Don’t Panic

We saw the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy today- it was so-so.

The director stepped on a lot of the funny lines, or maybe the actors were to blame- did they not understand what they were saying? I see this happen a lot with actors. Either they are bad actors or they have a skewed impression of what the significance of the line is.

The Trillian-Arthur romance was wholly unnecessary, as was the theme of “Arthur learns a lesson.” Arthur was funny being a boring person in the book/radio play/TV show! He just wants tea! Don’t try to make him a likeable person! And while Mos Def was great as Ford, he was robbed of some of that character’s traditional irrational mania by poor writing adaptation.

In case you think this was just the book to screen translation, let me point out that a lot of the same jokes were in the BBC version, and they were still funny there. Ford missed out on some of his funniest lines, including the description of what a “teaser” is, and one-liners like “the best way to get a drink out of a vogon- stick your finger down his throat” and “what’s the worst thing about being drunk? Ask a glass of water.”

John Malkovich’s segment was also weirdly unnecessary. There were a lot of opportunities for insane and fun exposition that were passed up, such as the description of who let them on the Vogon ship (BBC FORD: “The Dentrassi must really hate the Vogons”). Marvin was more self-pitying than his more arrogant and nihilistic BBC self. And the writer seemingly purposely misinterpreted the phrase “the Restaurant at the End of the Universe” – it’s not on one SIDE of the universe- it’s at the ENDING, when it ceases to exist- not a where, but a when. Like the credits of a movie, say.

On the other hand, the Heart of Gold was very very nice, inside and out. The Vogons were awesome. Magrathea was cool. My favorite part: the architects of Deep Thought, and the spectacle of the celebration surrounding the completion of Deep Thought’s calculation. Imagine Woodstock, except you have been waiting for it for 7.5 million years. It was pretty well done.

Other good points: Cameo by the BBC Marvin was pretty cool, as well as the old Arthur Dent playing the Magrathean security system. And was that Douglas Adams’ face at the very end? Plenty of inside jokes like that, including the jewelled crabs the Vogons crush for fun, and the Bugblatter Beast. Having the Vogons “beaten” (avoided?) by paperwork was pretty cool.

Peanut Butter Company

For years I have heard about a “restaurant” in NYC’s Greenwich Village which specializes in peanut butter. This is more like a deli, but I think this is it. I must go there.

Also I think I need to make some peanut butter blends. Also I want an Elvis sandwich.

My star fruit sorbet experiment failed today. Very sad. The star fruit was spoiled. Ah well.
Web link of note: Peanut Butter Company

Senior Meeting Center

A while ago I stopped off at the library to drop a book in the return slot. All these elderly men (late 60s at least) were milling about the entrance…

OLD MAN #1: Huh. It’s closed!

BRAIN: yes. For another hour still.

OM1: Well heck. Do you have a key?

BRAIN: sorry, I do not.

OLD MAN #2: Henry!

OM1: Hello Fred.

OM2: Is it closed?

OM1: Yep. Do you have a key?

OM2: Nope. How do we get in? It’s closed!

OM1: How are we going to have our meeting?

OLD MAN #3: Henry! Fred!

OM1: Good morning Frank!

OM2: Frank.

OM3: Are we locked out?

OM2: Yep. We don’t have a key. Do you have a key?

OM3: No! Well how are we going to have our meeting?

It’s really amazing how long a few people can talk without introducing any new information to the conversation.

I was on my way somewhere, so I didn’t stick around to watch the drama unfold… as I turned the corner in my car, I saw a sign on the next building, about fifty yards from the library: