Monthly Archives: June 2015

Resolution Progress 2015: First Half

Here is where I am about halfway through the year.

  1. Read 52 books. A half of 52 is 26. I am a few books ahead at 34. My Goodreads user challenge.
    • Read at least 50% by female authors. Of the 34 books read so far, 28 are by female authors, so I am on well above with 82%.
  2. Weightlifting:
    1. Bench 185 pounds (1RM equivalent). My best during the past month or so is 157.5 1RM. That is 50.5 up from the 107 1RM back at the start of the year. Just 27.5 more to go. I was recently happy to manage two 45 lb plates on the bar 5x5s. Guess I get to be a big boy now.
    2. Squat 245 pounds (1RM eq). My best during the past month or so is 262.5 1RM. That is 155.5 up from the 107 1RM back at the start of the year. That completes the goal. Guess I will reset for another 105 pounds for 350.
    3. Deadlift 300 pounds (1RM eq). My best during the past month or so is 273.33 1RM. That is 121.67 up from the 151.66 1RM last quarter. Just 26.67 more to go.
    4. Drop to about 15% body fat. No progress.
    5. Bring HIIT up to about 50-50. No progress.
  3. Take a trip at least 300 miles away from home. Completed first quarter.
  4. Declutter Part II. No progress.

 

The post Resolution Progress 2015: First Half appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From Resolution Progress 2015: First Half published June 28, 2015 at 08:45AM.

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Review: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself by Harriet Jacobs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book accounts for Harriet Jacobs’ life as a slave, hiding for several years in the South, escaping to the North, and finally obtaining her freedom. She presents some letters documenting the tale. Given the current events of recent weeks where a self-taught white supremacist in his manifesto setup before committing terrorism to start a race war that according to the slave narratives he had read people like me were happy under slavery and there was no need to free my ancestors. Other books I have read like Twelve Years A Slave and Up From Slavery seemed not to portray this, but I did read them a while ago.

Harriet really disliked her time as a slave. Her “official” owner was a minor whose father assumed the role. This man who already fathered several children with his slaves seemed to desire the same for this fifteen year old girl. When she had children with another (white) man, he as the owner of them sought to use babies as leverage to compel her to obey his salacious wishes. Oddly enough this guy’s wife forced the sale to distant places the products of her husband’s infidelity. To me, the idea that one’s own children are chattel boggles my mind. But, also Solomon Northrup and Booker T. faced less cruelty under slavery than Harriet as the contempt facing her was that of both an African and a woman. Her master underestimated her intelligence which allowed her to escape.

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The post Review: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself appeared first on Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4.

From Review: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself published June 27, 2015 at 09:04AM.

Review: Gods and Fighting Men The story of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland, arranged and put into English by Lady Gregory

Gods and Fighting Men The story of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland, arranged and put into English by Lady Gregory
Gods and Fighting Men The story of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland, arranged and put into English by Lady Gregory by Lady Gregory
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This set of Irish tales reminded me of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Barely organized; mostly miscellaneous. Several seemed to cover the same ground over and over to feel repetitive.

Some things seemed out of place like mentions of God or the Greeks. Pretty sure these are stories about events prior to Christianity came to Ireland. And the Greek presence seems even less likely.

Apparently the favorite animal to change someone into or hunt are pigs. They show up in several stories. Others like deer or hounds show up, but the pigs were notably everywhere.

I enjoyed Táin Bó Cúalnge much more.

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From Review: Gods and Fighting Men The story of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland, arranged and put into English by Lady Gregory published June 21, 2015 at 02:33PM.

Review: The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A story detailing upper class “society” New York of the 1870s as the backdrop. Wharton details parties and mores. As the story goes along it feels more and more critical of them. A couple oddities: 1) Newland Archer, the protagonist, visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in its infancy but describing how it will be great one day. 2) Archer also picking up Ellen at a train station ruminating about disliking the theory the Pennsylvania line would go eventually tunnel into proper New York (Penn Station?).

After having watched several seasons of the TV show Archer, I think that title character is an obvious reference to Newland Archer in this novel. TV-Archer drinks heavily, sleeps with a lot of women, and somehow completely improbably buffoons his way through complex problems.

The love triangle did not really excite me. His options are May who represents the right thing (duty, stability, comfort) versus Ellen who represents his rebellion (passion, ostracized, escape). However, the guilt and conflict were vividly described.

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From Review: The Age of Innocence published June 07, 2015 at 10:34AM.

Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Part biography of Henrietta Lacks and her family. Part explanation of the contribution the cells taken from her have had on medicine. Part memoir of Rebecca on the challenges brought in even getting to write this story. It jumps around quite a bit as it bounds around each of the three parts.

What the Lackses went through depressed me. The callousness of Johns Hopkins does not really surprise me. The enormity of what science was able to accomplish was amazing. But the scientific misunderstandings the family suffered through, to me, is the worst part. For example, Rebecca helped Henrietta’s daughter understand cloned cells is not the same thing as cloning Dolly the sheep, so she would not see her mother wandering all over London.

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From Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks published June 01, 2015 at 11:00PM.