EBSCO Alt HealthWatch

Does your New Year’s resolution to become better organized, healthier, and more fit take into account any stress management?  If you haven’t an answer, don’t fret.  Let EBSCO Alt Health Watch give you a fresh, new perspective on managing stress in your life. 

  • Click “Online Databases” on the left navigation menu of our home page.
  • Click “Enter” (remote users will be asked to enter library card number).
  • From the Statewide Databases list, click “EBSCO”; select EBSCOHost Web; scroll and click “Alt HealthWatch”.
  • We’ll start with a basic search.  In the blank search box, type stress reduction; click search.
  • To banish the anxiety of sorting through 755 hits, we’ll narrow our results by specifying a subject.  Notice the suggestions provided to do just this; click your choice of subjects (e.g., stress management, yoga, meditation).
  • To read an article that sparks your interest, click either the entry title or HTML or PDF Full Text.
  • Click Add (a link beside each article citation) to save articles in your personal folder; you may opt to save, print or email items in your folder once you are done browsing and collecting what you want to read.

Tax Strategy Booklist

It’s a good time to plan business tax strategies for the new year. Here is a list of new titles in the library’s collection on the subject of small business taxation.
422 Tax Deductions For Business & Self Employed Individuals /
Bell Springs Pub., c2003.
Deduct it! : Lower Your Small Business Taxes, 2nd Edition
NOLO Press, c2005.
Tax Accounting For Small Business: How To Prepare A 1040C
Small Business Advisors, Inc., c1996.
Tax Savvy For Small Business: Year-Round Tax Advice For Small Businesses, 10th Edition
NOLO Press, c2006.
Tax Smarts For Small Business
Sphinx Pub., c2004.

Titles listed above are linked to the Library’s online catalog so you can see title locations and status. Once you’re in the catalog, click on the picture of the book cover for a synopsis and other information.

Business Person of the Month: Bret Funk

Bret Funk

Manager/Senior Technician

Rent-A-Nerd Inc. of Baton Rouge

7970 Jefferson Highway, Suite B Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Tel.225.706.NERD (6373)

Bret Funk - Manager, Senior Technician Rent A Nerd computer Servicese “Since when has the world of computer software design been about what people want? This is a simple question of evolution. The day is quickly coming when every knee will bow down to a silicon fist, and you will all beg your binary gods for mercy.”
-Bill Gates, February 21, 2000

Rent-A-Nerd is a computer repair and network design company, offering onsite and in-house services to home and business users. Rent-A-Nerd, a locally owned and operated company, has been serving southeastern Louisiana since 1997 from its original Metairie location, but in the aftermath of Katrina, a second shop opened in the Baton Rouge area. In addition to regular repair services, Rent-A-Nerd offers maintenance and full service contracts to customers with multiple computers, and priority and remote assistance services for those issues that must be taken care of immediately. “Whether you have one computer or one hundred, Rent-A-Nerd is ready and able to help you.”

Bret earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Chemistry at Tulane and a Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology from Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. When he failed to make it into Medical school and couldn’t find a fulfilling job in his degreed fields, he took a position at Rent-A-Nerd (he had worked as a computer technician in high school.) He considered it just a stop gap job while he pondered his options, but then he saw how miserable his friends in med school were. “I decided that being a computer doctor was just as fulfilling and required far less insurance.”

An A+ Certified Computer Technician and a Microsoft Certified System Engineer with Messaging Specialty, Bret earned these certifications subsequent to joining Rent-A-Nerd in early 2003. The company policy is to constantly improve abilities and learn the “proper” way to do things. Prior to Rent-A-Nerd, Bret says he saw no need for certifications. “They impress clients more than employers. Memorizing the answers that Microsoft, CompTIA, or Cisco want you to give isn’t the same as being able to fix a problem you’ve never encountered before.” Bret finds the ever-changing nature of this job its most satisfying aspect. Though he may spend most of his time removing viruses and spyware from systems, he relishes new experiences, exposure to some new piece of hardware or software, and new puzzles to solve. “By constantly challenging myself, I’m able to make myself a better technician, which ultimately benefits my customers and leads me to even more difficult challenges.”

