Monday, August 25, 2014

The 306 Greatest Books #123 - The Way of All Flesh

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler. This book can be found on the Sybervision Book List.

When I first started reading The Way of All Flesh, I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. I read one chapter, then two days later I started reading the second chapter and realized that I had absolutely no clue what happened in the first chapter. So I reread it. After the second chapter, I had another two day break and the same thing happened again. It wasn't that the story was difficult to read or hard to understand, it was just utterly forgettable. After the first 50 pages though, the story got much better. I realized that the reason I kept forgetting what was happening was because each chapter jumped in time, but only a little. It wasn't noticeable until you realized that the previous chapter did not follow the next one directly. A little confusing, but like I said, it got better as the story became more linear. The story follows the life of a man, Ernest Pontifex, as he is raised, then becomes ordained, and eventually finds life outside of the church. However, the first 100 pages or so are focused on Ernest's ancestors as told by a family friend and godfather to Ernest. I was surprised at how anti-Christianity the story was. Ernest's parents were proper Christian folk, with his father being an ordained minister. However, they were lying, deceitful, cruel, and always blameless in their own eyes. In essence, horrible parents. Later in the story, as Ernest becomes ordained, he eventually falls out of the church by studying various aspects of the Bible and finding them unbelievable. By the end, he is writing books all about how wrong Christianity is. I had not expected that when I went into the book but actually found the anti-church motif rather interesting. The writer's portrayal of women though was a little less desirable. There were three women in the story, the horrible mother, the alcoholic wife, and the obnoxious sister. Not a good one among the bunch. Overall, the writing of the book is OK, not great. Some of the sentences are difficult to read and I had to reread several of them just because they were awkwardly phrased. But in the end I would say that the book was OK, not great but not horrible either. I just felt "meh" when I finished it. Not much of an endorsement, I know.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

2014 Personal Goals - Month 7 Update

7 months in, and getting back to normal.

1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Again on the list.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 183.8
Month 1 - 182.0
Month 2 - 185.2
Month 3 - 190.7
Month 6 - 187.2
Month 7 - 190.2

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

4. Read 7 books on the Sybervision Book List (including 1 in the Science or Philosophy sections)
Start - Current count is at 78.
Month 1 - Finished The Prince and the Pauper. 6 to go.
Month 2 - Reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court 
Month 6 - Finished reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. 5 to go.
Month 7 - Reading The Way of All Flesh.

5. Read 2 books on the BBC Book List
Start - Current count is at 48.
Month 2 - Finished Vicky Angel. 1 to go.
Month 7 - Reading Watership Down.

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

7. Watch 10 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 75.

8. Finish 56 things on the Blog/Website Things to do List (~1 a week)
Start - The list currently has ~150 things on it.
Month 1 - Started working on some stuff but have nothing finished.
Month 2 - Finished 3/56. 53 to go.
Month 3 - Finished 4/56. 52 to go.
Month 6 - Finished 5/56. 51 to go.
Month 7 - Finished 10/56. 46 to go.

9. Finish 10 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 29 things on it.
Month 1 - Finished fixing all the "sweating" toilets. 9 to go.
Month 7 - Finished fixing the crawl space door. 8 to go.

10. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - I started working on it 2 years ago but with wood purchased lat year I hope to finish that part.

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

12. Get my 5K time under 23 minutes
Start - My current unofficial best is ~28:30
Month 6 - New Nike Running app keeps a record of these things now. Current record is 28:32.

13. Catalog 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

DONE! 14. Finish Dissertation
Start - Currently I have to finish up analyses, finish writing, and format it. Not much work at all.
Month 1 - Working steadily on this. Finished 1 chapter out of the remaining 3, with another one almost done.
Month 2 - Continuing to work on this almost every day. Down to one set of analyses left.
Month 3 - Finished up my analyses and 1 out ~5 appendices that needs to be built.
Month 6 - The dissertation is currently written and approved by my committee. I am awaiting the thesis office to get back to me with formatting edits that need to be made.
Month 7 - The dissertation is DONE!!!!
15. Submit 3 Scientific Manuscripts to Journals 
Start - I have 3 manuscripts in the almost there phase. I hope to get these submitted soon.
Month 1 - These will get submitted once the dissertation is completed.
Month 6 - With the dissertation finished, these are mostly complete and ready for submission.

16. Defeat 5 Star Wars Games
Start - With collecting so many games that I have not had time to play I want to set aside some game time.
Month 3 - I finished Angry Birds Star Wars. 4 to go.

-------------------------------------------Other items of Note-----------------------------------------------

      My degree has officially been completed!!! (I am a PhD). So now I spend a lot of my free time catching up on my DVR shows (the 2 DVRs were down to less than 20% free space, so I wanted to watch some of that), and working on items on my list. As well as go to work. So all in all, it has been a catch up and refresh time.