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Steady Progress on The House of Silk

I am making steady progress in my reading of the House of Silk, and I must say, I am thoroughly impressed! Horowitz has effectively utilized a vast majority of Doyle’s signature tools (characters, resources of language, plot/case outline, etc.) and thus produced a very nostalgic and thoroughly suspenseful novel. As I read, I am making notes of various plot points to include on Wikipedia and my review of the story here, below is what I have contrived thus far (my Wikipedia version is slightly altered):

The House of Silk begins with a brief, personal recounting of events by Watson, much like the Study in Scarlet by the original author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The reader is informed of the particulars regarding the first meeting of Watson and Holmes, including the circumstances of the Afghan War which were inexplicably tied therein. In this we have the prologue, and once the first chapter begins, we are hot on the case. At the start of the first chapter, it is discovered that due to certain unknown circumstances other than the departure of Watson’s wife, Mary (Morston, in The Sign of Four), Watson has returned to board with Holmes, the latter being quite pleased with the reunion, after having little correspondance due to the family life of Watson. Holmes’ proceeds to unravel these unknown circumstances forthwith, deducing that Watson’s wife has left, accompanied with their child [Richard Forrester] (who is sick with influenza) to seek care from Mrs. Cecil Forrester (another prominent figure in the Sign of Four, and the boy’s governess). Shortly thereafter, with an example of Holmes’ ‘deductive powers’ made, the client of the The Flat Cap case is introduced. He is a man by the name of Edmund Carstairs, an art dealer who has come upon unfortunate circumstances. A year after his return to America, he finds himself being stalked by a man in a flat cap, characteristic of an infamous Irish gang. He proceeds to tell Holmes of the events which first led to his acquaintance with the man – he had come to America after a train robbery and destruction therein had destroyed paintings which were to be sent on request of a wealthy client. The gang responsible were based in Botson, led by two Irish twins, Rourke (muscular and assertive) and Keelan (pale, frail, and possible mastermind) O’Donaghue wearing distinct flat caps (thus the name of the gang), and had destroyed the paintings by way of setting charges to one of the train cars containing numerous English pound notes. Mr. Carstairs, with the full financial backing of his wealthy client, proceed to hire a private detective by the name of Bill McParland. The detective soon locates the hideout of the gang and their discovery results in a fierce firefight in which all but one of the gang perishes. As the sole survivor, Keelan O’Donaghue allegedly enacts his revenge by tracking down Carstairs more than a year after the instant, watches his every movement, and supposedly robs of his household a pearl necklace and a few pound notes.

Adventure Writer's Blog: House of Silk Summary (Prologue, Ch. 1 - 2.5)
Fun Fact:  In Chapter one there is some mention of Dupin, a character 
developed by the late Edgar Allen Poe,  and his ability to make astounding
deductions based on visible emotions reflected through the physical medium. 
Holmes demonstrates this by uncovering Watson's anxiety and the source 
thereof.
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The House of Silk is On Its Way

The House of Silk, written by Anthony Horowitz and commissioned by the Conan Doyle Estate, has been available in stores since Nov. 1st! This latest installment in the Sherlock Holmes canon is sure to be a rollicking, action-packed thrill of a ride, based on what we’ve seen with Horowitz’s other works, such as the Alex Rider series.

Once I’ve gotten the book in the mail (1-4 business days), I’ll read through it and write my review – perhaps my best yet!

If you’d like to read up on The House of Silk, be sure to check out the article I’ve written on Wikipedia, with the aid of countless other helpful users.

 

Revising the Encyclopedia

Wikipedia – some people trust it, others look at as an unreliable resource containing bogus facts and figures. While the latter may be true in some cases, volunteer Wikipedia members work around the clock to ensure the dignity of it’s articles – in the end, however, the easiest way to check for veracity is to check sources next to each phrase [1] [2] [3].

Lately I’ve been working on revising Wikipedia and adding to its database. My latest work is the page, The House of Silk, which details Anthony Horowitz’s “sequel” to the Sherlock Holmes series – check it out!

Standing Up to Writer’s Block II

Here’s an even greater compilation of prompts than before, including the topics from the previous list, and the updates that were made thereof.

