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Alessandra Eakin "The Office Hottie from Ugly Is Not An Option blog" RSS Feed (Atlanta, GA USA)

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Potato In A Rice Bowl
Potato In A Rice Bowl
by Peggy Keener
Edition: Paperback
Price: $21.07
37 used & new from $5.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Day in the Life Over the Decades, May 30, 2012
This review is from: Potato In A Rice Bowl (Paperback)
I grew up in Japan during my teens as a Military Brat and went to school on the same base the Keeners were stationed. Small world! So when I had the chance to lead a technology transformation for a corporation in Asia Pac and manage roll-outs in Singapore, China, the Philippines, and Japan, I pored over books that helped me understand life from an ex-pat's perspective. Plus, my mom highly recommended it to me.

The title intrigued me and then its cover picture clued me in. Square in the middle of all the Asian kids is this toe-headed, white blonde haired boy. Queue Sesame Street's music "One of these things does not match the other," this kid does not belong! The cognitive dissonance hit me and I got it: potato in a rice bowl! White kid in the midst of Asian children really stands out as perfectly odd.

Moving to Japan first in the 1960s as an Army wife, Peggy's adventure begins. I was looking for a day-in-the-life perspective that could include starting a family in which I would experience as an ex-pat myself. As a young wife and new mother, perhaps I could vicariously experience this other world through this woman. Considering how personal the story is, it was possible.

If you're writing your dissertation on Japan over the decades, this particular publication is perhaps too autobiographical to be useful to you. Not an academic tome, it is instead a story that seems to me what one would write to leave to one's family. As if the writer wants to tell the stories of those too young at the time to know the details and backdrop of events retold with color and emotion instead.

There are many personal anecdotes like a watery near death experience, the loss and longing of one's loving Midwest family back home, to enrolling one's young children in a Japanese school as if that were at all normal to an American mom. Peggy writes from the heart, which at times made me think many passages are musings in passing, but every insight is sincere.

Again, because of the personal and almost private perspective of the entire story, this is a wholesome gal with a new husband and even newer kids plunked down in the Land of the Rising Sun. With spunk and chutzpa, Peggy makes her life in Japan home and heartfelt. Whacky humor that is quintessentially Midwestern, and to me quite exotic, we see a Japan that is truer and more foreign than the ubiquitous Sushi Bars and tramp stamp tattoos we know now.

Given how personal the story is of the decades long retrospective of life in Japan, I was pleased to learn of Peggy's accolades in self-publishing this book. The awards I learned of are in 2011 Readers Favorite Gold Award for Best Memoir, Readers Favorite Finalist for Best Nonfiction History/Culture, and Readers Favorite Finalist for Best Nonfiction Humor; and 2012 International Book Awards Finalist for Best Humor.

All told, I decided against the move back to Asia and decided to stay in Atlanta. But it was such a joy to happen upon this gem! When I tire of my American life, I peruse through this book and trace my finger over the shock of that young lad's white hair. Every time, I think to myself, how neat.


Sony VAIO VGC-LT19U Desktop PC/TV All-In-One (Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7500, 2 GB RAM, 500 GB Hard Drive, Blu-Ray DVD Drive, Vista Ultimate)
Sony VAIO VGC-LT19U Desktop PC/TV All-In-One (Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7500, 2 GB RAM, 500 GB Hard Drive, Blu-Ray DVD Drive, Vista Ultimate)

36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best computer yet, easiest setup, pure perfection, November 19, 2007
I am developing a website that got past the funding stage and am now in the real development stage. So I needed a PC that could grow with my site for the next few years. I have 3 laptops, but wanted a PC at home that serves as my central server and database as a platform for my development team, which spans across the country from Seattle to different teams in Atlanta. This is how I justified the price to myself.

Considering we will host videos online, I took the plunge and got the Blu-Ray version for two reasons:
1. Blu-Ray compresses data tighter than DVD, which makes more storage/disk space for our files that increases exponentially in time.
2. We can develop high definition (HD) videos to host online, increasing our production quality to web clients and improving on the quality of our own productions.

