Quick Picks Book Review: Shoe Dog

I finished reading the book ‘Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike’ by Phil Knight (… the creator of Nike.) I have to say, I really liked it.

Building ‘something’ is near and dear to my heart, and the end goal of everything I do. Much of Phil’s (as I call him now) life has centered around this singular thought: to create something, to look back and say “I built this.” The story of Nike was one I really did not know. The struggles of his business and how he overcame them through hard work, perseverance, many good people and friends, and ultimately luck was fantastic to follow. The book was heart-felt and, at many times at the very end of the book, emotional.

His story was almost like a ‘how-to’ book on the import/export business. His connection with athletes throughout his life was motivational.
One thing I did not like about the writing (and it caused me to stop reading for several days at a time) was his tendency to go off tangent and talk about a topic that was completely pointless. For example, he went into great detail on the running times and records of athletes he appreciated. I did not care for them at all and after what felt like an endless number of pages, I put the book down to do something more interesting (like staring at my wall, or plucking my teeth with floss.)

Overall, I give it 4.5 blocks out of 5 blockchains.

4.5 stars out of 5. Great.

Weekly Reading Roundup – 02/09/18

Weekly Reading Roundup – 02/02/18

Weekly Reading Roundup – 01/26/18

Weekly Reading Roundup – 01/19/18

Winter in Alaska – Day 7, Day 8, and Day 9

To keep it brief: I flew from San Francisco (CA) to Fairbanks (AK) and back during the height of winter (December 25 – January 2). This post is:

DAY SEVEN, DAY EIGHT, and DAY NINE: Cross Country Skiing and New Year, Not much to do, and the Return home

DAY SEVEN: Cross Country Skiing and New Year

I’ve always had an aversion to cold weather. It’s wet, not enjoyable feeling your face go numb and your fingers and toes turn to brick, you have to layer until you look like a walking pillow, and generally not fun. This trip has been a real eye-opener. The bitter cold that I felt didn’t bring the pain that I remember as a child, and the air was dry which really helped me get used to breathing in the open (I’m from the dry environment of a California desert.) Being in -30 degree weather was also an experience I’ll not forget — I figure once you experience it, the normal cold isn’t so bad. Actually -30 degrees wasn’t bad.

In the past, I tried snowboarding while living in Germany. Went to the Alps with a friend, and had an absolutely terrible experience. I’ll spare the details (and myself from having to reminisce), but I figured enough time has passed where I can try another sport: cross country skiing. It looked so simple, why not?

Conclusion: make sure you get the right skis. The 5-8 year olds that were out with their parents whisked right past me, and I lay in an embarrassing spread eagle position for most of the day, trying to crawl my way up a tiny hill. I later learned that we were given ‘classic’ style skis which did not have the edge required for hills. My struggles were due to improper equipment. Now I know, classical style is not for me, at all. I’ll likely give it another shot in the future, with real skis.

Ski Trails

Skis

Another eye-opener in Alaska was the freedom, previously mentioned. Fireworks were plentiful and massive. In the LA desert, fire is a major concern so fireworks are limited to sparklers unless you go to Mexico and smuggle something more fun in. In Alaska, ANYTHING goes. Mortars, rockets, whatever. Great fun was had. We bought some fireworks, pulled off to the side of the road, and let loose. Nobody seemed to care.

Fireworks Stand

DAY EIGHT: Not much to do

The problem with Fairbanks for sober travellers is that once you do everything you wanted, there’s really nothing else to do. We went bowling and we went to the movies, but really there was nothing else open or available to us. So we went hiking. It was great, and fun to see the locals skiing on the paths or taking their dogs so that their dogs could pull them in the snow. The dogs seemed to love it.

