Friday, May 25, 2012

The 306 Greatest Books #107 - The Magic Faraway Tree

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. This book can be found on the BBC Book List. 

The first thing that comes to mind after read this book is "what the hell?". I have read some really good books on the list, and some not so good ones, but this comes close to one of the worst books I have yet read. I didn't even know it was the second book in a series until I looked it up afterwards, which explains some of the initial confusion. The story is about a bunch of children who go into the woods and visit magical lands on top of a magical tree. This is also not in the imaginations of the kids but is really happening, since the mother meets many of the creatures that come from the tree. Really? That is how you want to do this? I would have thought it was all in their minds and the mother doesn't see it. That would have been the way to do it. But no. That is not the story. Also, the lands in general suck. There is the Land of Do-As-You-Please and other such nonsense. The book itself reads as several short mini-stories wrapped into one book, with them going on a mini adventure that is summed up in a couple of chapters. The good thing is that the stories are not drug out, and they get resolved fairly quickly. This book is such trite garbage that I don't recommend it to anyone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The 306 Greatest Books #106 - How We Think

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is How We Think by John Dewey. This book can be found on the Sybervision Book List. 

As may be imagined, this falls under the "Philosophy" section of the Sybervision book list. I have usually been a bit harsher on the books in Philosophy Section, along with the "Science and Civilization" books, because I am reading them for enjoyment and that is how I am going to rate them. A lot of the books in these sections read as if they are textbooks. Not this one though. This reads as if it were a journal article. The difference being that a textbook contains very little meaningless information because it is created to be as concise as possible. On the other hand journal articles usually are padded with "non-essential" information, i.e. background information and other ancillary stuff. That is how this book read. It was a discussion of, coincidentally enough, how we think. The author went into various ways we, as humans, think and then into different scientific explanations. Overall, I felt this was a rehash of what was blatantly obvious, but the "article" did make me think. It brought up points that I enjoyed and had not actually thought about before, but overall I felt it was long and drawn-out and shouldn't have been added to the list. A definite not-recommend.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012 Personal Goals - Month 4 Update

The 4th Month is done and busy, busy, busy.

1. Finish first draft of my novel -
January 1st - 3rd year on the list. Lets see if I can do it this year. Starting point - 1st section first draft is done.
Months 1-4 Update - Nothing new

2. Drop weight to 167
January 1st - Again 3rd year on the list. I think I will have a little more time this year to get it done. Starting point - 182.1.
Month 1 Update - 181.7
Month 2 Update - 179.0
Month 3 Update - 178.3
Month 4 Update - 175.3

3 Read 2 of the Top Ten books on Zanes book list
January 1st - 3 books are left on the list. I am currently in the middle of War and Peace and hope to finish it by March.
Month 1 Update - Finished Book 3 of 4 in War and Peace.
Month 2 Update - Finished War and Peace. 1 book to go.
Months 3-4 Update - Nothing new

4. Read 7 books on the Sybervision Book List for a total of 75
January 1st - To get to a nice round number of 75 I want to finish 7 more books.
Month 1 Update - Reading War and Peace
Month 2 Update - Finished War and Peace. 6 books to go.
Month 3 Update - Nothing new
Month 4 Update - Read Camille and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. 4 books to go.

5. Read 7 books on the BBC Book List for a total of 45
January 1st - These are generally easier books to read, especially with Annabelle.
Month 1 Update - Reading Anne of Green Gables and War and Peace
Month 2 Update - Finished War and Peace. 6 books to go.
Month 3 Update - Finished Anne of Green Gables. 5 books to go.
Month 4 Update - Nothing new

6. Update 2 Geologic Movie Reviews
January 1st - I have 1 update I need to do one one movie and a complete overhaul of the other.
Months 1-4 Update - Nothing new

7. Finish 1 more movie on my Geological Movie Review
January 1st - Look to do 1 more movie, most likely Earthquake!.
Months 1-4 Update - Nothing new

8. Watch 15 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time (according to AFI)
January 1st - Current count 70 so 15 more will get me 1/2 way to the goal.
Month 1 Update - Watched High Noon. 14 more to go.
Month 2 Update - Watched Double Indemnity. 13 more to go.
Months 3-4 Update - Nothing new

10. Skin the top of the Hovercraft
January 1st - I finished working on the bottom last year so lets see if I can get the top done this year. And with my new garage heater I will be able to work during the colder months.
Months 1-4 Update - Nothing new

11. Catalogue, photograph, and organize Star Wars collection by CVI
January 1st - With Star Wars Celebration VI coming up in August I want to catalogue and photograph my collection to get ready to know anything I need to buy when I go.
Month 1 Update - Caught up on the pile of recent stuff but nothing else.
Months 2-4 Update - Nothing new

12. Do 1 major job each month on the "Things to Do for the House" list
January 1st - With an updated list we have 20 things that we want to do to get the house in tip-top shape.
Month 1 Update - Started working on some things but nothing finished
Month 2 Update - Finished putting boards in the attic and moving stuff up there. 1 task done, 11 to go.
Month 3 Update - I was going to replace the side door but it turned out to be a lot more work than I anticipated so I only have it about 2/3rds done. 11 still to go.
Month 4 Update - Finished installing the new side door. 10 to go.

Other items of note:
This month's focus has been doing stuff for the Annual UFOP Conference which was at the end of the month and a great success and SAC stuff, most noticeably, running the Student Poster Session, which was also a success. I am still waiting on the article I submitted but other than that nothing much done.


9. (DONE) Do 1 Geological Fact for each month.
January 1st - This went over well last year so let's do it again.
Month 1 Update - I wanted to finish these early and release them as the months went by. I have 9 done so far. 3 left to go.
Month 2 Update - Finished the last 3. So this task is DONE!