As for setting it up, this is the easiest experience I have had with technology to date. I'm pretty good with software, it being my profession. But hardware and networking is the bane of my career because I just can't get things to connect. So I rely on really helpful and smart guys to help me complete a task.

But this time, I ordered from Amazon and got next day delivery. I could actually carry the wide box myself (by slipping my hands beneath the taped top lid, and not by the too wide handles on the sides). I literally slid the computer out of the box and onto my desk. Done.

I gently popped the back cover off and plugged in the power cord, USB for the printer, pressed the connect button to the wireless mouse and keyboard, and setup was done! I even connected my external drive, which I use as a backup for all my laptops. Suddenly, I didn't know what to do with my time, it had all been so simple.

Then I networked my home office so that the Sony would be the central hub. I did the User Setup and all the fun things like desktop design, wallpaper, screensaver. Done. Printed successfully with my Canon Pixma printer Canon Pixma MP530 Office All-In-One Inkjet Photo Printer (that I also bought from Amazon based on its high ratings). Done.

Next, I logged onto LogMeIn.com Professional, which allows me to transfer files from all my laptops onto my Sony Vaio. It was so seemless. I now have access to all three of my laptops from my Sony "hub" and from any Internet connection. HP Pavilion DV9260US 17" Entertainment Notebook PC (Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7200, 2 GB RAM, 200 GB Hard Drive, HD SuperMulti DVD Drive, Vista Ultimate)Apple MacBook Pro MA897LL/A 17" Notebook PC (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, 160 GB Hard Drive, DVD/CD SuperDrive)Dell Inspiron 1501, AMD Turion Dual-Core 64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-60 (2x2.0GHz), 1GB DDR2 SDRAM, 256MB ATI Radeon Xpress1150 video card, 60GB Harddrive, 15.4 Wide XGA LCD, CDRW/DVD combo, WiFi, Integrated NIC/Modem, Vista Home Premium

Then I connected my video camera Canon HG10 AVCHD 40GB High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (again, an Amazon purchase based on its high reviews and for my business that hosts podcasts and vblogs - video blogs). With time to kill, I played solitaire online. This while seamlessly transferring my Internet mail to Microsoft Outlook.

Everything was so easy to do, and done so well, that I actually got miffed by its simplicity. I made such a big deal about spending all weekend setting up my home office. Everything was hooked up within 15 minutes on the Friday night my computer was delivered. Saturday morning like a kid Christmas day, I got up and tackled my home office again.

Within an hour, all my laptops were networked, my printer printing, my video files transferred, my essential files transferred and organized, umpteen Solitair games played, documents created and revised. Everything. Done. I had nothing more to do.

That afternoon I went to a party, my self-esteem sky high and my business well underway. Amazing. This doesn't happen to me. But this computer is so well designed and intuitively organized, it made setup astoundingly easy. I had to write a 5-star review ASAP.

Also, I chose to purchase this very expensive equipment from Amazon and not a local retailer for these reasons.
* One is I love Amazon and rely on its User Reviews almost exclusively for purchasing decisions.
* Two is I saved $250.00 - $300.00 in shipping costs, sales tax, and gas prices by having Amazon ship it instead of another online retailer that has local stores.
* Third is so that Amazon can continue its history for me and offer accurate product recommendations, which has made my book and technology library just perfect for me.
* Fourth is I keep all my Amazon receipts when I file Schedule C for my business expenses on my yearly taxes.
* Fifth is most important to me - I saved a fortune in time by having Amazon ship it Next Day for only $1.99 with Amazon Prime. That meant I could stay at the client site and bill longer. No hellacious commute to get to the store and back. I could get it next day, a Friday, which allows me to work all weekend to set up the computer (when it only took me a couple of minutes, really).
* Sixth is that I didn't have to lug this big 'ole box but from the store home. They delivered it for me.

As a single professional woman, all of this means a whole lot to me. I don't have to relive the car mechanic and the dumb blonde routine. There is no store sales reps telling me that I don't know what I really when I really do (thanks to Amazon's User Reviews). I don't have to haul this heavy equipment everywhere myself. I don't have to pay extra in sales tax and shipping costs. Nor do I have to drive everywhere in maddening traffic.

