Saturday, December 28, 2013

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

The next up on my reading of the 306 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 this 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 the 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.