Author Archive

Book Review: You Look So Much Better in Person

True Stories of Absurdity and Success

You Look So Much Better in Person is an autobiography from Al Roker, who you probably know from The Today Show! The book tells all about how his career got its start with each chapter or “Altruism”.  This was a quick read but very amusing and interesting! I’ve always liked Al so it was nice to read more about how he got his start and the challenges he faced.  I also really liked hearing his behind the scenes take on what it was like playing Old Joe in Waitress! (The only show on Broadway I have seen twice!)  He also tells a great story about the ONE time he overslept and didn’t get up at his usual 3:45am wake up time. (I can’t even imagine being up that early – let alone doing it thousands of days in a row, yikes!)

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Today coanchor Al Roker presents an entertaining guide to achieving a life of happiness and success through the power of “yes!”
These days, the road to success can feel jam-packed with scheduling, networking, nonstop hustle, and flat-out absurdity. And no one knows that better than Al Roker-beloved cohost of the Today Show, weatherperson extraordinaire, and the man we all secretly wish we could turn to for wisdom and wisecracks in our everyday lives. From his college days as a polyester-suit clad weather forecaster in Syracuse to battling and buttering up the “Butter Man” during the legendary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Al has learned worthwhile lessons over a long successful career. And now, for the first time, Al is ready to unleash savvy advice on how to embrace happiness and the power of saying “yes,” alongside a host of humorous tips and tricks about how to succeed in life.

In You Look So Much Better in Person, Al teaches us how we can weather the storm of life, no matter how torrential the downpour, and shares anecdotes from his own treasure trove of memories in the spotlight. And it hasn’t always been easy-believe it or not, even Al has been yelled at by his boss, suffered an emotional breakdown at work, and told he’d be better suited in another position. Within these pages, he looks back on his own career and shares valuable “Altruisms” that can be applied to our own endeavors, such as how to:

· Navigate the special hell that is socializing

· Craft the perfect comeback line during a confrontation-and know when to use it

· Get up early and actually make the most of your time

· Cry at work without freaking people out

· And much, much more!

Packed to the brim with cackle-inducing and cringeworthy behind-the-scenes insight and observations from over four decades in the media, this book reminds us all that long-term success in our personal lives and our careers is just within reach. You Look So Much Better in Person will leave you laughing out loud and inspired, and feeling not alone amidst life’s best and worst moments.

Scrapbook Saturday – March

Hanson at Sea World, Andy Grammer, Chrissy Metz, O-Town, The Last Bandoleros, Trent Harmon, Jeff Dye

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COVID concert update

The end of March I gave an update on my upcoming concerts – or lack thereof.  Things have just gotten worse since then as the number of people allowed to gather together inside is not enough to allow for an indoor concert and probably won’t be for the foreseeable future if cases continue to spike. (Wear a mask!)

  1. March 11 – John K radio show – canceled due to health concerns the afternoon of the show
  2. March 28 – Mandy Moore – postponed, date TBD
  3. April 2 – BBMak – rescheduled to October 2020
  4. April 4 – Dashboard Confessional – postponed to November – canceled after Chris’ accident, waiting on refund
  5. April 18 – Stephen Kellogg – went virtual and became an * in my stats
  6. April 19 – Stephen Kellogg – went virtual and became an * in my stats (Will count for 2020 yearly count, but not overall as I don’t count virtual)
  7. April 28 – David Archuleta – postponed, most likely to May 2021
  8. April 30 – Eric Hutchinson – postponed, date TBD
  9. May 1 – Niall Horan – canceled, refund received.
  10. May 10 – Ben Folds – postponed, date TBD
  11. May 15 – Hanson – postponed to 2021
  12. May 16 – Hanson – postponed to 2021
  13. May 17 – Hop Jam – postponed to 2021
  14. June 11 – Stephen Kellogg – show got pushed to August, still not sure it’ll end up happening
  15. June 27 – Alanis Morissette – postponed to August 2021
  16. June 28 – David Cook – pushed to October 2020
  17. July 12 – Harry Styles – postponed to October 2021
  18. July 18 – Backstreet Boys – postponed to July 2021
  19. August 20 – Stephen Kellogg – rescheduled from June *fingers crossed*
  20. October 15 – rescheduled from April *fingers crossed*
  21. October 23 – rescheduled from June *fingers crossed*

With all the free time, I managed to get 100% on my Capstone research paper (that came in right on target at 15 pages), I have finished all my concert scrapbook pages AND created pages for all the upcoming shows (some of which turned into cancelled show pages) that are “one offs” (ie not Hanson in Tulsa or Jamaica, but I expect outlines for those pages will be coming soon) and I have just about 13 more baseball games to scrap (I hadn’t done any since I think 2016…) and I will be totally caught up on scrapbooking past events.  This is a bit of a shock as I am usually just about a year behind on scrapbooking.  And now I’ll be AHEAD with the pre-made pages for the postponed shows.  I’ll continue to showcase these pages on Saturdays until I run out of content!

 

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Book Review: Doable

DOABLE is a book about habits and human behavior. It breaks apart human nature and things that you can do to help change your bad habits and decisions that you make in life. I always want to make a change but feel too overwhelmed with what I have to do to make it happen. DOABLE helps break it down a bit.

The book states that people are faced with 35000 decisions a day. 225 about food alone. (I think I probably make even more food related decisions, but I digress.) Throughout the book are a lot of different stories from the author and a lot of really great quotes that are relevant to each chapter of the book. Each chapter ends with a chapter summary, so if you want to quickly reference any section again at a later date you can quickly figure out which topics were covered.

I will admit I have a lot of bad habits – the book breaks this down as:

Simply put, a habit formed

You saw it

You liked it

You wanted it

You got it

Habits can be formed that are both good and bad. Picking up a snack every morning with your coffee may end up a bad habit because you’ll gain weight from it.

