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Today is Towel Day (towelday.org)
360 points by Patient0 on May 25, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 154 comments



I'll probably be burned at the stake for this. I'm about 3/4 of the way through the entire Hitchhikers Guide series, and I'm just not enjoying it at all. I understand it is supposed to be humorous, and full of satire. But the scatterbrained events, nonsensical plot, and one dimensional characters, just ruin it for me. I don't get the appeal, and I watch a fair amount of British comedies, and movies.


I read it over a decade ago and given my impressionable mind and lack of other such "ridiculous" stimuli in my immediate environment i found it hilarious at the time. I also found things such as improbability engine ingenious. Vogon poetry, depressed robot, doors programmed to be cheery, building a computer to figure out what the first computer said. All that was non-linear and mind opening to people back in the 80-90's-ages. Reading it today I could understand that it's not as mind bending since such humor is abundant. I loved star wars growing up but don't think it would blow my mind as much if i watched it today for the first time either. Adams made a great contribution at the time and that's why all the nerds still appreciate him for it.


I agree, it has some fantastic situations, imagination, and probably a product of the times. I just think there is too many examples of it strung together in a completely haphazard way. A condensed version, I think would have been much more enjoyable, and less tiring.


To follow up and mix in a few other sentiments noted elsewhere with my own experience, I'll partially agree.

For me, it's a bit like Monty Python's Holy Grail. I saw it alone as a young teenager and I just didn't really get what the fuss was about. But there were a few things that struck me as brilliant, like the glimpse of the guards just about to throw a cocunut attached to a pigeon just to settle once and for all the movie immersion-breaking issue of how that coconut got there (we don't see if it works). On further watchings the Holy Grail seems more brilliant than I expected, and I've gotten more out of it, but it's... well, hype is hype.

The HGttG style is also a bit unique, often inverting and twisting ideas in a way uncommonly stated. Needlessly so, often. And it just absolutely revels in it.

A word of caution about the series: it starts off with a silly apocalypse and really eventually gets dark. Like you, I may also be placed in the Total Perspective Vortex for this, but I really recommend slogging it through to the sixth book. It's only half Adams or so, but it's certainly a necessary palate clenser after the fifth book and I think it revives the spirit of the first. (By the way, I am absolutely certain both the Question and Answer show up in context with each other, but you've really got to get to the end of Mostly Harmless, and that story is anything but.)

Keep in mind too that nothing about the Hitchhiker's Guide is canonical. It always changes when adapted to TV or radio or movie, and it has a damn hard time being consistent with itself. Which is also part of the fun.


Where do you live? Maybe it has something to do with the numbers and letters in your house address. They have to line up just right. Let us know and we can figure it out for you.


My personal impression is that a reader steeped in soul-crushing dysfunction in his or her daily life will enjoy The Guide with gusto not achievable by those whose lives resemble nirvana.


Excuse me if I'm missing interweb sarcasm. But how are young children, who are more of the latter, enjoying it more than adults? I'd rather just watch Brazil for that!


My childhood was anything but nirvana. I'll spare you the sob story about growing up in 1990s Russia because it's unoriginal and water under the bridge. It's also irrelevant to this thread because I read The Guide as an adult while working for a very "difficult" startup that took every dysfunction prize imaginable and then invented some of its own. The Guide pretty much saved me from insanity, and for that I'm thankful.


Children's lives are entirely run by adults. They love to envision a world where that isn't true, as do the rest of us


I keep waiting for the adults, and they never show up.


Yes, we're all children. Don't let the adults know or they'll stop working so hard


My experience of first reading these books as a disaffected, ornery, insecure teen in late-1980s America seems to support your impression.


haha...that's a funny comment with some truth to it.


I went into reading it without any expectations and found it enjoyable. I think if it had been beaten into my head that it was great I would've enjoyed it a whole lot less, because I'd be searching for flaws the whole time.


Seconded, I think it's massively overrated.

