Wednesday, October 31, 2012


It Gets Worse

Hey, they found that cave from Island of the Blue Dolphins, yay! We'd love to know more about the woman whose life inspired such an enduring, compelling story.

After a month on the island with Nidever and his crew, the Lone Woman left her home for Nidever's in Santa Barbara. Native Americans and priests who spoke various Indian tongues couldn't understand the songs she sang or the four words she used repeatedly.

But she was adept in signs. She indicated that wild dogs had devoured the baby she'd gone back to retrieve. But her grief was long past, and in Santa Barbara she seemed curious and happy. Nidever turned down offers to display her in San Francisco.

After seven weeks, she died of dysentery.

"The food of civilization, of which she partook in excess, did not agree with her," said the Times in 1899.

Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ.

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Sort of tangential, but the mission here (which if you ask me is just a creepy window dressing on an mass unmarked Indian grave yard) is now selling burial plots. Like, hey dudes want to put your remains in a clearly marked pretty part of a super creepy part of history?



I like this website so much@t


Ah! Why? So much sadness...


I'm so tickled by the "Do you think this is the famed 'Lone Woman’s cave'?" poll. Eh, sure?


@Decca why the hell not


Well I might now be crying in my office...

But as an archaeologist, it is exceedingly rare to find verifiable individuals preserved in the archaeological record so this is pretty neat. Also the potential to flesh out the lives of her people is there.


WHAT I had no idea that book was based on a real person!


Did anyone else go through a super-intense "wilderness survival books" phase (I mean, I still like them, but there was a time when it was at peak intensity) around 8-12 or so? I read Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Julie of the Wolves, Robinson Crusoe--all those kinds of things. I sort of longed to be lost in the wild so I could build my own hut!

fuck fuck fuck

@martinipie i was so into Hatchet! did you read Sign of the Beaver? i think that was kind of wilderness-survivaly. i know someone built a log cabin at some point.


@martinipie YES! And Ive been thinking of re-reading Hatchet. Gary Paulsen also wrote a good book on taking up dogsledding. I also took a survialist course at this environmental conference I went to high school. I realize now it was sort of creepy in a militia sort of way but I learned a lot.


@martinipie yes! And The Island Keeper. I made my friends play at wilderness survival in the (not very big and actually pretty suburban) woods near my house.


@martinipie YES! Every single book mentioned in this thread, many times. Also, did you know there was a sequel to Hatchet called The River? The kid gets stranded in Canadian Wilderness AGAIN. Talk about shitty luck.


@martinipie My Side of the Mountain and Julie of the Wolves FOREVAAAAAAAH!


@martinipie I read pretty much all of those books. I was obsessed, which is quite funny as I was (and still am) an "indoor kid" in every way.

Okay, this one is kind of obscure, but "Baby Island"? It was just so bizarre. Not a lot of survival, but teenage girls and a bunch of babies shipwrecked on an island.


@martinipie Oh yes, I was OBSESSED with all those books as a kid, especially Island of the Blue Dolphins. I had extensive fantasies of running away from home and making clothes out of cormorants, despite the fact that I refused to do Girl Guides because it involved sleeping outside in tents.


@WhiskeySour I read that as part of my obsessive love for Caddie Woodlawn.

Priscilla Peel

@WhiskeySour I forgot about Baby Island! Those girls were so happy because their dream was to have a baby-sitting job that would never end -- so weird!


@martinipie I read Julie of the Wolves (and the sequel) over and over again.


@martinipie OH YES. Survival books of all types.

I blame this directly for my unwillingness to go camping.

Morgan Balavage@facebook

@martinipie If I recall The River correctly, he actually chose to go back into nature with a military guy so the government could learn from his survival skillz. I remember reading that as a 10yo and being like, wtf, Hatchet? At least keep the mosquito repellent!!

Also, did anyone else read The Cay? Does that count as young adult survival fiction?


@martinipie I still think about "Julie and the Wolves," mostly along the lines of, "I wonder what lichen tastes like?"
I found those books weirdly comforting. Like, thinking, Yeah, I could do that; maybe I would be okay.