1. Write about your life’s biggest adventure.
2. Write about your top ten hobbies – elaborating on each.
3. Write an interview between you and someone else.
4. Write about the most interesting conversation you’ve ever had (and can remember).
5. Write a review on the best movie you have ever seen.
6. Write your own step-by-step process to blog fame.
7. What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen? (e.g. Paris: The Eiffel Tower at Sunset, your well-furnished backyard, etc.)
8. Write about your life from the eyes of another person.
9. A Day in Another’s Shoes: Write about what it would be like to live a life in drastically different conditions than yours. (e.g. In poverty, in great wealth, as royalty, as a news broadcaster, etc.)
10. Write a brief poem (a minimum of 100 words – afterall, this is WordPress) about your day today.
11. The Best Thing I Ever Ate… Just like the TV show, describe the best thing you’ve ever eaten. Don’t forget to include all the mouth-watering details, and having your readers come back for seconds!

12. Write about one of your biggest social blunders, the likes of which you tend to share, or be reminded of, among friends and family.
13. Write a Q&A on a subject you specialize in.
14. What woulld your dream life look like?
15. What would world peace look like?
16. Write about an important figure in history who has drastically changed the way you personally live – for the better.
17. Share your favorite food or drink recipe with your readers – whether you have made it yourself, or at the expense of another.
18. Envision what your life will look like 5 years from now. Any drastic changes? Big achievements? Notable actions?
+10 years
+20 years
+30 years
19. If you were the President/Leader/King, what would you do?
20. If you had a talk show on TV, what would you do? Who would you invite?

21. If you could purchase anything (donations included as a “purchase”), all funds provided at no catch or condition, what would it be?
22. If you could visit any country in the world, expenses aside, where would it be?
23. If you owned a massive, multi-billion dollar frachise, what would be the company’s primary focus?
24. Write your favorite quote and what it means to you.
25. Blog about something (or a subject) you’ve NEVER blogged about before
26. If you could have anyone view your blog, who would it be? (e.g. Your favorite teacher, Harry Potter, Leonardo DiCaprio, etc.)

Here’s some more [topics that “specialize in the ridiculous”] a friend and I thought up:
27. If you could pilot any vehicle, what would it be? (Gundams and Death Star included)
28. Did you read about a character that met a tragic end, much to your distaste? How would change the storyline if you were the writer?
29. If you could have any EPIC super power, what would it be?
30. Which two beings would create the most epic duel-to-the-death scenario?
31. What kind of office supply would you be, and why? (e.g. “I’d be like a rubber band because you can only stretch me so far before I snap, a blank paper waiting for ideas, etc.)

32. If your life was a play/movie, which actors would you choose to play the main characters?

33. If you could go back in time and redo any moment in your life, which moment would that be, and why?

34. What is your opinion regarding the End of the World? Is it all just superstition, or does some of the hysteria ring true?

35. If you could develop a video game, what would it be about? And through which company would you work?

36. What is your dream job? Have you achieved it?

37. What is the WORST thing you’ve ever eaten? Or alternatively, what would younever eat? [e.g. raw snail]

38. If you could start your own country, what would it be called?

+ What would its infrastructure (economic basis) be based upon?
+ How would you “fuel” your nation? Would you go Eco-Friendly, or the way of Oil?

39. If you could spend the day with any fictional character (from movies, books, video games, etc.) who or what would it be and what would you do?

40. If you could visit any fictional realm (e.g. The world of Narnia), which would it be and why?

Sherlock Holmes: The Movie, The Novel, the Legacy

Sherlock Holmes (2009 film)

Sherlock Holmes (2009 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Movie

Robert Downey Jr., who took on the role of Sherlock Holmes in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes (2011 Release mentioned below) brought a fresh, yet book-based, approach to the famous character.

The character of Sherlock Holmes reprises his usual role of a queerly behaved gentlemen – yet with a more modern-day, block-buster movie approach. At the start of the film, we gain a greater glimpse at Sherlock’s finesse in the art of boxing, as he knocks his opponent out by outwitting him to the utmost extent.

Wikiquote-logo-no

Image via Wikipedia

“Head cocked to the left. Partial deafness in ear. First point of attack. Two: throat; paralyze vocal chords, stop scream. Three: got to be heavy drinker. Floating rib to the liver. Four: finally, drag in left leg, fist to patella. Summary prognosis: unconscious in ninety seconds, partial efficacy quarter of an hour at best. Full faculty recovery: unlikely.”

-Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) Formulating His Next Move. [Wikiquote]

The film certainly makes a full-fledged attempt to appeal to movie-goer’s as a whole, rather than your typical Sherlockian bookworm – especially with introducing the series most infamous villain, Prof. Moriarty, as the primary criminal mastermind before the end of the film. The plot however, is primarily centered around a man by the name of Lord Henry Blackwood – a supposed black arts master who is later proven to be, with his practice along with him, a mere gimmick – deduced by the one and only Sherlock Holmes. Various book-based plot details, such as the engagement (and eventual marriage) of Watson and Mary Morstan (which furthermore made for some humorous moments involving the usual oddities of Sherlock Holmes’s character).  Irene Adler also makes an appearance, playing a surprisingly large and fairly vital role in the development of the film – including a further established romance with Sherlock Holmes.