This seems to be a rule with absurd humour. The good bits are golden, the average is quite mediocre, and then in popular culture old the good bits are remembered so that the thing end up being overall overrated. Same with Monty Python


> the thing end up being overall overrated

I imagine Adams would be thrilled to hear you think his work is absurd. He makes fun of things that are overrated


I'm not sure you got my point. Everyone, the author included, agrees that his work is absurd. What I am adding is that additionally it's done in a way that's unfunny.


Trust me I got it. I was trying to be funny. Failed.


I guess it depends on your frame of mind. When I first read it as a young man I just found it mildly amusing, and wondered what all the fuss was about. Didn't bother reading beyond the first book. But years later I read it out loud to my 11-year olds, and we were all in hysterics - they demanded the whole series.


I guess it makes sense that it would appeal to a younger age group, as they tend to enjoy nonsensical things. In my 30's, I expect at least connected events in a story. The infinite probability engine makes it pretty convenient for the author not to be responsible for explaining anything.


> The infinite probability engine makes it pretty convenient for the author not to be responsible for explaining anything.

It's satire.. The idea is to make fun of logic. Especially, logical logic


Adams was a real word-smith. A lot of the humor in his writing comes from the sound of the words and phrases he chooses. This is one of the reason's why the 2005 hollywood movie isn't that funny. After Adams' death, it was put through a rewrite by someone who had no appreciation of Adams' use of language.

If you're reading for content and not stopping to appreciate the words, you might be missing the point. Reading Adams is a bit like reading poetry in this respect. Consider slowing down or, if this doesn't work, listening to the radio play. HHGTTG was originally written for radio after all. You might also consider watching the BBC TV series from the 80's. Unlike the movie, it's actually pretty funny.

Hopefully, you'll come to appreciate that Douglas Adams was a man who really knew where his towel was.


Well, if it's not your thing, it's not your thing.

I read it when I was maybe 12 or 13 and could still really enjoy Monty Python. I read it a year or two ago and liked it a lot, but probably at least partially out of a sense of nostalgia.

But it's treatment of abstract ideas was, to me at the time, both entertaining and interesting. The book (among many others) setup a young "me" to appreciate some of the more serious philosophy that I read later in my early teens and 20s.


I completely agree with you. I can't find any software developer who hates Hitchhikers; it's always the inverse and they're always appalled that I don't like it. I'm sorry but I saw the movie and I tried reading through it and I just didn't find any of it entertaining or funny.


DA would probably love you the most for being among a minority who hates his book


It doesn't touch everyone. When I was 11 years old (in 1984) they were a revelation to me. Like someone finally wrote something just for me. My son is a voracious reader, and I encouraged him to read them, but he just said "this is weird" and put it down after 5 pages.

Thinking back on it, I was introduced to the radio show first (I had a 2nd generation bootleg, on cassette). Maybe that made me ready for the characters?


I remember attempting to read the Guide sometime in highschool and found it nonsensical and not fun at all. When I picked it up again several years later I enjoyed it immensely and read the entire series. I guess you need have a job and first-hand experience with neighborhood plans publicly displayed behind figurative "Beware of the leopard" signs to appreciate the humor.


The audiobook read by Stephen Fry is fantastic. Reading it is so-so. Audio definitely brings the characters alive.


Funny you say that, that's what I started with. Stephen Fry is the only thing that kept me going through this far.


I can second that the audio book is very entertaining. Lively character voices.


There's also an audio version of the book read by Adams himself, called

"Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (read by Douglas Adams)"

Try to track it down. I found it very enjoyable to listen to.


As a rabid fan, I can actually understand that. But if you're an Anglophile (Python, early dr who, etc) then you owe it to yourself to give the original radio series a listen. The book is an adaptation of that, and while it captures the vision of the series it lacks the enthusiasm that the radio plays capture.


I did listen to the original radio series, and I did enjoy it much more than the books. I even started the books, with the audio version by Stephen Fry. He's basically the most enjoyable part of it.


It might be hard to get into if it's been hyped up for you.

