Saturday, December 28, 2013

The 306 Greatest Books #119 - The Travels of Marco Polo

The next book up on my reading of the 305 Greatest Books is The Travels of Marco Polo by Marco Polo. This book can be found on the Sybervision Book List.



At first I was rather intrigued by the book. I initially assumed it was a description of the adventures had by Marco Polo on his travels through Asia. As I read into the book it appeared to be more of the history of the Khans in Asia and mostly about Kublia Kahn. This part of the book was extremely interesting and the main story was heavily supplemented by notes on the text (at least in my Everyman's version of the text). The notes comprised ~25% of the 400 pages of the story and gave many clarifications and background on the text. However as the book went on, the majority of it just described city after city within China and the surrounding regions. Many with Chinese names that are not even close to the modern names, making it almost impossible to follow the travels without using the notes. On top of that, many of the town descriptions were heavily repetitive, making it a boring read after a while. I could recommend a condensed, simplified version of the "story", but a whole version is rather a slog to get through.

Monday, December 2, 2013

2013 Personal Goals - Month 11 Update

Many months since an update but there has been important strides to my dissertation which have been completed.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Yes, this has been on here since the beginning of me doing this. And yes, I do still hope to finish it.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 174.1.
Month 1 - 175.0
Month 2 - 175.9
Month 3 - 176.2 (too much work, not enough free time)
Month 4 - 177.7 (going the wrong way :-( )
Month 5 - I didn't even weigh myself this month
Month 6 - 180.8 (starting to work out again)
Month 7 - 180.8
Month 11 - 184.8

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List
Start - Current count is at 75.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield.
Month 2 - Still reading David Copperfield.
Month 3 - Finished David Copperfield. 4 to go. 
Month 5 - Currently reading The Wealth of Nations 
Month 6 - Still reading The Wealth of Nations
Month 7 - Finished The Wealth of Nations. 3 to go.
Month 11 - Reading The Travels of Marco Polo

5. Read 5 books on the BBC Book List
Start - Current count is at 45.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield and The Princess Diaries.
Month 2 - Finished The Princess Diaries. Still working on David Copperfield. 4 to go.
Month 3 - Finished David Copperfield. Working on Swallows and Amazons. 3 to go.
Month 4 - Still reading Swallows and Amazons.
Month 5 - Finished reading Swallows and Amazons. 2 to go. 

7. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

8. Watch 6 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 74.
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 5 to go.

9. Watch 5 of the 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 26
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 4 to go.

10. Finish 55 things on the Blog/Website Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 115 things on it, so this should cut it down by approximately half.
Month 1 - 9 Things done on the list. 46 left to go.
Month 2 - 12 total things done. 43 left to go.
Month 3 - 17 things done. 38 left to go.
Month 4 - 20 things done. 35 left to go.
Month 5 - 22 things done. 33 left to go.
Month 6 - 23 things done. 32 left to go.
Month 7 - 26 things done. 29 left to go.
Month 11 - 30 things done. 25 left to go.

12. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - I started working on it last year. Hopefully I can finish this part of it.
Month 2 - Sealed the milk jugs and placed them in the hovercraft. In the process of getting some wood I need for the outside that needs to be attached before skinning the top.
Month 5 - There is a hold up because I need a 1" x 4" treated lumber which does not seem to be sold in the western third of the country. Working on it though.
Month 11 - I was able to get the wood I needed from Cheyenne, WY so at least I have that now.

13. Get my Sprint Triathlon time under 1:25:00
Start - My current official best is 1:41:45.2

14. Get my 5K time under 23 minutes
Start - My current unofficial best is ~28:30
Month 7 - Current time at 29:50.

15. Catalogue and Photograph the Comics portion of my Star Wars Collections
Start - Currently I have some of the comics photographed so if I get the time this should


Other things of note
 The biggest thing (and the only thing) I have been working on the last couple of months was getting my dissertation ready to be defended. Well I successfully defended my PhD on November 22nd. I still have a lot of work to do but that was one of the major hindrances to me being able to do anything else. Hopefully I will have some more free time from here on out.
 
