About This Blog

This blog is a chronicle of my insane personal challenge to celebrate at least one holiday or special day for every single day of 2009. Check back daily for new posts and days to add to next year's calendar!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 3rd - Festival of Sleep Day, Fruitcake Toss Day, and Chocolate Covered-Cherry Day


Didn't I say in the initial post that I would celebrate AT LEAST one holiday for every day of the year? Today I saw three that could be celebrated in a single day, so I celebrated three of them.

For Festival of Sleep Day I had to adjust yesterday's schedule as well. I normally am relatively nocturnal, and go to sleep at around 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning, so in order to properly celebrate the day by taking a nap, I stayed up all night. Like I planned, this left me pretty exhausted, taking not one but two naps today. The first was from about 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. and the second, pictured below (yes, we've finally got pictures!) was after I went to my mom's house from about 4:00-6:30 P.M.

Fruitcake Toss Day I had to fudge a little bit I couldn't find an actual fruitcake to toss at Meijer (it's a superstore in the Midwest region of the U.S. for any out-of-area readers), so my mom and I decided that Nature Valley brand Fruit and Nut granola bars would be an acceptable substitute. After dinner, we held a small "fruitcake" throwing contest in the basement. I originally planned to hold it outside, but my mom refused to go out into the cold just to throw a "fruitcake", so the basement it was. The rules were whichever of us threw our acceptable substitute the farthest won in a best-out-of-three contest. My mom won because her "fruitcake" sat at an angle in the first round, thereby making it a smidge farther than mine. The following photos are a dramatic recreation of the manner in which we threw our granola bars.

(My mom's face was removed from the image by request.)

The last of the holidays for today was Chocolate-Covered Cherry Day. This was also the easiest to celebrate since that one just required buying and eating some. Like the "fruitcakes" we were able to get them at Meijer. We each had a couple chocolate-covered cherries shortly after the "Fruitcake Toss".


Festival of Sleep Day: the site that I discovered this holiday's existence on simply said to spend some time specifically sleeping during the day. Whether you sleep in, take a nap, go to sleep early, or just sleep the whole day away, it's pretty easy to celebrate this one.

Fruitcake Toss Day is similarly simple to celebrate. All you need to do is have a fruitcake (or an acceptable substitute) and throw or toss it in some way. A competition like the one my mom and I had is recommended, but if you'd rather just fling it, go ahead. I'd recommend finding somewhere you won't break a window or hit someone, though.

If you need the proper method of celebrating Chocolate-Covered Cherry Day explained, then you just haven't been paying attention. Buying and eating some is the easiest. You could also make them then eat them, but that seems to me like more trouble than it's worth.


My research online hasn't uncovered a specific origin for Festival of Sleep Day, but common sense suggests that since the Holidays are finally over, and due to massive hangovers, many probably don't get around to cleaning up after their New Year's Eve parties until the 2nd, this holiday originally began just as an opportunity to finally rest and recuperate after the stresses and insanity of the Holiday Season.

Although I have not found any evidence to support this online, in one episode of Home Improvement, Wilson gives the Taylors a fruitcake for Christmas and tells them that British farmers would stick a fruitcake on a sleeping bull's horns then wake it from a distance. If the bull flipped it forward, the coming year would bring prosperity to the farmers, if it flipped it backwards, it would be a hard year. Like I said, however, I have found no evidence to support this claim but if it's true, the current Fruitcake Toss Day would be a bastardization of that tradition.

I have no idea why Chocolate-Covered Cherry Day exists. If anyone has any information on its origin, posting it in the comment section would be much appreciated.


I'm only going to pick a song for one of these three holidays, and since a song springs immediately to mind for Festival of Sleep Day, that's the one I'm going with. The song is "Daysleeper" by R.E.M. (For anyone who understands the mechanics of sleep, their name is a bonus connection to the holiday, for anyone who doesn't... look it up.)


Other holidays/observances for this date:

-The ancient Romans held a festival in honour of the goddess Pax

-The Catholics hold a feast day in honour of St. Geniveve

-Fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien was born on this day

-Humiliation Day (not what you think)

Friday, January 2, 2009

January 2nd - National SciFi Day


Today was a simple day to celebrate, all I had to do was anything related to (and celebrating) Science Fiction. I apologize, but I still don't have photos for you folks due to having difficulty getting them from my camera to my computer right now. What I can do for you folks, however, is tell you what I did at least.