I first read it entirely on accident. I was maybe 12ish, and technically "on vacation" visiting my father and his mother (neither of whom I was close with), and got dragged along very early one morning to go garage shopping. One of the sales had this HUGE purple hardbound book for only $1. It was the version that had all 4 novels and the Zaphod Plays it Safe short story (this was long before Mostly Harmless was released). I figured for $1, any chance of mental escape from being forced to awkwardly hang out with relatives I didn't have anything in common with was worth a chance. Plus the book was huge. I went in with zero expectations and fell in love with it pretty much instantly.


Yeah, I can see where you're coming from. I might be critical as well, if I hadn't read it until adult and could compare it to other kind of humour. (Say, Monty Python.)

Thing is, the Guide (the local translation of the radio play and then the book) was about my 4th or 5th science fiction thing ever (after some Star Wars and Star Trek I had seen in TV, and some occasional book, probably Heinlein), and for a ~12 year old, it was a formative experience. Not a single Monty Python or Dr Who contact prior to that.


I once turned on the radio right in the middle of an NPR interview with some older sci-fi writer. Unfortunately I couldn't catch the name, which saddens me to this day, but he said something very interesting.

The author had been reading and writing sci-fi for decades, and he was asked what he considered to be the "golden-age" of science fiction, whether it was the material he first read in the 30s or 40s, or later.

I can't remember the exact reply, but it was along the lines of: "The golden age of science fiction is ... 13. At 13 you are just becoming aware of the world around you enough to really comprehend the ideas in the story, but your personal experience is limited enough that it is all still new, and your mind is blown.

Therefore the golden age of sci-fi is whatever sci-fi you were reading at 13."


"The Golden Age of Fiction is Twelve"

Possibly Peter Graham, looks like that's to whom Hartwell attributes it too.: https://books.google.com/books?id=uYs2NbD-d4oC&pg=PA81&lpg=P...


Thank you so very much for that! I didn't think I was ever going to find the source.


Just my two cents, as humor is as personal as any other topic, and just as dependent of the audience than as the author.

I mostly had the same reaction when reading the books some 15 years ago. I won't go as far as saying that I didn't find it enjoyable, but it wasn't the "laugh out loud" experience I was expecting given its fame and popularity, especially in my/our (as in nerdy/techy) circle.

Eventually that kind of humor (also later discovering Monthy Python and Terry Pratchett) grew on me, and more than anything I is meant to provoke is a smile, more than a laugh (although it certainly can) and now I remember the characters and situations fondly.

Also, I find it has a sort of meme-like quality, making it "funnier" as people (and you) keep referencing to it and you understand the reference.


I'm 91% through a full series read (kindle stat) and while I find some parts to be funny it's more arduous a task than an entertaining read. You're not alone. I like a good dose of silly but sometimes I just roll my eyes at the Guide. 9% left...


Agreed, the books needs to be condensed into one book. You could have just as much clever humor, but with more focus.


I enjoyed the books, but I enjoyed the original radio play[1] more. When it comes to books, I think Adams' best book is "Last Chance To See", which is apparently finally (well 2013) out in a new edition, so it's actually possible to get hold of):

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Chance-See-Douglas-Adams-ebook/d...

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Hitchhikers-Guide-Galaxy-Primary-Drama...


I can understand where you're coming from. You might want to check out "Last Chance to See" or "The Salmon of Doubt". Entirely different books, but amusing and providing another peek into DNA's thinking. "The Salmon of Doubt" was collected after he died, and contains a variety of things they found on his computer that was not published earlier.


FWIW, I found the books dull as dirt. However, I really enjoyed the BBC TV mini-series, so maybe choice of media matters in this case.


I think the books towards the end of the series, or if you prefer to start fresh, the Dirk Gently detective books, have more depth to them. I think they have quite a bit of pathos and there's some real reflective sadness which fills out some of the things you mentioned (which on their own can be somewhat shallow).


It's a childish book, aimed at the young adult mentality. It is a product of world that wasn't bursting with absurdity like the modern YouTube and Onion filled world, and before supercomouters and AI and spaceships were a common place realworld thing.

You might have missed your window.


It's on of the only books I've read that actually made me LOL IRL. I consider it a great book in many ways, but it's not for everyone.


It is a style of writing, and you may not enjoy it (your entitled).