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
6. (Done!) Update 1 Geological Movie Review
Start - The Day After Tomorrow still needs to be done.
Month 1 - The first part has been redone.
Month 2 - Still working slowly through it. Some more work has been done.
Month 3 - Slowly but surely working through it.
Month 5 - About 1/3rd of the way through the movie.
Month 6 - The movie is basically finished. I just need to polish it up and post it.
Month 7 - Finished!


11. (Done!) Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 20 things on it.
Month 1 - 1 thing done, fixed the carpet. 7 Things to go.
Month 6 - I actually am in the middle of working on 5 different projects. Some of which might get finished this month.
Month 7 - 4 more things done. Mostly water related like putting in a new water softener and fixing the broken spigot on the front of the house. 3 things to go.
Month 11 - 3 things have been finished including putting in all of the front lights and finish painting the upstairs hall.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

2013 Personal Goals - Month 7 Update

Sliding down the back half.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Yes, this has been on here since the beginning of me doing this. And yes, I do still hope to finish it.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 174.1.
Month 1 - 175.0
Month 2 - 175.9
Month 3 - 176.2 (too much work, not enough free time)
Month 4 - 177.7 (going the wrong way :-( )
Month 5 - I didn't even weigh myself this month
Month 6 - 180.8 (starting to work out again)
Month 7 - 180.8

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List
Start - Current count is at 75.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield.
Month 2 - Still reading David Copperfield.
Month 3 - Finished David Copperfield. 4 to go. 
Month 5 - Currently reading The Wealth of Nations 
Month 6 - Still reading The Wealth of Nations
Month 7 - Finished The Wealth of Nations. 3 to go.

5. Read 5 books on the BBC Book List
Start - Current count is at 45.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield and The Princess Diaries.
Month 2 - Finished The Princess Diaries. Still working on David Copperfield. 4 to go.
Month 3 - Finished David Copperfield. Working on Swallows and Amazons. 3 to go.
Month 4 - Still reading Swallows and Amazons.
Month 5 - Finished reading Swallows and Amazons. 2 to go. 

6. (Done!) Update 1 Geological Movie Review
Start - The Day After Tomorrow still needs to be done.
Month 1 - The first part has been redone.
Month 2 - Still working slowly through it. Some more work has been done.
Month 3 - Slowly but surely working through it.
Month 5 - About 1/3rd of the way through the movie.
Month 6 - The movie is basically finished. I just need to polish it up and post it.
Month 7 - Finished!

7. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

8. Watch 6 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 74.
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 5 to go.

9. Watch 5 of the 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 26
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 4 to go.

10. Finish 55 things on the Blog/Website Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 115 things on it, so this should cut it down by approximately half.
Month 1 - 9 Things done on the list. 46 left to go.
Month 2 - 12 total things done. 43 left to go.
Month 3 - 17 things done. 38 left to go.
Month 4 - 20 things done. 35 left to go.
Month 5 - 22 things done. 33 left to go.
Month 6 - 23 things done. 32 left to go.
Month 7 - 26 things done. 29 left to go.

11. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 20 things on it.
Month 1 - 1 thing done, fixed the carpet. 7 Things to go.
Month 6 - I actually am in the middle of working on 5 different projects. Some of which might get finished this month.
Month 7 - 4 more things done. Mostly water related like putting in a new water softener and fixing the broken spigot on the front of the house. 3 things to go.

12. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - I started working on it last year. Hopefully I can finish this part of it.
Month 2 - Sealed the milk jugs and placed them in the hovercraft. In the process of getting some wood I need for the outside that needs to be attached before skinning the top.
Month 5 - There is a hold up because I need a 1" x 4" treated lumber which does not seem to be sold in the western third of the country. Working on it though.

13. Get my Sprint Triathlon time under 1:25:00
Start - My current official best is 1:41:45.2

14. Get my 5K time under 23 minutes
Start - My current unofficial best is ~28:30
Month 7 - Current time at 29:50.

15. Catalogue and Photograph the Comics portion of my Star Wars Collections
Start - Currently I have some of the comics photographed so if I get the time this should


Other things of note
 Most of my available time has gone to working on my dissertation. But I was able to take a short vacation with my sister and brother-in-law down to Zion NP, which was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The 306 Greatest Books #118 - The Wealth of Nations

     The next book up on my reading of the 305 Greatest Books is The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. This book can be found on the Sybervision Book List.



