Monthly Archives October 2012

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The trouble with neighbors (redux)

By M Davies   /     Oct 26, 2012  /     I hate my neighbors  /     2 Comments

I’m sure for my usual readers, this won’t be a shock, but my some of neighbors have been annoying me fierce lately.  What will be a shock is that it’s not the usual suspects, Drunken Redneck Volleyball.  This post has been floating around in my head for a few days, but it came to a head when the neighbor did something that pissed me off to the highest level of pissosity.

 

This:

 

Became This:

 

 

We have a big field adjacent to our house.  We do not own the property, it belongs to the guy who owns the trailer park across the street.  There are 2 acres of land in this field, it borders our house and the neighbor behind us.  The whole thing was plowed and mowed down out of the blue on Wednesday, for seemingly no reason whatsoever.  The field has been a thorn in my side for a while because it becomes overgrown with ragweed and drives all of our allergies berzerk around August each year.  Also, it becomes a yard waste dumping ground for every person that lives on our road.  I don’t mind that so much, it just looks ugly.  Sometimes, trash ends up in the field as well.  That does annoy me to death.  I’ve made it a yearly habit to remove all of the trash in the spring otherwise it looks like we live next to a trash heap.

 

I guess he’s entitled to mow down the field…it’s his land.  But why now?  Wouldn’t common courtesy be to come over and let us know he’s doing it?  All of the sudden it sounded like a huge tank was driving through our yard, and we look outside to find half of the field gone.  I wish he would have attempted to do this sometime in the summer, you know…when the ragweed was growing.  Now it will be another year before the field grows back, and suddenly I have a direct unwanted view into the trailer park.

 

 

Speaking of the trailer park, I blogged about a car accident that happened on Mooretown Road.  It happened right in front of the trailer park, and a tree had to be cut down.  Now the area has become one of those makeshift memorials for the victim, because he passed away.  It was a tragic situation.  However, the memorial looks trashy and they spray painted on the road.  I’m all for memorials, but I think defacing roads, barriers, and whatever else by spray painting for the purpose of remembering someone looks juvenile.

 

As I mentioned above, the trailer behind the memorial, had the tree cut down directly in front of it because it was mangled by the car wreck.  Now I can see that trailer every time I go to the bus stop or drive up and down the road or get my mail.  Let me say this:  These people are always, always, ALWAYS on their porch.  And they just stare at you.  It’s beyond creepy.  I feel like I’m living in a real life Deliverance.  It could be 2am, when I’m leaving for work, and I guarantee one of them is sitting there waiting to stare me down.

 

The neighbors that live across the street from us and behind us never cut their grass.  To be fair, the neighbor on the other side of the street is moving, but you still do have to maintain the property.  The neighbor behind us has a broken tractor.  I’ve seen more snakes this year at my house than I have ever seen in my entire lifetime.  Yuck!

 

The neighbor next to us (with the horses) are usually decent, but we had a situation a few weeks ago where the dog had diarrhead all over the floor one morning.  He was put outside until the mess could be cleaned up.  We did put his water dish out there as well.  For whatever reason, the neighbor I guess decided that we didn’t give him enough water or something, and brought a bowl of water over as if to hint that we were treating our animal cruelly.  No.  We weren’t.  He had water.  He was outside until his bowel situation was under control and brought back inside.   My dog mainly stays in the house, only goes outside to do his business and comes back in.  If he’s outside for an extended time, it’s due to an extreme circumstance.  I don’t walk over and randomly provide water to their horses because I trust that they are in good health.  Mind your own business, please.  Thank you.

 

Which brings me to the odd smell in the air….when I arrived home last Wednesday, there was a stench in the air that I could only describe as someone burning about 100 different Mia Bella candles all of different scents.  It was horrible.  I walked inside and told Rich about it, and he walked outside and smelled it as well.  It smelled “chemically”.  We’ve noticed some unusual activity down the road lately, and are wondering if there is a meth lab.  I wouldn’t be surprised.  Some of the neighbors further down the road are shady.  Again:  Deliverance.

 

So there’s that.

 

Still in all, living out here beats living in the city any day of the week.  I guess we will just have to pony up and buy some trees and border the edge of our property.

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Cunning plans

By M Davies   /     Oct 25, 2012  /     Wacky PA Weather  /     0 Comment

At the beginning of the month, the Weather Channel decided that it was going to start naming Winter Storms.  No really, I assure you it is a legitimate thing.  Click the linked text if you don’t believe me.  Here are the bullet points from the article:

 

Naming Winter Storms

Hurricanes and tropical storms have been given names since the 1940s. In the late 1800s, tropical systems near Australia were named as well. Weather systems, including winter storms, have been named in Europe since the 1950s.  Important dividends have resulted from attaching names to these storms:

  • Naming a storm raises awareness.
  • Attaching a name makes it much easier to follow a weather system’s progress.
  • A storm with a name takes on a personality all its own, which adds to awareness.
  • In today’s social media world, a name makes it much easier to reference in communication.
  • A named storm is easier to remember and refer to in the future.