Born and raised in southern New Jersey and ready to experience someplace different after high school, Brett applied to colleges in Boston, Los Angles and New Orleans. Tulane was a major draw, but the city contributed somewhat. He knew little about New Orleans other than its reputation and even less about the state of Louisiana when he moved here over 12 years ago. He remembers some culture shock when he ventured out of uptown and into the “wilds” of New Orleans, but “Tulane itself was almost an island of northern-ness in the great sea of the south. I met more people there who grew up within 200 miles of my home in NJ than I did from Louisiana.” He did meet and marry a local girl and has since found no compelling reason to leave Louisiana.

His wife was seven months pregnant when they evacuated ahead of Katrina, leaving their home and most possessions to fate. Their son Nicholas was born October 30, 2005. “Due to inefficiencies and lost records at the Office of Vital Records, we only received his birth certificate last week.” Bret expressed two regrets about the evacuation: that they took so few items of sentimental value because they’d evacuated before without need and the time he spent moving boxes from the garage to the kitchen (“In the end it meant our stuff was under 6 feet of water instead of 8.5 feet.”)

Rent-A-Nerd in Metairie survived the storm with minimal damage and missed the flooding by about a quarter mile. The store was operating in a limited fashion within three weeks of Katrina though half of the employees were permanently displaced. Though not yet generating as much revenue as prior to Katrina, Metairie has almost reached its pre-storm level of employees and workload. Bret manages the Baton Rouge location while the owner of the company, Darrin Piotrowski, splits his time between the two locations. As business increases and more technicians are hired, Darrin plans to return to the original shop full time.

The Baton Rouge shop has shown a steady increase in business since it opened last year. “If things continue at their present rate of growth, I suspect that Baton Rouge will have a Nerd presence for quite some time.” When asked if computers that were in the flood or closed up in hot, moldy environments could be salvaged, Bret said though the machines themselves were a loss, data on the hard drives could sometimes be retrieved. “But in our post-Katrina experience, the success rate on recovery was less than 20%.”

Happy with the work he’s doing, Bret claims not to have “the patience or charm to climb the ladder in yet another field of work.” He has no plans for a career change unless his writing reaches a point where he doesn’t need other work to “support the habit.” Bret started writing while in graduate school when he found the course load not particularly challenging. He co-founded an independent press to help promote and produce quality speculative fiction. Tyrannosaurus Press sponsors writing contests; offers a free monthly ezine, the Illuminata; and has published a short story anthology, Beacons of Tomorrow, featuring undiscovered authors. Library Journal has reviewed his three books favorably, and as a result, libraries across the country have added his work to their collections. “As a science fiction and fantasy author of very limited fame, public libraries represent the largest fraction of my customer base.” Path of Glory (2002), Sword of Honor (2003), and Jewel of Truth (2006) are available at most branches of our library. “I would need a few tens of thousand more devoted fans before I could shelve the day job entirely and switch careers to professional writer.”

Bret considers libraries an invaluable resource for the community and says the library can open up whole new worlds to people. Personally, he uses the library to gain exposure to new authors. “I’m a book collector, so the library’s insistence that I return the books I borrow limits me.” When he finds authors he likes, he tends to buy their books rather than borrow. Bret reads mostly science fiction, fantasy, and graphic novels, but also dabbles in mysteries and other genres, even the occasional nonfiction book if the subject interests him. He declined to name a favorite author, saying “there are too many whose works have substantially affected me to select one or to even narrow down the list.”

Bret feels that Baton Rouge is in a unique position at the moment. “The tragedies of Katrina and Rita have swelled the population, and large numbers of the new arrivals (like myself) will not be leaving. If the parish reacts wisely over the next few years, making appropriate changes in infrastructure and public services in anticipation of the needs of the next decade (and not just trying to address the problems left over from the last one), then this city and parish stands poised to become the most important in the state, and perhaps one of the most important in the entire region. This is a great opportunity for us to show how progressive and forward thinking we are, to build a community that shines as an example of what a greater metropolitan area should be. I’d like to think that we, as a people, will make the right choices over the next few years, but I’m old enough now (and experienced enough with our political system) to harbor a certain amount of cynicism over the quality of decisions made by politicians of any party.”