   I think the best response for this book is what I had said about it when I started reading it. I asked if it was possible for a book to be so very interesting yet so very boring at the same time. Now after finishing all 620 pages of it, I am reaffirmed of that opinion. The book is very long, longer than the 620 pages should have felt. And it was a drudge to get through. Many times he would talk about the price of one thing or another and how it has changed. This all being in British units, but the antiquated British units which are no longer used, so I had a tendency to gloss over those parts. When it got interesting, I found myself invested in the narrative, more like a history textbook than a literary novel. What was really interesting was that this book seemed to be written over several years during the American Revolution. It was really amazing to watch how different America's impact on this book was depending on the date at which he was writing each section, from before the war until well into it. In the end though, the book felt more like a textbook or a scientific article than a story, which is fine, but he repeated himself so often that I feel this book could have been half the length and gotten across the same amount of material. I have heard that this is required reading for many in business school and I feel sorry for you. It may be a cornerstone of our economic system but it is tiresome to read through. This is very similar to how I felt The Origin of Species is to paleontologists, an important, long, slowly paced, bore.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

2013 Personal Goals - Month 6 Update

Halfway done, really busy.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Yes, this has been on here since the beginning of me doing this. And yes, I do still hope to finish it.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 174.1.
Month 1 - 175.0
Month 2 - 175.9
Month 3 - 176.2 (too much work, not enough free time)
Month 4 - 177.7 (going the wrong way :-( )
Month 5 - I didn't even weigh myself this month
Month 6 - 180.8 (starting to work out again)

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List
Start - Current count is at 75.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield.
Month 2 - Still reading David Copperfield.
Month 3 - Finished David Copperfield. 4 to go. 
Month 5 - Currently reading The Wealth of Nations 
Month 6 - Still reading The Wealth of Nations

5. Read 5 books on the BBC Book List
Start - Current count is at 45.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield and The Princess Diaries.
Month 2 - Finished The Princess Diaries. Still working on David Copperfield. 4 to go.
Month 3 - Finished David Copperfield. Working on Swallows and Amazons. 3 to go.
Month 4 - Still reading Swallows and Amazons.
Month 5 - Finished reading Swallows and Amazons. 2 to go. 

6. Update 1 Geological Movie Review
Start - The Day After Tomorrow still needs to be done.
Month 1 - The first part has been redone.
Month 2 - Still working slowly through it. Some more work has been done.
Month 3 - Slowly but surely working through it.
Month 5 - About 1/3rd of the way through the movie.
Month 6 - The movie is basically finished. I just need to polish it up and post it.

7. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

8. Watch 6 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 74.
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 5 to go.

9. Watch 5 of the 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 26
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 4 to go.

10. Finish 55 things on the Blog/Website Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 115 things on it, so this should cut it down by approximately half.
Month 1 - 9 Things done on the list. 46 left to go.
Month 2 - 12 total things done. 43 left to go.
Month 3 - 17 things done. 38 left to go.
Month 4 - 20 things done. 35 left to go.
Month 5 - 22 things done. 33 left to go.
Month 6 - 23 things done. 32 left to go.

11. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 20 things on it.
Month 1 - 1 thing done, fixed the carpet. 7 Things to go.
Month 6 - I actually am in the middle of working on 5 different projects. Some of which might get finished this month.

12. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - I started working on it last year. Hopefully I can finish this part of it.
Month 2 - Sealed the milk jugs and placed them in the hovercraft. In the process of getting some wood I need for the outside that needs to be attached before skinning the top.
Month 5 - There is a hold up because I need a 1" x 4" treated lumber which does not seem to be sold in the western third of the country. Working on it though.