This is a terrific computer with all the storage capacity I will need for the next few years of growth. It is cutting edge technology, which helps my site be competitive with production quality. It is an all-in-one setup with monitor, computer, wireless mouse and keyboard that integrates effortlessly and successfully. The screen size is immense and visual clarity profoundly beautiful.

This whole experience has been the best one I have had yet. Five stars isn't enough for the ease, simplicity, and success of my home office implementation. Goes to show you that if I can do this computer setup right and use it immediately, anyone can.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 7, 2008 10:23 AM PDT


Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking
Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking
by Anthony Bourdain
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $28.97
114 used & new from $14.59

119 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Demystifies French dishes with considerable wit and humor, November 2, 2004
I read B. Marold's amazing review below and immediately bought the book, it must be said. Tony Bourdain's brilliant cookbook is brief history and bootcamp styled self-help. He truly helped me shine with my new in-laws with his book and wile away the hours in-flight.

Went to Ireland to honeymoon with my in-laws on their dairy farm, an American gourmand alien to rural life. Ultimately brought this book with me to give to my Irish sister-in-law who's a fantastic cook. This book has both metric and English/American measurements and temperatures, which is a great help to all cooks stateside and abroad.

Read the first chapter and fell in love with Tony Bourdain all over again, after avidly watching his "A Cook's Tour" series on FoodTV. It makes sense: the best chefs come from the poorest regions of the world. Why? They have to improvise with the 'scraps' made available to them and make the undesirable most delicious. That explains why some of my best dishes were made with paltry remains in the pantry days from payday or years away from real income.

I offered to make my in-laws dinner one night with a recipe from the cookbook. Something basic and not frightfully exotic was the consensus. My intended feast: chicken basquaise. Feeding a family of five hungry adults in Ireland (or anywhere in the EU) is darned expensive. Lucked out at the local supermarket when eight pieces of chicken (thighs with bone and skin) were on sale, as all other options broke my budget.

My wonderful, saintly mother-in-law regards cooking as drudgery and the kitchen reflects this sentiment. I regard cooking as essential therapy, All-Clad as instruments of mental health. I was shocked we spent over $100 on two measly bags of food for the meal. For the considerable expense of groceries and the toll my outsized ego would take, I prayed the meal would be successful.

In the kitchen making the meal, I operated in less than ideal circumstances with limited overhead light (oh!), scant pots and pans (no!), and makeshift utensils (ugh!) on an electric stove (egads!). Kept glancing at Tony Bourdains really simple recipe, insisting it must be harder than it is. It wasn't.

When the meal was done, we all sat around the large table and served them. I nearly cried to see everyone in my new family of simple eaters devour first plates and second helpings. We left the table stuffed and blissfully happy, repeating with newfound eloquence: chicken basquaise, ooh la la.

If this American can impress pastoral people of Ireland with simple tastes and big appetites with one of Tony Bourdain's sophisticated recipes, then I absolutley assure you similar success with anyone. His explanations are sensible and inspire imagination. Following his logic and any of his recipes instills confidence.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 1, 2013 4:21 AM PDT


From Beirut to Jerusalem
From Beirut to Jerusalem
by Thomas L. Friedman
Edition: Paperback
868 used & new from $0.01

9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Been there, read it, done that, September 13, 2001
It was two months from the start of the Persian gulf War and 100 miles from the Iraqi border when I finished reading this book in a dimly lit room at an Istanbul hotel. The muezzin called for prayer five times a day in his tone deaf voice as each page turned, each event unfolded, each night turned to day for this mesmerized reader. A few days earlier, my dad, my sister, and I hopped on a military flight from Sicily to Turkey for a few days of Christmas vacation. I was a college student on holiday to see my parents overseas. We travel on holidays and Isreal proved to be too conflicted before the buildup for war. We hopped on a MAC flight to Turkey instead, laden with supplies to our bases there. As armed troops accompanied our plane taxying the runway on base, I read the harrowing event of Mr. Friedman, eyeing the end of a rifle. The armed guard asked slowly, solemnly, "Who shot JR?" What a great book. As we struggled to leave the Mid East, I really didn't want to. In-shah-Allah. God willing.


