In the Kingdom of Ice – Hampton Sides

In the Kingdom of Ice

In the Kingdom of Ice - Synopsis

In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: the North Pole…National glory would fall to whoever could plant his flag upon its shores. James Gordon Bennett…funded an official U.S. naval expedition to reach the Pole, choosing as its captain a young officer named George Washington De Long. De Long led a team of 32 men deep into uncharted Arctic waters, carrying the aspirations of a young country burning to become a world power. On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds in the grip of “Arctic Fever.” The ship sailed into uncharted seas, but soon was trapped in pack ice. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the hull was breached. Amid the rush of water and the shrieks of breaking wooden boards, the crew abandoned the ship. Less than an hour later, the Jeannette sank to the bottom, and the men found themselves marooned a thousand miles north of Siberia with only the barest supplies. Thus began their long march across the endless ice—a frozen hell in the most lonesome corner of the world. Facing everything from snow blindness and polar bears to ferocious storms and frosty labyrinths, the expedition battled madness and starvation as they desperately strove for survival. With twists and turns worthy of a thriller, In The Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding tale of heroism and determination in the most unforgiving territory on Earth.


Non-fiction Adventure is my favorite genre of writing and I will be reading a lot of it this year. I also lean towards adventure retellings where something has gone tragically wrong (see: Into Thin Air, The Hot Zone, The Endurance, The Worst Hard Time). I’m also a huge of fan of true crime and may sprinkle a few in this year.

For my 35th birthday, I ordered myself a Kindle Voyage. It’s greatest advantage over the Paperwhite that I use now is the 300ppi which allows for better PDF support and will make reading graphic novels a better experience. I have been fantastically satisfied with my Paperwhite and I expect I will be very happy with the Voyage as well.

I’m on a quest to read 50 books in 2015.

4/50 – In the Kingdom of Ice – Hampton Sides

Blue is the Warmest Color – Julie Maroh


Blue is the Warmest Color - Synopsis

In this tender, bittersweet, full-color graphic novel, a young woman named Clementine discovers herself and the elusive magic of love when she meets a confident blue-haired girl named Emma: a lesbian love story for the ages that bristles with the energy of youth and rebellion and the eternal light of desire.


I saw the film before I read the book. Is that cheating?

I’m on a quest to read 50 books in 2015.

3/50 – Blue is the Warmest Color – Julie Maroh

Cost to Conceive

Cost_to_ConceiveKids are expensive. To the right is our out of pocket cost to conceive Mouseketeer. This is what we paid in cash, after insurance, over the past year and a half trying to have a baby. We could have bought a car, taken a few more Disney vacations, or gone on a jaunt to Europe! He already has a closet full of clothes, a stockpile of diapers taking over the basement, one of the most highly rated infant carriers, and two car seats in two different colors (Diva… ). Kids are expensive! Mouseketeer is worth every penny spent, though. I’m this little guy’s biggest fan and he’s not even here yet.

Amazon’s Pilot Season

I’ll probably check out a lot of the new pilots from Amazon. My picks are below. View the new shows at

Man In the High CastleBased on Philip K. Dick’s award-winning novel, The Man in the High Castle explores what it would be like if the Allied Powers had lost WWII, and Japan and Germany ruled the United States.


The New Yorker PresentsAmerica’s most award-winning magazine comes to life in this new docu-series.



Mad DogsWhen a group of underachieving 40-something friends gather in Belize to celebrate the early retirement of an old friend, a series of wild,comedic events unfold, exposing dark secrets and a web of lies, deception and murder.

Salem RogersAfter a decade in rehab, an abrasive former supermodel tries to recreate her success in a new world she barely recognizes, relying on the help of her browbeaten former assistant.


Down DogA handsome, carefree yoga instructor has breezed through life, women, and jobs, but when he breaks up with his girlfriend — who’s also his partner at their successful yoga studio — he’s forced to face reality for the first time.

Under the Banner of Heaven – Jon Krakauer


Under the Banner of Heaven - Synopsis

At the core of Krakauer’s book are brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a commandment from God to kill a blameless woman and her baby girl. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this appalling double murder, Krakauer constructs a multi-layered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, polygamy, savage violence, and unyielding faith. Along the way he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America’s fastest growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.


