Sunday, December 5, 2021

The NaChronoWriMo report

 At the end of October, I decided that instead of participating in "NaNoWriMo" (National Novel Writing Month) this year, I would devote my month to "NaChronoWriMo" and spent the time with Sherlockian chronology. Was my final word count the hoped-for 50,000 that NaNoWriMo participants shoot for?

Heck no! The current total is 13,177. (And a good chunk of those words are Watson's!)

But I did make it through the entire Canon, and met goals that went beyond word count. That word count also did not count writing for the Sherlockian Chronology Guild's monthly newsletter Timelines, a sideline that has definitely cut into my blog-posting time this year.

Other excuses? The sudden rise of the Dangling Prussian virtual Pub Night on Zoom, January 14th. As is always the case with our diversely multi-tentacled Sherlockian hobby, just as you're fighting to extricate yourself from one tentacle of the beastie, another one starts to wrap itself around you and demand your attention. (And if that metaphor was just a little too exciting to you, we know where your internet searches have been taking you. * wink *) (Hey, it's another blog post on Sherlockian chronology! I had to make it more exciting somehow!)

It's been a good month of chronology work, though, the results of which will, I hope, come up before too long, into the pubic view.

On to pub-work December!

Sunday, November 28, 2021

My Conan Doyle Book Problem

 It's exciting to fill shelves with books when you're younger. It's fun to carefully peruse the shelves of old and used bookshops, with their random selections from sources unknown. But there comes a time when the gleeful cry of "You can't have too many books!" just makes you shake your head at the folly of youth.

Because books can be a blessing and a curse. It's a marvelous thing to want to know something and be able to reach up to a shelf and find something that even Google doesn't know about. But books are also physical objects with a certain weight, and a space requirement, and when they leave shelves and overflow into boxes, those can be some heavy boxes.

And they can be hard to get rid of, especially if they are ancillary to one's specialty.

At this point in my life, I really don't need any books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that don't have Sherlock Holmes in them. As much as we owe the man, I'm not really a fan of the fellow. I'll send him a mental thank you card now and then, but there are so many other new writers our their that need my casual reading time, and my Sherlockian reading time is, well, all about Sherlock.

So what does one do with boxes of non-Sherlock Conan Doyle books? Seems a pity to dump them on the local used paperback shop, library sale, or Goodwill store. (And you don't want to know what happens to books that fall down the food chain and are never bought. There's no magical library of unwanted books out there.) Knowing there's a special interest in a certain kind of book makes it harder to dispose of. And while there are folks interested in Conan Doyle works out there, are there currently enough of them to serve as owners of all the copies of The White Company in existence?

I'm having some doubts.

Would scattering old Doyle books to the winds encourage the reading of said author, when more genre specific works are out there? You might notice that I'm purposefully avoided mention of eBay -- dealing with random retail customers in any venue is something for those with tougher hides than me.

The great gap in Sherlockian weekend workshops and events hasn't helped matters -- grand gatherings are always good places to offload a few things to interested parties. And while 2022 was looking hopeful, the words "omicron variant" this past week have cast a dark cloud. But who knows?

For now, I'll probably do what I've done in the past: Fill banker's boxes and stack them in the corner of some room that shouldn't have any more bankers boxes in it. But those probably need to be dealt with before my back can no longer deal with a banker's box of books . . .

Hmmm.

Friday, November 19, 2021

A Dangling Prussian Registration Link!

If you didn't get on the RSVP list from the earlier post and get the e-mail version of what lies below, here's some new details on the Dangling Prussian pub night on January 14, along with a registration link. The word will start getting spread further this weekend, but, hey, you're special!

You are invited to Pub Night at the Dangling Prussian on Zoom.. 

When: Jan 14, 2022 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 


Register in advance for this gathering:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMsd-mspzosGNWrY5QEPzpJIR0YFCGCQMfL 


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The Schedule (all Eastern Time U.S.)


6:00 to 8:00,  Happy Hour


Join for general chat and wander the tables of the pub for conversation and friendly faces. Zoom might call them “breakout rooms,” but we’re reserving them under the names …


The Brett party’s table (perhaps to discuss television)

The Rathbone party's table (perhaps to discuss movies)

The Starrett party's table (perhaps to discuss pastiche)

The Watson party's table (perhaps to discuss the Canon)

The Morley party's table (perhaps to discuss the Sherlockiana)


I mean, folks at any table can talk about whatever they’re going to talk about, of course. And from 7:00 to 10:00, pub trivia questions will be randomly sent out to the tables. If the occupants of said table at that moment can answer that question in a private message in the chat to the host, their table scores a point, and a winning table will eventually be announced. (Not being a formal competition, you can always jumps table and beef up an underdog’s points — it’s really just about the fun.)