I would be curious to know how you feel about Fear and Loathing, and anything by Hemingway.


Fear and Loathing I think may have been more enjoyable, because I loved the movie, so I related a lot of what I saw, to the events in the book. Certainly had more of the elements I listed, than Hitchhikers did.


3/4? There's 5 books in the series.

Are you in book 4? I had to crawl my way through book 4 a bit, but once you get to book 5 it is well worth it.


De gustibus non est disputandum.


PKD fan?


Philip K Dick? I am def a fan of his, but that's not usually what I associate the quotation with. Can you explain how he connects to it?


It probably just stuck with me personally as a quote from Flow My Tears.

What do you usually associate the quotation with? :)


Oh well. I feel the same way about all the Monty Python movies.

To each their own and whatnot.


If you don't like the series, why are you still reading it? If you don't like the first 3/4 of the series then I think you can be pretty confident that you aren't going to like the final 1/4.


Check out Hyperion Cantos. I think you might like it.


Maybe try the original radio series?

It's how I got into it.


I did!


I know I'm hanging out on the right site when a link like this gets promoted to the top spot. : )

A quick note to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy newcomers, your mileage may vary depending on your background. I read all the books when I was a kid, and absolutely loved them. And when the most recent film came out, a bunch of engineer friends and I went to see it. Me and the other British friend howled with laughter throughout, but the two other (from India and Brunei) looked utterly baffled. So, it may, based on this limited sample, play better to those with a British sense of humour...


As an American, I think it's worth investing in the necessary background in British culture to appreciate the humor. If you don't, you miss out on Douglas Adams of course, but also the incredible and varied world of panel shows, everything that the alumni of 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' ever touched (Fawlty Towers!!!), and so on.

As a kid, Douglas Adams was my first major introduction to British humor, and questions about "what does that mean exactly?" drove me to learn a lot more about it.


Also from the States, I read the Hitchhiker's Guide when I was eleven and laughed so hard I couldn't breathe. Predictably, I delight in the Pythons and their works. And Eddie Izzard, who seems to mine the same vein. But the reason I'm posting this is not to reminisce. It's that, out of sheer coincidence and for reasons having nothing at all to do with British humour, I'm carrying a towel around today.


I've noticed that brit humour seems to appeal to a particular subset of Americans. Not quite sure how to define the ones that appreciate it most, but regardless, it's great to have them in the brit humour appreciation club. Glad to know that someone else out there gets us crazy people, when the rest of the world doesn't. : )


As well as Fawlty Towers I would strongly recommend Ripping Yarns particularly Tomkinson's Schooldays:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripping_Yarns


A good gateway drug to Douglas Adams, if you're into talks, may be this great piece of his titled 'Parrots the Universe and Everything' (available on Ted: http://www.ted.com/talks/douglas_adams_parrots_the_universe_...)


For something a little newer, also check out:

"Green Wing": http://www.amazon.com/Green-Wing-Plus-Special-Format/dp/B00C...

(As well as "Black Books" "The IT Crowd" etc).


You. I like you. I love absolutely anything that Graham Linehan has ever touched, and that definitely goes for Black Books and IT Crowd!


Not to forget Blackadder!


I always felt that the first two novels, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe", where far better than the last three. Almost to the point where the three last novels aren't worth re-reading.


YMMV, but I just finished laughing my way through the unabridged, author-narrated(!) "The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul" audiobook; for me, the experience stands up to the best of his treasured early works. The opening chapter (getting to the airport) is singular. Don't miss it! :)


After the Dirk Gently books have a go at Neil Gaiman's Good Omens, co-written with Terry Pratchet. I also highly recommended Robert Rankin's Brentford Triangle "trilogy" (in 9 books).



Some of us were lucky enough (and old enough) to have heared the radio series when they were both first broadcast...


I wanted to mention the radio series as well! When I (re)read the books, I always hear the radio series in my head -- which is just and right, I might add.


I loved the book but was really disappointed with the hitchhikers movie, particularly the casting (with the exception of Martin Freeman). And they ruined my mental image if Marvin. But I guess that's why books rule; you can picture characters however you wish.


