The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Author: Douglas Adams
NOTE: Very P G Wodehouse-esque book!
- Arthur Dent – Earthling lost in space as a result of the Earth being blown up!
- Ford Prefect – Arthur’s friend on earth and actually an alien being — a writer for the "Hitchhikers guide", a very useful book!
- Zaphod Beeblebrox – President of the Galaxy and fugitive on the run!
- Tricia ‘Trillian’ Macmillan – The only other survivor from earth (Arthur develops a crush on her!)
- Marvin – Marvin the depressed robot (Really depressed!)
- Slartibartfast – Specializes in building Fjords for Luxury Planets!
- Franky and Benjy – Hyperintelligent Pan-dimensional beings (a.k.a mice!!!!)
Arthur comes to terms with his bereavement… He is bereft of the earth! He also comes to terms with his recent feelings of affection towards Tricia MacMillan!
Have you read h2g2? If you don’t know what I am talking about, you probably haven’t or in the late Douglas Adam’s words:
"It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes."
This and a host of such quotations are what the book is filled with at appropriate junctures!
Most people are inclined to believe that this book is loosely based on their life or at least based on that part of life that constitutes breakfast … in most time zones at least!
If you still don’t quite get the hang of what I am saying and you are parlously looking for the gist of what I’ve said, I would recommend that you don’t pay too much attention to fuzzy green creature that is hovering above your left ear….
Seems awfully disconnected eh? All that I’ve said so far? Hold your breath and put on your flippers.
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy or “h2g2” to many of us is a trilogy of books or as the author puts it: "A trilogy of six books"!
Douglas Adams, for those of you who haven’t heard of, was a British author who wrote satires. His satires are loosely based on the most mundane of things such as breakfast to things such as popular (depending on which part of the world you are in) sporting activities such as cricket!
The first book which goes by the name "The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy" follows Arthur Dent (an earthling) about on his very first adventure with Ford Prefect, an alien being, who Arthur mistook for a human.
Arthur is rather rudely forced into an adventure that he hadn’t signed up for when an alien race, the Vogons, demolish the earth to make way for a ‘hyperspace bypass’! Arthur and Ford, by way of fate and also some complex probabilistic mathematics end up on a Space ship (named ‘The Heart of Gold’) which by the way was being commandeered by a person who went by the name ‘Zaphod Beeblebrox’, the current President of the Galaxy. Also in tow is another earthling, a rather pretty one, Tricia ‘Trillian’ MacMillan and an ultra-depressed robot ‘Marvin’ who has GPP (‘Genuine People Personality’) and his personality is of one who is chronically depressed!!! As Arthur and Trillian don’t have their planet to go back to, they are pretty much resigned to their fate of wandering the galaxies and this is what the first book sets up quite nicely.
In the first book, this motley crew wanders the galaxy to find the planet Magrathea which is/was famed to have the only factory of it’s kind; a factory that manufactures Luxury PLANETS! Yes, you read that right: It manufactures LUXURY PLANETS! There, Arthur, after being separated from the rest of the group, is taken to the interior of the planet by Slartibartfast, a native of the planet. The others are kidnapped. Slartibartfast explains to Arthur that the Earth is actually a supercomputer commissioned and paid for by a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings. These beings had earlier built a supercomputer named Deep Thought, to calculate the Answer to "Life, the Universe, and Everything". This computer, after seven and a half million years of calculating, had announced that the Answer is in fact ’42′!!!
Being unsatisfied with the Answer, they set about finding the Question. Deep Thought designs a computer, the Earth, to calculate the Question. However, ten million years later, and just five minutes before the completion of the program, the Earth is demolished by the Vogons. The manifestations of two of these beings, Frankie and Benjy Mouse, had arrived on Magrathea on the Heart of Gold, disguised as Trillian’s pet mice.
The mice realize that Arthur, as a last-generation organic byproduct of the computer’s (earth) matrix, has the Question imprinted into his brain and offer to buy his brain from him. Arthur disagrees, and a fight ensues. The mice are about to cut Arthur’s head open, when due to a diversion created, they escape. The galactic police had arrived on the planet to arrest Zaphod. The group is attacked by 2 members of the police, who abruptly die when their life support systems fail: Marvin had explained his (highly depressed and forlorn) view of the universe to the mother ship’s computer and it committed suicide, taking their life support systems with it.