@martinipie Yes! All of the Hatchet books (there's like 4 I think), Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Cay, Julie of the Wolves, My Side of the Mountain.
Did anyone else read and love The Girl Who Owned a City, about children who survived a plague that killed all of the adults, and the children had to form a new civilization?


@martinipie Yes! All of the Hatchet books (there's like 4 I think), Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Cay, Julie of the Wolves, My Side of the Mountain.
Did anyone else read and love The Girl Who Owned a City, about children who survived a plague that killed all of the adults, and the children had to form a new civilization?


@martinipie Speaking of young adult fiction with survivalist themes, did anyone else read Walking Up a Rainbow by Theodore Taylor? It was my absolute favourite book as a kid and unfortunately I lost my copy long ago and it's now out of print. Plucky young girl in the 1850s(ish) has to herd sheep across America with the help of a hunky young cowboy. Sleeping rough, danger, illness, romance...! It's very Oregon Trail just with a hot cowboy. I wish I still had it.


@martinipie Oh man, all of those. Plus one where a girl gets stranded in the Everglades and makes friends with an otter? Does anyone remember that?


@martinipie: Hey, it looks like my copy of Smugglers' Island by Clarissa A. Kneeland is worth $60!

Yes, between Island of the Blue Dolphins, TLHotP books, Smugglers' Island, Alive! and Alas, Babylon I definitely obsessed about how to survive some kind of shipwreck/isolating disaster. In fact, I've got a tiny little feeling of disappointment that my (imaginary) skills in spearing fish, collecting dew for drinking water and making soap from pigfat have never been called into use. >:(

Alcohol Magurthy

@martinipie Yes! I read Hatchet in like 5th grade, got obsessed, and ended up reading ALL OF THEM on my own. When I got to physics in high school, learning about light refraction was easy because I remembered the bit in Hatchet where he learns to aim slightly below the fish he's trying to spear.

I was actually JUST thinking about all of those books the other day, after watching The Grey. That movie is...dark. Liam Neeson is awesome, as always, but I"m not entirely sure howling hurricane winds outside was the best condition in which to watch a movie where the scariest, most unnerving things are the wolf howls and the sound of the wind.


@WhiskeySour BABY ISLAND. I was the kid who got to read books for the school librarian to see what age category to put them into, and Baby Island was one of the first ones. The other one I remember was a book where the metaphor "you don't buy a cart before you test the wheels" was used when talking about premarital sex!


@Alcohol Magurthy Aaaah! The Grey! It didn't actually like it, but it was filmed in the town I live in. It's VERY weird snowshoeing around the area where they first get attacked.


@Morgan Balavage@facebook OMG, all we talked about during the Hurricane was The Cay. Definitely counts.


@WhiskeySour (and others) BABY ISLAND! I loved Baby Island. Mary's incessant preachiness! Jeanie's incessant singing! Remember the part where they mix up the twins? And Mary's all freaking out about it, and Jean's like "Why even does this matter?" I...kind of agree with Jean. Or I would in those circumstances, at least.

Alcohol Magurthy

@MilesofMountains Oooh, that must be so eerie. Yeah, I don't think I actually liked the movie very much, but for some reason I can't stop thinking about it. I guess that's successful film-making on SOME level.


@distrighema YES!! The Talking Earth!! I liked it even better than Julie of the Wolves (though I liked Julie of the Wolves).


@teebs I did! I don't know if I would love it so much now. B/c my cohort would be dead. O_o

Snowy Owl Love Killer

@likethestore Delurking to say that I adored Walking Up A Rainbow. There are reasonably priced copies on Amazon! I bought a copy online a few years ago because I wanted to read it and couldn't find it anywhere else.

Snowy Owl Love Killer

@martinipie In a similar vein, A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer was another great survival story that I got obsessed with.


@WhiskeySour OH MY GOODNESS BABY ISLAND!! I have never met another person who knows that book. I read it at least 25 times as a child. I was obsessed. I recently bought it used, and, whoa.


@teebs YES The Girl Who Owned a City!!!! That book was amazing! I was just scrolling to the bottom of the comments to post about it!!! So glad I'm not the only one!