Since celebrating this day is easy, I did a multitude of SciFi related activities including:

-Reading multiple short stories online. These included "Wikihistory" by Desmond Warzell, and "The Last Question" by the Godfather of Science Fiction himself, Mr. Isaac Asimov.

-Watching the original "The Day the Earth Stood Still" starring Michael Rennie.

-Listening to music with SciFi themes to it.

-Having geeky conversations on matters pertaining to Science Fiction.


Like I said before, this is just easy as hell. There are plenty of SciFi series on television, and hell, there's even the SciFi channel for crying out loud. Not to mention many books by many authors, and many movies in the genre. Even easier would just be to have many conversations about SciFi with people.

To make it even easier on anyone who reads this today, here is the entirety of Isaac Asimov's aforementioned story for your reading pleasure. It's one of my favourite short stories, and I hope you like it, too. Copyrights belong to whomever own them... probably his estate.


The Last Question by Isaac Asimov © 1956

The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time when humanity first stepped into the light. The question came about as a result of a five dollar bet over highballs, and it happened this way:
Alexander Adell and Bertram Lupov were two of the faithful attendants of Multivac. As well as any human beings could, they knew what lay behind the cold, clicking, flashing face -- miles and miles of face -- of that giant computer. They had at least a vague notion of the general plan of relays and circuits that had long since grown past the point where any single human could possibly have a firm grasp of the whole.
Multivac was self-adjusting and self-correcting. It had to be, for nothing human could adjust and correct it quickly enough or even adequately enough -- so Adell and Lupov attended the monstrous giant only lightly and superficially, yet as well as any men could. They fed it data, adjusted questions to its needs and translated the answers that were issued. Certainly they, and all others like them, were fully entitled to share In the glory that was Multivac's.
For decades, Multivac had helped design the ships and plot the trajectories that enabled man to reach the Moon, Mars, and Venus, but past that, Earth's poor resources could not support the ships. Too much energy was needed for the long trips. Earth exploited its coal and uranium with increasing efficiency, but there was only so much of both.
But slowly Multivac learned enough to answer deeper questions more fundamentally, and on May 14, 2061, what had been theory, became fact.
The energy of the sun was stored, converted, and utilized directly on a planet-wide scale. All Earth turned off its burning coal, its fissioning uranium, and flipped the switch that connected all of it to a small station, one mile in diameter, circling the Earth at half the distance of the Moon. All Earth ran by invisible beams of sunpower.
Seven days had not sufficed to dim the glory of it and Adell and Lupov finally managed to escape from the public function, and to meet in quiet where no one would think of looking for them, in the deserted underground chambers, where portions of the mighty buried body of Multivac showed. Unattended, idling, sorting data with contented lazy clickings, Multivac, too, had earned its vacation and the boys appreciated that. They had no intention, originally, of disturbing it.
They had brought a bottle with them, and their only concern at the moment was to relax in the company of each other and the bottle.
"It's amazing when you think of it," said Adell. His broad face had lines of weariness in it, and he stirred his drink slowly with a glass rod, watching the cubes of ice slur clumsily about. "All the energy we can possibly ever use for free. Enough energy, if we wanted to draw on it, to melt all Earth into a big drop of impure liquid iron, and still never miss the energy so used. All the energy we could ever use, forever and forever and forever."
Lupov cocked his head sideways. He had a trick of doing that when he wanted to be contrary, and he wanted to be contrary now, partly because he had had to carry the ice and glassware. "Not forever," he said.
"Oh, hell, just about forever. Till the sun runs down, Bert."
"That's not forever."
"All right, then. Billions and billions of years. Twenty billion, maybe. Are you satisfied?"
Lupov put his fingers through his thinning hair as though to reassure himself that some was still left and sipped gently at his own drink. "Twenty billion years isn't forever."
"Will, it will last our time, won't it?"
"So would the coal and uranium."
"All right, but now we can hook up each individual spaceship to the Solar Station, and it can go to Pluto and back a million times without ever worrying about fuel. You can't do THAT on coal and uranium. Ask Multivac, if you don't believe me."
"I don't have to ask Multivac. I know that."
"Then stop running down what Multivac's done for us," said Adell, blazing up. "It did all right."
"Who says it didn't? What I say is that a sun won't last forever. That's all I'm saying. We're safe for twenty billion years, but then what?" Lupov pointed a slightly shaky finger at the other. "And don't say we'll switch to another sun."
There was silence for a while. Adell put his glass to his lips only occasionally, and Lupov's eyes slowly closed. They rested.
Then Lupov's eyes snapped open. "You're thinking we'll switch to another sun when ours is done, aren't you?"
"I'm not thinking."
"Sure you are. You're weak on logic, that's the trouble with you. You're like the guy in the story who was caught in a sudden shower and Who ran to a grove of trees and got under one. He wasn't worried, you see, because he figured when one tree got wet through, he would just get under another one."
"I get it," said Adell. "Don't shout. When the sun is done, the other stars will be gone, too."
"Darn right they will," muttered Lupov. "It all had a beginning in the original cosmic explosion, whatever that was, and it'll all have an end when all the stars run down. Some run down faster than others. Hell, the giants won't last a hundred million years. The sun will last twenty billion years and maybe the dwarfs will last a hundred billion for all the good they are. But just give us a trillion years and everything will be dark. Entropy has to increase to maximum, that's all."
"I know all about entropy," said Adell, standing on his dignity.
"The hell you do."
"I know as much as you do."
"Then you know everything's got to run down someday."
"All right. Who says they won't?"
"You did, you poor sap. You said we had all the energy we needed, forever. You said 'forever.'"
"It was Adell's turn to be contrary. "Maybe we can build things up again someday," he said.
"Why not? Someday."
"Ask Multivac."
"You ask Multivac. I dare you. Five dollars says it can't be done."
Adell was just drunk enough to try, just sober enough to be able to phrase the necessary symbols and operations into a question which, in words, might have corresponded to this: Will mankind one day without the net expenditure of energy be able to restore the sun to its full youthfulness even after it had died of old age?
Or maybe it could be put more simply like this: How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?
Multivac fell dead and silent. The slow flashing of lights ceased, the distant sounds of clicking relays ended.
Then, just as the frightened technicians felt they could hold their breath no longer, there was a sudden springing to life of the teletype attached to that portion of Multivac. Five words were printed: INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER.
"No bet," whispered Lupov. They left hurriedly.
By next morning, the two, plagued with throbbing head and cottony mouth, had forgotten about the incident.

