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NEPA BlogCon Launch Party is TONIGHT!

By M Davies   /     Jun 22, 2012  /     Community Service, Events, NEPA  /     1 Comment

(Mirrored Post from NEPA Blogs)

 

The Squirrel Girls of the Fearsome Foursome of NEPA BlogCon would like to invite you to their website launch party this evening from 5-7pm at the River Grille in Plains.  Directions and a menu can be found by visiting http://rivergrillenepa.com.  RSVP on the Facebook event page here.

 

Disclaimer: This event is to get people pumped up for the actual BlogCon but this event is not the BlogCon itself :)

 

We’re ready to launch our website (*ahem* http://nepablogcon.com) and give one of those super cool press releases about our event! Come get a drink and enjoy free appetizers, door prizes, and cool people!

 

The Launch Party is a free event but there is a suggested $5 donation. All proceeds benefit 2 local charities (The Arc of Luzerne County and the NEPA Veterans Multicare Alliance). But you don’t have to pay it! And we won’t make you feel guilty if you don’t!

 

Come socialize with the Fearsome Foursome, Michelle, Mandy, Karla and Leslie.

 

 

(Click above image for bigger pop-out version)

NEPA BlogCon is a day long conference held on September 29th at LCCC that’s so much more than your average “Hey, let’s talk about blogging,” event. If you’re looking to learn the REAL scoop behind what makes the blogosphere the place to be nowadays, then this is the event for you. Besides offering you a chance to network with your fellow post slingers, NEPA BlogCon will include panels and sessions related to blogging and Internet things. Don’t worry if you’re not old hat – NEPA BlogCon is for bloggers of all walks of CMS. Not a blogger? This may be the perfect event to get your start with.

 

We hope that we’ll see you tonight!

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BlogFest Spring 2012 Edition

By M Davies   /     Mar 28, 2012  /     Events, Hobby-ish, NEPA  /     0 Comment

There's only 2 short days left until NEPA BlogFest. 

I've been working behind the scenes once again to help promote the event.  Before I go an further, here are the details in the event you are interested in attending.

NEPA BLOG FEST (Spring 2012 Edition)

Date: Friday, March 30th, 2012
Time: TBD, but usually at 6pm
Location: Rooney's Irish Pub; 67 South Main Street; Pittston, PA 18640. A menu can be found here.

This is a free event open to local bloggers, lurkers and anyone else interested in hanging out with the "cool kiddies" of the local blogosphere.

***You can RSVP to the Facebook Event Page right here.

Why should you attend NEPA Blog Fest?

There was an entire article in this week's edition of the Weekender that explains it better than I'd ever be able to.  Special thanks to Nikki Mascali for taking time out of her busy schedule to interview me and my blogging partners.  You can read the article online right here…or perhaps, go and pick up a print version of the Weekender.  I will autograph it for you 🙂

You can also read our press release about the event right here. 

For me, NEPA Blog Fest has always been about networking with new people and hanging out with old friends.  You get to know your fellow bloggers intimately through the words of their blogs and then meeting them in person gets to put a face behind the name.  I hope that you'll join us on Friday night.

       

    

 

     

 

     

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2011 Year in Review (Jan-Mar)

By M Davies   /     Jan 14, 2012  /     Events, Into the Void, Misc/Crap  /     0 Comment

I've been putting off writing these posts for a few weeks now, mainly because I'm lazy, but also because I wasn't sure what to write.  I started regularly blogging again in the second half of the year, so the first half of the year was a blur.  Luckily, I have my Facebook Feed, Twitter Feed and my Google Calendar to remind me what happened during that time.  So without further ado…I present to you the first installment of my 2011 year in review (better late than never).  I decided after writing out the first few months, it would be easier to break it down in 3 month chunks.  It's too overwhelming for me to write it all out at once.  I will continue with April-June tomorrow.


January

I was working at Kraft at the beginning of the year, and I just accepted a new Customer Service Coordinator position in December.  I was learning slowly that I hated the job and started looking for employment outside of the company.  I had an interview at a local paper company in Moosic on 1/14.  This was my second interview for this position at this company.  The last time I interviewed for the job was after I lost my job at Commonwealth/Frontier.  They passed on me then and passed on me again.  Oh well…their loss, not mine. 

I also got my performance review, in which I did really well, except Kraft restructured their rating systems, so I was only given an "average" review.  The company also did "average", so my yearly bonus was going to be next to nothing. 

