimes reported. The balls are said to hover at about shoulder height, or to move laterally at low speeds, or sometimes, to shoot around rapidly in any direction. They often appear in pairs or groups, according to reports, to divide into pairs or to merge, to disappear and reappear, and sometimes to move in seemingly regular patterns. Their sizes are typically said to resemble soccer balls or basketballs (Wikipedia)

Kim Stanley Robinson

American science fiction writer, best known for his Mars trilogy (Wikipedia)

Tholeiitic basalt

Tholeiitic basalt is relatively rich in silica and poor in sodium. Included in this category are most basalts of the ocean floor, most large oceanic islands, and continental flood basalts such as the Columbia River Plateau (Wikipedia)

plagioclase feldspar

Plagioclase is a series of tectosilicate (framework silicate) minerals within the feldspar group. Rather than referring to a particular mineral with a specific chemical composition, plagioclase is a continuous solid solution series, more properly known as the plagioclase feldspar series (Wikipedia)

Page 135 Edit


having a reddish glow


the region of the earth's interior between the crust and the core, believed to consist of hot, dense silicate rocks (mainly peridotite)


seabird (Wikipedia)


superstructure of moldings and bands which lie horizontally above columns, resting on their capitals. Entablatures are major elements of classical architecture (Wikipedia)

Athena Pronaia

The Temple of Athena Pronaia was a temple at the ancient site of Delphi, in the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, a group of buildings comprising temples and treasuries as well as the famous Tholos of Delphi (Wikipedia) Copare the Temple with Marfa Lights Viewing Center and with ruins of Kobol's Opera house from Battlestar Galactica (a serial that inspired The Familiar).

Page 137 Edit


a planet in the fictional Battlestar Galactica universe. Kobol is the birthplace and original home of humanity, from which the civilization departed and formed the Twelve Colonies on other worlds (Wikipedia)


Chinati Foundation -  contemporary art museum located in Marfa, Texas and based upon the ideas of its founder, artist Donald Judd (Wikipedia)

page 139 Edit


India pale ale (IPA) is a hoppy beer style within the broader category of pale ale


a major developer and manufacturer of electron microscopes and other scientific instruments (Wikipedia)

Page 141 Edit

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

American citizens executed for conspiracy to commit espionage, relating to passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union (Wikipedia)

Page 143 Edit

sky-struck, sky-subdued

echoes Cas' vision of a giant steel edifice toppling and falling (pages 134-135)


not in a sense of revising, but meaning a return to the vision from the beginning of the chapter combined with Cas' imagining of the melting of the antennas

Page 145 Edit


William Edward Binney is a former highly placed intelligence official with the United States National Security Agency (NSA) turned whistleblower who resigned on October 31, 2001, after more than 30 years with the agency. He was a high-profile critic of his former employers during the George W. Bush administration.

Binney continues to speak out during Barack Obama's presidency about the NSA's data collection policies, and continues to give interviews in the media regarding his experiences and his views on interception of communication of American citizens by governmental agencies (Wikipedia)


United States Signals Intelligence Directive. USSID 18 was the general guideline for handling signals intelligence (SIGINT) inadvertently collected on US citizens, without a warrant, prior to the George W. Bush Administration. See also Project Minaret (1967-1973) - over 5,925 foreigners and 1,690 organizations and US citizens were included on the Project MINARET watch lists (Wikipedia)

Page 146 Edit


hotel in Marfa

Page 147 Edit


green-eyed creature – jealousy, from Othello by William Shakespeare:

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock The meat it feeds on. (link)


California Institute of Technology, a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering (Wikipedia)

Page 148 Edit

Lypo-Spheric C

Vitamin C. Nutrients are encapsulated and protected by microscopic bubbles called Liposomes (Lypo-Spheric™)

Page 149 Edit

Parcel Thoughts

A made up social network. It even has it's own site


The amniotic fluid, commonly called a pregnant woman's water or waters (Latin liquor amnii), is the protective liquid contained by the amniotic sac of a pregnant female. This fluid serves as a cushion for the growing fetus, but also serves to facilitate the exchange of nutrients, water, and biochemical products between mother and fetus (Wikipedia)


having an extremely offensive smell


a correction of a published text. An erratum is most commonly issued shortly after its original text is published. Patches to security issues in a computer program are also sometimes called errata (Wikipedia)

fe in fey

Fe - Ferrum, Iron. fey - 1. able to see into the future, 2. fated to die


atomic number 9


atom number 27

lithium, oxygen, nitrogen


Page 152 Edit


an international nuclear fusion research and engineering megaproject, which will be the world's largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment (Wikipedia)


a city in and the capital of the Shamakhi Rayon of Azerbaijan (Wikipedia). The official seal portraits a cat-like creature. Probably mentioned because of the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory


a republic of Russia located in the North Caucasus area of southern European Russia. The republic is the home of what was the largest telescope of the world from 1975 until 1993 (the BTA-6), a very large radio telescope (600 meters in diameter, RATAN-600), and the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Science dedicated to the study of astronomy (Wikipedia)