13. Get my Sprint Triathlon time under 1:25:00
Start - My current official best is 1:41:45.2

14. Get my 5K time under 23 minutes
Start - My current unofficial best is ~28:30

15. Catalogue and Photograph the Comics portion of my Star Wars Collections
Start - Currently I have some of the comics photographed so if I get the time this should


Other things of note
 Still spending most of my time on my dissertation. I also spent a good chunk of my "work on other things" time on my Geological Movie Review of The Day After Tomorrow. So once that gets finished I will have one load off my back at least.

Friday, June 7, 2013

2013 Personal Goals - Month 5 Update

Five months down.Some stuff is getting done at least.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Yes, this has been on here since the beginning of me doing this. And yes, I do still hope to finish it.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 174.1.
Month 1 - 175.0
Month 2 - 175.9
Month 3 - 176.2 (too much work, not enough free time)
Month 4 - 177.7 (going the wrong way :-( )
Month 5 - I didn't even weigh myself this month

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List
Start - Current count is at 75.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield.
Month 2 - Still reading David Copperfield.
Month 3 - Finished David Copperfield. 4 to go. 
Month 5 - Currently reading Wealth of Nations 

5. Read 5 books on the BBC Book List
Start - Current count is at 45.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield and The Princess Diaries.
Month 2 - Finished The Princess Diaries. Still working on David Copperfield. 4 to go.
Month 3 - Finished David Copperfield. Working on Swallows and Amazons. 3 to go.
Month 4 - Still reading Swallows and Amazons.
Month 5 - Finished reading Swallows and Amazons. 2 to go. 

6. Update 1 Geological Movie Review
Start - The Day After Tomorrow still needs to be done.
Month 1 - The first part has been redone.
Month 2 - Still working slowly through it. Some more work has been done.
Month 3 - Slowly but surely working through it.
Month 5 - About 1/3rd of the way through the movie.

7. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

8. Watch 6 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 74.
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 5 to go.

9. Watch 5 of the 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 26
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 4 to go.

10. Finish 55 things on the Blog/Website Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 115 things on it, so this should cut it down by approximately half.
Month 1 - 9 Things done on the list. 46 left to go.
Month 2 - 12 total things done. 43 left to go.
Month 3 - 17 things done. 38 left to go.
Month 4 - 20 things done. 35 left to go.
Month 5 - 22 things done. 33 left to go.

11. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 20 things on it.
Month 1 - 1 thing done, fixed the carpet. 7 Things to go.

12. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - I started working on it last year. Hopefully I can finish this part of it.
Month 2 - Sealed the milk jugs and placed them in the hovercraft. In the process of getting some wood I need for the outside that needs to be attached before skinning the top.
Month 5 - There is a hold up because I need a 1" x 4" treated lumber which does not seem to be sold in the western third of the country. Working on it though.

13. Get my Sprint Triathlon time under 1:25:00
Start - My current official best is 1:41:45.2

14. Get my 5K time under 23 minutes
Start - My current unofficial best is ~28:30

15. Catalogue and Photograph the Comics portion of my Star Wars Collections
Start - Currently I have some of the comics photographed so if I get the time this should


Other things of note
 I am currently in the process of finishing up another manuscript for publication. This will be my 4th chapter sent for publication. The chapter that I finished up at the end of April was acceptedfor publication with minor revisions, so that is great news. In general, my dissertation is proceeding along at a slow and steady pace.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The 306 Greatest Books #117 - Swallows and Amazons

The next book up on my reading of the 305 Greatest Books is Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. This book can be found on the BBC Book List.


 Swallows and Amazons was the next book I chose to read with my daughter and as such it was actually quite interesting. The book follows a family of four children who are staying on a lake during the summer. There is an island in the lake, which they go to camp on for several days (weeks?) and they meet up with some other children who do the same thing. The interesting thing about the book is that it introduces a lot of nautical terminology. I am not a big boat person so several of the phrases confused me but overall the author did a good job introducing them in such a manner so they were self explanatory. The author also took the time to explain very intricate details of living on this island, perhaps going into tedium. He would explain what the boats looked like and how the food was prepared. Even though this was a well written book and rather interesting at times, I wouldn't rate this as one of the Greatest Books. Enjoyable for a child, I'm sure it would be, but I have no desire to continue reading the stories that follow this one.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2013 Personal Goals - Month 4 Updates

Four months down. Still really busy.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Yes, this has been on here since the beginning of me doing this. And yes, I do still hope to finish it.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 174.1.
Month 1 - 175.0
Month 2 - 175.9
Month 3 - 176.2 (too much work, not enough free time)
Month 4 - 177.7 (going the wrong way :-( )

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List
Start - Current count is at 75.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield.
Month 2 - Still reading David Copperfield.
Month 3 - Finished David Copperfield. 4 to go. 