The Machiavellian Manager's Handbook for Success
The Machiavellian Manager's Handbook for Success
by L. F. Gunlicks
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.39
29 used & new from $1.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the Bible for my Bad side., November 18, 2000
At the tender age of 22, I graduated from a southern university and moved to Washington, D.C. I went from the Land of Gentility, where the women are beautiful and the men are gallant, to the Seat of Satan, where the women are plain and the men are just angry. Southern Hospitality had been supplanted by subterfuge and vice.
Work was war games for us entry-level paralegals. There was sabotage in every form: from hiding a coworker's legal briefings, having nothing to show after hours of tracked overtime; to assigning us a task only to be reprimanded for not delivering what was asked for; to sleeping around to get on better cases with more glory; to the ruin of reputations simply for being a intellectual threat to a mental midget, who were many. I was unarmed and overwhelmed.
After suffering the slings and arrows of underhanded tactics, I found my weapon to return fire. L. F. Gunlicks's manifesto for whimpering imps is my Art of War, with respect to Sun Tzu. I found his book while on my lunch break at a time in my life when my sanity was being questioned, my abilities were discounted, and my allies unemployed. By luck, I picked up The Machiavellian Manager's Handbook for Success and the clouds parted, the sun beamed through. My enemies hissed and recoiled from the light. This became my Bible for my Bad side. No more being nice. I win.
L.F. Gunlicks details every tactic of the shrewd coworker, intent on thwarting the path of your rising star, to the manipulations of an inept manager. He devises counterattacks through clever strategies, which always succeeds in reversing the destruction and exposing the evildoer. This is accomplished in ways that never reveal your hand on the map. Follow his guide and systematically dismantle the power of your detractors. The Empress Tzu Hsi said, "It is better to have strong adversaries than weak allies." This book helps you to identify your enemies from your allies and to gauge their strength and their weakness. Use it. Win.


The Machiavellian Manager's Handbook for Success
The Machiavellian Manager's Handbook for Success
by L. F. Gunlicks
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.39
29 used & new from $1.59

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the Bible for my Bad side., November 18, 2000
At the tender age of 22, I graduated from a southern university and moved to Washington, D.C. I went from the Land of Gentility, where the women are beautiful and the men are gallant, to the Seat of Satan, where the women are plain and the men are just angry. Southern Hospitality had been supplanted by subterfuge and vice.
Work was war games for us entry-level paralegals. There was sabotage in every form: from hiding a coworker's legal briefings, having nothing to show after hours of tracked overtime; to assigning us a task only to be reprimanded for not delivering what was asked for; to sleeping around to get on better cases with more glory; to the ruin of reputations simply for being a intellectual threat to a mental midget, who were many. I was unarmed and overwhelmed.
After suffering the slings and arrows of underhanded tactics, I found my weapon to return fire. L. F. Gunlicks's manifesto for whimpering imps is my Art of War, with respect to Sun Tzu. I found his book while on my lunch break at a time in my life when my sanity was being questioned, my abilities were discounted, and my allies unemployed. By luck, I picked up The Machiavellian Manager's Handbook for Success and the clouds parted, the sun beamed through. My enemies hissed and recoiled from the light. This became my Bible for my Bad side. No more being nice. I win.
He details every tactic of the shrewd coworker, intent on thwarting the path of your rising star, to the manipulations of an inept manager. He devises counterattacks through clever strategies, which always succeeds in reversing the destruction and exposing the evildoer. This is accomplished in ways that never reveal your hand on the map. Follow his guide and systematically dismantle the power of your detractors. The Empress Tzu Hsi said, "It is better to have strong adversaries than weak allies." This book helps you to identify your enemies from your allies and to gauge their strength and their weakness. Use it. Win.


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