Friday, March 26, 2010

Obama wants something new

And here I was worried that with this busy week that Obama would just go back to business as usual with Israel. But it appears that no, he's not backed down and let Netanyahu refuse to freeze the settlements. Obama apparently walked out of a meeting, to let the Israelis mull over the demands, and the Israelis decided to return home in a huff. They even overreact in their press and describe the incident as a "hazing." I don't want this to merely turn into a back and forth of "your country humiliated my country," but it is satisfying to see something other than the same old "Israel's our great ally" rhetoric. They need some dressing down and some perspective.

The British version of the incident (linked from that Huffpost article) even described that Netanyahu showed up with some stupid flowchart explaining why the settlement announcement happened when it did. When will that jackass realize that the problem is not with WHEN he announced the settlements? It's the fact that they are continuing the settlements at all, ruining chances for peace. I'm glad that Obama was unimpressed by the flowchart.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Private Life, part 4

This is a continuation of the fic I was writing based on Billy Wilder's 1970 movie. ("A Love Story Between Two Men" Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.)

I had the perfect opening since in the film Watson really does run into the house without shutting the street door, and the credit sequence really does show a monogrammed ring in Watson's tin dispatch box. Though we never see Holmes using the ring's compass, both he and Watson wear large rings on their right pinkies throughout the movie. The fic is also influenced by the deleted sequences on the DVD, particularly The Case of the Upside-Down Room, and the lost scene of Rogozhin returning to give Holmes the Stradivarius.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Watson's Last Case

I read this book by Ian Charnock, who is evidently a British Sherlockian, or "Holmesian" as they call themselves. He's previously published a book called The Elementary Cases of Sherlock Holmes , narrated by Stamford; it tells of various unpublished cases that occurred before Watson met Holmes. Stamford explains that he did actually know of Holmes's profession, but was merely being mysterious in STUD to encourage Watson's interest in Holmes. I've never read the earlier work, and am not sure whether I should have before I read this one. Perhaps it would have explained things early, such as the fact that Stamford had a cocaine addiction. Or maybe that was only revealed in this book? I don't know.

In Watson's Last Case, Stamford reunites with Watson during Armistice Day, 1918, and they get to talking. In Part 1, Watson confesses a recent mission that Mycroft sent him on during the War, and he gives to Stamford the twelve Casebook stories. In Part 2, Stamford learns of the "last case" of the title; Mycroft sent Watson on an earlier mission when Holmes was preoccupied with another case. In Part 3, Stamford rambles on in a disordered manner about Sherlock Holmes's youth, as well as his own life. It's not a cohesive story as much as a bunch of sketches; they really should have been Sherlockian articles on chronology instead of part of this book, because he keeps starting and stopping, using different narrators who often overlap and cover the same events. Stamford is also oddly frustrating, unwilling to reveal his own first name or the name of his sister even after revealing that she is one of the characters in the canon.

Sherlockian Map

I was checking out some old links on CNN about the Sherlock Holmes movie, and among them was this useful map, pinpointing various locations mentioned in the canon. But only the ones in London; you won't find HOUN's Dartmoor, for example, or even Surrey locations like Reigate. I'm pleased that it shows Harrow, however, which is where Helen's aunt Honoria Westphail lives. With this map and Walkit, I have determined that Harrow is merely 10 miles northwest of Baker Street.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Israel Crisis

I can't figure out if the dispute with Israel will lead to any progress on actually stopping the new settlements or not. And I don't know if it will make any difference to the Palestinians suffering in the West Bank and Gaza. I liked the idea that Secretary of State Clinton harangued them for 45 minutes on the phone, but I don't know if I like the focus on how the announcement "embarrassed" the US. Like, selfish, huh? But then again, too many people in the US are all about, "Israel's our ally. We should do everything possible to protect them, even if it's against our interests!" Even if Israel is capable of protecting itself. I've seen some journalists suggest that Americans won't care enough about Israel oppressing Palestinians unless we frame it in terms of Israel spiting our interests. Israeli hardliners always claim that they are for the peace process, yet they directly sabotage it because they think we won't call them on it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Correcting Afghanistan

I used to have so much trust in Watson that I accepted anything he said as true, until it became clear that his incoherent muddle of dates meant that he must be lying. I should have thought to question his geography, though. In STUD, Holmes deduces that Watson was in Afghanistan, and he claims that it's in the tropics. Watson doesn't correct him, and so I never doubted him. But when you look at the map, both the modern one and the historical one, Afghanistan is not in the tropics at all.

