Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The 306 Greatest Books #87 - Canterbury Tales

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. This book can be found on the Sybervision and Norwegian Book Lists. 

I started off reading The Canterbury Tales by reading the introduction, which in my version states that "anyone who is too lazy to master the comparatively small glossary necessary to understand Chaucer deserves to be shut out from reading good books for ever," by Ezra Pound. Awesome. I had high hopes for this book in the beginning. My wife said it was great, she really enjoyed what she read so I'm all looking forward to it. Then I start to read it, and I don't understand it, at all. And this had nothing to do with the "small glossary" it was written with but with the fact that all of the words are misspellings of modern words, and not even consistently misspelled the same way. When you sound the words out you can make sense of what is going on but my mind doesn't work that way. It turns out my wife read a more friendly translation than my original script of the book. Mine looks more like this: "And daunced wel, he wolde nat come ayeyn..." (and danced well, he would not come again). So it makes sense, but it took me about 400 pages to understand it on my first reading (about 1/2 the book). Anyway, I ended up reading a summary of what was going to happen on, and then reading the tales in the book. This ended up being a lifesaver, because even if I missed a line or two I would still know what was happening. Generally, the book had its high points and low points. A lot of the stories were rather fun and interesting, but a lot of them were a drudge to get through (i.e. The Tale of Melibee). Then the final story, The Parson's Tale, seemed completely out of place and contradictory to everything Chaucer has stated before. After several tales of husbands and wives who sleep around he comes in with this sermon about the seven deadly sins, stating things like masturbation is basically homicide and if a woman were to indulge in sexual activity she should be stoned to death. It seemed so out of place that I felt it was on purpose, to throw off the reader. So overall, Canterbury Tales is really a story that does not need to be read straight through. I recommend if you do want to read it, to pick out the best sections and read them alone. It feels like Chaucer added some of the tales more for context around particular stories, rather than the actual enjoyment of reading them.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Olympics - Passes and Fails

So the Olympics have come and gone and a majority of my free time has been returned to me (although I do have a significant number of hours still on dvr that need to be watched). Afterwards I have come to a number of conclusions.

1. I really want to be in the Olympics. Having a skeleton track within an hour of my house is awesome but it costs money that I don't have (as does everything) and I have a wife hesitant to let me try it.

2. NBC really dropped the ball on this on. I mean they put the suck in sucked. Their coverage of the 2008 games was awesome, they had a number of fails but overall I thought their passes outweighed their fails in Beijing, not so much this time.

(A) Pass 1 - they fixed that stupid "LIVE" stamp that was on all broadcasts in 2008 to only be actual live broadcasts this time. And since I am in mountain time I should never have seen this, which I didn't.
(B) Fail 1 - What is the purpose of online coverage if they only show one or two different events. The only thing live online was either curling or hockey and on top of that you had to have an outside cable company account to be able to log into the video feeds.
(C) Fail 2 - Their coverage overall sucked majorly. They only followed the headliners or Americans and even then not all the time. I saw one event where they only showed the gold medal race and nothing else. Thanks NBC because I didn't care about anything else but the final race.
(D) Fail 3 - Too much figure skating. What demographics are watching this that they needed to show 10 days of figure skating almost uncut as opposed to almost anything else. Because I care about ice dancing all that much.
(E) Fail 4 - The closing ceremonies - Oh this has a host of it's own problems. So once the actual coverage started they would continually cut away to commercial in the middle of something happening then at the end they just cut away to their new show while events were still ongoing. They disclaimered it with "come back in an hour to see what we felt you didn't want to see". This was all a ploy to watch their new show "The Marriage Ref" which turned out to be rather slow and not even that good to begin with.

3. I got to play Fantasy Olympics :-D. Although I was more of a fan the way they had it run in 2008, it still was a bunch of fun. Things I would have preferred would to be able to see everyone's team, even after trades like in 08. I ended winning my league and tying for second overall (out of 141 teams). Although after the tiebreaker I came in fourth which is the same score from 08.

4. Even ESPN got into it where you vote for or against an event and they ranked the people based on the results.

So all in all I enjoyed watching the fantastic Olympians but got frustrated by NBC more often then not.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Personal Goals 2010 - March Update

2 months in, Nothing really done in February:

1. Finish first draft of my novel -
January 1st - 1st third done
February 1st - Nothing new
March 1st - Nothing

2. Drop weight to 167
January 1st - 175.0
February 1st - 176.0
March 1st - 176.0

3. Balance our budget
January 1st - Things are looking up for this year
February 1st - Working over the winter break helped, a $1700 car repair bill did not

March 1st - Going the wrong way, another car bill as well as a new carpet and apparently I owe on my taxes, great.

a. Pay credit card
January 1st - Only one card left
February 1st - Still one card left
March 1st - Still on to go

4. Read a total of 100 of the greatest books on my lists
January 1st - Current count 86
February 1st - In the middle of Cantebury Tales
March 1st - Took a break from Cantebury Tales, time to get back

5. Finish 2 more movies on my Geological Movie Review
January 1st - Look to start 2 new movies
February 1st - Nothing done on this
March 1st - Nothing done

a. Also update the last two I did
January 1st - One out of 3 up to par
February 1st - Nothing done on this
March 1st - Nothing done

Other items of interest:
Nothing much done really in February. Olympics were on and I got 4th overall out of 141 teams in the Fantasy Olympics. Been super busy at school as well. Hopefully March will be better.