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No. 402, February 14, 2010

Sherlocking in the Snow
By Don Hobbs

This past Christmas was the first time in recorded history that Dallas had snow on the ground. It was my first white Christmas. When I returned home from California last Tuesday, it looked like it was Christmas all over again. Little did I know at the time how prophetic were those thoughts.
Waiting upon my return were packages of books filled with Portuguese, Dutch, Bengali, Marathi, Hindi, Japanese, and Malayalam translations. My scheduled called for me to fly to Houston on Thursday thus leaving only one day to work on all of my newest treasures.

I had enough time on Wednesday, my only day home, to scan all of the covers of the new books. There were twenty-five new books each one requiring the fulfillment of several steps before becoming part of my library. First, I enter every book into a Word document and assign them the next consecutive number. Every book in my library has a ‘W’ number associated with it. This issue of current number is W9376. It is the master number. The next step is scanning the cover of every new foreign translation and adding the bibliographic information to the Galactic Sherlock Holmes master database. Usually this is a seamless process but this was not one of those times. Due to my inability to read Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, and Malayalam the process of extracting each book’s bibliographic information moved at a snail’s pace.

I found that it is easy to recognize numbers in Hindi text. They stand out because they are the only the characters in the text without a straight line bisecting it. I printed out a set of Hindi numbers to refer to and then I was able to find numbers in each of the stories in the book. Using a search program on the Canon, I matched those numbers with a corresponding Canonical tale. I was able to trudge through a few books using this painstakingly slow method. It was then that the further reminder of Christmas appeared. My scheduled 7:00 am flight to Houston normally takes forty-five minutes. Normally is the key word. Dallas normally does not have a foot of snowfall in a year let alone all at once. That is exactly what happened. It was officially the largest snowfall in Dallas history. That is grand if you are a poet or an outdoor photographer but not so great, if you are traveling, especially on an airplane.

I boarded my 7:00 flight at noon and eventually took off at 3:45 pm. I arrived in Houston eleven hour past my original time and on top of that, they flew me to Houston Intercontinental Airport not Houston Hobby. This meant I had an extra hour and half drive to my south Houston/Pasadena destination. I crammed my two days of work into the single one I had left and finished around four on Friday afternoon. I got to the airport and back home in the normal length of time. Happily, I found all of my Christmas presents right where I had left them. The snow was slowly melting outside and an occasional mass of snow sliding off the roof was my only distraction. I completed listing, logging and labeling the twenty-five books over the remainder of the weekend.

Tomorrow, Monday, is a holiday for me. I have the house to myself tomorrow and I will spend it uninterrupted making room on my shelves for the latest additions. It will only be a temporary solution because there soon will be another mass influx of new book of the library.

Happy Collecting!!

 

Archives for
2002 to 2008

Archives for 2009

Past 2009 Columns

January 3, 2010
Happy New Year! A Sherlockian Potpourri

January 10, 2010
Sherlockian Nirvana

January 17, 2010
Sherlocking in New York City 2010

January 24, 2010
The Forgetful Sherlockian

January 31, 2010
Barcelona October 2010

February 7, 2010
Sherlocking in Southern California

February 14, 2010
Sherlocking in the Sun