Hiking Trails
Hiking Trail Filter
Hiking Sights
Hiking Sights 2

DAY NINE: Return home

Finally, we returned home and I saw an animal I didn’t see on arrival:

Fox in the Airport

Winter in Alaska – Day 6

To keep it brief: I flew from San Francisco (CA) to Fairbanks (AK) and back during the height of winter (December 25 – January 2). This post is:

DAY SIX: Denali National Park

On the way to Denali, there’s the small port town of Nenana. When we arrived for lunch, the town appeared all but deserted. Luckily there was a small diner open and two very lovely old ladies to take our order. Great food, and very interesting scenes. Felt like we time traveled back to the 1960’s, and the frozen river behind us served to remind us of the extreme cold we were in.

Sunrise from the Hill

Panorama from the Hill
Filter from the Hill
Nenana Station

The Denali National Park: beautiful (of course).

Denali National Park

Moons over the Mountain
Filtered Moon
Please Keep Off
Phone Station

The next few days were dull, but don’t worry: I’ll let you know why.

Weekly Reading Roundup – 01/12/18

A long list this week to make up for the break, enjoy! Also, not everything is technology related, with some great articles/posts on health, fitness, etc.

Winter in Alaska – Day 5

To keep it brief: I flew from San Francisco (CA) to Fairbanks (AK) and back during the height of winter (December 25 – January 2). This post is:

DAY FIVE: Chenna Hot Springs

Turning our attention from action to in-action, we took it upon ourselves to relax at the Chenna Hot Springs, a ‘resort’ of types located an hour and a half or so east of Fairbanks. The resort consisted of several buildings including a fine dining restaurant, activity center, and the hot spring itself which includes an indoor pool for the weary. Activities on offer include aurora viewing on a snow cat (think mini-tank on snow), an ice museum with bar, and hiking, among many more. The main attraction is, obviously, the hot spring itself, and it drew a big crowd. Despite being in a remote location, I’d go so far as to say it was packed.

The hot spring was an excellent experience, the water naturally hot but the difference between the water and outside world proved to be quite exciting. The temperature was around -30 degrees Fahrenheit, far colder than the relatively hot Fairbanks, meaning that any extended period of time out of the water would lead to freezing. As the steam from the spring grew and covered the hair and face, they would freeze in the cold air outside. An absolute must.

Chenna Hot Springs

The Ice Museum, while interesting, could be passed up due to its steep price.

Flowers in Ice
Rose in Ice
Jousting Ice Figures
Tree in Ice
Ice Skull
Sunflowers in Ice

On the drive home, the moon shone as bright as day and lit the snow below.

Night Drive

Tomorrow we drive to Denali National Park.

Winter in Alaska – Day 4

To keep it brief: I flew from San Francisco (CA) to Fairbanks (AK) and back during the height of winter (December 25 – January 2). This post is:

DAY FOUR: Snowmobiles

It cannot be understated: Alaska is an absolutely beautiful state. The winter covered every surface with a wonderful layer of snow, freezing the pine trees and flora in their place, and allowing the calming quiet of nature to overtake the sounds of animals and humans alike.

The beauty was really captured in an ironically noisy manner as we toured the nature in snowmobiles plundering through the trees. After every twist and turn, a new sight to see; similar to the last, but beautiful none-the-less.

The cold really hit hard. It bit through my clothes with no regard to the several layers I wore, and it pierced through my boots and socks like they existed only to hold my toes in place for the coming frostbite. The goggles I wore also proved useless since they froze the moment I put them on, giving me little to no field of vision. I actually rode without the goggles, which made even colder than I was. I believe the temperature was between-15 degrees Fahrenheit to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Note to the next travelers: wear as many socks as you can, hand warmers in the boots and gloves, and move every chance you get. Our tour was (obviously from the pictures) during the day, but there are tours after midnight which are specific to the northern lights (it was too cloudy for us to see them). I would recommend either, but the northern lights tour was particularly appealing. Next time perhaps.

Snowmobiles in Alaska
Stopping for the Moon
Thick Snow

Tomorrow’s Adventure: Chenna Hot Springs