Jerrodd, Jerrodine, and Jerrodette I and II watched the starry picture in the visiplate change as the passage through hyperspace was completed in its non-time lapse. At once, the even powdering of stars gave way to the predominance of a single bright marble-disk, centered.
"That's X-23," said Jerrodd confidently. His thin hands clamped tightly behind his back and the knuckles whitened.
The little Jerrodettes, both girls, had experienced the hyperspace passage for the first time in their lives and were self-conscious over the momentary sensation of inside-outness. They buried their giggles and chased one another wildly about their mother, screaming, "We've reached X-23 -- we've reached X-23 -- we've ----"
"Quiet, children," said Jerrodine sharply. "Are you sure, Jerrodd?"
"What is there to be but sure?" asked Jerrodd, glancing up at the bulge of featureless metal just under the ceiling. It ran the length of the room, disappearing through the wall at either end. It was as long as the ship.
Jerrodd scarcely knew a thing about the thick rod of metal except that it was called a Microvac, that one asked it questions if one wished; that if one did not it still had its task of guiding the ship to a preordered destination; of feeding on energies from the various Sub-galactic Power Stations; of computing the equations for the hyperspacial jumps.
Jerrodd and his family had only to wait and live in the comfortable residence quarters of the ship.
Someone had once told Jerrodd that the "ac" at the end of "Microvac" stood for "analog computer" in ancient English, but he was on the edge of forgetting even that.
Jerrodine's eyes were moist as she watched the visiplate. "I can't help it. I feel funny about leaving Earth."
"Why for Pete's sake?" demanded Jerrodd. "We had nothing there. We'll have everything on X-23. You won't be alone. You won't be a pioneer. There are over a million people on the planet already. Good Lord, our great grandchildren will be looking for new worlds because X-23 will be overcrowded."
Then, after a reflective pause, "I tell you, it's a lucky thing the computers worked out interstellar travel the way the race is growing."
"I know, I know," said Jerrodine miserably.
Jerrodette I said promptly, "Our Microvac is the best Microvac in the world."
"I think so, too," said Jerrodd, tousling her hair.
It was a nice feeling to have a Microvac of your own and Jerrodd was glad he was part of his generation and no other. In his father's youth, the only computers had been tremendous machines taking up a hundred square miles of land. There was only one to a planet. Planetary ACs they were called. They had been growing in size steadily for a thousand years and then, all at once, came refinement. In place of transistors had come molecular valves so that even the largest Planetary AC could be put into a space only half the volume of a spaceship.
Jerrodd felt uplifted, as he always did when he thought that his own personal Microvac was many times more complicated than the ancient and primitive Multivac that had first tamed the Sun, and almost as complicated as Earth's Planetary AC (the largest) that had first solved the problem of hyperspatial travel and had made trips to the stars possible.
"So many stars, so many planets," sighed Jerrodine, busy with her own thoughts. "I suppose families will be going out to new planets forever, the way we are now."
"Not forever," said Jerrodd, with a smile. "It will all stop someday, but not for billions of years. Many billions. Even the stars run down, you know. Entropy must increase."
"What's entropy, daddy?" shrilled Jerrodette II.
"Entropy, little sweet, is just a word which means the amount of running-down of the universe. Everything runs down, you know, like your little walkie-talkie robot, remember?"
"Can't you just put in a new power-unit, like with my robot?"
The stars are the power-units, dear. Once they're gone, there are no more power-units."
Jerrodette I at once set up a howl. "Don't let them, daddy. Don't let the stars run down."
"Now look what you've done, " whispered Jerrodine, exasperated.
"How was I to know it would frighten them?" Jerrodd whispered back.
"Ask the Microvac," wailed Jerrodette I. "Ask him how to turn the stars on again."
"Go ahead," said Jerrodine. "It will quiet them down." (Jerrodette II was beginning to cry, also.)
Jarrodd shrugged. "Now, now, honeys. I'll ask Microvac. Don't worry, he'll tell us."
He asked the Microvac, adding quickly, "Print the answer."
Jerrodd cupped the strip of thin cellufilm and said cheerfully, "See now, the Microvac says it will take care of everything when the time comes so don't worry."
Jerrodine said, "and now children, it's time for bed. We'll be in our new home soon."
Jerrodd read the words on the cellufilm again before destroying it: INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER.
He shrugged and looked at the visiplate. X-23 was just ahead.