I did enjoy the movie but not as much as I thought I would. I had watched the old BBC TV production so many times that I just expected the characters to look like that, cheesy production values and all!

It was nice that the original Marvin and Simon Jones (Arthur Dent in the original radio and TV versions) had cameos though.


I listened to (repeats) of the radio show, then read the books, then watched the TV show. They all shone in their own, different ways. I can't bring myself to watch the movie because I know I won't be able to overcome the sentimentality of the originals.


The visual might be off, but casting Alan Rickman was great. I can't read the books now without imagining Marvin's lines in Rickman's voice.


Good point about Rickman. I guess visually I just imagined Marvin to be this moping, hunched, depressed C-3PO kind of figure. He was such a funny character in the book!


Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of those types of books that can't really be successfully adapted to any other medium. That's probably the reason, unless the style of humour doesn't, well, humour them.


Considering it was a radio series before it was a book, and was also adapted into an innovative text adventure, I'm not so sure that's true.


I'm aware of that, yet I still consider it not working well in any other medium. Just my opinion.


Indeed. Hitchhikers can be as inaccessible as Pootie Tang to many people, especially if you lack knowledge about the cultural framework.


My favorite line is the one about British sandwiches.. [1]

> There is a feeling which persists in England that making a sandwich interesting, attractive, or in any way pleasant to eat is something sinful that only foreigners do.

> “Make ’em dry” is the instruction buried somewhere in the collective national consciousness, “make ’em rubbery. If you have to keep the buggers fresh, do it by washing ’em once a week.”

I ate some sandwiches in the UK. They were dry and rubbery

[1] https://norighttobelieve.wordpress.com/tag/douglas-adams/


One of my favourite lines from the first book :

"The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't."


Similarly, my favorite line of all is:

"The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."

(I've forgotten which book it's from)


Might as well be from Toy Story


Having lived in the UK for 16 years now, it is exceedingly rare to find sandwiches here that are not made by sadists that you might imagine escaped from a prison kitchen where any attempt at making anything edible was punished by flogging.


Some of us here are old enough to remember the horrors of the British Rail sandwich.


Thankfully that was before I moved here.


If you want to keep track of similar geeky events, I maintain and curate a "Geeky Events" Google Calendar:

https://calendar.google.com/calendar/embed?src=9t07jqib63if4...

Let me know if there's anything I'm missing.


That looks brilliant but I am struggling to get it into my Google Calendar using the "Other Calendars > Add from URL" option. Do you have any advice?


Does the button in the bottom-right of the page work?


Aha! Yes thank you. Crikey that is not obvious...


You're not the first. I shared this with many people and many seem to miss the button.

It's arguably bad UI, as I'd imagine most people would expect functional buttons to be at the top of a full-page UI, and not shoved down to where you usually have a status bar or footer. The coloring and flat design doesn't help either, as it looks like some sort of badge rather than a button.


Where should we send them, if we think of any later?

PS Love the idea of your calendar and hope to consult it....


Same username on Twitter, or for my email run this hopefully-spam-preventative-de-obfuscation code in your browser's JS console:

    [115,108,64,99,107,119,105,46,115,101].map(c=>String.fromCodePoint(c)).join('')


nice calendar! Today is also the day Star Wars was released, what a geeky day indeed!


Make that triple geeky. Today is also the day Pratchett Fans wear the lilac. Although I already mentioned that on this thread. What, you'd wear the lilac? WERE YOU THERE THEN? ;-)


I've been a huge fan of Douglas Adams since I read the Hitchhiker's series in High School.

My personal recommendation is to grab the audiobook version that's read by the Douglas himself. As an American, there's a little bit lost between British/American English and some of the humor is missed (sometimes changes are even made -- in the American version of the book that I have "Biscuit" is replaced with "Cookie"). I'm an audiobook junkie (speed reading has killed reading fiction for me) and I usually stay away from books narrated by the author because the quality of the narration suffers. Such was not the case with Adams' narrations -- they're excellent and I picked up on several things that I missed from my original (several) readings.

