Saturday, January 4, 2020

Another day down, another mini-volume of weird celebrations to toss upon the pile. Today marks our first down-day – a very manageable roster of celebrations that will allow us to devote 20, maybe 25 minutes toward living our lives outside this project. Don’t worry – the quiet doesn’t last long.

J.R.R. Tolkein Day

The Fellowship of the Ring was first published on July 29, 1954, and for the last 65 and a half years the impact of this book has resonated with cranked reverb throughout the world of fiction, in literature and on screen. Jodie was a big fan of the books; I (Marty) not so much. In a world of literary options, I sampled some fantasy but preferred stories from this reality. Even when the film came out in December, 2001, we watched it, then shrugged off the next two. I know – it’s shameful. But Mr. Tolkein’s birthday today pushed us to try again.

We’d have loved to leap right into The Two Towers, but it made more sense for us to start once more at the top. We enjoyed it much more this time out, and if time allows over the next few weeks we will venture deeper into the saga. I suspect this film simply came out at the wrong time for our interest to be piqued – that’s why it’s always good to leave open the possibility of revisiting art. The immense impact of Mr. Tolkein’s work is not lost on us, and we are both grateful for weaving one of his stories into our surging mass of revelry.

National Fruitcake Toss Day

The gag here is that people don’t like fruitcake, so this is when you fling it as far away from your person as possible. We get that – we aren’t fans of the stuff either, though there are other foods (oysters for Jodie, quiche for Marty) that we’d feel more inclined to chuck into the abyss.

This is apparently an annual competition in Manitou Springs, Colorado every year, and has been running since 1996. We opted not to compete, but instead wandered to the End of the World lookout point in McKernon and flung our foodstuffs deep into Edmonton’s river valley. Not to worry – we did some research first and found that fruitcake is actually not only safe for birds and other woodland animals, but actually good for them. One aim of this project is that no innocent creatures will be harmed throughout our process. As for us, harm (as evidenced by the extensive hangover, the polar plunge and the brutal workout) is just part of the game.

National Drinking Straw Day

The modern paper (eventually leading to plastic) drinking straw was patented on this day in 1888 by a Mr. Marvin C. Stone. The suggested way to honour this achievement is to enjoy a beverage with a straw. Since we here at Celebrate366 aim to surpass these achievements, we opted to enjoy every beverage today with a drinking straw. This included our morning coffee, our dinner soda, my movie-watching beer, and even a late night splash of liqueur. It just ain’t a celebration ‘til you feel it in your pores.

The elimination of plastic drinking straws around North America was a big story of 2019, citing sea turtles’ suffering as a reason to ditch them. As such, we also ditched the plastic and made use of some metal straws Jodie had snagged online last year. This makes us not only weirdly obsessive, but also environmentally sound. Interesting note: while hot coffee does indeed heat up a metal straw, it cools off between sips and is surprisingly manageable.

Remember, You Will Die Day

As I awoke this morning, my muscles constricted around my skeleton with a chorus of pulsing agony, I remembered very clearly that I will die – and that this project may be what kills me. Jodie, of course, felt a little muscle tightness, but she was fine. She does yoga – I play Xbox.

We had a frank discussion today about what we want for our post-breathing remains: both of us agreed on cremation, and unfortunately both of us agreed that we’d like to be scattered somewhere around New York City, albeit in a way that won’t get the surviving spouse arrested, and in a way that won’t allow our ashes to seep into New York’s award-winning tap-water. We also discussed a few bucket-list items that we’d like to cross off before we take that blue, eternal canoe into the beyond. Jodie wants a safari in Africa to get up close to the elephants. I just want to sit through a live taping of Saturday Night Live. Both, we figure, we can achieve someday.

Festival of Sleep Day

We love it when no one knows the specific origins of one of these holidays. It’s like someone just looked at the calendar and said, “Fuck it, I want a nap. Let’s call it a festival so I have an excuse.”

Well, whoever that bold and brilliant soul was, we thank them. And we had a great nap. This is a celebration that should happen every month, like Bonza Bottler Day.

National Chocolate Covered Cherries Day

Chocolate and cherry were made for one another. They are exquisite on their own, then heightened to ex-super-squisite when paired together. We picked up a few of those Cherry Blossom candies from Safeway, fully aware that they are likely the single worst example of the chocolate covered cherry on the planet. Then we balanced that experience with a couple of delicious chocolate covered cherries from Carol’s Sweets on Highstreet – unquestionably the greatest candy store in Edmonton. Carol’s makes their own chocolates too, and these were creamy and sweet and absolutely perfect.

The Cherry Blossoms tasted like sugar. Not much else.

Today we get to go about our lives without obsessively dwelling on what we need to celebrate next. This is much appreciated.

  • National Spaghetti Day. As luck would have it, we have spaghetti in our pantry, and the ingredients to make a tasty meat ‘n tomato sauce. This one is pleasantly simple.
  • National Trivia Day. I am, as my lovely wife frequently bemoans, a lover of trivia, one of near-Cliff-Claven levels. This project began with the intent of scattering trivia into each of these articles, but time has not allowed it. As it happens, I also run a monthly lunch hour trivia game at work, so I will be spending a chunk of today building January’s game.
  • National Missouri Day. This is not an official day. But created day each week for a different state throughout the year. We thought it would be fun to celebrate these with some sort of regional cuisine from each state. Today’s offering: a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, baked by my mother who already regrets volunteering to handle the baking tasks this year will present.

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