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DONT PANIC
May 25, 2010 5:09 AM   Subscribe


 
*fixes herself a nice cup of tea*
posted by magstheaxe at 5:20 AM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


"You want the taste of dried leaves boiled in water?"
posted by schmod at 5:26 AM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


That explains the bulldozer outside the house this morning...
posted by HuronBob at 5:31 AM on May 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


*craves the sensation of being smashed in the face with a lemon wrapped around a large gold brick*
posted by Silverdragonanon at 5:32 AM on May 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Is there a calendar out there that has important days like this listed on it and maybe gives us a reminder a few days in advance? Cause like, I forgot my towel when I left this morning...

Similarly, I didn't talk to my wife like a pirate first thing in the morning on the last talk like a pirate day.

I only remember festivus because its close enough to the normal holiday season...

And I only remember Pi Approximation Day when I go to write a check.

Oh, and Happy Geek Day (to those in Spain - the rest of you can just enjoy a moist towel).

Seriously - I need reminders...
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:32 AM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nanukthedog I have made a Geek Holidays Calendar for you: Google-cal link.


Contains CAPS LOCK DAY, talk like a pirate day, pi-day, towel day. Any others I've forgotten?
posted by handee at 5:43 AM on May 25, 2010 [15 favorites]


I have mine with me, w00t. It's already been useful.
posted by Fizz at 5:45 AM on May 25, 2010


Handee and Nanukthedog: You may be interested in this ask.mefi thread.

Sadly, my workplace is frowny on things like towels. I'll carry mine to the laundromat, not that that will look out of place.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:06 AM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


handee - you missed Star Wars Day - May the 4th.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 6:07 AM on May 25, 2010


Now let us sing the official Towel Day song:

Share and enjoy
Share and enjoy
Journey through life
With a plastic boy
Or girl by your side
Let your pal be your guide
And when it breaks down
And starts to annoy
Or grinds when it moves
And gives you no joy
Cause it's eaten your hat
Or had sex with your cat
Bled oil on the floor
Or ripped off your door
You get to the point
You can't take any more
Bring it to us: we won't give a fig!
We'll tell you:
"Go stick your head in a pig"

- only, slightly worse.
(/illuminates three mile-high letters)
posted by Electric Dragon at 6:19 AM on May 25, 2010


Thanks for his this froody post.
posted by drezdn at 6:35 AM on May 25, 2010


Added star wars day, DEC-TEN, Pi-day (europe), and a handful of others.... Google cal link. Not sure what this i-cal stuff is in the askme thread.
posted by handee at 6:38 AM on May 25, 2010


toasts, with a cupful of liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea
posted by prettypretty at 6:38 AM on May 25, 2010


From the first link:
Adams's creation also went intergalactic in October last year. As Nasa's LCROSS lunar mission spacecraft travelled towards the moon at more than 9,000 kilometres per hour, it tweeted in the words of the existential sperm whale from the first novel: "And what's this thing coming toward me very fast? So big and flat and round ... it needs a big wide sounding name like 'Ow', 'Ownge', 'Round', 'Ground'! ... That's it! Ground! Ha! I wonder if it'll be friends with me?" Then it crashed into the moon.
Brilliant! (Hadn't heard about this before.) I wonder if NASA has any plans for solar probes. "Ship... sun... BOOM!"
posted by Hardcore Poser at 6:42 AM on May 25, 2010 [8 favorites]


Pardon me, but are you the internet?
And by that, I mean 'The Internet', of DARPA Labs and W3 committee fame?
YOU'RE ALL JERKS. A COMPLETE BUNCH OF ARSEHOLES.

*spends next several hours scratching names off list*
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:42 AM on May 25, 2010 [8 favorites]


> Should have been "Oh no, not again."
posted by Electric Dragon at 6:47 AM on May 25, 2010


I still miss Mr. Adams. Think of him every time I turn on my iPad and see the startup screen: "DON'T PANIC."
posted by papercake at 6:51 AM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


One of the most memorable bits out of Hitchhiker's, for me, was a half-page aside about some monks trying to teach themselves to fly. Flying, it turns out, is the art of throwing oneself headlong at the ground, and missing. This takes a great deal of practice.