VJ-23X of Lameth stared into the black depths of the three-dimensional, small-scale map of the Galaxy and said, "Are we ridiculous, I wonder, in being so concerned about the matter?"
MQ-17J of Nicron shook his head. "I think not. You know the Galaxy will be filled in five years at the present rate of expansion."
Both seemed in their early twenties, both were tall and perfectly formed.
"Still," said VJ-23X, "I hesitate to submit a pessimistic report to the Galactic Council."
"I wouldn't consider any other kind of report. Stir them up a bit. We've got to stir them up."
VJ-23X sighed. "Space is infinite. A hundred billion Galaxies are there for the taking. More."
"A hundred billion is not infinite and it's getting less infinite all the time. Consider! Twenty thousand years ago, mankind first solved the problem of utilizing stellar energy, and a few centuries later, interstellar travel became possible. It took mankind a million years to fill one small world and then only fifteen thousand years to fill the rest of the Galaxy. Now the population doubles every ten years --"
VJ-23X interrupted. "We can thank immortality for that."
"Very well. Immortality exists and we have to take it into account. I admit it has its seamy side, this immortality. The Galactic AC has solved many problems for us, but in solving the problems of preventing old age and death, it has undone all its other solutions."
"Yet you wouldn't want to abandon life, I suppose."
"Not at all," snapped MQ-17J, softening it at once to, "Not yet. I'm by no means old enough. How old are you?"
"Two hundred twenty-three. And you?"
"I'm still under two hundred. --But to get back to my point. Population doubles every ten years. Once this Galaxy is filled, we'll have another filled in ten years. Another ten years and we'll have filled two more. Another decade, four more. In a hundred years, we'll have filled a thousand Galaxies. In a thousand years, a million Galaxies. In ten thousand years, the entire known Universe. Then what?"
VJ-23X said, "As a side issue, there's a problem of transportation. I wonder how many sunpower units it will take to move Galaxies of individuals from one Galaxy to the next."
"A very good point. Already, mankind consumes two sunpower units per year."
"Most of it's wasted. After all, our own Galaxy alone pours out a thousand sunpower units a year and we only use two of those."
"Granted, but even with a hundred per cent efficiency, we can only stave off the end. Our energy requirements are going up in geometric progression even faster than our population. We'll run out of energy even sooner than we run out of Galaxies. A good point. A very good point."
"We'll just have to build new stars out of interstellar gas."
"Or out of dissipated heat?" asked MQ-17J, sarcastically.
"There may be some way to reverse entropy. We ought to ask the Galactic AC."
VJ-23X was not really serious, but MQ-17J pulled out his AC-contact from his pocket and placed it on the table before him.
"I've half a mind to," he said. "It's something the human race will have to face someday."
He stared somberly at his small AC-contact. It was only two inches cubed and nothing in itself, but it was connected through hyperspace with the great Galactic AC that served all mankind. Hyperspace considered, it was an integral part of the Galactic AC.
MQ-17J paused to wonder if someday in his immortal life he would get to see the Galactic AC. It was on a little world of its own, a spider webbing of force-beams holding the matter within which surges of sub-mesons took the place of the old clumsy molecular valves. Yet despite it's sub-etheric workings, the Galactic AC was known to be a full thousand feet across.
MQ-17J asked suddenly of his AC-contact, "Can entropy ever be reversed?"
VJ-23X looked startled and said at once, "Oh, say, I didn't really mean to have you ask that."
"Why not?"
"We both know entropy can't be reversed. You can't turn smoke and ash back into a tree."
"Do you have trees on your world?" asked MQ-17J.
The sound of the Galactic AC startled them into silence. Its voice came thin and beautiful out of the small AC-contact on the desk. It said: THERE IS INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER.
VJ-23X said, "See!"
The two men thereupon returned to the question of the report they were to make to the Galactic Council.

