Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The 306 Greatest Books #126 - Tess of the D'Urbervilles

The next book up on my reading of the 305 Greatest Books is Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. This book can be found on the Sybervision Book Listthe BBC Book List, and My Book List





I am very conflicted with this book. First off, it is very well written and easy to read. This is a definite plus in my book. But rereading the summaries of the other Hardy books I had read so far (Far from the Madding Crowd and Return of the Native) I seemed to have similar feelings about them. All of the stories are well written but it is the story itself that I have problems with. First off, this is the best of the three Hardy books so far. But the problem is that Hardy likes to beat down the women in the book until the main character is almost not a character at all but just a plot device to drive the story forward. The story starts off with a peasant family by the name of Durbeyfield finding out they are actually descendants of the "great" house of D'Urberville. This gets them really nothing, however it propels the family forward into trying to get something from it and this is where the trouble starts. Tess is sent to another D'Urberville family thinking they are related, but in actuality they just took the name for prestige and she ends up getting pregnant out of wedlock. Her life is essentially ruined because of this but throughout the book there is a very interesting dynamic as many of the main characters are forced to face the harsh realities of Christian dogma and stigmas of the times. I found the way that the characters reacted to be rather truthful and interesting. Another problem I had with the pacing of the story would be that the plot of the story would be traveling along and then take a right turn when something would suddenly happen. It was often jarring throughout the story where the big events often felt rather forced. But part of these jarring instances was that the author would repeatedly bring back characters and ideas hinted at earlier in the book to play more pivotal parts later on. I did rather like that approach though. Overall, I would say that the story isn't "great" but it is a pretty good read and made me think a lot, which is not always a bad thing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

2014 Personal Goals - Month 9 Update

9 months in. 3/4's of the year is over.
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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
Month 8 - 186.3
Month 9 - 181.4 - Yay, weight loss!

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.
Month 8 - Finished The Way of All Flesh. 4 to go.
Month 9 - Finished The Tragedy of Faust. 3 to go.

(DONE) 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.
Month 9 - Finished Watership Down. Done.

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.
Month 8 - Finished 15/56. 41 to go.
Month 9 - Finished 19/56. 37 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.
Month 8 - Busy month, fixed 6 more things. 2 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

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.
Month 8 - One of the manuscripts is in the preparation stages and should be submitted early this month.
Month 9 - One manuscript submitted. Now working on prepping the next one. 2 to go.

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

      Again, it is just a matter of getting things under control, which I feel I have mostly done. The DVR is mostly cleaned up and I am catching up on many many projects left undone. Currently I am working on updating my website, which it is in some need of.


-------------------------------------------Done-----------------------------------------------

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!!!!