Some advice from the book that stuck with me? “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed” – Admiral William H McCraven I never make my bed. Maybe it’s time to start. Other advice? Do I love it? Is it useful? I may have to put that to good use and make it a habit when deciding what to buy and what not to. As well as what to keep and what not to during my next cleaning/purge.

“Today is today, not tomorrow. Like the decisive moment, this moment is now, then gone forever. Did you use it wisely?”

If you’re looking to make changes in your life but aren’t sure where to start – one decision you should make in your day is to read this book.

I received a free copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery in order to complete this review.

About the Book

Through witty, inspiring stories, combined with decades of cutting-edge research, DOABLE takes you on an adventure to explore what motivates all human behavior, the pitfalls that will trip you up, and the elements crucial to your success and happiness.

Whether it’s to change your waistline or to change the world, DOABLE delivers bite-sized practical advice that will transform your life. This book is an entertaining one-stop-shop for inspiration and life-improvement made simple, relevant and doable.

Scrapbook Saturday – February 2018

Las Vegas! Backstreet Boys! Hoover Dam!

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Book Review: COVID-19

The Pandemic that Never Should Have Happened and How to Stop the Next One

I’m not exactly sure why I chose to read this book as I had been trying to mute and avoid all things Covid related for the last couple months in order to try and not go absolutely nuts.  But this book ended up being very informative – breaking down what we knew about the virus, how many experts knew that a pandemic was coming and the missteps that were made in trying to contain it.  I can only hope that there were some very big lessons learned and while the book talks about here possibly being more viruses coming in the future, I hope that these lessons will help us move forward and not end up having anything like this happen to the world again.  Very eye opening and I am sure there could be several sequels written for this book as we are still in the middle of it and have so much more to learn!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

In a gripping, accessible narrative, a veteran science journalist lays out the shocking story of how the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic happened and how to make sure this never happens again

Over the last 30 years of epidemics and pandemics, we learned nearly every lesson needed to stop this coronavirus outbreak in its tracks. We heeded almost none of them. The result is a pandemic on a scale never before seen in our lifetimes. In this captivating, authoritative, and eye-opening book, science journalist Debora MacKenzie lays out the full story of how and why it happened: the previous viruses that should have prepared us, the shocking public health failures that paved the way, the failure to contain the outbreak, and most importantly, what we must do to prevent future pandemics.

Debora MacKenzie has been reporting on emerging diseases for more than three decades, and she draws on that experience to explain how COVID-19 went from a potentially manageable outbreak to a global pandemic. Offering a compelling history of the most significant recent outbreaks, including SARS, MERS, H1N1, Zika, and Ebola, she gives a crash course in Epidemiology 101–how viruses spread and how pandemics end–and outlines the lessons we failed to learn from each past crisis. In vivid detail, she takes us through the arrival and spread of COVID-19, making clear the steps that governments knew they could have taken to prevent or at least prepare for this. Looking forward, MacKenzie makes a bold, optimistic argument: this pandemic might finally galvanize the world to take viruses seriously. Fighting this pandemic and preventing the next one will take political action of all kinds, globally, from governments, the scientific community, and individuals–but it is possible.

No one has yet brought together our knowledge of COVID-19 in a comprehensive, informative, and accessible way. But that story can already be told, and Debora MacKenzie’s urgent telling is required reading for these times and beyond. It is too early to say where the COVID-19 pandemic will go, but it is past time to talk about what went wrong and how we can do better.

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Book Review: Broken Genius

Broken Genius was my pick for my “beach read” for my trip earlier this year.  Unfortunately, cyber security grad school work got in the way of “for fun” reading time, so this book got pushed on the back burner.  But the timing ended up working out pretty nicely, as this book will be officially released next week.  Right up my alley, this book contains coding mistakes (a bit more high stakes than any I have made), cyber security and hacking as well as it all takes place at a Comic Con!

Our main character is Will Parker – a prodigy, silicon valley guy.  But when a mistake he makes with code costs a student her life and a tsunami in Japan ends up changing his plans to buy a company there he ends up finding himself working with the FBI in the Cyber Division.  When a man ends up dead at a comic con, things start to get very interesting, very quickly.  In his possession was a radioactive quantum computer – a unicorn – created by the company in Japan Will was working with but that seemed to disappear after the tsunami and its after effects.  It turns out the victim knew exactly what he had and had turned to the dark web to try and sell it.  Will this auction bring out a high profile hacker that one of Will’s FBI associates has been after for years?

This book seems to be straight forward, but it had so many twists and turns throughout (some that I did see coming and some that absolutely blindsided me) that it was a roller coaster ride to read.  I absolutely loved it.  The front cover says “A Will Parker Thriller” so I am hopeful that this means there will be more books based around him (or maybe they already exist?)  I will have to do some research…

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

In 2011, Will Parker, the young prodigy CEO of a big tech company, makes a coding mistake that costs a college student her life. To assuage his guilt, Will pursues a career in the FBI Cyber Division. Now, Special Agent Will Parker is called to investigate a murder scene at a Comic Con event in the Midwest, where the victim has ties to a radioactive quantum computer that Will was working on before he left his gig as CEO. Working with smart local homicide detective Dana Lopez and FBI stuffed-shirt Thomas Decker, Will discovers the victim was holding an auction for the computer on the Dark Web—and the bidding is still live. With bidders including a legendary Chinese hacker, Russian criminals sent by the Kremlin, and a corporate executive desperate to escape a scandal, Will once again finds a life in his hands when the victim’s daughter is taken hostage. A trail of blood and high-tech breadcrumbs leads Will deeper into mystery, danger, and a race against time to keep unlimited power out of the wrong hands.

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