Monday, August 16, 2010

The 306 Greatest Books #94 - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. This book can be found on the BBC, Observerand My Book Lists.

In one word, this book was "bizarre". This is the first time I have read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but I have seen both the Disney and Tim Burton versions, and both of them made more sense than this book. As my friend put it, that must have been some good opium he was on when he wrote this. The story jumps around randomly and it goes from one situation seemingly into an entirely different situation with no rhyme or reason to why. But when you think about it, it makes sense. This is a story about a dream. But it is also a story as described by a child. So you have a dream where things have a habit of just happening in the words of a child who often will jump around and make up things that don't really make any sense, all woven into this magical land where nothing makes sense and things just happen. Although I was greatly dumbstruck at first, the story began to grow on me. Nothing really happened in the story by the end but aren't most dreams like that. At one point, you just wake up. The book is very well written. It just flowed as I read it, with each sentence and each section flowing into the next. Although you knew the situations didn't fit together the narrative was never jarring between different parts. The sentences weren't choppy and it made for a rather enjoyable read to see what would happen next. So I will place this on my to read list, mostly due to the fun that reading the book could instill on a child or an adult who wonders what it is like to think like a child.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Conversation with a Jackass

Well yesterday my mother's email and Facebook account were hacked. Luckily, before I even knew about it, my father-in-law noticed and sent us a text message, which I immediately relayed to my mother and since then the situation has been resolved. But in the meantime it seems her email account not only was hacked but appeared to be hijacked. I emailed the guy back and forth a couple of times just to see where this would go, but it was a rather interesting conversation to say the least. Here is the first message that everyone got from her:

Sorry I didn't inform you about my trip. I came down here to England for a short fun vacation. unfortunately,i was mugged at a gun point on my way to the hotel where i stayed,all cash and credit card were stolen off me but luckily i still have my passports with me. I've been to the Embassy and the Police here but they're not helping issues at all they told me to wait for 2weeks before anything can be done to help and my return flight leaves in few hour time from now but am having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won't let me leave until i settle my bills. Well I really need your financially assistance..Let me know if you can help me out? Am freakin' out at the moment!!

Awaiting your reply.

This email included her name and normal email signature that all her emails go out with, including all of her business information, making the email sound somewhat legit. Knowing very well my mother was not in England and would never send out a message of this sorts (unless there were a few martinis beforehand) I sent this as a reply.

What do you need me to do?

Simple and straightforward. I just wanted to see what their reply would be. It came about an hour later.

All i need is just $2,000 USD. I promise i'll pay you back immediately i get back home please let me know if you can help me out. Am freakin' out at the moment!!

Awaiting your reply.

Again, complete with her email signature. At this point I just felt like messing with them to see how far I could take this.

Why is your grammar so bad? I would expect better from you.

I stripped all of my information that is in my normal emails, like my web address, because I didn't know how much information these people already knew. I doubt very much that they even knew my relation to the person whose email they hacked. The next email was sent again about an hour later.

Jim are you kidding me ? if this not me i wont ask you to help just let me know if you can help .

Awaiting your reply.

Your joking, right? Morons. I sent one final email message still testing them.

You are acting highly irregular. Your grammar is still atrocious and you never call me Jim. What is going on with you?

But I never heard back from them. From what I found out, my mother contacted Microsoft and reclaimed possession of her account so it was likely that they lost the account before they could send a response. This was also useful because they kept reactivating my mothers Facebook page when they would email me back so I could let her know what was going on. All in all, a stressful day for her, but I kept myself moderately amused by the situation.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2010 Personal Goals - August Update

7 months in

1. Finish first draft of my novel -
January 1st - 1st third done
February 1st - Nothing new
March 1st - Nothing
April 1st - Nothing
May 1st - Nothing
June 1st - Nothing
July 1st - Nothing
August 1st - I actually did start working on this. Reread over part of section 1.

2. Drop weight to 167
January 1st - 175.0
February 1st - 176.0
March 1st - 176.0
April 1st - 176.6
May 1st - 176.6
June 1st - 169.2 - Apparently walking around with Gummy Bear non-stop is a good weight loss plan.
July 1st - 170.0
August 1st - 170.2

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.
April 1st - Working out those extra expenses a little bit at a time
May 1st - Still working it out
June 1st - Getting closer
July 1st - Bah
August 1st - Still bah

a. Pay credit card
January 1st - Only one card left
February 1st - Still one card left
March 1st - Still on to go
April 1st - Still working on the one
May 1st - One
June 1st - One
July 1st - One to go but I made a large payment on it last month
August 1st - One

4. Read a total of 100 of the greatest books on my lists
January 1st - Current count 86
February 1st - In the middle of Canterbury Tales
March 1st - Took a break from Canterbury Tales, time to get back
April 1st - Finished Canterbury Tales. 13 left to go. Reading Madame Bovary now
May 1st - Finished Madame Bovary. 12 left to go. Reading The Maltese Falcon now
June 1st - Finished The Maltese Falcon and The Twits. 10 left to go. Reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory now
July 1st - Finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 9 left to go. Not sure what to read next, I have a couple of choices lined up.
August 1st - Finished Matilda. 8 left to go.

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
April 1st - Nothing done
May 1st - Nothing
June 1st -Nothing
July 1st - Started working on Earthquake!
August 1st - In the middle of one

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
April 1st - Nothing done
May 1st - Nothing
June 1st - Nothing
July 1st - Nothing
August 1st - Got the first 2 parts of Armageddon out

Other items of interest:
I finished the first class I ever taught and I think things went over pretty well. Other than not not much. Spent most of my free time at home with Annabelle. So for the next couple of weeks I will be a stay at home dad until school starts up again at the end of August.

The 306 Greatest Books #93 - Charlotte's Web

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is Charlotte's Web by E. B. WhiteThis book can be found on the Observer Book list.

This story goes way back for me. I remember growing up and watching the cartoon but I don't believe I ever read the book outright. I read it this time with my daughter and I realized that I would prefer to stick with the cartoon. The sentence structure is often very difficult to read and, I don't know about other books, but reading this out-loud I noticed a ton of "said so and so" after someone said something. This type of writing can get rather tiring after a while and really destroys the flow of a good book. Also, this book reminded me of why I like the Dahl books; it was because of the language. Dahl has a habit of using large words in context, words that you wouldn't usually find in a children's book. In Charlotte's Web, White also uses some large words but it is immediately followed by "I don't know what that means, what does that mean?". That is great for teaching children new words, but I prefer the other method. If you use the word in context well enough, you don't have to explain the meaning. So all in all, it is a touching story, and I did tear up a little at the end, but I wouldn't really recommend this to other people to read.