That was a great joke, one I've remembered ever since, but I've gotten more mileage out of it than just the laughter. It's an exceptionally useful line for explaining for how orbits work... constantly plunging toward the planet, but moving so fast side to side that you miss.
posted by Malor at 6:52 AM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


For my new documentary on text adventures, I had thousands of custom coins made that will be included with each package.

Since things are going to get very busy very quick, a couple specially-numbered coins went out to some of my interviewees already.

Late last night, Coin #0042 arrived at Steve Meretzky's house, just in time for Towel Day.

I thought that was a nice coincidence.
posted by jscott at 6:54 AM on May 25, 2010 [12 favorites]


What I can't figure out is what this thing is that my aunt gave me that I don't know what it is.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 6:59 AM on May 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Wow. I used a towel just this morning without even knowing.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:00 AM on May 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's nice to think about how, with mobile device+wikipedia and a towel one can really hitchhike around the world and feel somewhat like the galactic hitchhikers of lore.

Earth: Harmless. [citation needed]

(Also, I can't be the only one who thinks we should celebrate Pi day twice a year at the solstices, rather than at ridiculous coincident date of 14 March. What's up with that?)
posted by wobh at 7:04 AM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


The whale routine would have been better for Beagle II.
posted by Artw at 7:13 AM on May 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Vogon poetry slam in Portland, Oregon?

*looks around MetaFilter suspiciously*
posted by Quietgal at 7:22 AM on May 25, 2010


Talking of geek holidays, I'm still looking for someone who'll celebrate Christmas on Halloween with me (and vice-versa).

Because Oct(31) = Dec(25).
Yeah, I know. I'm sorry...

posted by sodium lights the horizon at 7:37 AM on May 25, 2010 [32 favorites]


A calendar of silly observances?! ical
posted by HLD at 7:46 AM on May 25, 2010


I built a computing cluster with Rocks Linux here out of 10 Sun blades for crunching genomics data it gets from a Solexa. It is lovingly referred to as Hactar by everyone on up to the CTO, though i suspect very few get the reference. Little do they know...
posted by Mach5 at 7:53 AM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always think that they should have Towel Day on Thursday every year.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:13 AM on May 25, 2010


Sunday was 5/23 - hope everyone had their hotdog buns.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:01 AM on May 25, 2010


You guys favourited that...? Oh, how I love you, Meta
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 9:02 AM on May 25, 2010


Re: geek calendar. You forgot THIS.

And . Douglas Adams. He was one all around froopy dude.
posted by SPUTNIK at 9:06 AM on May 25, 2010


The world needs more DNA, a lot more.
posted by tommasz at 9:14 AM on May 25, 2010


Right up there with "Talk Like A Pirate Day"

Meh.
posted by Doohickie at 9:18 AM on May 25, 2010


One other gift: While doing research for the documentary, I got to scan the slide that had the original Adams and Meretzky PR Photo from Hitchhiker's Guide:

...In 8000px resolution.
posted by jscott at 9:23 AM on May 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


In the spirit of science fiction becoming reality, may I offer microfiber towels.

A small square soaks as much water as a large old towel. Safe to clean optics with. Can fold to fit in a pocket. Not as good for a blanket.
posted by dragonsi55 at 9:27 AM on May 25, 2010


My towel masquerades as a large-sized microfiber cleaning cloth.
posted by mrbill at 9:35 AM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Real towels are made of cotton. You guys are heretics and unfit to be called "nerds!"
posted by Mister_A at 9:42 AM on May 25, 2010


froopy dude

It's HOOPY FROOD, fer chrissakes.
posted by anazgnos at 9:47 AM on May 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


Today I know where my towel is at.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 9:52 AM on May 25, 2010


You don't carry a towel with you everyday?