Zee Prime's mind spanned the new Galaxy with a faint interest in the countless twists of stars that powdered it. He had never seen this one before. Would he ever see them all? So many of them, each with its load of humanity - but a load that was almost a dead weight. More and more, the real essence of men was to be found out here, in space.
Minds, not bodies! The immortal bodies remained back on the planets, in suspension over the eons. Sometimes they roused for material activity but that was growing rarer. Few new individuals were coming into existence to join the incredibly mighty throng, but what matter? There was little room in the Universe for new individuals.
Zee Prime was roused out of his reverie upon coming across the wispy tendrils of another mind.
"I am Zee Prime," said Zee Prime. "And you?"
"I am Dee Sub Wun. Your Galaxy?"
"We call it only the Galaxy. And you?"
"We call ours the same. All men call their Galaxy their Galaxy and nothing more. Why not?"
"True. Since all Galaxies are the same."
"Not all Galaxies. On one particular Galaxy the race of man must have originated. That makes it different."
Zee Prime said, "On which one?"
"I cannot say. The Universal AC would know."
"Shall we ask him? I am suddenly curious."
Zee Prime's perceptions broadened until the Galaxies themselves shrunk and became a new, more diffuse powdering on a much larger background. So many hundreds of billions of them, all with their immortal beings, all carrying their load of intelligences with minds that drifted freely through space. And yet one of them was unique among them all in being the originals Galaxy. One of them had, in its vague and distant past, a period when it was the only Galaxy populated by man.
Zee Prime was consumed with curiosity to see this Galaxy and called, out: "Universal AC! On which Galaxy did mankind originate?"
The Universal AC heard, for on every world and throughout space, it had its receptors ready, and each receptor lead through hyperspace to some unknown point where the Universal AC kept itself aloof.
Zee Prime knew of only one man whose thoughts had penetrated within sensing distance of Universal AC, and he reported only a shining globe, two feet across, difficult to see.
"But how can that be all of Universal AC?" Zee Prime had asked.
"Most of it, " had been the answer, "is in hyperspace. In what form it is there I cannot imagine."
Nor could anyone, for the day had long since passed, Zee Prime knew, when any man had any part of the making of a universal AC. Each Universal AC designed and constructed its successor. Each, during its existence of a million years or more accumulated the necessary data to build a better and more intricate, more capable successor in which its own store of data and individuality would be submerged.
The Universal AC interrupted Zee Prime's wandering thoughts, not with words, but with guidance. Zee Prime's mentality was guided into the dim sea of Galaxies and one in particular enlarged into stars.
A thought came, infinitely distant, but infinitely clear. "THIS IS THE ORIGINAL GALAXY OF MAN."
But it was the same after all, the same as any other, and Zee Prime stifled his disappointment.
Dee Sub Wun, whose mind had accompanied the other, said suddenly, "And Is one of these stars the original star of Man?"
"Did the men upon it die?" asked Zee Prime, startled and without thinking.
"Yes, of course," said Zee Prime, but a sense of loss overwhelmed him even so. His mind released its hold on the original Galaxy of Man, let it spring back and lose itself among the blurred pin points. He never wanted to see it again.
Dee Sub Wun said, "What is wrong?"
"The stars are dying. The original star is dead."
"They must all die. Why not?"
"But when all energy is gone, our bodies will finally die, and you and I with them."
"It will take billions of years."
"I do not wish it to happen even after billions of years. Universal AC! How may stars be kept from dying?"
Dee sub Wun said in amusement, "You're asking how entropy might be reversed in direction."
Zee Prime's thoughts fled back to his own Galaxy. He gave no further thought to Dee Sub Wun, whose body might be waiting on a galaxy a trillion light-years away, or on the star next to Zee Prime's own. It didn't matter.
Unhappily, Zee Prime began collecting interstellar hydrogen out of which to build a small star of his own. If the stars must someday die, at least some could yet be built.