I was very sad when he passed -- a heart attack while working out that was probably complicated by his legendary drinking. It was almost sadder when the latest book came out as evidence that nobody could pull off that series but Adams.

The books and the author are endlessly quotable (and recognized by nearly every programmer I've ever worked with), but my favorite of his -- from the Dirk Gently series -- is "Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all." I use it every time a project is proposed that someone thinks is "nuts" or "impossible" and it sits on the background of my Visual Studio code editor as a reminder. :)


> "Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."

That's awesome. I need to find time to reread these. Thanks for sharing


Way back in the day when offices had 'on hold' music on their phone systems, we had the Hitchikers Guide radio show on regular rotation on our hold system for years. Customer would actually get angry when a worker took them OFF hold and ask to be put back on so they didn't miss the next bit. Others were completely mystified and ask us what the heck they had been listening to.

Alas, our office was broken into one day, and about the only thing the thieves took was the little CD player hooked into our phone system next to the reception desk that played the series which we had on CDs (the thieves also took the CD boxed set after smashing one of the discs on the floor - making the stolen set basically worthless). Sad day.


Douglas Adams on David Letterman (14 February 1985): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SF2fZ2iOXhk

The interview contains a version of one my favourite stories of his starting at 2:55. The whole video is worth watching.


There's a Snopes entry dedicated to variations of that story:

http://www.snopes.com/crime/safety/cookies.asp


Like all of the best stories, the truth is probably somewhere in between the fantastic and the more plausible. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for the sake of comedy.


I didn't know the origin before - as in why May 25th - but the Wikipedia article provided the background, and even the original proposal via Web Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20020424065309/http://systemtool...

Edit: To save the unknowing a link click, May 25th was two weeks after Douglas Adams' passing.


Douglas Adams' grave has bouquets of pens & is often strewn with tiny gifts: #TowelDay

https://twitter.com/peachesanscream/status/73542173543307673...


H2G2 is interesting to me - in general, over the last decade, there's been a growth in the popularity of "nerd culture". A lot of this has led to "nerd content" actually becoming less targeted (see: Big Bang Theory, recent seasons of Doctor Who). I find H2G2 fascinating because, as far as I can tell, it remains known only by those who were or would have been participants in nerd culture before it became a big thing.


Well I'm just glad it's not Thursday. I could never get the hang of Thursdays...


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


Remember how 42 is the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything? And how everyone's searching for the Ultimate Question? I think I've figured it out.

According to Prak, it is impossible for both The Answer and The Question to be known in the same universe; should someone know both the question and the answer, the universe would cease to exist and would be replaced by something more bizarre and inexplicable. The narrator teases the reader that another theory states that this has already happened before.

I posit that the Ultimate Question is, "How many times have the Ultimate Question and Ultimate Answer been known, and thusly the universe been eradicated and replaced by something more bizarre and inexplicable?"

Answer: Forty-two.

https://scott.arciszewski.me/blog/2013/10/ultimate-question-...


That can't be it, we're still here. Quit guessing! ;-)


But were we [past tense of still] here? Or did we come into existence in this new universe created by the above commenter?


Hmm ok I'll bite. If that's happened, then the number is ever-increasing and can't be known, because the moment you ask the question, the number increments and the answer changes

Sounds like quantum stuff which would be right up Douglas Adams' alley. Cool theory, CiPHPerCoder! I'd agree you've nailed it


Another possibility is that the Answer to the Question is a new universe.


Ah, good one. You people are smart


Damn, missed it again. I am only glad that Towel Day falls on a Thursday next year... then at least I will have an excuse to not get the hang of it...

As upsetting as the recent death of great musicians and authors have been, no one's death hit me as hard as DNA's did. The thought of no more Svlad Cjelli stories always fills me with sadness.


I recently started carrying around a handkerchief. It's more useful than I would have thought, like a miniature towel.


Every man in Japan carries a small towel. I always think of Douglas Adams.


I could see these coming back into style. Tissues have no strength


Its worth remembering Doug Adam's book on endangered species he wrote late in life: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Chance-See-Douglas-Adams/dp/03453...