@martinipie YES! Also, there's a REALLY good one called Savage Journey, by Allan W. Eckert (who also wrote The Incident at Hawk's Hill, which is fab as well). Sarah is a young teen who has to make her way alone out of the Amazon jungle after her father is killed in an accident. I read it over and over when I was young, and still have my copy in storage.


@martinipie Island of the Blue Dolphins haunted me as a kid, so I avoided most kids-alone-in-wilderness books except for Sarah Bishop. Its written by the same guy who wrote IotBD, but is much less bleak and also set during the Revolutionary War. I loved that book and wanted to learn to shoot a rifle like Sarah in order to protect myself from dangerous redcoats and revolutionary soldiers. Read it!


@fuck fuck fuck omg, sign of the beaver was my JAM!

fuck fuck fuck

i was obsesssssssed with this book in the fourth grade. then when we covered it in school in sixth grade no one told me she was real!


@fuck fuck fuck I didn't know she was real until this article!


oh my god this was one of my favorite books when i was younger. i credit it with teaching me what abalone is. so, so important as a 12-year-old with terrible bangs in suburban Connecticut.

fuck fuck fuck

@JessAndNo i struggled hard trying to figure out how to pronounce that shit when i was 9.


@fuck fuck fuck I still don't know how to pronounce it. A-ba-lone or a-ba-lone-y?


@cosmia A-ba-lone-y, I believe.


@cosmia AB - bologna, basically. They're delicious! We have a family friend that dives for them off the coast of northern CA where I grew up and we used to have an abalone feed at the end of every summer. It's like a huge scallop.


@JessAndNo I learned what kelp was from this book. The More You Know!


I vaguely remember this book, is it the one where the girl is rescued by scientists and can only talk in weird dolphin noises so the font in the book is huge until she learns how to speak, and then plays around in a pool, but misses the ocean so she goes back?


I just googled it and WHAT, Island of the Blue dolphins is something else entirely. What the hell did I read, then? WHAT WEIRD BOOK WAS THAT?


@cosmia I don't know, but I want to read it!


@cosmia I know, I know! It's The Music of Dolphins! by Karen Hesse!


Reading that book began a dophin-loving craze in me that lasted for far too long.


@cosmia Ahhh, I vaguely remember this book. Found it! It's called The Music of Dolphins
I think I read every book with "dolphin" in the title while in elementary school.


@cosmia Im not sure but I read it too. I think "Cove" was somewhere in the title.

maybe partying will help


Ok but "Shadows in the Waters," right. Dolphins AND telepathy AND TELEPATHIC DOLPHINS! Also environmentalism but mostly TELEPATHIC DOLPHINS.

And "A Ring of Endless Light," clearly.


@cosmia The Music of Dolphins!

Totally cheated and googled that because I couldn't remember the title. But I remember the book because when I was a teenager a friend's sister had it and I was like "DOLPHINS!!!" and she was all, "Meh."
And I couldn't believe it, you're TWELVE, how are you MEH about dolphins at twelve??

So I took it and read it, even though I was almost 19. Because you just don't get meh about dolphins, DAMMIT.


@maybe partying will help That sounds really familiar! Also, there was the Animorphs book where they become dolphin morphs. I always found its cover illustration to be the most unsettling for some reason.

maybe partying will help


It was part of a series by Kathryn Lasky about telepathic twins. :B

Animorphs, well, I think we all know how I feel about Animorphs.


@maybe partying will help I don't know how you feel about the Animorphs...I hope you are pro-Animorph! (I devoured those books in elementary school--thanks Scholastic Book Club!)

maybe partying will help


Oh yes I am very pro-Animorph! Such that my BFF and I are rereading them and podcasting about it. :B


@maybe partying will help Animorphs podcast?! That sounds delightful. Could you post a link?


@maybe partying will help YES A LINK DO IT. People talking about anamorphic lenses at work have led to me thinking about Animorphs a lot lately.