While he doesn’t know the context of the scary quote he chose for the introduction to his profile, Bret assumes it was made tongue-in-cheek. “Relating the quote to my own work, I generally say that while we will be unable to stop the evolution of free-thinking machines, as priests and prophets worshipping at the Alter of Technology, Rent-A-Nerd’s technicians are in the perfect position to keep you and your business in the good graces of the Binary Gods.”

Business Person of the Month Archive

National Clean Up Your Computer Month


The first month of the new year is the perfect time to revamp your routines.  Week one finds millions of Americans celebrating Diet Resolution Week, during which folks clean out their refrigerators and cupboards only to focus on healthier types of foods.  January is also a month marked by national celebrations to be on-purpose, improve quality of life, and engage in a more fit lifestyle.  Isn’t it time you included your computer in this mix of starting anew each January?

Consider the amount of time you spend searching, saving, bookmarking and browsing online in search of clever tips to carry out these turnarounds (like you’re doing now!).  Perhaps you’ve never really thought of cleaning up your computer just as you would your filing cabinet, hard-to-open junk drawer, or clothes closet. Or maybe you were just uncertain as to where you might start or how to do it? No problem! SpecterWeb outlines easy-to-read instructions on how to do the following:

  • Run Disk Cleanup (frees up space on your hard drive)
  • Defragment Your Disk Drive1 (aka “defrag”; reorganizes your files so they open faster)
  • Backup Your Hard Drive (prevents data loss and damage caused by disk failures, power outages, virus infections and other damaging events)
  • Update Your Desktop (your eyes will thank you for this one!)
  • Plus tips on checking for software updates, removing old files, and cleaning your equipment.

Glean additional tips on securing your computer and optimizing2 your settings.  Even though the terminology and processes might be new to you, you’ll gain insight into the types of things that are important to know as a computer user and owner.

Happy New Year!

1 You may not need to defrag if you are a Mac user.

2 You probably won’t need to optimize at all if you use Mac OSX.

Facts.com World News Digest

Facts.com is a combination news digest, almanac and encyclopedia that is very useful for finding information about significant world and national news events. Not only is it easily searchable and full text – it regularly provides special coverage of key or controversial issues. Maps and images are included as are news editorials and primary source documents.

Use this database for newspaper and news magazine stories (national and international), geographical information, and for current or historical overviews of major world events.

Holiday Party Tips

Looking for holiday party tips for a diverse workforce? Heidi LaFleche, a contributing writer for Monster.com has put together a list of useful tips for a successful holiday business party.
Her list of tips include:

  • Accommodate Diverse Palettes
  • Invite The Family
  • Don’t Mix Religion With Business Celebrations
  • Allow employees To Opt out of Company Holiday Events

Read the entire article.

Want more tips, read Emily Post’s etiquette for the New Office Party online.

Business Person of the Month: Kaye M. Buhler, LMT

Kaye M. Buhler, LMT

Kaye M. Buhler Holistic Massage Therapy & Skin Care

5055 Capitol Heights Ave # B
Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Kaye Buhler - Owner of Holistic Message Therapy & Skin Care“The highest result of education is tolerance..”
– Helen Keller

Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right you claim for yourself.” – Robert Green Ingersoll

Kaye Buhler offers massage therapy and skin care treatments in a private, peaceful atmosphere. She is licensed by the state of Louisiana as a Massage Therapist and Esthetician/Cosmetologist.

Buhler worked as a hairdresser for nearly 8 years after earning a cosmetology degree from Lockworks Academie (now Aveda Institutes). She later studied esthiology at the Christine Valmy International Institute of Advanced Esthetics in New York, one of the first schools established in the United States to offer students European style and skin care techniques.  Buhler sought additional training through Dermalogica in California and Texas for advanced European style, as well as aromatherapy, holistic esthetics, and spa therapies.

Extended hours of teaching and working behind the chair as a professional hairdresser caused Buhler to suffer neck and shoulder strain, so she began regularly seeking, and benefiting from, massage therapy.  This led to her true calling.  She wanted to be able to offer others the same beneficial healing and relaxation. She studied Massage Therapy at Blue Cliff College.  She has practiced as a licensed massage therapist for 14 years; as her own boss, for 12. “I enjoy helping others feel better about themselves, assisting relaxation, and providing a stress free environment,” Buhler said.