Sheesh, amateurs.
posted by gomichild at 9:52 AM on May 25, 2010


But that small microfiber square probably wouldn't be workable as a sail, nor would it cover your head to ward off the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.
posted by Ickster at 10:06 AM on May 25, 2010


"When I've had to suck that end I usually need to suck the other end a bit too."
posted by soft and hardcore taters at 10:13 AM on May 25, 2010


You're a towel!
posted by weezy at 10:19 AM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Steve Whose Last Name I Forgot the Second I Started to Type This: Thank you for your totally perfect Vogon Poetry contribution to the Speech Team Tournament that one year in high school approximately one and a half million years ago. It was unpleasantly like being drunk.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:31 AM on May 25, 2010


The old Infocom Hitchhiker's Guide adventure game came with a map and some materials as their packaging often contained. It included a microscopic space fleet (an empty plastic bag), peril-sensitive sunglasses (black cardboard so you couldn't see through them) and, of course, explicitly, "no tea."
posted by davejay at 10:35 AM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


a Vogon poetry slam in Portland, Oregon

FUCK. How did I not know about this?
posted by Nothing... and like it at 10:40 AM on May 25, 2010


I thought we'd all celebrate with a round of jynnan tonnyx
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:55 AM on May 25, 2010


Could be worse; Lost fans will always have holidays on 4/8, 4/15, 4/16, 4/23, 8/4, 8/15, 8/16 and 8/23. Of course, Hitchhiker fans must constantly remind them where the show got the 42 from.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:57 AM on May 25, 2010


The old Infocom Hitchhiker's Guide adventure game came with a map and some materials as their packaging often contained.

It also came with a healthy dose of pain for players.
posted by ersatz at 10:59 AM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


hmmm. can't really wear a towel to work, but I'll find my most absorbent scarf, and wear that.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:42 AM on May 25, 2010


In the spirit of science fiction becoming reality, may I offer microfiber towels.

To this pragmatist's mind, one of the functions the 'most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have' is that, in addition to the the other stuff that Adams listed, it better be able to service as a weapon as well. Now, a good cotton towel, with a brick in it should suffice nicely, and I just don't see a thin microfiber surviving that.

So yeah, I'll take my towels thick and weaponizeable. Thanks.
posted by quin at 11:44 AM on May 25, 2010


Thanks to the askme referred to above I already had towel day on my calendar. Thanks askme!

Also, that game kicked my ass. I never did finish it. Perhaps it's time to give it another try.

Love the picture jscott. You live a life of adventure and romance.
posted by irisclara at 11:58 AM on May 25, 2010


On the first day of 7th Grade, I walked through my new school ostentatiously reading So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish. I had read it before, of course. Several times. But what better way to make a good impression on my new friends and classmates than by walking around reading a book to show how weird and smart and funny I was? FOOLPROOF. I WOULD BE POPULAR IMMEDIATELY.

I spent the next several years reading and rereading, and quoting from the series as often as possible, shoehorning quotations into every conversation. Every. Conversation. I'm sure that it must have been extremely (extremely) fucking obnoxious and that were I now to have to interact with myself at that age I'd want to lemon-gold-brick at lease one version of myself. Or both. Repeatedly. But the charitable, non-self-effacing view is this: I had "discovered" something wonderful, something amazing, something that let me know that there were other strange people out there interested in cleverness and wit and how strange the Universe is. And that other people might share my sense of humor. The book cover itself said "More than 8 Million copies in print!" That was good news.

Like most any pre-teen, I co-opted rather than, like, responsibly appreciating, but that's a maybe necessary step toward figuring it all out, I think (plus, it could have been worse. It could have been Ayn Rand). And in time, I stopped openly aping Adams's style, and figured out my own. But reading his books was one of the things that made me want to be a writer, that let me know that it was possible to be silly and profound at the same time, and that not only was that OK it could be fucking awesome if you did it right. And he did it better than anyone.

I devoured the trilogy over and over. I bought Mostly Harmless on its release day and read it just as quickly as I possibly could. And then, home from my first year of college and trying to get one-a-them summer jobs, I was interviewing at the local mall's bookstore. The first question the manager asked was "Who's you favorite author?" Without a moment's hesitation, I said "Douglas Adams." "Oh yeah," the manager said. "He just died."

I was crushed. I had never met him, never spoken to him, did not know the man. But it felt like one of my best friends had died. It's a strange thing to feel about somebody I didn't know, but in a weird way he helped me figure out how to be me.

