Sunday, July 19, 2020

A visit to the society with the longest name

As we Zoom-wander across the land, popping in on faraway Sherlockian societies, one sees a lot of different meeting-styles and personalities in our local groups. This weekend's Saturday jaunt was especially pleasant, as I was already filled with good spirits from the first live podcast recording of an entire Watsonian Weekly episode, and then found myself at a gathering of "The Noble and Most Singular Order of the Blue Carbuncle." Having enjoyed myself at Portland's Left Coast Symposium last August, it seemed a good group to look in on, as well as to check if any of them had been abducted by mysterious federal mercs, who seem to be yet another dire sign of the times.

What I found at this gathering of the long-named Sherlockian group was something I hesitate to mention, as one really hates to cause something that good to get too popular and lose its cool. But, being a blogger who hasn't posted much lately, I am also driven by other forces.

The Noble and Most Singular Order of the Blue Carbuncle is a happy, chatty group. About fifteen souls attended and four or five of us were distant drop-ins who seem to be making a habit of making the rounds. But the local membership itself was what really shined from the start, with many members making very informative presentations on the story of the month, "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton." Each of them added a layer of insight and meaning to that familiar tale, and after the Portland regulars were done, Michigander Rich Krisciunas brought in a presentation complete with slides that totally turned the story upside down and brought dark rumors about Holmes and Watson to the fore.

The meeting was like a mini-symposium, and like my previous Zoom of the day, went on to almost two hours, just because everyone was having such a lovely time. Elinor Gray even took us out to see her bees so close-up that you had to wonder how she wasn't stung, but she has plainly attained a level of bee mastery/familiarity where that is not a problem. It made for a lovely pastoral wind-down to the meeting after all the great discussion that came before it.

One of the need side effects of being able to attend local meetings from afar is not just that you get to learn what the members of that Sherlockian society bring to the subject at hand -- you also get to learn what makes each group's meetings enjoyable and pick up tips just from seeing them do what they do. And this Saturday's gathering from Portland was definitely good for that, as well as just getting to see familiar faces from last August's weekend there.

As bad as things are with the pandemic and the hit on the economy we're taking, there are still rays of sunshine brought on by the storm (or is that just lightning?), and this past Saturday was just beaming with them.

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