Oh Lord, why did you have to remind me? I remember searching really hard at the library as a pre-teen(pre-internet in the early 90's) for what happened to Karana when a teacher offhandedly mentioned she was real.
I was SO excited and then when I found out her true story, I was devastated. It never even occurred to me that her true ending was even sadder than her book ending.

I'd make a joke about a part of my childhood dying that day, but it's too close to the truth.



I'm sorry, that's wrong. I refuse to accept that as the ending. It's like the creators of Oregon Trail are now just out there trying to destroy childhood.


OK, I distinctly remember in the book that she went back for her brother, not her BABY. Scott O'Dell, you lied to me!


@JanieS Yes! I am reading Zia and the Little House books to my stepdaughter, and the revisionist history is something I prefer to ignore for the sake of awesome story. Girls can do anything, etc.


@JanieS I'm betting that was the awkwardness of writing a young adult book with a storyline of Young Adult Girl, Just Like You But Clearly Awesomer and With a Freakin' Feather Cloak, Also Had a Baby When She Was Your Age and It DIED, You Guys. It Died. Suddenly Everything You Love About This Book Is Lost In the Shadow of Crippling Sorrow.


@Linette Well, when you put it that way.


OMG, this, and "Streams to the River, River to the Sea", and I played misunderstood native princess on long trail rides, and may have called our old dog "Amaru", etc. I also spent way too much time trying to re-do every nature survival thingadoo in "My Side Of The Mountain", and was the most obnoxious Girl Scout.

Oh lord, I'm still like this, with my garden and the trail rides.

Also, the mysterious disappearing cormorant dress! Is the pope wearing it RIGHT NOW?!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@cinnamonskin Yes yes yes to all the things in "My Side of the Mountain." I also may have recently purchased a nice little hatchet for my future summer hikes and, when asked by my ladyfriend to explain why I had to have one for my pack, I may have said, "Hatchets save lives. Didn't you read 'Hatchet?'"

(And yeah, the Pope totes wears that shit under his other dresses.)


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Hatchet forever! My hurricane box has a hatchet, a shovel, vodka, and hot sauce. Oh, and water purifier, conditioner, a spare black t-shirt, other things less bad-ass but no less important.


You can visit her grave in the Mission Dolores graveyard in San Francisco...


Does anyone else remember watching that 60's movie of the book? I don't remember too much about it except that her brother was really annoying.


Next you're gonna tell me that Ayla wasn't immediately loved by the Mamutoi and died of scabies.

(I may or may not have been reading the Clan of the Cave Bear books for the last two months out of a need for something eye-rollingly campy. I still can't properly envision the tools produced by flint-knapping, even though she's got to have devoted at least 400 pages to it by the third book.)


@frigwiggin have you read the latest one - Land of Painted Caves? Terrible!!! Not even eye-rollingly camp, just terrible!!


@themegnapkin No, I'm still on The Mammoth Hunters! I'm not sure how far I'll even get--Jondalar is such a wet blanket in this one that I just want to go through with a Sharpie and excise his name.


@themegnapkin I gave up 1/4 in. NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE FUCKING CAVES, JEAN!


I'm just going to put on my cormorant skirt and pretend I didn't find this out


I did know about her dying of dysentery (thanks[?], Wikipedia), but it only just occurred to me how awful it must have been to communicate something as traumatic as "dogs ate my baby" in improvised sign language to strangers.


@Cawendaw It's worse than just dying of dysentery. She died (or so the museum at the SB Mission says) from eating fruit from all of the fruit baskets that people sent to welcome her!! From FRUIT!! Our mothers have been lying to us about which foods are healthy...


@Cawendaw I'm afraid I just laughed a terrible hollow laugh. So awful/funny.


@EmmaM AW HELL that's just not even FAIR. It was WELCOME FRUIT and it KILLED HER, what does that even mean!?!?!?


That cormorant dress might be real???

Surrender the dress, pope, and no one gets hurt.

(That article was the best and saddest thing ever. Really want to reread the book now.)


I loved Island of the Blue Dolphin SO MUCH as a kid. I should re-read it.


YES survival books!! Z for Zachariah anyone? I think it's the reason I continue to have apocalyptic dreams to this day


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