Week’s highlights (Alaska edition)

Some of the things that caught my attention up north.

  • North edited by Julie Decker. A collection of writings and art from Alaska, and for Alaska
  • Travel America & Beyond! TrekAmerica provides long-term tour opportunities.
  • A suggestion from a friend, Onnit nutritional supplements for increased health and vigor.
  • The Lucas Ship problem. Being on a ship currently, this one intrigued me. So here it is.
  • Air travel

    Made it! Of course, a six am flight isn’t my idea of ideal travel conditions. But at least I was able to sleep a bit on the first leg of the journey. But not enough.

    Arrived in Seattle for a quick turnaround, then on to Anchorage. It was just after noon local time, so we walked around a bit, ate, then slept. Now it’s off for the next day.

    Alaska-bound

    And we’re off. I’ve been planning for this trip for nearly a year. Now, finally, it’s here. I know that it won’t disappoint.

    There are many people I’ve spoken with who’ve told me how amazing of a trip this is. There are internet sites, and people posting on that annoying Instagram app… All about Alaska. And I wonder, would John Muir recognize it, with all this notoriety? This land that’s been called simply: “Great.”

    “Never before this had I been embosomed in scenery so hopelessly beyond description.” – John Muir

    Perhaps I attract those who like to travel. Perhaps it’s a similar feeling in myself that allows those to open up to me – like attracts like.

    But perhaps it’s that the tourism trade has done a number on exploring. What is exploration anymore? What is the journey vs. the destination? What is vacation vs. life?

    These are things that I will ponder looking out upon the expanse of this wonderful State.

    May Reading

    Books Bought:

    • A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction – Terry Pratchett
    • Views: Art & Industrial Design of Roger Dean – Roger Dean
    • Anasi Boys (Audiobook) – Neil Gaiman (Read by Lenny Henry)
    • Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid – Douglas Hofstadter
    • The Elegant Universe – Brian Greene
    • In Search of Frankenstein – Radu Florescu
    • Lycanthia, or The Children of Wolves – Tanith Lee

    Books Read:

    • Kraken – China Mieville (unfinished)
    • The Dispatcher – John Scalzi
    • The Rooster Bar – John Grisham
    • Black Klansman – Ron Stallworth (unfinished)
    • The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham (Revised Edition) unfinished
    • Godel, Escher, Bach – Douglas Hofstadter (unfinished)

    The month was busier than the last, and I wasn’t able to commit as much time to books as I would like. The only reason Dispatcher and Rooster Bar were finished was owing to their relatively short page counts. Black Klansman was a shorter one also, but I didn’t get it finished in the last week of the month.

    I spent some time with Benjamin Graham’s book, one of the seminal works on investing. I had first purchased it back in the early 00s, possibly at the recommendation of my father. But I didn’t give it that much attention.

    Since I started investing again maybe eighteen months ago, and this was on my to-read list, I picked up another copy used (the first one is somewhere in storage). The advice has stood up over time owing primarily to its simplicity – invest in companies that have good value for the price. I’m maybe five chapters in, and it’s got some heft to it.

    A lot of these books were revisits. Anasi Boys, Godel et al., and Slip of the Keyboard were all something I had at least perused in the past. The first two I’ve owned, but repurchased for convenience. Pratchett’s I had read some selections from, but not owned previously.

    Most of the month was spent reading grants, rather than books. It was scoring time for one of the committees I’m on, and I had thirty organizations to score. So I bought a few books to remind me that I will eventually read everything I own (I hope).

    Hofstadter, Greene, Florescu, and Lee were purchased secondhand at a little book store I found. The latter two I was unfamiliar with, but picked them up owing to my preoccupation with the supernatural. Lycanthia is supposed to be a fun werewolf novel. I’ve come across Tanith Lee once or twice, but am otherwise unfamiliar with her work.

    I greatly enjoyed Rooster Bar. I’m not sure what it is about the prose style Grisham uses, but it flows easily and moves quick. It had been several years since last reading but me of his novels, and I had forgotten what I liked about them. This was a nice refresher.

    Elegant Universe I may take with me on my trip tomorrow, but I’m always conflicted about which book to bring on travels. I try and go light, and who knows what bookstores I may find while out and about.

     

    Slow the f*ck down

    Life sure is fast. 

    I started writing this in January. I think it had something to do with cars speeding to places. Why? Because we’re always going. I’ve wrote a lot about time management, staying busy, etc. But what is the answer?

    We work too much, to make just enough money to buy what we don’t need, and pay off the debts that we built up spending more than we had yesterday. We plan for more tomorrow, but don’t expect it to be enough because we’re not satisfied with what we have today, hoping that we’ll be satisfied with what we have tomorrow if only we can work hard enough today to make more than we did yesterday.

    It’s f*#!ing exhausting. And we are exhausted. Collectively, we are done. You can tell when you look at us. We escape, rather than inhabit. We tune in, turn off – rather than unplug and be. But it’s coming. The change is coming, when we understand it’s not enough just to keep going – but rather that we must find ways of existing that aren’t so damn fast.

    Week’s highlights

    Some of the interesting things I have been thinking about this week:

    • First – my new car. I’ve seen this ad a number of times now, and I have completely fallen in love with this vehicle. Now, it won’t come out until 2020, but I’m on the list for initial test drives. I. Cannot. Wait.
    • Thanks to the above ad, I’ve resisted a song I listened to three years ago a lot. Simon & Garfunkle’s Sound of Silence, performed by Disturbed. It was a haunting take on a classic song, and listening to it again this week was a bit cathartic.
    • Humble Bundle. Another revisit that I seem to have been discussing a lot this week. Several years ago I purchased the Neil Gaiman bundle, and have since added comics and other ebooks to my library, with some money going to charity and some going to creators, with only a little bit going back to the company. It’s a good model, and I appreciate the work that they do there.
    • Why don’t need to be superproductive. It was nice coming across this week, when it’s felt so hectic that I just didn’t seem to get near enough accomplished. So, thank you Outside. Thank you Brad Stulberg. Thank you Oliver Burkeman, of The Guardian. And thank you me, for letting me slow down a bit.