Happy Towel Day to me!

I think we can all relate right now

“This must be Thursday,’ said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. ‘I never could get the hang of Thursdays.”

For many literary geeks May 25th is a special day. It’s the day Douglas Adams fans show their love by celebrating Towel Day. Why May 25th? Sadly, it’s the day of his death, which happened on this day in 2001. If you’ve never read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy you probably are wondering if you read the first part right. Towel Day? What?? This is because one of the best pieces of advice given in the book concerns every traveler’s basic needs. Of all the things you should always have with you is a towel.

From the book:

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value — you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-tohand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

And yes, there have been years when I’ve celebrated the day by wrapping a towel around my neck; but only when I was sure my employer would not call the men in white coats to come get me.

May 25th has always been a special day for me. The nerd in me would like to point out that the first 6 opening days of the Star Wars series always fell on May 25th. It became a tradition in my family to go out and brave the lines in order to see the movies on opening day. You see, not only were we a hardcore Star Wars family, my birthday just happens to fall on, you guessed it, May 25th.

It’s been a hectic few months leading up to my special day. I did not say so before, but I’ve spent the last couple of months getting ready to move house. I did a lot of purging and boxing up only to come to the shocking realization that we have a housing shortage. Google, Apple, and Tesla are either moving in or expanding so more people are moving into the area than there are houses available. I had no idea how bad it was until I started to look for a place to downsize to. Leave it to me to do things backwards. I should have looked for a new house before clearing mine. For now I stay put, minus a lot of big furniture. At least I have my towels!

This is one of many reasons why I haven’t posted in a while. Just when I declared my finger healed, I hurt it again while packing. Once again it became too painful to type.

Between reality setting in that our area seems to be quickly becoming a mini Silicone Valley and my writing taking a hit, you’d think I wouldn’t have much to celebrate, but you’d be wrong. As crazy as 2017 is turning out to be for us all, I am finding that the second half of year may be something to celebrate on a personal level. I’m finding new professional opportunities are opening up for me. I have a wonderful core group of friends who have been by my side even as I freaked out about our housing crisis and will be with me to celebrate my day. I have wonderful friends all around the world who patiently and good-naturedly cheer me on, offer words of support and comforting criticism. Looking at where I am right now, I have no reason to feel down because no matter what happens on this journey called life, I have a strong sturdy metaphorical towel. I have all of you, and in the end really this is all you really need.

My gift to you today is a list of Adams quotes. His wit will never grow old and I for one will never tire of reading his work. I hope you enjoy it to.

The story so far:
In the beginning the Universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

A learning experience is one of those things that says, “You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that.”

He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.

I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

Happy Towel day my friends!

Ready for some Shakespeare?

And we are back! That little mishap of mine took longer to recover from than expected. The doctors told me I’d have use of my finger in two weeks. Wrong! Though the wound healed nicely in about three, the pain lingered for about a month. I tried not to use the stub while typing, as every bounce on the keyboard sent burning pain up the finger, but sense memory would take over and I found myself cursing at work more than usual. And when I did manage to keep my middle finger ridged (insert joke here) the other fingers would become confused as where to be. My sentences would start to look like this; Hello, I am wrotg;m tu… Some times I compose whole e-mails without looking only to find they were full of gibberish. As if I had placed a monkey in front of my keyboard to see just how long it would take for her to compose a Shakespeare play.

Speaking of Shakespeare, it is time I finally got started on my project in which we take each play and find a theme or a subject that speaks to today’s audience. It is my hope that by the end, we have discovered why Shakespeare still matters and answer the question I get all the time, “Why should I care about Shakespeare?”

I’ve hesitated to write about the canon as there are a lot, and I do mean a lot, of blogs out there that focus exclusively on the plays, but, to be honest, a lot these are as long as the plays themselves and lose their impact because of it. It has taken me a while to come up with what I hope, is a unique spin when it comes to blogging about Shakespeare. And besides, I don’t want to spoil the play for you. I have no intention of giving you a blow-by-blow take on each act, each scene. My hope is to wet your appetite for Shakespeare and to go out and seek a performance for yourselves.

So here is what we are going to do. We are going to go through the plays in alphabetical order. You can read the play ahead of time or watch it via a medium of your choice. I am going to pick out one, sometimes two aspects of the play that we modern audiences can relate to. After all, the incredible thing about the man was his ability to be a mirror for the human condition. Shakespeare is for all time because of his gift of illustrating our follies and our wins. We can identify with most of his characters; good and bad. It is up to us to determine if we are willing to look and then learn something about ourselves.

As much as I loathe to put Shakespeare in modern context it will be hard not to because he does still speak to us. We will look at each play in the context of his time and then see where we fit into his worldview. Some things never change. And although manners, social construct ,and values change, the human condition does not. Fore example modern scholars view many of his plays as misogynistic and therefor feel uncomfortable with them, yet we must admit misogyny is alive and well in the 21-century, and many that of the actions of Shakespeare characters (I am looking at you Petruchio) can be seen in today’s dramas and action movies(I’m looking at you Bond).

Sunday is Shakespeare’s 453 birthday, and I can think of no better day to start this project. We will begin by looking at All’s Well That Ends Well, a problem play written around the same time as Hamlet; somewhere in the early 1600s. It’s a problem play for many reasons but specifically for scholars and theater owners, it is a problem because it is one of the few plays in which the lead female does not exhibit many good qualities. Shakespeare uses a wide array of plot devises in the hopes that the audience doesn’t notice her flaws, but in this he fails, and thus it is labeled as a problem play. Would we recognize Helen if we saw her today? Absolutely, and we probably wouldn’t like or respect her much.

Until Sunday!