5. Read 5 books on the BBC Book List
Start - Current count is at 45.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield and The Princess Diaries.
Month 2 - Finished The Princess Diaries. Still working on David Copperfield. 4 to go.
Month 3 - Finished David Copperfield. Working on Swallows and Amazons. 3 to go.
Month 4 - Still reading Swallows and Amazons.

6. Update 1 Geological Movie Review
Start - The Day After Tomorrow still needs to be done.
Month 1 - The first part has been redone.
Month 2 - Still working slowly through it. Some more work has been done.
Month 3 - Slowly but surely working through it.

7. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

8. Watch 6 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 74.
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 5 to go.

9. Watch 5 of the 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 26
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 4 to go.

10. Finish 55 things on the Blog/Website Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 115 things on it, so this should cut it down by approximately half.
Month 1 - 9 Things done on the list. 46 left to go.
Month 2 - 12 total things done. 43 left to go.
Month 3 - 17 things done. 38 left to go.
Month 4 - 20 things done. 35 left to go.

11. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 20 things on it.
Month 1 - 1 thing done, fixed the carpet. 7 Things to go.

12. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - I started working on it last year. Hopefully I can finish this part of it.
Month 2 - Sealed the milk jugs and placed them in the hovercraft. In the process of getting some wood I need for the outside that needs to be attached before skinning the top.

13. Get my Sprint Triathlon time under 1:25:00
Start - My current official best is 1:41:45.2

14. Get my 5K time under 23 minutes
Start - My current unofficial best is ~28:30

15. Catalogue and Photograph the Comics portion of my Star Wars Collections
Start - Currently I have some of the comics photographed so if I get the time this should


Other things of note
 The big thing that I wanted to get done was finish the manuscript that was due May 1st. Well that got done and submitted last week, which was the middle portion of my dissertation. Hopefully it will get accepted. But that constituted the majority of the work I was doing for the month. May will likely be better and less stressed.

Monday, April 1, 2013

2013 Personal Goals - Month 3 Update

Three months down. Busy busy busy.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Yes, this has been on here since the beginning of me doing this. And yes, I do still hope to finish it.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 174.1.
Month 1 - 175.0
Month 2 - 175.9
Month 3 - 176.2 (too much work, not enough free time)

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List
Start - Current count is at 75.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield.
Month 2 - Still reading David Copperfield.
Month 3 - Finished David Copperfield. 4 to go. 

5. Read 5 books on the BBC Book List
Start - Current count is at 45.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield and The Princess Diaries.
Month 2 - Finished The Princess Diaries. Still working on David Copperfield. 4 to go.
Month 3 - Finished David Copperfield. Working on Swallows and Amazons. 3 to go.

6. Update 1 Geological Movie Review
Start - The Day After Tomorrow still needs to be done.
Month 1 - The first part has been redone.
Month 2 - Still working slowly through it. Some more work has been done.
Month 3 - Slowly but surely working through it.

7. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

8. Watch 6 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 74.
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 5 to go.

9. Watch 5 of the 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 26
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 4 to go.

10. Finish 55 things on the Blog/Website Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 115 things on it, so this should cut it down by approximately half.
Month 1 - 9 Things done on the list. 46 left to go.
Month 2 - 12 total things done. 43 left to go.
Month 3 - 17 things done. 38 left to go.

11. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 20 things on it.
Month 1 - 1 thing done, fixed the carpet. 7 Things to go.

12. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - I started working on it last year. Hopefully I can finish this part of it.
Month 2 - Sealed the milk jugs and placed them in the hovercraft. In the process of getting some wood I need for the outside that needs to be attached before skinning the top.