This is where the first book ends and the group now decides to go to "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" for lunch, which is the title of Douglas Adam’s second book!
This book spawned into an extremely successful radio show in the 70s’ and not so successful movie in 2005!
PS: After Douglas Adam’s demise in 2001, Eoin Colfer, an Irish author has signed up to revive the h2g2 series with his upcoming book "… And another thing"
This 55 Fiction written by Sir Pumpkin is inspired by the TV series “Lost”.
He had a gruesome job. He was a soldier.
He ‘extracted’ information from stubborn POWs. He caused excruciating physical pain, and then he ‘extracted’ information.
His heart stopped and his eyes widened when his latest prisoner said:
“… .. The tables have turned; it just seemed like yesterday that I was pushing you around in the schoolyard…”
This 55 fiction format story is written by Sir Pumpkin Longshanks.
For more about 55 fiction click here
Flashbacks of a fool
Movie: Flashbacks of a fool
Cast: Daniel Craig (of James Bond and Layer Cake fame), Mark Strong (of Sunshine, Rocknrolla fame), Claire Forlani (of Meet Joe Black and Rock fame) etc.
Release date: October 2008 (USA)
Running time: 110 minutes (R)
I saw "Flashbacks of a fool" only because of Daniel Craig’s performances in the most recent two James Bond movies and Layer Cake (A must watch if you haven’t already). I expected it to be a drama but didn’t know that DC puts in a great performance, not to mention a superlative supporting cast.
The story is about a coke addicted-womanizing-luster-less Hollywood star Joe Young(Daniel Craig) who has squandered a large part of his career away to the point where he is having a difficult time getting roles in movies. At this juncture, he gets a call from his mother whom he hasn’t visited for a while as she lets him know that his best friend, Boots McKay, from his childhood days had passed away. He eventually goes into depression because of the way his life has turned out and attempts suicide by trying to drown him in the sea under the effect of alcohol. He fails to kill himself but during the supposedly few hours that he spends listless, afloat in the sea, he has a flashback.
The flashback story makes the large part of the movie. His life as a teenager, his flirting with Ruth (Felicity Jones / Claire Forlani), his memorable dance with her to the music of If there is something by David Bowie, his relationship with his best friend Boots McKay, who eventually marries Ruth later in life, his overly risqué escapades (which are quite graphic in the movie) with his one of his mothers friend, Evelyn, which eventually results in an accident that kills Evelyn’s daughter in a freak Naval (water) mine accident. This final experience (in his flashback) is so unbearable to him that he runs away from home.
When he does return home to England to visit Boots’s grave, he bumps into Ruth who completely cold shoulders him. It is important to note that although she has lost her husband quite recently, she hasn’t shed too many tears. After paying his respects to his late friend, before Joe departs again for the USA, he hands Ruth a simple sheet of paper with the lyrics to the song they danced to a good 25 years ago. Ruth had not really cried at the death of her husband, the man who she loved all her life, but she breaks inconsolably into tears down when reminded of a dance she had with Joe, 25 years ago. This is where the movie ends leaving the future for the viewer to divine.
Although not Oscar worthy, this is a highly underrated movie – probably in the top 5 most underrated movies of all time! If you are old enough to have gone through at least 20-25 years of life with its challenges, friendships and moments that you cannot go back to, this movie would make a lot of sense. It is a very powerful movie that will haunt you for some time!
Keep an eye out for: Daniel Craig’s excellent performance as Joe Young, Felicity Jones as the young Ruth, and Claire Forlani’s poignant yet crucial 10 minutes towards the end of the movie. The soundtrack is phenomenal and adds to the entire dark mood of the movie. Particularly evocative is David Bowies – If there is something.
(Contemporary) culture and language
Did you notice the parentheses in the title? If you didn’t, now is the moment that you would want to look at the title and recognize them by their usual, ubiquitous curvy nature. Are you wondering why the parentheses are in the title? Do they mean something? Or is it that the author has had a few too many today?!?
