Archive for the ‘bookworm’ Category

Ah, vacation is finally here!

This year has gone by so fast, I honestly can’t believe it’s already Songkran (Thai New Year). Amazingly, this is the first vacation where we haven’t either had friends visiting or been on our way to visit friends in new exciting countries. Tomorrow we head out to Phuket for a week of eating, sleeping, swimming, and enjoying the antics of the hotel’s baby elephant.

I’m definitely looking forward to the extensive relaxing sleeping (on the beach, at the pool, wherever I can get horizontal) I plan to do over the next week.

Just in case I can muster up the energy to do a little old-school reading, in between naps of course, I’m bringing along a few must-reads:

Actually, these books serve a dual purpose, not only are they entertaining for my “awake time,” but they do a mighty good job of reserving a table at the all-important breakfast buffet. And, truly, what kind of vacation is complete without the breakfast buffet eat-a-thon? Either way, I’m pretty sure that 90% of these books will end up accompanying me on my next vacation, but a girl can try right?

See you in a week!

Karon Beach, Phuket image from yeowatzup

Tags: travel, Thailand, Phuket, reading, books, personal


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Photo Hunt: Paper

As a technology teacher, I’m not too fond of paper. Here in the tropics paper molds very quickly, paper gets ripped and dirty, paper gets lost, paper can be hard to share given it’s physical (and not virtual, and therefore infinite) presence, when I use paper I have to actually handwrite (something that I have become increasingly worse at over the years), I could go on and on. I like things that are digital.

Alas, we are not quite at the all-digital world I dream of. So, for now, my only acceptable form of paper is books:


And we have a lot of books. Already, in just a few weeks here in Bangkok, we have accumulated piles of books (although many of them did come with us from the US this summer). I’m a pretty fast reader and I’ve developed a liking for non-fiction, which is why you’ll see so many business/technology titles in my photo for this week. Unfortunately I tend to buy so many books that I never have time to finish them all. Currently on my list are:

* Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger
* Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
* Linked by Albert-Lazlo Barabasi
* Emergence by Steve Johnson
* Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins
* Small Pieces Loosely Joined by David Weinberger
* Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
* Re-Imagine by Tom Peters
* Millennials Rising by Neil Howe and William Strauss
* Growing up Digital by Don Tapscott
* Not on Our Watch by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast
* The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
* Incendiary Circumstances by Amitav Ghosh
* Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
* Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience
* Teaching for Understanding with Technology
* Building Online Learning Communities
* Wired Shut: Copyright and the Digital Culture
* The Culture Code
* Generation Digital

What kinds of paper do you have at home?

TNChick’s tags:

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Brain Freeze

This week I’ve been totally brain dead. I have loads of things I want to write about on my various blogs, tons of things I have to do before spring break, and work I have to finish before reports are due. Yet, I seem completely unable to do any of them…

Sometimes I think I have so many things I want to do, I can’t even begin to start. Also, sometimes I can’t do anything until I’ve accomplished one major task – like I have some sort of traffic jam in my mind. Either way, it’s driving me crazy! Does this ever happen to you?

Anyway, speaking of brains, I’ve just started reading A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. It’s basically about the transition from the Information Age to (what he refers to as) the Conceptual Age. The subtitle is: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future. I took a fun somewhat boring, but thankfully, short quiz to test my “brainage” (is that word?), and it turns out I’m predominantly (52%) left-brained.

According to the quiz:

In addition to being known as left-brained, you are also known as a critical thinker who uses logic and sense to collect information. You are able to retain this information through the use of numbers, words, and symbols. You usually only see parts of the “whole” picture, but this is what guides you step-by-step in a logical manner to your conclusion. Concise words, numerical and written formulas and technological systems are often forms of expression for you. Some occupations usually held by a left-brained person include a lab scientist, banker, judge, lawyer, mathematician, librarian, and skating judge.

No surprise there, I’m sure you’re thinking. I am so structured and organized it even drives me crazy. I guess I have to work on the little activities Pink has at the end of each chapter to “exercise” my right-brain. I do want to rule the future after all.

Image 1: http://www.texascooking.com/gif/trivia/slurpee.gif
Image 2: http://www.trymysport.co.uk/sports_photos/ice_skating/singles_ice_skating.jpg

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Since we moved to Malaysia I have basically stopped cooking. It’s just too damn hot. I can’t bear to stand over the flaming gas stove with sweat pouring into my eyes as I try to navigate my slightly cramped kitchen. It doesn’t really put me in the mood for a tasty dinner. Plus, eating out is so cheap and easy.