13. Get my Sprint Triathlon time under 1:25:00
Start - My current official best is 1:41:45.2

14. Get my 5K time under 23 minutes
Start - My current unofficial best is ~28:30

15. Catalogue and Photograph the Comics portion of my Star Wars Collections
Start - Currently I have some of the comics photographed so if I get the time this should


Other things of note
 Still spending most of my time working on my dissertation. It has been rather hectic. I had hoped to finished my other manuscript that is due May 1st by this time but that hasn't happened. I hope to get it done in the next 2 weeks. Other than that nothing much has been going on. Work work work.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The 10 Top 10 Genre Films

On my site I have added a new page:

 
This includes the Top 10 Animation, Fantasy, Gangster, Science Fiction, Western, Sports, Mystery, Romantic Comedy, Courtroom Drama, and Epic Movie Lists. I have linked these with each of the other lists (100 Greatest, 100 Romances, etc.) and have cleaned up the pages so that they are a bit more accurate than they were before.
 
I have also added PDF Checklists of each of the movie lists on each of the pages for your downloading interest.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The 306 Greatest Books #116 - David Copperfield

The next book up on my reading of the 305 Greatest Books is David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, which is on the Sybervision, Observer, BBC, and My Book Lists.



This was one of the longer books I have read in a while and I did greatly enjoy it. I found myself wondering what was coming around every turn of the story. Although, after reading the "review" that was found at the end of my version I did notice some rather odd things about the story. Mainly, the first part of the book felt very very different from the rest of the book. The first part was rather dark and things kept getting worse and worse for David. Once that portion was past though, the book seemed to level out and although there were some bad times, there was nothing quite like that first part. Another thing that has me confused is on the title itself. The story is named after the primary character, David, who for one doesn't go by "David" for the majority of the story. Also, the story focuses more on the supporting characters than on David himself. I felt I was watching the lives of the secondary characters pass through rather than seeing the story change by any actions of David himself. The story itself was very well written and I was surprised that characters that seemed to be one-note characters would constantly reappear later in the story. And although many of them got tiresome, they eventually did redeem themselves by the end. The story itself is easy to follow and well written and I must say this was the best Dicken's story I have read. And although some of the character arc conclusions left a little to be desired at the end I felt that overall the story was well done. In the end, I would have to recommend people to pick it up. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

2013 Personal Goals - Month 2 Update

Two months down. Working through them slowly but surely.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Yes, this has been on here since the beginning of me doing this. And yes, I do still hope to finish it.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 174.1.
Month 1 - 175.0
Month 2 - 175.9

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List
Start - Current count is at 75.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield.
Month 2 - Still reading David Copperfield.

5. Read 5 books on the BBC Book List
Start - Current count is at 45.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield and The Princess Diaries.
Month 2 - Finished The Princess Diaries. Still working on David Copperfield. 4 to go.

6. Update 1 Geological Movie Review
Start - The Day After Tomorrow still needs to be done.
Month 1 - The first part has been redone.
Month 2 - Still working slowly through it. Some more work has been done.

7. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

8. Watch 6 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 74.
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 5 to go.

9. Watch 5 of the 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 26
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 4 to go.

10. Finish 55 things on the Blog/Website Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 115 things on it, so this should cut it down by appriximately half.
Month 1 - 9 Things done on the list. 46 left to go.
Month 2 - 12 total things done. 43 left to go.

11. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 20 things on it.
Month 1 - 1 thing done, fixed the carpet. 7 Things to go.

12. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - I started working on it last year. Hopefully I can finish this part of it.
Month 2 - Sealed the milk jugs and placed them in the hovercraft. In the process of getting some wood I need for the outside that needs to be attached before skinning the top.