But I still can't bring myself to read The Salmon of Doubt. Because the book will begin, and then it will be over without ever ending. And it's been years already, but I just can't do it yet.

He was my favorite, and I miss him, and I carry a towel with me everywhere. For real: it does come in handy.

tl;dr: So long, Mr. Adams, and thanks for being.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:14 PM on May 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


froopy dude

It's HOOPY FROOD, fer chrissakes.
posted by anazgnos


The babelfish. She not working right.
posted by SPUTNIK at 12:30 PM on May 25, 2010


I love that Terry Pratchett's fans are also "wearing the lily" today for Alzheimer's research. Honestly, as someone who has seen what Alzheimer's can do, that made me tear up.

Well, damn. I need a lilac towel now.

I still have my (completely black) hitchhiker sunglasses from that damnable computer game. I remember the Babelfish and having to avoid both the grill in the floor and cleaning droids soaring through the room to get the damned thing stuck in my ear.
posted by misha at 12:31 PM on May 25, 2010


The benefit of his inspiring my nickname is that I get to rep the Douglas Adams love every day. I also always carry around a towel, but that's just useful.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:53 PM on May 25, 2010


I carried a towel around in my backpack, everywhere I went, for most of seventh grade. Yes, it was because of that god-damned wonderful book. It was like Douglas Adams puberty or something.


Also, when So Long... came out, I remember passing it back and forth in science class with Joel and eventually having it confiscated because we were laughing so hard as to be snotting ourselves. Good times.

posted by everichon at 12:58 PM on May 25, 2010


"When I've had to suck that end I usually need to suck the other end a bit too."

I started listening to all the audiobooks again while commuting. I heard that line today just as I pulled in.

There must be an improbability field operating in the vicinity.
posted by CaseyB at 1:03 PM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I still miss Mr. Adams. Think of him every time I turn on my iPad and see the startup screen: "DON'T PANIC."

That has been my first order of business with every mobile device I've ever owned.
posted by CaseyB at 1:09 PM on May 25, 2010


I'm sure I've told this story here before, but here goes.

My senior year of college, we had a vote amongst the students between a few candidates to determine who our commencement speaker would be. I don't remember who anyone but the winner was, and it was Douglas Adams. Harvey Mudd being an exceptionally nerdy and fairly literate school, this generated quite a bit of excitement.

Three days before graduation, we were told simply that he was not able to make it, and a last minute replacement had been found.

More than one person was heard to have said something along the lines of "he better have died!".

The first question the manager asked was "Who's you favorite author?" Without a moment's hesitation, I said "Douglas Adams." "Oh yeah," the manager said. "He just died."

And, of course, he had. I've never seen people feel worse about an off-hand comment. We were both sad for his passing and guilty for being sad that he couldn't come speak to us, because obviously that's a pretty minor concern in the grand scheme.
posted by flaterik at 1:21 PM on May 25, 2010


Douglas Adams dies on my 13th birthday.

Today I had my final vocal exam in the form of a mini-concert. I brought a towel on stage and dedicated the first song to Mr. Adams, which, thankfully, got a smile out of the judge. And my concert went very well, so I guess he was looking out for me. :)
posted by MaiaMadness at 1:23 PM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: we were laughing so hard as to be snotting ourselves.
posted by hippybear at 1:43 PM on May 25, 2010


For all of you who do the DONT PANIC start-up screen, how do you make that work? I am both carrying a towel, and wishing I had a lilac sprig today. That one made me sniffle a bit.
posted by Polyhymnia at 2:01 PM on May 25, 2010


Polyhymnia, I Googled for mine and just picked my favorite. I have an iPhone, so I saved the image as an attachment, emailed it to myself, saved and used as wallpaper.

I'm not sure if that's exactly what you needed answering ... I've had a few jynnan tonnyx today so I can't promise I'm at my best.
posted by inmediasres at 3:41 PM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was at the train station in Leipzig, Germany today with my huge black rolling suitcase. (To distinguish it from everyone else's huge black rolling suitcase, it has the words "DON'T PANIC" painted on it in large friendly letters using white-out.)