 

I think they are missing one very important point.  IT IS A CASH COW.  I wouldn’t put it past the Weather Channel to start selling apparel that says “I survived Snowmageddon”, “The Valentine’s Day Storm is for Lovers”, and “Snowtober?  I just met her!”.  Here are the names for the upcoming season:

 

 

So here is my question in this whole scenario:  What happens if a named Hurricane somehow ends up being a huge snow event?  How does the naming convention of THAT work out?  You may think it’s a stupid question, but not really.  The National Weather Service out of Binghamton, NY is issuing warnings left and right about the potential for Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy to threaten the Mid-Atlantic and New England states early next week.  There will be a cold front that will also be trying to push through at the same time dropping temps to a level where snow is a very real possibility.  Do we start hyphenating storm names?  Or do named hurricanes automatically override the winter storm names?  Hyphenated names sound too much like lecturing a child…..“Sandy-Athena you march your butt down these steps and then out to sea right now Miss!”  I don’t think that the Weather Channel has thought their cunning plan all the way through.

 

 

Clearly, I need to chat with one of the meteorologists at work to get their input on this.

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NEPA BlogCon: The Technology Wrap-up

By M Davies   /     Oct 20, 2012  /     Blogging, Events, NEPA, Technology Hates Me  /     6 Comments

I’m juuuuuussstttt getting around to writing my wrap-up about NEPA BlogCon.  It’s been a crazy 2 weeks, and I haven’t been home much.

 

As part of my role with the Fearsome Foursome, I was tasked with being the “Technology Wrangler” on the day of the event.  No sweat because this is the type of thing I do every day at work, right?  Kinda.  I did run into some challenges on the day of the event.

 

To prepare for the big day, I made lists.  Lists of everything.  I used Google Docs to store this information.  I had a list of login information, a list of the girls laptops available at my disposal, a registration list, a list of who received swag vs. who did not receive swag….etc, etc etc.  I think at one point Karla freaked out at how many documents of lists I created!

 

In my technology arsenal, I brought my iPhone (where I did most of my live tweeting and updates), my MacBook Pro, a Samsung tablet I had on loan from Verizon, and a Netbook I had from work.  LCCC equipped us with a WIFI login so that people with devices could login to the College’s network and use the Internet as well as a computer login, so that if attendees wanted to login to a computer and try something they learned in class, they could.  I have my own student login for the computers at LCCC, so I used that.  I found out rather quickly that the machines did not have “administrative rights” under the special login or my student login.  This was a problem because we had 2 Skype sessions and also videos to transfer and play.

 

I first grabbed for my MacBook because I thought when I had checked the computers out earlier in the week, I would be able to do a DVI connection to the projector.  WRONG.  It only supported VGA.  And because Apple has proprietary cables for everything, I’d need a special connector (read: $49.99) to get it hooked up.  Plan B.  I try to download Skype to the computer because I thought I might get lucky and be able to skirt around the administrative rights issue the way Google Chrome does when you install it.  WRONG.  I was denied access to installing the program.  Plan C.  I pull out the Netbook from work, which is crappy, but amazingly enough, it has a VGA connection and Skype already installed.  After fiddling around with the display settings, I was able to get it working with the projector in the first room.  Shirley Yanovich was our LCCC/CIS Computer Club partner, so I had to get her to call the help desk at LCCC.  After a short eternity, they were in the second room helping get Skype installed.  YAY!  I copied the video files to both computers and did a test.  It looked perfect.  Not too long after that, people started filing into the rooms.  Darling Stewie and I stood in each room and used hand motions to time the start of the Gala Darling‘s keynote so that both rooms were roughly cued up to the same time.

 

Issue #2 arose when we tried to Skype in Gala Darling for a Q and A session.  Since this was a last minute thing, we did not have time to test it out.  We wanted both rooms to be able to participate in the Q and A, but we could only get Gala up in one room.  She wasn’t sure how conference another person in with Skype.  To get around this, we were able to cram everyone (uncomfortably) into one room to participate in the Q and A.  This is a learning point for next year….Q and As might be done via Twitter or we will use Google hangout instead.

 

The rest of the morning sessions went off without a hitch.  I started a video that Hey Shenee! sent us in advance about Branding.  The video played fine, but the sound was a little quiet.  I had to crank it all the way up to get it to an audible level for the room.  I didn’t really have time to check the videos ahead of playing them, as we literally received them THE NIGHT BEFORE.  I’m not even kidding.  Later, I assisted Shannon Nelson and Jessie Holeva with their presentation – I pushed the button to make the slides advance, don’t laugh….it was an important duty!

 

The afternoon sessions went mostly well.  We were a little concerned about Kris Jones’ whereabouts, but he showed up right on time.  There was another Skyped session with Lauren O’Nizzle that was a mess.  I don’t know if there were connection issues on her end or on our end, but the video was really choppy.  Gala‘s skyped Q and A from earlier did look fine on the screen despite the conferencing issues.  I would have to assume the connection issues were on Lauren’s end, but I cannot be sure.  Again, I think next year, we will avoid the Skyped sessions and opt for videos in advance (those worked out extremely well) or just do live presenters.

