Saturday, October 27, 2012

A child during the Vietnam War

Beyond the Rice Paddies - Book Review
by Linda West
(born Tran Thi Bach Yen Oanh )

The 111 pages of Beyond the Rice Paddies are organized into a series of 3 or 4 page stories. You will keep saying to yourself 'Just one more' until you realize you have read the entire book.

It is a fascinating look into the world of a young girl in Vietnam in the mid-1960's. Tran Thi Bach Yen Oanh (the author, now known as Linda West) lived with her paternal grandmother, the beloved Ba Noi, in the village of Bien Hoa near Saigon.

The vignettes describe the joys (some American chewing gum, a doll with yellow hair, etc.) and hardships (a toilet comprised of two rickety slats over a maggot and fly infested area) of life in that historic place and time.

The war affects the villagers but not always directly. For example, Young Oanh wakes up one day with 'bubbles' over her one side that they determine were caused by a powder that came from a plane. Bodies are left in the market square to be claimed. Her hut has a dugout area so she and her Ba Noi can hide from the bullets when firefights erupt.

The author tells of the joy of the parade as the "giant-sized" American GIs marched into town to go "Beyond the Rice Paddies' and fight the Viet Cong. She then describes the fear and confusion when only a handful of them limp back a few days later, sans the fanfare.

Her mother worked as a 'bargirl' in Saigon and eventually marries an American who takes Oanh and her brother to the US in 1970. The author is now a real estate broker, a mother of three children and lives in Tucson, Arizona.

It's a fascinating yet humbling book that will make you count your blessings and perhaps look at war and the world in a different way.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

60 years after the Korean War

For the 3rd year in a row the Korean American Association visited the 2100 Lakeside Men's Shelter in Cleveland and brought with them 350 meals and 350 heavy winter jackets. Two years ago, the Korean American Association donated 500 blankets. Last year they also donated winter coats. Song Pil-Gak, chairman of the Korean province of Gyeongsangbuk-Do spoke (with translator) at the Cleveland men's shelter at 2100 Lakeside as part of the annual Korean American Association outreach. He has participated all 3 years.
In the words of Jeong (John) Szongchan of the Korean Association "It is only right that we do something like this. 60 years ago America helped us. We are happy that we can help now."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Superhero, Star Wars and Zombie Family

Have you seen those stickers on the back of cars?  They show an image of a family - maybe a Dad and Mom and kids and pets.

Now you can get cooler and geekier decals for the car or window or wherever.

Marvel Superhero Family Car Decals are the product of a partnership between ThinkGeek and Marvel. One package contains 50 decals, plenty to decorate multiple cars and your wee geeks' bedroom windows.

Four characters are included: Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine, and Spider-Man. Each character comes in six versions: Dad, Mom, Daughter, Son, Dog, and Cat. Assemble your team of heroes and proudly display them wherever your Fantasti-Car may take you.

Product Specifications Family car decals for fans of Marvel superheroes 50 decals in all, 2 sheets of each set Ironman (Dad, Mom, Boy Child, Girl Child) Captain America (Dad, Mom, Boy Child, Girl Child) Wolverine (Dad, Mom, Boy Child, Girl Child) Spider-Man (Dad, Mom, Boy Child, Girl Child) Pets (Cat & Dog versions of Ironman, Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man) Marvel logo Stick easily to any clean, flat surface Officially licensed Marvel collectible.

Marvel Superhero Family Car Decals

Besides the Marvel Superheros you can also get Star Wars family and Zombie family. Just click on any of the images for more info.

Star Wars Family Car Decals

Zombie Family Car Decals

Friday, October 19, 2012

Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design (RWD) is the latest approach to web design. It employs CSS3 media queries to provide an optimal viewing experience across the numerous different devices people view content on.

The Great Lakes Geek sat down with two of the pros from Aztek to get the latest on RWD. Dave Skorepa is Chief Creative Office and Matt Mesenger is Director of Web Marketing at Aztek Web Design in Cleveland and they live and breathe this stuff.

Besides the primer on Responsive Web Design, they answer the Geek's questions about scrolling, resizing, Pinterest, SEO and other related issues.

Look for more on Web Design, SEO, Social Media and more from the pros at Aztek coming soon at GreatLakesGeek.Com

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Leif Ericson Day

The Scandinavian community of Cleveland, including those from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland gathered at the bust of Leif Ericson in front of Shooters in Cleveland's Flats. Leif Ericson was a Norse explorer regarded as the first European to land in North America (excluding Greenland), nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus.

Each year on Leif Ericson Day they toast the explorer and his maritime accomplishments with a drink of Aquavit, a 40 proof Scandinavian liqueur. Aquavit is said to get its special flavor from its trip to the Equator.

Photos and videos from Leif Ericson Day in Cleveland

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Fitness for Geeks

I  just finished reading Fitness for Geeks: Real Science, Great Nutrition, and Good Health

Let's face it. Many of us who qualify for the moniker Geek (or Geekette) tend to spend a lot of time seated in front of a computer. We also tend to eat and drink items that are convenient and tasty which usually is a synonym for 'unhealthy.'

People like us are always looking for a clever or unique way to solve a problem. So if fitness is the problem, we approach it as a hackable goal. When a book proposes to lead us to fitness in such a manner, especially with the credibility of being part of the O'Reilly family, we have to check it out.

Great Lakes Geek Book Review of Fitness for Geeks

Monday, October 08, 2012

Peruvian Procession

In Lima, Peru there is a highly venerated mural of the Lord of the Miracles (SeƱor de los Milagros de Nazarenas). Just as Italians (and others) celebrate The Feast of the Assumption with parades and festivals, the people of Peru celebrate The Lord of the Miracles. It is the main Catholic celebration in Peru and boasts one of the largest processions in the world.

Here in Cleveland this tradition is carried out at Iglesia La Sagrada Familia Catholic Church on Detroit Ave. About 1000 took part in the 18th annual event on Sunday October 7.

Pictures and video from the Lord of the Miracles Procession

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Alzheimer's Disease - Stage 6

It seems like everyone I know has been affected by Alzheimer's Disease in some way.  For us, it's been with my Aunt Pam who is now in stage 6 of 7 of the disease.

It's frustrating and scary and sad.  This is one disease that may be harder on the family and caregivers than the patient.

My cousin (Pam's daughter) Laura wrote a powerful essay on dealing with her Mom now that she is in Stage 6.  It's really something.