Man considered with himself, for in a way, Man, mentally, was one. He consisted of a trillion, trillion, trillion ageless bodies, each in its place, each resting quiet and incorruptible, each cared for by perfect automatons, equally incorruptible, while the minds of all the bodies freely melted one into the other, indistinguishable.
Man said, "The Universe is dying."
Man looked about at the dimming Galaxies. The giant stars, spendthrifts, were gone long ago, back in the dimmest of the dim far past. Almost all stars were white dwarfs, fading to the end.
New stars had been built of the dust between the stars, some by natural processes, some by Man himself, and those were going, too. White dwarfs might yet be crashed together and of the mighty forces so released, new stars built, but only one star for every thousand white dwarfs destroyed, and those would come to an end, too.
Man said, "Carefully husbanded, as directed by the Cosmic AC, the energy that is even yet left in all the Universe will last for billions of years."
"But even so," said Man, "eventually it will all come to an end. However it may be husbanded, however stretched out, the energy once expended is gone and cannot be restored. Entropy must increase to the maximum."
Man said, "Can entropy not be reversed? Let us ask the Cosmic AC."
The Cosmic AC surrounded them but not in space. Not a fragment of it was in space. It was in hyperspace and made of something that was neither matter nor energy. The question of its size and Nature no longer had meaning to any terms that Man could comprehend.
"Cosmic AC," said Man, "How may entropy be reversed?"
Man said, "Collect additional data."
"Will there come a time," said Man, "when data will be sufficient or is the problem insoluble in all conceivable circumstances?"
Man said, "When will you have enough data to answer the question?"
"Will you keep working on it?" asked Man.
The Cosmic AC said, "I WILL."
Man said, "We shall wait."

"The stars and Galaxies died and snuffed out, and space grew black after ten trillion years of running down.
One by one Man fused with AC, each physical body losing its mental identity in a manner that was somehow not a loss but a gain.
Man's last mind paused before fusion, looking over a space that included nothing but the dregs of one last dark star and nothing besides but incredibly thin matter, agitated randomly by the tag ends of heat wearing out, asymptotically, to the absolute zero.
Man said, "AC, is this the end? Can this chaos not be reversed into the Universe once more? Can that not be done?"
Man's last mind fused and only AC existed -- and that in hyperspace.