Anyway, a sweet German girl with a nose piercing wished me Happy Towel Day, and I had no idea! I FAIL at geek. ***Out Of Cheese Error, please reboot brain***
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:36 PM on May 25, 2010


I carry a large, fluffy towel in my car. I've used it several times for things like cleaning up vomity children, wiping grease off my hands and being a defacto seat cover for visitors who have looked askance at the state of my car seats (I've washed it and lovingly dried it in the dryer with a nice, flowery dryer sheet thingy after each use because I'm not quite that gross). I'm still waiting for something really exciting to use it for.

My dad bought the first book 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' when it was first released and my older brother and I promptly stole it from him (after he'd read it, of course). Dad even let me put the car radio on to 4ZZZ (local community radio, known for it's distinctly non-commercial songs which featured the word Belgium-I-mean-fuck prominently) so we could listen to the radio play of HHGTTG. When the rest of the increasingly inaccurately named trilogy came out there were always multiple copies in the house on the day of release because we couldn't wait for our turn to read them.

When it came time to flog all my old vinyl records at the local flea market due to extreme poverty a few years ago, the only ones I couldn't give up were my Monty Python records and my HHGTTG and RATEOTU records. They live in a drawer and will stay there until I get off my arse and buy a new-fangled record player.

I read 'Salmon of Doubt' to Dad (because of strokes reading became extremely difficult for him) and I did cry because there were the beginnings of so many things in there and I so, so wish DNA could have had time to do them all.

I read about his death in a 10 line story in the local Sunday paper. I think it was the first time I cried over a 'celebrity' death.
posted by h00py at 5:09 PM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


great to see that pic, jscott.

It's funny to see towel day today, because my mom just returned from her nth college reunion, where the joke of the weekend was how crappy the dorm-provided towels were. All these older ladies from different classes and who don't quite know each other, all laughing it up in the buffet line etc about the towels (tiny, threadbare, non-absorbent) and how they should have brought their own, and maybe they can bring their husbands next time and put them up at a hotel where they'll provide real towels so the ladies can go borrow them, etc. So, literally yesterday, I was explaining about the whole Hitchhikers' towel thing, to a very receptive audience.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:40 PM on May 25, 2010


A friend of mine convinced me to go to BayCon with her with the promise that Douglas Adams would be there doing panels, shaking hands, the usual convention bit.

I was finally going to get to shake his hand and thank him for the wonderful books.

He died the day before the convention opened.
posted by lekvar at 7:57 PM on May 25, 2010


DNA was the first celebrity to respond to a message-board post I had made. That made me very happy back then. RIP.
posted by the cydonian at 10:46 PM on May 25, 2010


About a month after Douglas Adams had died, my theater company had planned for a small benefit performance of the original radio scripts. We were doing the conceit that the audience would be a live audience at a radio taping -- they'd see the actors at the mikes and one person in the corner doing all the sound effects. We hadn't gotten permission from his agents, although we'd dutifully applied several months prior, but we'd decided to just go ahead with it -- we were low-key and grass-roots enough that we probably wouldn't get into trouble, we thought.

As we were setting up for the first performance, our producer went out to get beer and wine for our "bar". When he came back, he had a very, very odd look on his face. "Take a look at this," he said, holding the receipt from his purchases out to us.

The grand total of the charges for the beer and wine he'd just gotten, including tax, had come to exactly forty-two dollars.

We decided that it was Douglas Adams' way of personally giving us his blessing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:12 AM on May 26, 2010


One of my younger cousins died in a car accident a little over ten years ago. The damage from the accident was not fully reparable, so the casket was closed for visitations and the funeral. My aunt and uncle accepted items from friends and family to be tucked into the casket, to send along with him.

Several of his friends bought the biggest, heaviest, most colorfully striped towel they could find and had it embroidered with a giant gold "42". It was draped over his casket for that evening visitation, and I spent most of those few hours explaining to older friends and family the significance of the towel and the number. Every single one of them, no matter how old or out of the sci-fi loop, thought it was a lovely thing.

And when we cleaned out his backpack, later? In the bottom, there was a towel.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 11:37 AM on May 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


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