 

During Kris’s presentation, there was some online trolling going on in our Tweet Chat.  I won’t bore you with all of the details, but Karla covers it in her post here.

 

After the event was over, I collected surveys from the attendees and crunched the data into a Powerpoint presentation.  The overall response was positive.  There were a lot of good suggestions that we will take into account when we start the planning process for next year.  For now, you can check out all of the videos of the sessions and panels by visiting our website:  http://nepablogcon.com/blogcon-2012/videos/

(Hey….now I can watch everything I was busy troubleshooting…SCORE!)

 

The mission of the conference was to educate Northeast PA about the social media and blogging tools at their disposal while giving back to the community.  I am happy to report that we raised over $2500 for our two charities, the Arc of Luzerne County and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Veterans Multicare Alliance.  We also had a TON of food over from the event.  All of that was donated to a homeless men’s shelter in South Wilkes-Barre.  For having 100 registered attendees, I would say this wasn’t a bad first year.  We are already starting to talk about next year and how we can make the event grow.

 

Whether you attended, sponsored, presented or volunteered the day of the event, we cannot begin thank you enough.  Without you, this day would have not been possible.  THANK YOU! 

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I passed (out)

By M Davies   /     Oct 03, 2012  /     Medical Issues  /     1 Comment

I got back not too long ago from my testing at the Geisinger Heart Hospital.  Gesinger’s tag line is “Redefining Boundaries”.  They certainly redefined the boundary between consciousness and unconsciousness for me, so I guess this means that the test and tagline are both a huge raging success.  If you want to call it that.

 

This test was easily one of the worst experiences of my life and I’ve had some pretty bad ones.

 

The test started out ok, after all of the devices were connected.  I was hooked up to a pulse ox monitor, a blood pressure cuff, an IV, and an EKG machine.  The IV and the blood pressure cuff were on the same arm.  Every time the blood pressure cuff went off it would squeeze the IV which would make me want to crawl out of my skin.  I hate needles and I hate IVs, the thought of one being put in my arm and then squeezed to death made me want to vomit alone test notwithstanding.  Next, I was raised from a vertical laying down position to a 70 degree angle.  I thought to myself, “This is it?  I can do this. No problem.”  And there wasn’t a problem except for my stomach growling.  They made me fast 4 hours prior to the start of the test so I was hungry and thirsty.  Then about 15 minutes in.  That’s when all hell broke loose.  I started feeling like death.

 

Imagine being strapped to a table and feeling like you are going to die.  You are sweaty, your hearing gets very faint.  You feel like you are outside of your body.  Your vision gets all sparkly, you want to lay down and close your eyes and hope for death.  You beg the nurses to let you lay down and start freaking out because you are sure death is near, but the nurses refuse because that is what the test is all about.  So yeah, I was freaking out.  I had a panic attack and shortly thereafter I passed out.  I do not recall passing out.  The nurses said I was out for a few seconds.  They took their readings and allowed the IV to do its magic and returned the table to the laying/vertical position.  It was horrifying.  I was shaking and crying after I woke up.

 

They somehow determined that the fainting was vasovagal syncope.  I don’t want to sound mean or rude because the nurses and doctors involved were absolutely great, but… I already knew this.  This is not news.  A few years ago, I was having Owen tested for allergies in the other hospital’s lab.  I was helping the lab techs hold Owen down and I must have locked my legs into a position that stopped blood flow.  I went down like a ton of bricks.  He survived the bloodwork fine, me on the other hand, I was being wheeled to the ER before I even knew what the hell happened.  Dr. Litchtman (the one from the commercials) diagnosed me with vasovagal syncope and send me on my way after she did all of the tests. My whole thing with why I went for this test was….why do I feel like I’m going to faint ALL of the time any more.  Once in a while I can handle, but all of the time is not good.  Ugh.  I don’t know.  I guess they are going to read my tests and get back to me.  In the meantime, I have a fun little holter monitor that I’m wearing for the next 24 hours.

 

This holter monitor thing is a pain in the keyster. It’s constantly hooked to me and I can’t shower with it on.  I have this little thing that has to hook to my belt or stay in my pocket that saves all of the readings.  It’s cumbersome and annoying.  Now I know how it must feel to have one of those IFB things that all of the reporters use.  I also have a journal to record times and descriptions if anything weird happens.  I also have to write down if I’ve had anything caffeinated to drink.

 

I think I’m going to try to get some rest, I’m feeling pretty wiped after this whole ordeal today.

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Test Day

By M Davies   /     Oct 03, 2012  /     Medical Issues, Misc/Crap  /     3 Comments

I’m about to leave to go for my Tilt Table Test.  I get fitted with a Holter Monitor later this afternoon.  I’ve had to fast for 4 hours.  I’m nervous, tired, hungry and most importantly, not pleasant to be around at this point.  Sorry world.  I’ll post an update as soon as I have more information.

 

I’m also planning some BlogCon posts, its just I haven’t been home much since … well…. I actually can’t remember…maybe last week some time?  I’m looking forward to having time off this week, you have no idea.  I have to collect my thoughts about the event and post them.  I’m getting there.  Bare with me peoples.

 

Wish me luck, or whatever.

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