I have Discovered Audiobooks

I have started trying to read more and recently discovered audiobooks. I didnt think I would like audiobooks, but they're quite good. I listen while driving to and from work. Very efficient use if time and keeps me off the news. Typically when I read an ebook or hardback, it's at night just before bed. I often doze off and forget important parts. With an audiobook, I can read it anytime and I am usually focused - driving, walking, exercising.

The one thing I have had to adjust to with audiobooks is the lack of notes. But I'm working on a solution to that. Kindle and Kobo have won the price and note battle for reading, but audiobooks win the convenience battle.  Still examining cost issues too. But so far, so good.  Will continue to mix up hard covers, ebooks, and audiobooks as I read more. 

So far I would recommend Kobo, AudiobooksNow, and Downpour as sources of audiobooks.  I am using the Bound app to listen on the phone, mostly because I can fine tune the playback speed.  I find that 1.25 is too fast, and 1.0 is too slow.  I prefer 1.15-1.2, which I can get on Bound. 


In the Kingdom of Ice - Hampton Sides

Finish reading In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides today. Well worth your time. 

Below is my GoodReads review.  Not sure if I trust GoodReads, but it has posted my entire review here instead of just a link back to them. So I will allow it for now. Still working on this review stuff.  This is the second audiobook I have read in the last decade. Will continue to do so.  

GoodReads Review - In the Kingdom of Ice

In the Kingdom of Ice The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful book about a forgotten time and a remarkable crew.

In The Kingdom of Ice, Hampton Sides tells the story of the captain, crew, supporting characters of the US. Arctic Expedition and USS Jeannette. The expedition's goal was to be the first humans to reach the North Pole.

Let me guess, you never heard of it. Few have, but it was an international story in the 1880s. The US. Arctic Expedition had everything going for it. It was well-funded by the US. Government and wealthy benefactors. It had the latest technology advances including advanced navigation and electric lights. And it had a proven leader and dream team of experienced Arctic explorers. Depiste all these advantages, it failed.

Or did it? It certainly failed to reach the North Pole, which is why the Jeanette isnt a well known name today. But, it certainly expanded our knowledge of the Arctic and resolved many myths about the polar region. It is also a rousing good adventure story about the limits of technology and the importance of good leadership .. . and its limits.

Sides is an exceptional storyteller. This is his first book I have read, and it wont be my last. Historical non-fiction an be dull at times, but the best ones craft the facts into a compelling story. I purposely avoided did not research the details of the expedition, even though I knew its general fate. I found myself fascinated by George DeLong and his family, Mellville and the Jeanette's crew, and even Bennet. Sides' tale left me wanting more. And I eagerly googled additional information after finishing the book.

There have been some stories in my life that have stayed with me; true tales that I have never forgotten. This is now another one.

Next time I am in Annapolis, I plan on visiting the USS Jeanette and DeLong Monument.

I would highly recommend this book if you have any interest in the Arctic, the late 19th century (fascinating time of change, like our own), or the Navy. It will be well-worth your time.

View all my reviews

Likely Suppressed by . . Someone.

I should have the top "rcjackson" twitter profile

Well, I have started posting to this blog again.  Off and on . . off and on  . . for almost a decade of blog posting now. But here is the funny part. I went to add my twitter profile to this site.  It's a simple process.  Go to the url of your twitter profile page and insert the link.  So I did that the way most people would. I typed in my twitter handle (@rcjackson) and "twitter" into a Google search bar - and wa la, your twitter profile page should pop right to the top. I should have the top result.

Except I don't.

Instead, two other profiles appeared before mine.  Neither were exact match like "rcjackson" but some variant (one had III after to, and the other 0045). Now I know I am the oldest "RCJackson" profile on twitter because I specifically chose that handle after the ones I wanted were not available. I have been on twitter since 2008, an early adopter. I also may be the most prolific rcjackson poster with over 11,000 tweets over the past 12 years (I know - kind of sad really, but I just . . cant . . stop . . ).

So Why is That?

The two profiles above me on the first page of google are newer, have fewer tweets than I do, and have fewer followers than I have. So why are they higher?  I don't know.  How Google or Twitter chooses to rank these pages is a big mystery.  I do know one thing though.  Those profiles are  . . how should I say this . . . reflective of Twitter and Google's political views or at least the views that are ore common on these platforms. Now I am not a conspiracy theory buff, but I don't trust the tech giants . . at all.  Especially Google and Facebook. Twitter is rapidly losing trust with me.  Only Apple still has some, mostly because it is a hardware, not software, based company. Its Users are not the product.  Its products are the actual products. Regardless, the kind of stuff really freaks me out and pisses me off at the same time.  I know that the last few times I have Google my twitter handle I was the top result. I mean, it is the oldest exact match handle wit the most content.  It should be No.1.  But it isn't anymore. . . strange. I am sure this is just another "oversight" or "bug" by Google or Twitter.  

Nothing to be worried about.  Nothing to see hear. . . . 


Live your life Now

Death sucks. Life is much better.

I am surrounded by death. I suppose that we all are. 

I am heading to my third funeral of a close family member in three years. My Uncle Ray died last week. I had not seen him in quite some time, but he was only 10 years older than me. We spent a lot of time together when I was younger. I was the little kid always hanging around him that he couldn't get rid of. He was the epitome of cool in the 70's - surfer, long hair, athletic, and drove a beat up beach car. After a couple of rough starts, he settled down in Tennessee, married a wonderful women, and raised a caring family. Then he contracted cancer. And now, I am on my way to Memphis for his funeral, taken too early at the young age of 63.

Me, Ray, and Christopher in 1998

In June, my grandmother died. She was the most elegant lady I ever met, right up to the end. At 94, she lived a long and successful life, but I know she wanted to live longer.

And of course I lost my son 3 years ago. He was 21. Nothing more need be said about that. It's all here. No one should have to deliver their son's eulogy.

The one thing I have learned through all of this is how little control we have. We all have worked out how life should go, but it rarely goes the way we want it to. Unexpected things happen. Sometimes good ... sometimes not. All we can do is enjoy the good times so we are prepared for the worse. 

Don't be afraid to live your life, because death awaits us all. Often, when we least expect it.

Things often don't turn out like you think they will, or think they should. Don't get to the end of your life wishing that it had turned out different. Make it different now.


Goodbye 1818

Goodbye 1818 .... we hardly knew ya. 

It's fate was sealed by Hurricane Micheal on October 10, 2018 - the forgotten storm.  Demolished to concrete and rubble 10 months later.

A fitting end to our time in Lynn Haven ...