I’m Richard Nikoley, and this is my blog. Free the Animal began by a different name in 2003, and as of 2016, contains over 4,000 posts and 100,000 comments from readers. I cover a lot of ground, blogging what I wish, from health, diet, and lifestyle to philosophy, politics, and social issues. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances in life.
Free the Animal really means to free yourself to reach your best potential in all areas of your life, learn from mistakes and successes, and move on.
For an overview of how I think, how the human animal fits into it and the things I blog about, see The Manifesto.
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- Website: https://freetheanimal.com
- Location: United States
I was born & raised in Reno, Nevada, son of a German immigrant. I attended a private, church-run high school. Went on to attend a first year of college at a fundamentalist Baptist Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee for my first year of college.
I transferred and graduated from Oregon State University in 1984 with a BS in Business Administration, and two minor courses of study: mathematics / computer science, and naval science. I was a member of the NROTC unit.
I was commissioned in the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) immediately upon graduation from OSU. After some 8 months attending various schools in San Diego, CA, I traveled off to Yokosuka, Japan to join my first ship, the USS REEVES (CG-24), where I served from 1984-1987 as the Assistant Missiles Officer, First Lieutenant, and then finally, Electrical Officer.
After those first three years in Japan, I crossed the pier for another two years, joining the U.S. SEVENTH FLEET embarked aboard USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC-19). From 1988 – 1989, I was both the Assistant Fleet Scheduling Officer and the Assistant Logistics Officer. I managed a fuel budget of $180 million.
I left Japan after those two tours over five years and headed to Monterey, California, where I studied immersion French at the Defense Language Institute for the latter half of 1989. Upon successful completion of the course, I headed to Toulon, France, where from late 1989 – early 1992, I took up duties an exchange officer with the French Navy: first aboard the FNS COLBERT (C 611), and later, the FNS DUQUESNE (D 603), both as the Navigator.
I left the US Navy in 1992 and returned to the U.S., San Francisco Bay Area. After a few false starts in entrepreneurial endeavors, I started a company in my bedroom in the summer of 1993 that evolved into lots of employees and a 20-year run.
Now I tend to a couple of income streams, write, cook, agitate my wife, and am thoroughly owned by three rat terriers who walk me regularly near our home at 4,000 feet of elevation in the Sierras.
“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” – Theodosius Dobzhansky