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The personal blog of Michael Ashby

Category / books

Tales From A Pantry

Tales From A PantryAuthor: Marjorie Sweeney Beck Edition: Paperback, 65 pages Publisher: Unknown ASIN: Unknown Category Food

While strolling through the French Market in New Orleans on a gorgeous afternoon, I happened to stop into Aunt Sally’s Creole Pralines. Although clearly geared for the tourist, Aunt Sally’s stocked a very nice selection of true Louisiana fare. Things that you might find in just about any home in Louisiana. Although my wife and I were back in Louisiana to visit family, we had been a bit homesick recently, so seeing items that we grew up with really made us feel all warm and fuzzy. I had just taken up a keen interest in cooking, so I was wondering around looking at all the cookbooks.

They stocked the classics, such as “River Road Recipes” and even some avant garde fare such as “White Trash Cooking“, but there were several cookbooks that I had never seen before. One that particularly caught my eye was called “Tales From A Pantry: Reminisces of Growing Up in New Orleans in the Thirties and Forties, and Just a Few Recipes”. The small book appeared to be self published with a plastic comb style binding. As I glanced through the pages, I saw more stories than I did recipes, which piqued my interest, but when I saw that there was a recipe for Grillades, it instantly became a must have cookbook. 😛 Continue Reading

Bicycle Touring: How To Prepare For Long Rides

Bicycle Touring: How To Prepare For Long Rides, by Steve ButtermanAuthor: Steve Butterman
Edition: Paperback, 104 pages
Publisher: Wilderness Press; (October 1994)
ASIN: 0899971741
Category: Travel

I’ve always felt that you should never stop learning. Even if you feel that you’re an expert in a subject, I think you should still stay current and up-to-date, as well as read what others have to say on a subject. I’m no expert when it comes to bicycle touring, but I did do a 6 month tour of Europe from Ireland to Portugal once, so I do have a little experience. While preparing for a simple little jaunt down the Natchez Trace, I came across Steve Butterman’s book, Bicycle Touring: How To Prepare For Long Rides and decided to give it a read. I thought it might give me a few tips or tricks that I might find helpful. Surprisingly, the book did quite a bit more than that.

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My Favorite Periodical

The Rivendell ReaderI do a lot of reading. Between the news feeds, web sites, E-mail, magazines, technical manuals, O’Reilly computer books, self help books, and pleasure reading, it seems like I’m always reading something. Out of all of the reading I do, there’s one periodical that stands out above the rest. I eagerly devour each issue and can’t wait for the next one to arrive. The latest issue just arrived this week and I’ve been gleefully perusing each and every page. What’ the name of this coveted gem? It’s The Rivendell Reader.

Admittedly, I’m a bit old school, especially when it comes to bicycles. I like things simple and proven. I just want Juliet (my touring bike) to work reliably and I don’t need the latest greatest gizmo. The Rivendell Bicycle Works company is right up my alley. To quote their web site, “We’re and eight-year-old manufacturer and mail-order bike shop for bike riders who prefer traditional, classical bicycles and parts and accessories to today’s ever-changing high-tech fare.” The Reader is a classic example of old school bicycling.

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A Toast To Dr. Foster

On Friday night, Holly, Mom and I went to the Davis Kidd bookstore for a book signing. Dr. David Foster was signing his new book, The Power to Prevail – Turning Your Adversities into Advantages, so we decided to pop on over and grab us a copy.

Trading Spaces Behind the Scenes by Meredith Books

Trading SpacesTLC’s Trading Spaces is like crack to a new home owner – you watch the show once and you’re hooked. At least that’s how it happened to me. 🙂 One Saturday afternoon, I was scanning the television and stumbled upon the show and instantly fell in love. For those that haven’t seen the show, two sets of homeowners swamp houses and with the help of a designer do a two-day room re-design armed with only a $1000 budget. As you might imagine things can go wrong as the designers pull and tug the homeowners into doing sometimes outlandish things to their neighbors spaces. It’s a great show that can give you a lot of inspiration and ideas for your own home.

I was in Home Depot looking for a book on Tiling for a project I’m working on, when I stumbled upon “Trading Spaces Behind the Scenes” book. If you love the show, this book is for you. However, if you’re looking for Tips and Tricks, then keep looking because this book is more about the “behind the scenes” than anything else. In it, you’ll learn about how the show is put together from start to finish. There is a chapter dedicated to each member of the cast as well as a large glamour photo. Fans of Ty Pennington the hunky carpenter, won’t be disappointed.

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Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

There’s an old Louisiana saying, ‘When you’re up to your ass in alligators is when you remember you were supposed to drain the swamp.’ 2002 was my year of the alligator and luckily Tony Ching of the San Francisco Palm Users Group recommended this book to me. What struck me by his recommendation was not the level of excitement he had about the book (like my excitement over The E-Myth Revisited), but rather the Zen like calm he had when discussing it.

David Allen is president of David Allen & Co. and has more than twenty years’ experience as a management consultant, executive coach, and educator. He has been a keynote speaker and productivity facilitator for organizations such as Oracle, L. L. Bean, Microsoft, Lockheed, and the World Bank.His work has been featured in Fast Company, Fortune, and many other publications. With a background like that I was really expecting a dry and very business like book. However, in the first chapter he referrs to “flow,” and to reach a state where your mental state is a “mind like water,” I knew that this was going to be a different kind of book. That is not to say that just because you throw in a few Eastern philosophies you have a good book. Obviously, you have to have real-world solutions and not just another collection of buzz words and this book delivers. The premise of the book is that you have to have a system that works irregardless of what technology you use. In other words, a new piece of software, or a new type of binder isn’t going to do it. You need a fool-proof system that can adapt as you need to.

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The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

The E Myth Revisited

Rarely does a book come along that touches such a strong nerve that it vibrates through your whole body, but this one did for me. For the last year I have been eagerly searching for answers to some of the problems facing my business, however I kept coming up empty. Then a friend of mine recommended this book to me and I haven’t been the same since.

The “E” in The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber, stands for “entrepreneur” and the premise is that it’s not entrepreneurs that start small businesses, but something else entirely. There’s no way that I can do his text justice by trying to condense it. Luckily, I don’t have to – the e-myth web site has the first four pages available on-line [Edit: link no longer available online]. Suffice to say that if you’re considering starting your own business, or find yourself currently running your own business, this book is a must read. Michael Gerber nails running a small business right on the head and gives real world solutions to problems that every small business will run into.

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