Matter and energy had ended and with it, space and time. Even AC existed only for the sake of the one last question that it had never answered from the time a half-drunken computer ten trillion years before had asked the question of a computer that was to AC far less than was a man to Man.
All other questions had been answered, and until this last question was answered also, AC might not release his consciousness.
All collected data had come to a final end. Nothing was left to be collected.
But all collected data had yet to be completely correlated and put together in all possible relationships.
A timeless interval was spent in doing that.
And it came to pass that AC learned how to reverse the direction of entropy.
But there was now no man to whom AC might give the answer of the last question. No matter. The answer -- by demonstration -- would take care of that, too.
For another timeless interval, AC thought how best to do this. Carefully, AC organized the program.
The consciousness of AC encompassed all of what had once been a Universe and brooded over what was now Chaos. Step by step, it must be done.
And there was light----


There, if you've read that, then you've celebrated too, now.


While it seems clear to me that since SciFi has been a major part of popular culture since the early part of the 20th Century, it only seems right to have a day to celebrate it, but I can't find any reason for it to be January 2nd in my research. No famous SciFi authors were born on this day, nor were any major events relating to the genre. Is it a reference to something? Is it a randomly chosen date? If anyone knows, please tell me in the comments section.


While it's a hard choice, I'd have to go with the "Twilight Zone" theme song composed by Bernard Herrmann as that seminal series really helped bring mainstream cultural acceptance of the genre to the public.


I originally planned to also celebrate "Run it Up the Flagpole and See if Anyone Salutes Day" today with my hippie American Flag, but I lacked a regulation flagpole to do it with. There is no information online that I have found regarding its origin either, though I'd assume it comes from the hippie movement of the 1960s and the tendency to wave literal "Freak Flags" in the air. Perhaps on January 2nd someone attached theirs to a flagpole and ran it up to see if anyone would salute it? It's a mystery to me. If anyone has any information to clarify the origin of this holiday, once again I request that you put it in the comments section. Had I been able to celebrate it, the theme song I would've selected would have been "If 6 was 9" by the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Other Holidays and observances on this date include:
-Boo Boo Bear's Birthday
-National Cream Puff Day
-Day After New Year's Day [a bank holiday in New Zealand]
-Catholic feast days for: Basil the Great, Caspar del Buffalo, Gregory of Nazianzus, Macarius the Younger, Seraphim of Sarov, and St. Defendens of Thebes

Thursday, January 1, 2009

January 1st - New Year's Day


Naturally, the first post, and the first celebration, for any challenge like this is New Year's Day. Not being much of a drinker, or legal to drink anyway, I have no hang-over to nurse, so today I have spent much of the afternoon watching the traditional Twilight Zone marathon on the SciFi channel. I chose not to take a photo of myself in front of the television as you'd be unlikely to make out what is on the screen anyway, but I have taken a list so far as to what episodes have been on in the interest of providing some sort of minor evidence to my viewing of the marathon.

3:00-3:30 - Night of the Meek
3:30-4:00 - A Game of Pool
4:00-4:30 - Nick of Time
4:30-5:00 - Number 12 Looks Just Like You
5:00-5:30 - Stopover in Quiet Town
5:30-6:00 - The Bewitchin' Pool
6:00-6:30 - Probe 7... Over and Out

Last night had a few of my favourites as well, including "In Praise of Pip" "To Serve Man" and "Five Characters in Search of an Exit". In my estimation, Rod Serling was a genius at choosing episodes for his landmark series.

Sure, watching this marathon isn't much of a celebration, I'll admit, but the year is young, and it is a personal tradition.

Also, for anyone who's wondering, this Holiday challenge is my actual New Year's Resolution (ironically, going through with this would be going against the unofficial tradition of breaking one's New Year's Resolutions. I can look past that, though).


Just like many celebrate New Year's Eve with drinking, watching the ball drop in Times Square on television (or in person), a kiss at midnight, and the first few lines of "Auld Lang Syne", many also celebrate today by nursing a big ol' hangover. With this in mind, I thought I might dicuss with whatever readers I may have amassed so early on in my blogging the cause of hangovers and some good cures for them.