The film is quite suspenseful, and fairly well lives up to the general level of the same fascinating and most captivating mystery invoked by the novels of Sir Doyle.

As for the nitty-gritty technicalities of the matter – the film is rather gruesome in some moments, especially in it’s portrayal of murder sequences and the full-fledged graphic detail of a dead man’s decomposing corpse. In this, the film is certainly unfit for a child under the age of 13 – thus the rating of PG-13 (for thematic material including violence, disturbing images and a scene of suggestive material.)

Christian Aspects

For those Christian Sherlockians out there, some of  the films content may appear disturbing in more ways than one. Sherlock Holmes, most peculiarly, engages in a ritual of pentagrams and crosses, to discover a further aspect of Blackwood’s plan. The very man himself [Blackwood] is also cause for concern, for, as PluggedIn.com puts it:

Lord Blackwood isn’t just some well-moneyed madman with a yen for murder most foul. He’s actually portrayed as the devil’s loyal servant, and there’s even a suggestion he might be the spawn of Satan himself. His father confesses that the boy was conceived during a dark, pagan ritual, and that ‘death followed him wherever he went.’

Sherlock Holmes READ Poster with Jude Law and ...

Image by ALA staff via Flickr

The Literature

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing was [and still is], in short, genius innovation. He brought about one of the most famous literary characters in history – with an imagination beyond that of many mystery writers today. The unique character of Sherlock Holmes, with all his oddities and nearly inhuman faculties, produced a series that has endured over 123 years since it’s creation and into the modern day. It is still enjoyed by scholars, adults, and kids & teenagers alike.

The Upcoming 2011 Film

Sherlock Holmes 2 (December 16, 2011 [1]), with Robert Downey Junior reprising his role as the famous Holmes, promises much. Featuring the dynamic personalities of such characters as Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry), the intellectual twin of Sherlock Holmes (and his brother by blood),  and Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris), the paradoxical entity of Sherlock, using his vast faculty for crime. Its very title seems to add an amount of intrigue to the movie, being Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – and what better than the introduction of Moriarty?

The AW Blog review is now available.

Th 2011 Novel: The House of Silk

Anthony Horowtiz – author of the famous Alex Rider series, and Power of Five novels, has been enlisted, for the first time in history, by the Conan Doyle Estate to write a new Sherlock Holmes novel. Mr. Horowitz has stated that he will stay true to the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, yet intends to place Sherlock Holmes in a new environment – the 21st Century. Look for it this September in a book store near you! [1]

-Adventure Writer's Blog: January 19th, 2011

The House of Silk has already arrived in bookstores, much to the delight of Sherlock fans across the globe. It certainly makes the mark, and many of the critics agree, but you’ll have to read it for yourself. Be sure to check out the Adventure Writer Blog’s preliminary, but detailed, review of the novel: available now!

Other 2011 Blockbusters

Dismayed by the lack of good movies? Well there’s plenty on their way (and now on DVD) in various genres, here’s just a few:

Kung-Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom (DVD [Comedy])

X-Men: First Class (DVD [Action/Adventure])

Green Lantern (June 17th, 2011 [Superhero Adventure])

-Transformers III: Dark of the Moon (July 1st, 2011 [Sci-Fi Action Film])

Captain America: The First Avenger (DVD [Superhero Adv.])

-Happy Feet (Nov. 28th, 2011 [Family Favorite])

Sherlock Holmes II (Dec. 16th, 2011 [Thrilling Classic])

-National Treasure III (Dec. 25th, 2011 [Captivating Historical Adventure])

Release Information from Wikipedia: Movie Release Dates.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Image via Wikipedia

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps romanticizes the stock market, and utilizes that blockbuster movie feel. It’s one of those movies where, if you don’t know the context, you won’t understand half of it – considering the movie’s immediate setting is right before the stock market crash.

Abundant in romance, melancholy, corruption, and revenge – it’s certainly a most complex film in the emotional spectrum.