I love Jon Krakauer’s writing style so much. His novel Into Thin Air is very high on my recommendation list.

I’m on a quest to read 50 books in 2015.
2/50 – Under the Banner of Heaven – Jon Krakauer



Birth plans frighten me, especially long-winded, rambling, checklist-laden, precise, detailed birth plans written by Birthzilla.

  • Exhibit A
  • Exhibit B
  • Exhibit C
  • Humorous Birth Plan
  • Read Mia Freedman’s “Birthzillas: When it’s all about the birth, not the baby.”

    “Did you have a plan for your placenta?” the woman asked me earnestly.

    “Huh? You mean did I, like, cook it or bury it in the garden?” She shook her head. “No, I mean when you gave birth did you have a plan for how your placenta would be delivered?”

    Blink. “Um, out of my vagina? Does that count as a plan?”

    More head shaking. The woman was growing impatient because she had a plan and she wanted to tell me about it. Her three page birth plan had “Delivering The Placenta” as its own subhead with half a dozen bullet points underneath.

    I know this because she showed it to me on her phone while I tried not to stab myself with a sausage.

    So what’s the problem with birth plans?

    1. Most birth plans are filled with outdated and irrelevant preferences. As childbirth educator Tamara Kaufman writes in Evolution of the Birth Plan:

    … [Women] identify the Internet as the resource they use most frequently to gather information about pregnancy, birth, and birth plans. A Google search of the term “birth plan” offers parents several choices of predesigned birth plans. However, many of the birth plans detailed on these sites are outdated. For example, several on-line, interactive tools start with questions regarding being shaved or receiving an enema. Because these procedures are no longer routine in most areas, such details may cause parents to devote too much attention to unimportant issues and cause the hospital staff to dismiss the couple as being uneducated regarding routine hospital procedures… On-line birth plans are frequently more than one page in length, which may inhibit the hospital staff from closely reading the plan. On-line birth plans also have a tendency to use phrases such as “unless absolutely or medically necessary”—a phrase that is not always useful when caregivers usually believe the intervention they recommend is medically necessary at the time…

    2. Birth plans don’t help. In Is the Childbirth Experience Improved by a Birth Plan? Lundgren at el. found:

    From antenatal clinics in Sweden, 271 women were recruited after week 33 of pregnancy and given a questionnaire designed to assess their attitudes and feelings about the coming childbirth. Thereafter, they formulated a birth plan. The midwife in attendance at the birth was able to refer to this plan. Women who followed this program were compared with women from the same clinics who were asked to complete a questionnaire during the first postpartum week to assess their birth experience. A questionnaire at the end of pregnancy, followed by a birth plan, was not effective in improving women’s experiences of childbirth. In the birth plan group, women gave significantly lower scores for the relationship to the first midwife they met during delivery, with respect to listening and paying attention to needs and desires, support, guiding, and respect.

    3. Most importantly, babies don’t read birth plans.

    I asked my wife what her birth plan included and, chuckling, she said, “Do what the doctor recommends and have the baby.”

    Sounds perfect.

    Port Orleans French Quarter

    Disney understands immersion and one need look no further than their resort theming as a great example. When we stayed at Coronado Springs we were surrounded by sights, sounds, and smells of Spanish-colonial Mexico, from the room decor, the food court selections, the plants, the music playing, down to the pool, with it’s majestic 50-foot replica of a Mayan pyramid. We booked our resort for March and after initially selecting Caribbean Beach Resort switched to Port Orleans French Quarter. I love New Orleans and the French Quarter. Some shots below show the details Disney uses to create this immersive experience. One might think they are actually in the French Quarter, at the corner of St. Peter and Royal. This is the only resort where you can get beignets, but I doubt they’re as good as Cafe Du Monde. Either way, laissez les bon temps roulez!


    Port Orleans French Quarter Pool Entranace











    The Martian – Andy Weir

    The Martian


    “I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last 31 days. If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I’m fucked.” – Mark Watney


    I’m on a quest to read 50 books in 2015. With my Paperwhite and calibre in tow, I hope to make it happen.

    1/50 The Martian – Andy Weir