The Game Is Afoot!

A Study in SherlockA personal invite goes out to you all for a special sneak preview of my new blog, A Study in Sherlock, set to launch tomorrow. This site is devoted to the life, times and influence of the Great Detective himself, perhaps the most famous fictional character in history.

There’s a tonne of material already in the queue, and so it’s my intention that there will be something new every weekday, and occasionally on weekends. That includes original pieces (many of which are written for newcomers to the Canon), photographs, teasers for the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrations, news stories, book reviews, audio snippets, “workshop” projects (such as do-it-yourself reference cards or CDs), radio plays, and featured sites. Most of these entries are selected to offer something for neophytes, but –hopefully– also provide ample occasion for discourse amongst the more experienced.

I appreciate any and all feedback from you fine folks — a contact form can be accessed from the top menu, and the comment forms are ready to go, so please don’t be shy. I hope you enjoy!

A Study in Sherlock

Dorr Steele, from LADYOne of the reasons why I decided to keep a blog in the first place was to force my mind into gear and keep learning. After all, nothing obliges you to delve into a topic quite like having to share one’s thoughts and opinions about it. (The old teaching dictum: “The best way to learn is to teach.”) Of course, to stick with something long-term, you actually need to have either a personal stake in it, or a burning interest for it, if not an actual obsession. While I do have a personal stake in this blog and DIYPlanner.com, sometimes the endless marching forwards of productivity methods can get a little wearisome. The subject matter is inherently practical and work-related, never something I’d pursue to unwind or relax. (At least, not any more.)

To that end, I’m thinking of beginning a new multimedia blog. The catch? This one will be about Sherlock Holmes and his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Since I first learned to read, I’ve always been fascinated by this character. I’ve read the Canon (the 56 short stories and four novels) dozens of times, the rest of Sir ACD’s works at least two or three times, and I have shelves and shelves of scholarly books, pastiches (books in the “original style”), biographies, films, graphics, television programs, radio recordings and more. While I possess nowhere near the knowledge of most Holmes scholars (alas, I have yet to subscribe to the Baker Street Journal), I figure this is a perfect opportunity to immerse myself in a lifelong interest, become more proficient in the subject as I go along, learn to relax a little, and offer some daily illustrations, links, photographs, texts, reviews and old-time radio shows for those who follow the life and times of the Master Detective.

Everyone needs a hobby to unwind. I figure a thirty-year obsession is about as close to a persistent hobby as I get….

The e-VeryThing Syndrome

About six years ago during the height of the dot-com madness, I was flown across the continent on very little notice for an e-learning consultation, and promptly placed in a high-end hotel (the type that feels no need to include “quality” in its title). Each morning the hotel would sponsor a special e-networking breakfast room for select guests, and it was here one morning that I stood, overlooking San Diego while indulging in aromatic coffees, decadent pastries and exotic fruits. There I made the acquaintance of the CEO of a newly-public company (e-something- or-other, of course), a man in his mid-twenties, just a few years younger than I, but far better-groomed and clad in clothes costing more than a luxury sedan.

The first ten minutes of the conversation was decidedly one-sided, and he went on at length about how he outsmarted his stock advisors and “stuck it to the vulture capitalists” to attain the nearly $40 million he needed to pursue his super-secret business idea (which, true be told, once he explained it to me, sounded like a flaky advertising project to create and sell ads to run within a company’s own intranet). R&D money, for him, meant wining and dining celebrities and high-powered executives in epicurean and orgiastic parties held in rented designer mansions. To determine what people actually wanted, of course.

He asked what I did, and I told him why I was there, and a little bit about my jack-of-all-trades background. He didn’t seem interesting in anything besides himself, so I kept it short. The conversation then went something like this….

“Listen, guy,” he said, mouth half-full with baklava no doubt flown in from Greece –he called everyone guy, even the women in the room– “there are two types of people in the world: the generalists and the specialists.”

Continue reading “The e-VeryThing Syndrome”

The Quiet Ones

You knew people like me in high school. We sat at the sides of the classroom, snug against the wall, rarely daring to be heard. Our marks were above-average, our fashion sense decidedly dated or dictated by what we received as birthday presents. We tended to be poor as jocks, soft of voice, timid in manners. We liked showing up on the last day before Christmas or Easter vacation, because we got to chat one-on-one with the teacher and other folks like us (of course, if you weren’t like us, you probably didn’t know this, but pipped off and headed to the mall or went driving around town). We saw all our crushes fall for the popular kids, and we cursed our looks and inability to fit in, and then we felt sorry for ourselves. And strangely enough, for all our supposed brains, we trembled, sweated and stuttered as we were forced to read speeches in front of the class. We were the watchers of the world, ill-fitting and uninvolved.

A recent post by Henry Sharam over at DIYPlanner concerning introversion and extroversion has me thinking about how things might have been.

If you’re an introvert with a bit of life experience under your belt, you know that thought that hits you when you drive pass a high school: “If I could deal with people then like I deal with people now, how much better could it have it been?” You’d be able to deal with the loud people. You wouldn’t be afraid to share your mind. You wouldn’t have frozen in your tracks when face-to-face with the secret object of your affections. You would have seized the brass rings.

That life experience generally comes bundled with confidence as you grow older, as you achieve a string of successes that reinforce your identity, self-discipline, and knowledge that you have something important to say. Yes, that’s all very nice, but still you wonder, what if you could have escaped the little mental and social traps of being one of the quiet ones — when you were young enough to really enjoy it?