The first half of the movie is quite “technical” and not for your average bear who doesn’t know a thing about stocks (count me in, I learned everything I know about stocks through a business class where we experimented with the Stock Market through a website called SimuStock. However, through this, I understood the basis of it). Though that same average bear may enjoy the second half which is filled with fast-paced, suspenseful sequences which keeps the audience second-guessing. The actors portray their characters most convincingly, and the cast was evidently well thought-out, though I found some of the music a bit randomly chosen at times.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps focuses on the life of a man named Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), a wall-street expert who fancied the illegal, yet has now come out of prison a seemingly reformed man. He seeks to re-strengthen a distant relationship with his daughter through her fiancée, a man named Jacob Moore (Shia LaBeouf), who, as Wikipedia calls him, “an ambitious, young proprietary trader.” It soon becomes evident, however, that Gekko wishes to reclaim his position and power – by an means necessary.

Unlike a majority of other movies I’ve reviewed, this is not particularly a family movie. I’d recommend it for teenage to adult audiences.

Toy Story 3: An “Investigative” Review

Holmes - Paget 1903 - The Empty House - The Re...

Image via Wikipedia

A look at the highest grossing film of 2010: Toy Story 3!

Disclaimer: The author of this post has been reading too much Sherlock Holmes, and writing far too much in the mystery genre. As a result, this post may resemble a detective novel, rather than a movie review.

Is Toy Story really the number one animated film, or is there another story behind it? This question plagued me as a Toy Story 3 promotion flashed across the television. I had to find out.

My investigation led me to Wikipedia, searching the articles belonging to Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and at last, Toy Story 3. It did appear that each film was number one in the box office during each of their releases – and Toy Story 3 did indeed accumulate a fame even greater than it’s predecessors. But what did the charts say?

Wikipedia: Highest-grossing films of 2010
As of December 30, 2010 [1]
Rank Title Studio Worldwide North America United Kingdom Australia
1 Toy Story 3 Disney·Pixar $1,063,143,492 $415,004,880 $116,625,632 $37,957,715
Soruce: Wikipedia– Highest Grossing Films

It certainly appeared that Toy Story 3, in itself, already had quite a solid case. Therefore my conclusion – by deduction and observation, led me to believe it was indeed “#1.” Now onto the review!

Toy Story 3 is everything that it’s box office performance reveals. It follows in the footsteps of the previous two films, and establishes a satisfying finale to the film franchise.

Toy Story 3

Image by Jerrod Maruyama via Flickr

Toy Story 3 retains it’s terrific appeal to the family. It is throughly entertaining, and should prove satisfactory to the critic. It’s storyline picks up shortly after where the second film left off. The audience may observe that many toys have disappeared from the scene, including Woody’s beloved Little Bo Peep. In a brief history, through family videos and the filming of family videos thereof, we witness the growth of Andy, until at last stopping at the approximate age of eighteen, where he is preparing for college – a fact which instills dread into the remaining toys. What will be their fate? To the attic, forsaken for years to come? Or worse? At last, Cowboy Woody rallies the troops, revealing the simple truth that, as his toys, they should be there for Andy no matter what. With this encouragement however, chaos still manages to find it’s way into the mix, and the toys end up “mistakingly” being donated to Sunnyside, a children’s daycare. Amidst the joy of finally having the chance to be played with, the toys soon find out there’s a dark side to this daycare. For it is run by the evil Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear aka Lotso, who, through being left behind by his owner, has become a wicked tyrant. Will the toys get free and return home to Andy? Or will they be trapped forever – forced to stay in the toddler’s domain (where they are torn apart, and thoroughly mistreated) while Lotso’s gang enjoys the elementary-middle school side?

Totoro seen in the Toy Story 3 Trailer.

Image via Wikipedia

Regardless of the seemingly “dark” storyline, the movie is (in conclusion) an altogether positive and happy tale, exploring the aspects of true friendship, teamwork, and Disney happily-ever-after’s.

For fans of Japanese anime, a character from My Neighbor Totoro (that is, Totoro himself) by Hayao Miyazaki makes a cameo appearance among the toy’s belonging to the daycare owner’s (or caretaker)  child, a girl named Bonnie (who plays a dramatically [and most unexpectedly, at first] important role in the plot).

If you liked this movie, be sure to check out…!

In order of relevance,  release date, and other factors…

Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom [May 27, 2011]

Green Lantern [June 17th 2011]

Captain America: The First Avenger [July 22nd, 2011]

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World [August 19, 2011]

Sherlock Holmes II [December 16th, 2011]

National Treasure III [Christmas 2011]

Ice Age: Continental Drift [July 13th, 2012]

How to Train Your Dragon II [Summer 2013]

 

2010 Favorites:

Disney’s A Christmas Carol [Available on DVD]

Despicable Me [Available on DVD]

Kung-Fu Panda [Available on DVD]

How to Train Your Dragon [Available on DVD]

Adventure Writer Favorite: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader [In Theaters]