Palomar Mountain range

Palomar Mountain is a a mountain ridge in the Peninsular Ranges in northern San Diego County. It is famous as the location of the Palomar Observatory and Hale Telescope (Wikipedia)

Page 157 Edit

Nunc dimittis

Nunc dimittis ( also Song of Simeon or Canticle of Simeon) is a canticle from a New Testament text in the second chapter of Luke named after its incipit in Latin, meaning 'Now you dismiss...'. (Luke 2:29–32), often used as the final song in a religious service

Pages 156-157 ENTR’ACTE One – Artifact #1 Edit

Each Volume is divided into five acts separated by ENTR'ACTE's. Entr'acte means "between the acts". It can mean a pause between two parts of a stage production, synonymous to an intermission (this is nowadays the more common meaning in French), but it more often (in English) indicates a piece of music performed between acts of a theatrical production. In the case of stage musicals, the entr'acte serves as the overture of act 2 (and sometimes acts 3 and 4, as in Carmen). In films that were meant to be shown with an intermission, there was frequently a specially recorded entr'acte on the soundtrack between the first and second half of the film, although this practice has died out in recent years.

ENTR’ACTE Artifact evokes the collages from House of Leaves and from the hardcover of Only Revolutions. The name connects it with the prehistoric Artifacts section told by Narcons. Makes you think: artifacts of what? This one focuses on various recording devices - letters, tapes, cd's, harddisk and foreshadows future events (balloons, shooting targets).

Attribution for Artifact #1 is titled "theta" in the printed attributions page of TF1 but is called “artifact #1” on attributions on the website.

The National target Company

Manufacturer and distributor of official NRA rifle, pistol, and law enforcement targets

J Fenimore Cooper

this appears to be from the title page of the 1883 edition of Cooper’s book The Ways of the Hour (it also may be from one of the other illustrated reprints that Appleton and Co. did of Cooper's novels)

Pyramid of Cestius

this pyramid was built in 12 BC but it appears in the artifact because it is right next to John Keats’ grave (and Shelley's) is right next to this pyramid. (Bonus note: this cemetery in Rome has a warning sign up in three languages that states: “Please do not caress, touch or molest the cats in the Cemetery”)

“weight of eggs” and “required per acre”

from Real Estate Broker’s Cyclopedia, chapter 29. This book is like a 1911 version of the internet

Lost Girls cassette tape

most likely an allusion to Alan Moore’s graphic novel of the same name. The graphic novel has some of the same techniques as The like having a distinct visual layout for all 3 characters

Appointment in Samarra

first novel by John O'Hara - The novel describes how, over the course of three days, Julian English destroys himself with a series of impulsive acts, culminating in suicide. O'Hara never gives any obvious cause or explanation for his behavior, which is apparently predestined by his character (Wikipedia) See also Only Revolutions H.1

math equations

Reimann zeta-function definition is written in blue chalk on one of the Keats' poems. The function is famous in mathematics and is used to find prime numbers. The function also allows a way to add all natural numbers and (bizarrely) the answer is -1/12.

math note cards

these cards are also bits and pieces from Reimann's zeta function. Besides the basic definition they don't seem to be calculating anything in particular. There is a drawing of the complex plane which is the zeta function domain (loosely speaking). They are mostly pieces of defined equations. See TF1.NI.3 for mention of series limitations and fractals, which both relate to the zeta function. One of the math cards also seems to be a summation of the sine and cosine functions along with a drawing.

A Familiar Letter, by Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1876

Volume 3, we see the first stanza and two lines of the next stanza. The poem is about cannibalizing famous poetry to write your own poetry despite not having inspiration or something meaningful to say. (full text)

Ode to a Nightingale

a poem by John Keats (Wikipedia)

cigarette package

Natural American Spirit brand. Note also the pile of tobacco in the upper right of the artifact.

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Big Surprise Power Draws a Crowd