If words such as ‘pwned’, ‘noob’ and ‘rotflol’ are less than chic and bordering more on the likes of a large question mark hovering over your head, you are getting old. I came to realize my senility only one year back or so, when I couldn’t glean what the above words meant.
"Surely, they must just be gibberish", said I.
"Surely, someone forgot the spell check function in their favorite word processor...” I pondered.
"Surely, he has had a few too many today!” I quipped.
Turns out these are overtly used to escape verbiage! I figured out that ‘noob‘ meant newbie, ‘rotflol‘ was a useful acronym for rolling on the floor laughing out loud — a very useful chat-room acronym. ‘Pwned‘ is a little trickier to get the gist of. It happens to be an urbanized corruption of the word owned in a way to signify that your ruddy backside was blasted to bits in the recent game of Quake Live (a first person shooter computer game that is making waves with its online version!) or whatever it is that kids play these days! Hey, don’t get me wrong! I play a bit of Quake myself but I haven’t gotten around to using the diluted dialect that goes with it!!!
WDYK about DYK?
What Do You Know about Do You Know?!
As for the mysterious parentheses that appear in the title are the contemporary version of the "double-quote-finger-gesture" to indicate that what you’re saying is actually the opposite of what you mean! Since when has grammar been subjected to rules of (contemporary) fashion?! Got it?!
If you’d like to be introduced to some more fascinating aspects of the “twitter-y” life that people (read: of ages 16-30) are addicted to, you might want to visit www.urbandictionary.com
Maybe while you are there you should search for the meaning of your name… Just a suggestion!
KPG! Keep the Party Going!
Monday Morning Blues
This article is written and submitted by Sir Pumpkin Longshanks. He is the latest member to join our panel of authors.
Ho hum… It’s THE dreaded day… It’s THE least favorite day of the week… at least to most people it is. It is the day that follows the I-feel-strange-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach-feeling. It’s a MONDAY and you will most likely have a case of the inevitable “Monday Morning blues”! If you don’t, you must be special!
Apparently, there is a scientific explanation for the afore-mentioned syndrome. As per www.ehow.com which happens to be an expert in doling out information on dealing with various maladies and problems both physiological and psychological, “Our internal clocks naturally operate on a day that is longer than 24 hours. By the time Monday rolls around each week, we’ve built up a sleep deficit of at least an hour. Of course, the weekend revelries and facing another work week don’t help matters.“
There are tomes of articles that have been written on dealing with Monday morning blues. Most of them work only because we are fooled into believing that they would! For instance, most of my friends swear by a cup of strong black coffee to beat the blues, some people take to yoga, some people to smoking and some people to shouting randomly at limousines.
Thinking about this, I wonder if self-employed people experience Monday morning blues. Or ever heard of a farmer complaining of Monday morning blues? I checked with few people who are self-employed. Surprisingly, Monday blue seems to be a pleasant color for them and not beating them blue. So is Monday morning blue more of a psychological feel? Is it resulting of working on a profession out of compulsion and not passion?
I feel that Monday morning blues has more to do with life in school. It’s usually students who feel the twinge of Monday morning blues and mostly because of the drab, monotonous uniforms that they wear and the opprobrium that they face in the form of teachers after a relaxed weekend! How do the kids deal with it? I don’t think they take to caffeine or yogic calisthenics or mouthing vituperative at passing limousines. If you’d notice, once you are out of school, the tinge of blue that you display on any given Monday fades! So is the Monday blue a continuation of our school days? Are we feeling like school children in our office and see our bosses and managers as the strict teachers of our school days? I don’t think we experience Monday blues during holidays either during school annual holiday nor when we are in office vacation, do we?
My point is that we could all take a leaf out of the books of the little children who go off to school on Mondays with a school bag the size of a miniature rhinoceros. We could do well to learn from them(Something which we went through but forgotten once we grew up). They are an inspiration to all of us. We handled the Monday blues during our school days without much ado. What I mean to say is that an effective way of dealing with the Monday morning blues syndrome is to learn a leaf from our childhood days as it looks quite certain that most other methods of beating the blues fail perilously!
Of course, that’s my take on the subject….
How do you deal with Monday morning blues?