13. Get my Sprint Triathlon time under 1:25:00
Start - My current official best is 1:41:45.2

14. Get my 5K time under 23 minutes
Start - My current unofficial best is ~28:30

15. Catalogue and Photograph the Comics portion of my Star Wars Collections
Start - Currently I have some of the comics photographed so if I get the time this should


Other things of note
 Still spending most of my time working on my dissertation. I finished one of the 2 manuscripts due by May 1st and it was accepted (Yay!) and working on the other one now. The 2nd manuscript I plan on having done by April 1st and I also have a third manuscript I hope to finish before May 1st as well.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The 306 Greatest Books #115 - The Princess Diaries

The next book up on my reading of the 305 Greatest Books is The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. You can find this book on the BBC Book List and My Book List.



I was hesitant initially about The Princess Diaries because the last few children's books I have read on this list have really fallen flat for me (I'm looking at you Jacqueline Wilson). But I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The entire time reading it I kept picturing Anne Hathaway, since she was the one who portrayed the princess in the movie, but I have never actually seen the movie myself. The premise of the book is that this high school freshman girl refuses to talk out her feelings, so she is told by her mother to keep a diary, which is what the reader is actually reading. Along the way she learns that she is actually a princess of this small country no one has ever heard of (because it is made up). Although it could have turned out bad, the story actually works. I found myself feeling for the characters and actually enjoying it. You want to root for the underdog (the best friends brother) the entire time and you really believe that this is a story that could actually have taken place. This is one of the few books I have read with my daughter where I wanted to go find out what happens later (of which I could pick up the sequel books if I so chose). Overall, I liked the writing style and it is a rather fun book to read, I recommend it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

2013 Personal Goals - Month 1 Update

One month down. As a reminder I am not going to make notes on tasks that haven't been done at all.

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1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Yes, this has been on here since the beginning of me doing this. And yes, I do still hope to finish it.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 174.1.
Month 1 - 175.0

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List
Start - Current count is at 80.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield.

5. Read 5 books on the BBC Book List
Start - Current count is at 45.
Month 1 - In the middle of David Copperfield and The Princess Diaries.

6. Update 1 Geological Movie Review
Start - The Day After Tomorrow still needs to be done.
Month 1 - The first part has been redone.

7. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

8. Watch 6 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 74.
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 5 to go.

9. Watch 5 of the 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 26
Month 1 - Watched Duck Soup. 4 to go.

10. Finish 55 things on the Blog/Website Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 114 things on it, so this should cut it down by appriximately half.
Month 1 - 9 Things done on the list. 46 left to go.

11. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 20 things on it.
Month 1 - 1 thing done, fixed the carpet. 7 Things to go.

12. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - I started working on it last year. Hopefully I can finish this part of it.

13. Get my Sprint Triathlon time under 1:25:00
Start - My current official best is 1:41:45.2

14. Get my 5K time under 23 minutes
Start - My current unofficial best is ~28:30

15. Catalogue and Photograph the Comics portion of my Star Wars Collections
Start - Currently I have some of the comics photographed so if I get the time this should


Other things of note
 So far in January I have been spending most of my time working on my dissertation. I have 2 manuscripts due by May 1st and I hope to have one of those resubmitted by the first part of February. Otherwise not much going on.

Monday, January 28, 2013

100 Greatest Movies - #85 Duck Soup

The next movie on the watch list was Duck Soup staring the Marx brothers. This is on the 100 Greatest Movies list (#85), the 10th Anniversary List (#60), and the 100 Greatest Comedies list (#5).


Since this was ranked as the number 5 greatest comedy of all time, I was building myself up for a treat. The movie is only 67 minutes long, so I figured this would be a good evening movie as well. Turns out I was wrong on all accounts. I did find several of the situations funny and the interactions were humorous but the movie in general was nonsensical and the jokes got a bit tired. Many of the jokes were slapstick and others were plays on words where Groucho's shtick seems to be twisting conversations into making them insulting to the person he was conversing with. Although this could be funny, more often then not I found myself not really understanding what he was saying. The movie follows the plot where a small nation is strapped for cash and the only to get the money the leaders must appeal to the richest member of the country. She agrees but only if one of the local celebrities, Firefly, takes control (Groucho). What followed was almost a movie but it ended up being more of a series of short skits taped together. To sum this up i think my wife put it best when she said "that was awful".