The only problem is that I really enjoy cooking. I have about 100 cookbooks that I’ve been lugging around all over the world, and I really really want to use them. One of them, Cook 1.0: A Fresh Approach to the Vegetarian Kitchen by Heidi Swanson, especially. I bought it just before we left Munich (where I cooked every day) so I have only used it a few times, but I already know I love it. I don’t cook meat at home, so I mostly own vegetarian cookbooks and this one is truly unique.

It meets my basic cookbook requirements:

  • Lots of colorful pictures
  • Easy, quick recipies requiring few ingredients
  • A wide variety of types of receipies
  • Includes everything from breakfast, to one-pot meals, to drinks

But what makes this particular cookbook so special (to me, anyway) is it’s layout (and the fact that Swanson is a professional photographer so it’s beautiful and stylishly designed). The book is set up by technique, rather than by recipe.

Instead of including one way to cook each dish, Swanson makes each dish into it’s own mini chapter and explains (using a very simple and easy to understand table set-up) how to create the same type of dish with different ingredients.

For me, this is a great way to cook. Not only do I get the opportunity to understand how to make many different recipes using the same technique, but I also find it easier to remember the different dishes when they are organized by step and process, rather than by final product. As a teacher, I know it’s easier to learn new things if you can make connections to something you already know, so this method is a very logical and effective way to approach cooking new dishes. I find it encourages me to try new things and to experiment with different ingrediates, which is exactly what I want from a cookbook!

Image 1 from: http://www.cooking.com/images/products/shprodde/295721.jpg
Image 2 from: http://www.101cookbooks.com/mt-static/images/food/cook1_toc.jpg

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News of the week

I have seen some interesting news articles this week, so many in fact, I was inspired to post them all here:

First, 16 Probable Planets Found in Milky Way: “NASA scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered what they believe are 16 new planets deep in the Milky Way, leading them to conclude there are probably billions of planets spread throughout the galaxy.” Wow! Slowly but surely, I’m getting ever closer to my secret dream of finding out if there is life on other planets.

And if there is life on other planets, maybe I can teleport there, like in StarTrek, thanks to these Danish scientists.

I was slightly horrified (and also slightly, well OK, very, curious) to read about the radioactive snails discovered at the site in Spain where 3 hydrogen bombs accidentally fell 40 years ago.

Another plane (albeit a much, much smaller one) crashes into a NY city office building.

A “walking skeleton” parades down the runway in Paris Oct 7th. Yikes. I do love America’s Next Top Model, but this is frighting…

And, astonishingly China has actually unblocked Wikipedia even though they wouldn’t let Google in without censorship.

Perhaps all of my interest in this global news is has been inspired by finishing this book:

The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman

What an absolutely amazing book. I read almost the whole thing while we were on Redang and I just could not put it down. If you are at all interested in technology or education or the future of business and/or globalization, you absolutely have to read this book. Friedman is engaging, funny, thoughtful and inspiring. This book not only re-affirmed my own thoughts about education and technology, but opened my eyes to ways in which this will affect every single person on the planet. I would have to say that this is one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. If you’re interested, see the Wikipedia entry.

But I also did like these books that I recently read:

Close to Shore: The true story of the “summer of fear” when a lone shark terrorized the East Coast of the US

The Devil in the White City: The story of a seriel killer during the Worlds Fair in Chicago

and just started:


Phew! I guess I really like to read…

Has anyone else read these books (particularly The World is Flat)? What did you think?

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Free… Masons?

Alex and I have always had a fascination with the Freemasons. Maybe this is our chance!


I can see us now, in uniform, at the top of the obelisk in Washington, DC. How exciting!

Speaking of secret societies, I just bought myself a new copy of Foucault’s Pendulum (I’ve read it twice already, but I never seem to manage to hang on to my copy). If you’re at all interested in anything related to the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, or the Freemasons, I highly recommend it.


Freemasons image from: http://www.unexplainedstuff.com/images/geuu_02_img0231.jpg
Book cover image from: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n3/n15761.jpg

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Speaking of Reading…

I found this really cool website:


that allows you to keep a virtual library of your books. You can view them by covers or by title. I love it! I’m trying to figure out how to get the “recent reads” widget to work somewhere in my blog. I’m going to test it here to see what happens… And, no luck. Anyone know how to add widgets to a WordPress blog if it’s not on the list of available widgets?

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