So here I have written a new scene in which Watson does correct Holmes's blunder, while also angsting a bit about his war wound. I've also decided to arbitrarily correct STUD's chronology problem by saying that Holmes and Watson had the "Book of Life" conversation on Friday, March 4, 1881, but did not start the Brixton Mystery (Jefferson Hope case) until Monday the 7th. I mean, after all, it's a little convenient for a case to drop into Holmes's lap right after he told Watson about his profession, isn't it?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Texas State Board of Dumbasses

Reading the news about the Texas State Board of Education lately is so disheartening and surreal. The idiots don't want to support separation of church and state, minorities, or even Thomas Jefferson as an Enlightenment thinker! He's a freaking founding father! The words of the Declaration of Independence have resonated and influenced the world for centuries. (Even if he and the other slaveholding founders were being hypocritical about the "all men are created equal" bit, it was an ideal that ultimately became the basis of other revolutions and civil rights movements.)

The worst part is that for the past few months, my local news station (an ABC affiliate, even!) was acting as if it got its marching orders from FOX news. They kept falsely depicting the controversy about the TSBOE as being that liberals were trying to remove Christmas and the founding fathers from the textbook standards, when the reality is just the opposite; conservatives were trying to edit the standards to glorify Gingrich and the like. Ugh! The time for public comment on this can't come fast enough.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Plaidder's musings

I see that Plaidder aka the Plaid Adder has written a couple of livejournal entries about Sherlock Holmes lately. Too bad that she doesn't want to see the film, though.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

SPEC rewrite with Mycroft

I've managed to add onto my third-person rewrite of SPEC again, but it's just how Roylott bruises Helen Stoner's wrist. This scene bridges between Helen packing her bags and Holmes knocking up Watson.

I also wrote a post-SPEC sketch in which Mycroft discourages Sherlock's interest in Helen Stoner. Sorry that I couldn't fit any slash with Watson this time around.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Private Life DVD

It was totally worth it for me to buy the DVD version of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. The special features include Deleted Sequences from the film, as well as interviews, and still pictures from the set.

The film editor Ernest Walter tells many interesting facts about Wilder and the filming. He says that Billy Wilder's co-writer "Izzy" Diamond was often on set to correct the actors if they deviated from the scripted dialogue. About twenty minutes into Walter's interview, he tells about an intriguing cut scene: the ballet director Nikolai Rogozhin comes to Baker Street to give Holmes the Stradivarius violin, and to give flowers to Watson. The implication being that Rogozhin is gay as well, and is seeking to romance Watson while distracting Holmes from any possible jealousy. Walter thought it would be a funny and upbeat ending, if this were the final scene of the movie, but Wilder was dead set against it. I wish this extra scene was on the DVD, but they unfortunately didn't have it.

I've only found a version of this scene in the novelization of the movie by Michael and Mollie Hardwick, and who knows how accurate they are? Several times in the ballerina scenes they write Rogozhin as if he were a sinister and flaming queer, when I always saw him as reserved, stuffy, and ambiguous in the film. The Hardwicks' version says that Madame Petrova is now in Venice with Toulouse-Latrec, and she's generously giving Holmes the violin anyway, despite his not earning it. While Holmes is busy tuning and trying out the violin, Rogozhin presents a bouquet to Watson and whispers to him to meet him for a date at the Savoy Grill. Rogozhin leaves before Watson can reply, and then Watson supposedly breaks into a furious torrent of cussing while Holmes doesn't care one whit about him, just playing his violin. I was rather disappointed with how homophobic the book read, because I would have imagined that the film Watson would have blushed in embarrassment, then laughed it off, as he ultimately laughed off the whole gay rumor as ridiculous. But that's damn Sherlockians for you, overreacting to any gay stuff.