Also, you can get inducted into the Montague Street Incorrigibles upon entry, should you so wish. There’s a small ceremonial bit.


8:00 to 9:00, As Formal A Program As You’re Going To See


There will be toasting, first and foremost, and some entertainments are currently being lined up. Again, this is going to be about the fun. No serious presentations on pub night.


9:00 to Midnight, Anything That Didn’t Get Done Earlier


You’ve heard of rap battles, but have you ever heard of a limerick brawl? Now you have. Singing? Dancing? Reports from any other events or misadventures in the rest of the world that night? Who knows, it’s a Zoom party. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Tiger Tyrant of San Pedro 2

 "I tell you, Eugenia Ronder murdered her husband. People are trying to kill me, and I'm running for my life."

-- Juan "Don" Murillow, Tiger of San Pedro, from an undisclosed location

The story of Don Murillo captured the attention of readers everywhere in 1908. The attention of one reader in particular shot toward that account more than any other.

"You know why I wasn't in part two of 'Wisteria Lodge?' Because Watson forgot about me. He got so excited by the Tiger of San Pedro that I just didn't exist to him any more. It wasn't until that story came out in 1908 that I even heard what happened to my close personal friend Garcia."

-- John Scott Eccles, sociable bachelor and Canonical character

"John was always telling that double-barrelled tiger cub story. He loved tigers. And he really, really hated that famous tiger hunter Sebastian Moran. Do I think he was involved with the Tiger of San Pedro beyond what he wrote in that story. It was 1892. 1892. Sherlock Holmes was dead in a river in Switzerland."

-- The late Mary Morstan Watson, to a friend before her mysterious disappearance

"It was 1889 and I wanted to take my children to the circus. That's all. Was this Watson at that circus? Did he know how far a murderess would go to discredit a witness from another country? Try to look up San Pedro in any encyclopaedia! You find San Cristobal and then William Sancroft -- there is no San Pedro!"

-- Juan "Don" Murillo, Tiger of San Pedro, a country no one has heard of

"Was it a fierce tiger of crime, which could only be taken fighting hard with flashing fang and claw?"

-- John H. Watson, creating an imaginary criminal in his head in "Black Peter"

"Yes, Watson liked to pretend Eugenia was horrible to look at. But the way he'd go on about her figure, how perfect her mouth was, how pleasing her voice was . . . I mean, it was just a few scars. He didn't have any problem taking her to Simpson's with Sherlock and me after I got sprung from the joint."

-- Kitty Winter, reputed hell-cat from Hell, London

"I mean, who the hell is 'the Marquess of Montalva, and why did Watson want people to think I was him after he was murdered?"

-- Juan "Don" Murillo, Tiger of San Pedro, not a marquess

"You know Watson waited to publish that story until Sherlock Holmes was undercover in America and couldn't give him hell for making up all that 'Tiger of San Pedro' crap. What he did to Eduardo was bad enough."

-- Ricardo Lucas, a.k.a. "cat-like" Lopez, whose family's reputation had a second stain by Watson's pen

"Watson had at that time deserted me for a wife."

-- Sherlock Holmes, apparently refusing to say Eugenia Ronder's name


Saturday, November 13, 2021

A virtual pub night to celebrate Sherlock Holmes!

 


Attention all scalawags, layabouts, rapscallions, and full grown street urchins of the Sherlockian, Holmesian, and Watsonian worlds!

On Friday night, January 14th, a pub of legend is opening its Zoom doors for an evening of distraction, gossip, merriment, and feats of mental brawn, as the Dangling Pussian plays host to the Montague Street Incorrigibles Non-Annual Non-Dinner!


What’s that you say? You’re not a member of the Montague Street Incorrigibles? Well, for one night, and one night only, you can sign Arminius Detweiller’s big membership book and join the club. (Bring your own pen. Maybe some paper might be good, too. You really do have to sign the book — under whatever alias you’re going by that night.) But even if you don’t want to join such a motley crew, we’ll let you come anyway.


It’s just going to be about having a little fun with whoever else decides to show up. And there will be fun. Trust me on this. (Or don’t, because I’m a rapscallion too.)


