About Nothing

We have this new chalkboard in our house. It’s huge… 4′ x 6′, and I actually had to modify molding and relocate the thermostat to get it on the wall.

I don’t know if it’s stylish, but I love it. We’ve got our weekly schedule up there, TO DO’s, things we need from the store, etc. RocketBoy has been tracking the weather on there for his Tiger Cub badge.

Last night, RB and I had an impromptu chalk-talk on fractions. Scout likes practicing letters on it. Chalk makes learning fun.

Chalk doesn’t dry out if you leave the top off. You can wipe it off the wall easily.

Chalk chalk chalk.

We did a practice run of RocketBoy’s Pinewood Derby car on Monday night, and it was pretty slow. But we hadn’t done much to it aside from shaping and painting. We played around a bit with weights and improved the time from 4.9 seconds to 3.4 seconds. The fastest time we saw that night was around 1.7 seconds, so we’ve a ways to go.

There’s a really cool blog done by a Dreamworks storyboard artist that I’ve been perusing.

I’m in danger, however, of spending more time reading or watching videos about drawing than actually drawing.

Ach, time to go.

Book Log – Various Sherlock Holmes Short Stories [His Last Bow]

Various Sherlock Holmes stories, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

There are a smattering of stories available on gutenberg.org which don’t appear to be a part of any collected edition. I knocked those out, so I’ll just group them together in my own virtual omnibus.

The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
The Adventure of the Cardboard Box
The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot
The Adventure of the Dying Detective
The Adventure of the Red Circle
The Adventure of the Wisteria Lodge
The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax

All fine stories.

I just checked gutenberg.org and wikipedia to see what I might have missed in the canon, and it seems that there is a short story collection His Last Bow which contains all of the above, plus a third person titular story, His Last Bow.

And what’s this? Another couple novels? Excellent.

The Study of Four
The Valley of Fear

Going to Wikipedia, I see there is another collection of short stories not listed on gutenberg…

The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

I’ll have to find a source for this.

Book Log – Peter and Max: A Fables Novel

Peter and Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham

has long been my source for the Fables series of comic books. This series chronicles the lives of characters from fairy tales who live amongst us, having been driven out of their home worlds into our mundane (mundy) world by a mercilous dictator, the Emperor.

And it was also who alerted me to the presence of the first Fables-based novel, Peter and Max. I added it to my Amazon wishlist, and not two days later a friend purchased it for me.

Peter is the famed Peter Piper, and Max is his elder brother. The story cuts back and forth between the original invasion of the Emperor and later in the Mundy world.

It’s a fine story, weaving in Bo Peep and her sheep, the Pied Piper, and some other Fable references. It won’t win any literature prizes, but good mind candy.

Book Log – The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Well, it wasn’t near as bad as I had remembered from High School. In fact, it was just fine. My only complaint is that there was too little Sherlock Holmes in it.

The narrative problem, I’m assuming, with having Holmes in the entirety of a full-length novel, is that he’s simply going to solve the mystery too fast. If you want to stretch the story into a full length book, you really have to have Watson on his own semi-bumbling through the mystery as in this novel, or you have to insert a big stretch of backstory (as in A Study in Scarlet).

Otherwise, you’ve got to make the mystery really complicated, with many layers of the onion. But that requires blowing a lot of ideas on one story. Best to stretch it out over several books, I imagine, and pad, pad, pad.

So, if a second reading through the prism of my 38 year old eyes redeemed The Hound of the Baskervilles, does this mean I need to revisit Great Expectations?

Book Log – A Study In Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This is the first Sherlock Holmes mystery, written purportedly while Conan Doyle was not-busy being an unsuccessful doctor.

It gives us the origins of how Holmes and Watson met (entirely invalidating the Young Sherlock Holmes movie from the 80’s). It is odd in that Holmes is entirely absent from the middle section of the book. This section is a somewhat abrupt jump back in time to give some background story on the mystery in question.

The middle section is also quite an unflattering portrayal of Brigham Young, and the Latter-day Saints colony in Utah of the time. I can’t imagine the Mormons were (or are) big fans of Conan Doyle.