Fondly remember meeting him briefly at the big bookstore near ULU in London to sign it when it was released.

Sometimes I regret I gave it to my then-girlfried ;)


That book was a great read. I am heartened to hear recently that the Kakapo seems to be making a comeback in New Zealand...


During the filming of the TV series of Last Chance to See (with Stephen Fry) this happened https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T1vfsHYiKY with a Kakapo named Sirocco and he then became quite the internet celebrity: https://www.facebook.com/siroccokakapo


I'm very much enjoying listening to the original radio series: http://www.induceddyslexia.com/hitchhiker.htm


there used to be a constantly looped broadcast of this on a shoutcast stream, to fully appreciate the genius, I highly recommend listening to it twice in a row, or more! The stream stopped around the same time towel day began :( I've always wondered whether it was respect, or Mr A was running it, after all, he was fairly into this digital stuff :)


I never, ever travel without a towel. It is the first thing I pack. Not a large towel, mind you, but a towel nonetheless. It has been used countless times while on those trips.


Always... and I mean ALWAYS know where your towel is. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/91/9d/2c/919d2cc01...


Startup idea: always connected towels with GPS modules.


I guess RFID-tagged towels[1] is a start...

1. https://www.tnooz.com/article/when-pilfered-hotel-towels-bec...


Internet of Towels


Result: Towlie from 'South Park' =D


I did not know about this. It immediately made me think of South Park.


If you haven't yet read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I'd do so when you've got the chance.


“A towel, [The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy] 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 vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); 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.”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


You can't omit the second paragraph when quoting that, it's the punchline:

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have "lost." What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the Galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.


Agreed, thanks for filling the gap. For what's worth I just copy/pasted from a HHG quote site...

https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/3078186-the-hitchhiker...


I usually recommend seeking out the original radio series first.

That usually gets people hooked enough that they don't need encouraging to go find and digest most of the rest of they have time.


Yes. I am glad I did it in (sort of) order. The radio series, then the books, then the TV series. Loved them all. Jury is still out on the movie - it was OK I guess, but I thought the portrayal of Marvin, Deep Thought, Magrathea etc. were closer to the books/radio and my imagination in the TV series rather than the movie


I first listened to it as an audio-book (the version narrated by Stephen Fry) I highly recommend it, the narration is excellent.

(note: I never listened to the original radio series, that might be even better)


My coworker has had a towel hanging from his cubicle for months. Today I ask him why.


Douglas Adams is pretty much the only "celebrity" whose death really touched me.

I am a big fan of his work and thinking about all the books he did not get a chance to write tears me up even now.


That, and Pratchett.


And today isn't just _towel day_, it is also _wear the lilac day_, a day to remember Pratchett and raise awareness about alzheimer. :/


Yes, you are right :(

I just haven't fully processed his death yet, I am currently reading all the 30+ Pratchet books in my collection.


My kids don't quite get Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy yet, but they enjoyed making a Don't Panic towel to take to school.

https://twitter.com/jimgreer/status/735497227183919104


Some paper towels were harmed in the making of this video.

http://imgur.com/d7lnT7Q


Funny. Today is the day Pratchett fans wear the lilac. Actually, I'm wearing one right now.


Indeed: "Celebrating towel day at #RIPE72 !!"

https://twitter.com/nnimpuno/status/735400708967665664


Silly brag. I often work out of a local library where the blinds don't work, so I always carry a towel in my bag which I use to block the sun.

I always know where my towel is. Every day is Towel Day for me.

Thank you, Douglas Adams!


Also from the Hitchhiker's Guide, "Don't Panic" is pretty much one of the most helpful advices ever. Remembering it saved my ass multiple times in a hectic trip just last week...


Not that it's super important or anything, but Sweden and Switzerland are different countries. :-)


You wanna get high?


aft42 checkin' in - towel in hand :-)


Belgium says : deal with it, you hoopy froop.

French : Fait comme, espece de heuapy freaup.

Nederlands : U bent een froopy hoop.

Long live the King - Long live Belgium.

I'm sorry : I'm talking complete bollocks. It is friday night.+




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