Friday night, January 14, 2022, cocktail hours starting at 6:00 P.M. Eastern U.S. Time Zone, main Incorrigible congress and program starting at 8:00 P.M. E.T. 


Registration Zoom Link: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMsd-mspzosGNWrY5QEPzpJIR0YFCGCQMfL 


Or for more info, write to sherlockholmesisrealpodcast@gmail.com


Hope to see ya there!

The ever-distracting Sherlock Holmes

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm practicing "NaChronoWriMo" this month -- National Chronology Writing Month -- and churning away at Sherlockiana's least-loved past-time. This isn't a new thing for this year, as the Sherlockian Chronology Guild has had a new issue of their PDF newsletter, Timelines, in their e-mail boxes for the past ten months straight, and that involves a little writing on the subject. But this month, yes, this month I decided to dedicate myself to the subject.

And I'm trying, but you know Sherlock Holmes.

Somebody mentioned 221B Con, and I started thinking about what panels awaited there. Somebody mentioned Sherlock's birthday weekend in January and the subject of Zoom meet-ups for that weekend became an exciting topic. Somebody mentioned Sherlockian role-play and that brought up a Sherlockian role-play society from the early 2000s that might need another go. There are just so many potential things one can do around Sherlock Holmes that the distractions come far too easy.

And there's only so much time in the world, right?

Anyone who collects Sherlock Holmes things is bound to have a side collection or two. Once collecting is in the blood, it has a definite tendency to spread. One of my little side collections is all about the superhero Flash and all the other super-speedsters of pop culture (just added a Makkari figure to that set, if you're up on your MCU). Why the attraction to that particular super-power? Because those characters are the ones with the best chance of getting it all done!

Sherlock Holmes would have made a good super-speedster. His wide range of interests and constant desire to avoid boredom are a perfect fit for it, and . . . well, what was his drug of choice? A strong stimulant. 

And at this point in writing this blog post, a full seven days ago, someone reminded my that I promised to proofread a somewhat longer Sherlockian project for them . . . which I did . . . and then, and then, and then . . . I really need to get weaned off caffeine at some point, but the siren song of the kola nut calls and no mast to lash myself to . . .  

Well, as the distractions pile up and the chronology needs a'doing, I should just stop this and do that, shouldn't I?

SHERLOCKIAN AWAAAAAAYYYY!!!!


Sunday, October 31, 2021

The changing of the guard

 It is always sad to lose one of our Sherlockian number, and this weekend news came out of a large loss in our community, the passing of Mike Whelan. Following not so far behind the passing of Jon Lellenberg, it really gives one a sense of the generational changing of the guard in Sherlockiana.

Both men were dominant Sherlockians who were powerful influences upon our community, and well known for butting heads on issues regarding the Baker Street Irregulars. Both had their own camps of friends and followers, and both had good sides and bad sides to their views on how things should be. Fortunately, Sherlockiana has never been "Ford versus Chevy," "Republicans versus Democrats," etc., or I suspect we might have had a very interesting American Sherlockian Civil War at some point. No, we're more of the "herding cats" sort of community, which does have benefits on occasion.

With the passing of Mike Whelan and Jon Lellenberg, and their influence, we are really entering an entirely new phase of Sherlockian life, a generational change. It took Julian Wolfe not only stepping down as leader of the BSI, but passing on, for women to be allowed in that club, as respect for the former leader carried that tradition on a bit further than it should have. And while neither of our recent losses had that specific of a disputed agenda for the community to move past, we are entering a period where those influences are no longer felt as strongly as they were as the months pass.

When we lose any friend or family member, we don't just lose that person, we lose the part of our lives that only came from their presence. Even if they lived far away, or we only saw them on holidays, that ongoing experience, the special yams they brought to the dinner table for the feast, are gone. And maybe nobody can make the yams the way that person did, but as time passes, someone else brings their best dish to the table enough that a new favorite emerges. Generational change occurs. 

Mike Whelan was one of the most influential, if not the most influential figure, on the course of organized Sherlockiana over the past three decades. Three decades! His legacy, those those many books, events, and encouragements that happened over that period, is now cemented into history. And the terrace of our traditions will be bearing a weighty load as we approach January and that NYC dinner, as it truly marks the end of an era.

The Sherlockiana of the 2020s awaits. Where does it all go from here? I don't know if we can even say who has a clue at this point. But there is still time for fond farewells as that ship leaves the dock.

See you later, Wiggins. And by the way, I did dust the top of that refrigerator.