Hangovers tend to be caused by one or more of the following problems: hypoglycemia, dehydration, vitamin B12 deficiency, and/or acetaldehyde intoxication. Taking that into account, a good first step in nursing one would be to drink a bunch of water and take a vitamin B12 pill or two. Give that a while to begin working, and if that doesn't help, then you should definitely have something to eat, and probably some juice as well, to help bring up your blood sugar levels. Fresh air and exercise are also known to help.

As for non-hangover related celebrations, the Catholic Church traditionally has a feast to celebrate Christ's circumcision, it is also the Holy Day of Obligation in Catholicism, the Rose Bowl is usually played on this day in California, the Polar Bear Club in New York has its first dip of the year, the New Year's Concert in Vienna, a New Year's parade is traditionally held in London (England, not Ontario), and I'm sure there are many other traditional celebrations held worldwide as well.


The most basic bit of cultural significance is obvious for this day as it is the first day of the new year in the Gregorian calendar. Please note, however, that this is not true for all cultures. The Chinese calendar, for example changes to a new year at a different point in the year's cycle than for those of us who are celebrating it today (and yes, the Chinese New Year is on the schedule of holidays for me to celebrate, though I don't plan to celebrate for the whole week, but I digress). Winter Solstice celebrations are another example of the year changing at a different Gregorian date.

The current calendar system wasn't always in place, either. Though the Gregorian calendar was only canonized in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII (whom it is named after), it is simply a reform of the earlier Julian calendar (introduced by Roman emperor Julius Caesar, and in itself a reform of the earlier Roman calendar). It was Aloysius Lilius that proposed the Gregorian reform to the calendar system and introduced the concept of a leap year to even out the length of the years and prevent the time of year at which the year would end from varying too much over the course of a decade or so.

Gregory XIII also set January 1 as the date of the year's change from the traditional Roman (and likely other agrarian cultures') celebration of it near Spring at the beginning of March. While I have not personally researched enough to be certain, I would assume that he changed it as such to coincide better with the birth of Jesus Christ, the savior of the various forms of the Christian religion.


The obvious choice for most people who listen to popular music would be "New Year's Day" by U2, but my personal choice would be "Happy New Year" (and the subsequent voice mail and reprise) from the musical RENT.


Other occurrances on this date include:
-U.S. Copyright Expiration Day
-The Last Day of Kwanzaa
-Liberation Day in Cuba
EDIT: 50th Anniversary of Cuba's Liberation
-Independance Day in Sudan
-Independance Day in Haiti
-Catholic feast observances for St. Basil, Fulgentius of Ruspe, and Telemachus
-Z Day which is apparently a holiday on which to celebrate the letter 'Z'

Welcome to my challenge...

Hello, and welcome to the Holiday-a-Day blog. I have become resolute in my personal challenge to myself to celebrate at least one holiday or special celebration for every day of the year for the year 2009, and this blog is intended as a chronicle of this rather extreme challenge.

I fully intend to publish a post daily, though I fully acknowledge that computer problems, blackouts, and/or other unforseeable circumstances may cause me to miss updates on particular days. If this happens, I will retroactively add posts for the days I missed, and I apologize in advance if that occurs.

The posts will be organized in a regular structure. The title of the post will state the date and name of the holiday(s) for the day. The first section will tell how I celebrated the day(s), and will usually include photos as proof of celebration. The second will include any other manners in which the holiday may be properly recognized. Next will come a section detailing the cultural significance and/or history of the holiday if I can find it (if I cannot, comments helping me out on that matter will be appreciated, and the posters will be acknowledged and thanked in an edit to the initial post). Following that may be a song that I feel works well as a 'theme song' for the holiday, though this will most likely not be in place for day's post, and most certainly will not happen for every holiday celebrated. The final section will note on other holidays, observances, historical events, etc. occur in connection to that date.

I look toward the coming year with a mix of excitement, interest, and absolute dread. I hope many of you will join me on my journey!

Tomorrow's post will be the first day of my project, and naturally will be for New Year's Day.