Intrigued by the movements of a belly dancer she once saw perform in Colorado, Buhler discovered her second calling, Middle Eastern Dance, which she has been practicing for 9 years. Dancers traditionally take a Middle Eastern name; she has chosen Noura, a feminized version of the Arabic word Noor, which means light, but also in homage to her grandmother named Nora. In 2000 she joined Middle Eastern Dance Artists of Louisiana (MEDA-LA), a nonprofit social club organization formed in 1980.  She served as vice president and president of MEDA-LA at one time. In 2002 she helped found Bayou Shimmy, a dance studio which offers a plethora of belly dancing classes (some of which she teaches) and meditation workshops; it also boasts a traveling dance troupe, with whom she performs at festivals and events. For more information on MEDA-LA and Bayou Shimmy, you may visit their official websites: www.meda-la.com and www.bayoushimmy.com.

Her other interests include cooking, reading and playing with her dogs. “I love to try new recipes and am learning Middle Eastern cooking,” Buhler said. She often reads Cooks and Gourmet magazines. She subscribes to two dance journals, Zagharett and Habibbi, and to The Chronicles, a magazine of American culture, as well as Saudi Aramco World. When not reading dance & movement books, Buhler enjoys mysteries and historical fiction. She’s currently reading a non-fiction book about the women of Islam, which was recommended by a friend.

When asked if the library had played a role in her life, Buhler replied that libraries are crucial to furthering one’s education and can help you become better and smarter in your chosen field. “Librarians are awesome people,” she added.

The favorite quotes that Buhler chose for the beginning of her profile reflect her interest in learning about different cultures, embracing multiculturalism and encouraging tolerance of differences between people. When asked to comment on the future of our city, Buhler spoke in favor of ethnic diversity saying, “I’d love to see the various cultures in Baton Rouge grow and flourish.”

Business Person of the Month Archive


Froo·gle (fru’gal) n. Smart shopping through Google.

Why burn gas and wade through the crowds when you can shop online?  Gift buying is a cinch with Froogle, Google’s searchable shopping index.  Similar in appearance to the Google directory, Froogle focuses on getting you right to an online point of purchase for the item you want.  Not a lot of time to spare?  Not exactly in the mood to shop?  No problem.  Use this search hint and you’ll be done with your holiday shopping in virtually no time!

  • Get the most out of your search with the Advanced Froogle Search
  • Use the following special syntaxes that Froogle keeps up its sleeve:
    • The syntax intitle: restricts results to the title of the item, while intext: restricts results to the description.  You can use these in combination.  So, if you are looking for ‘art deco jewelry’, you’d use this search:
      • intitle:art deco   intext:jewelry
    • There’s also an OR, specified by a | (the pipe character).  Perhaps you want to find either art deco earrings or bracelets; you’d use this search:
      • art deco (intitle:bracelet | intitle:earrings)
  • Set a desirable price range to fit your budget!

Candy 101

For most of us the holiday season means homemade candies. As kids we always looked forward to Aunt Sylvia’s dense, rich, and nutty chocolate fudge or Granny’s meltingly light clouds of divinity. Biting into those yummy treats was just as exciting as opening presents – and we got to eat lots!!

If you’re missing those childhood moments or want to provide them for your young family members, you’ll need recipes – and possibly instructions. That’s where the Candy 101 website comes in. This site isn’t pretty, but it’s got all the essential information you’ll need to master the art and science of candy making.

To make a smooth and creamy fudge (or any kind of candy), you don’t just need a recipe — you need to know what’s going on with your sugar. This site explains sugar science very well. It also has illustrations and explanations of all the stages of candy cooking. And once you’re well-versed in the science, it provides classic recipes for all your favorites. So don’t be intimidated. Give candy making a try!

And remember – even if your fudge is runny and your divinity is flat – they both still taste great!

Happy Holidays!!!

The Big Read: One Book/One Community

Everyone knows that the perfect holiday gift is a book, but finding the right book for your friend or loved one can be difficult.  Let the Library take some of the burden from your shopping bag-weary shoulders — choose our Big Read: One Book/One Community title, To Kill a Mockingbird, or use our online database, Novelist, to help you choose books based on the likes of your recipients.

For instructions on how to use Novelist, click here.