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Personal Goals - Initial Post

Alright, as a recap of the previous years we have:

2010: 14% completed
2011: 30% completed
2012: 48% completed (if you count partial completions)

This year if there is nothing new I am not going to put anything. So it will just appear with no updates until there is one to make note of, further limiting the extraneous content.

I also trimmed down some of the items on the list making them easier to complete hopefully. And I continue to have old items on the list from the previous year making them more of an imperative to finish (hopefully).

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1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Yes this has been on here since the beginning of me doing this. And yes I do still hope to finish it.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 174.1.

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List
Start - Current count is at 80.

5. Read 5 books on the BBC Book List
Start - Current count is at 45.

6. Update 1 Geological Movie Review
Start - The Day After Tomorrow still needs to be done.

7. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

8. Watch 6 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 74.

9. Watch 5 of the 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 26

10. Finish 55 things on the Blog/Website Things to do List
Start - The list currently has >110 things on it, so this should cut it down by half.

11. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 20 things on it.

12. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - I started working on it last year. Hopefully I can finish this part of it.

13. Get my Sprint Triathlon time under 1:25:00
Start - My current best is 1:41:45.2

14. Get my 5K time under 23 minutes
Start - My current unofficial best is ~28:30

15. Catalogue and Photograph the Comics portion of my Star Wars Collections
Start - Currently I have some of the comics photographed so if I get the time this should be fairly straight forward.

2012 Personal Goals - Final Update

All done for the year.

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 1-12 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
Month 5 Update - 173.6
Month 6 Update - 172.1
Month 7 Update - 169.5 (Almost there!!)
Month 8 Update - 169.9
Month 9 Update - 168.2
Month 10 Update - 170.1
Month 11 Update - 171.8 - Damn holidays
Month 12 Update - 174.1 - really damn holidays

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 3-10 Update - Nothing new
Month 11 - Started reading some of the Anton Chekov short stories
Month 12 - Finished reading one book of short stories, which is about 11% of all of them.

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 1-7 Update - Nothing new
Month 8 Update - Finished the corrections to Dante's Peak. 1 to go.
Months 9-12 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 1-12 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 3-6 Update - Nothing new
Month 7 Update - Watched Sunset Boulevard. 12 more to go.
Month 8 Update - Nothing new.
Month 9 Update - Watched The Gold Rush. 11 more to go.
Months 11-12 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 1-8 Update - Nothing new
Month 9 Update - Put on one coat of protectant. Nothing much but it's a start.
Month 10 Update - Nothing new
Month 11 Update - Put on second coat of protectant.
Month 12 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 2-7 Update - Nothing new
Month 8 Update - Went to CVI but didn't get this finished in time, will have to get this done by the end of the year.
Months 9-12 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.
Month 5 Update - Extended the sprinkle head. 9 to go.
Month 6 Update - Several projects are in process but one project took a lot more work than was anticipated. Still 9 to go.
Months 7-8 Update - Nothing more completed
Month 9 Update - Finished removing the mirror and upgrading the attic. 7 Projects to go.
Months 10-11 Update - Nothing new
Month 12 Update - Fixed that damn leaking sink, I also installed the handrails at some point. 5 projects to go.

Other items of note:
I had surgery for a deviated septum this month which limited the amount that I could do for most of it. But we should be able to get back into it for 2013.

---------------------------------------FINISHED!---------------------------------------------

4. (DONE) 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.
Month 5 Update - Read How We Think. 3 books to go.
Month 6 Update - Read Carmen. 2 books to go.
Month 7 Update - Read Turn of the Screw. 1 Book to go.
Months 8-10 Update - Nothing new.
Month 11 Update - Read Far from the Madding Crowd. Done!

5. (DONE) 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
Month 5 Update - Read The Faraway Tree. 4 books to go.
Month 6 Update - Read The Story of Tracy Beaker. 3 books to go.
Month 7 Update - Read Double Act. 2 Books to go.
Month 8 Update - Nothing new.
Month 9 Update - Read Girls in Love. 1 book to go.
Month 10 Update - Nothing new
Month 11 Update - Read Far from the Madding Crowd. 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!