I started taking my Spring semester class at LCCC – I only took one course – VB.Net.  However, with the stress of the new job, and all of the snow days that occurred, I ended up falling dangerously behind in the class.  More on that later.

I also started my Penn State SCM course which was something that was taken though Kraft at the office.  The latest course in this certificate program was "Transportation Systems"

I decided to join some of my former co-workers from my old department in a "Biggest Loser" competition at work.  Every Friday we'd pay 5 dollars and get weighed in.  Here's the problem:  I never seriously watched what I ate.  I think the first week I lost two pounds…anything after that, I stayed the same or lost maybe a pound. 

Oh yeah, and I thought I should maybe make the big switch to contacts from glasses.  I went to my doctors office to get fitted for contacts, which ended up being a complete nightmare the first time around. 

From my count Lake Lehman had 3 snow days, which means I worked from home 3 days – Jan 18, 21, and 31.


February

Another mainly boring and quiet month…this changes soon, I promise. 

There was a snow day to start off the month on February 1st.

Owen's Kindergarten registration started in February.  I took off time from work to take him to the programs, and before the end of the month he was ready for the fall. 

I had lunch with a "Senior" manager at Kraft….because I was forced to…not because I wanted to.  It was one of the "requirements" as a an employee new to the department that I moved to.  Don't get me wrong, the manager was nice enough, but I really hate eating lunch with people that I don't normally associate with.  I get terribly nervous that I'm going to say something stupid, spill something on myself or get stuff stuck in my teeth.  I made it out without any embarrassing incidents, thankfully.

I continued plugging away with my SCM class, the VB.Net class and the biggest loser competition. 

It snowed again on February 21st.  Yet another Lake Lehman snow day.  I usually like shoveling, but this was getting out of control.  On one of the snow days (although, I can't remember for sure which one…I interviewed with the Craft Oil company in Avoca for a Sales/Marketing Analyst position, I didn't get that job either)

I began to express how overwhelmed I felt with my new role to my supervisor and manager, we had a meeting on the last day of the month to discuss my concerns.

 

March

This is where things start to get interesting..

I took off 3 consecutive days on March 8th, 9th, and 10th to take care of some outstanding doctors appointments and also Owen had another Kindergarten Registration.  Owen's KG registration was on my first day off at 9am.  I was exhausted because the previous night, I had to pull an all-nighter because I needed to play catch-up with my VB.net course.  I think I maybe slept for 3 hours tops.  I got Gabby off to school without a hitch, and got Owen and myself ready and we went to the KG registration.  We were some of the first people there, so we got in and out pretty quickly.  After I returned home, I was called for a job interview at Geisinger in Danville.  It was a job I applied for in January, and they were just calling me….IN MARCH…to interview for the position.  After talking with the hiring manager, I decided it would be best if I drove down THAT SAME DAY to interview for the position.  Aye aye aye.  What is wrong with me?  During the drive, I was pretty sure that I was lost even though I had the GPS with me.  It took me through Millville and Iola, an area to which I've never traveled through.  If you haven't traveled through there, don't worry, you aren't missing much.  You could blink and be out of the town.  I felt the interview went positively, but I ended up not getting the job.  It was a shame, I really liked the hiring manager.

In the 3 day span that I was off, I also went to a hockey game.  Yay, I love going to hockey games!

Also, I decided to take my MOS 2003 exams, I passed the Powerpoint and Access exams with no issues.  Microsoft (those assholes!) decided to change the test requirements to get the MOS Master certificate.  Previously, you had to pass Word, Powerpoint, Excel and Access or Outlook.  Now you had to pass Word Expert and Excel Expert to get the MOS Master certificate.  I didn't think that this would be an issue…WRONG.  The expert test versions were extremely difficult and I failed them.  You can read more about it on my blog post here

In March, I signed up for 2 workshops at PSU for Adult CEU's.  They were taught by my VB.Net teacher!!  The first class was a Windows 7 overview, and the next class was a Transitioning into Office 2010 class.  I needed the training so I could prepare to take my Office 2010 MOS exams. 

I marched with Kraft Foods in the Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick's Day parade, which was televised on WYLN TV.  We had several costumed individuals, including the Kool-Aid man.  I suggested that we should have the Kool-Aid guy jump out of a brick wall, like he does on Family Guy.  We got some banner paper, drew a fake brick wall on it, and had him do that right near the mayor's judging station.  OH YEAH!  We also got the Oscar Meyer Wiener Mobile to show up.  Here's a photo with me and Gabby in front of it. 

After the parade, I put in my two weeks notice with Kraft.  I couldn't take another 10 hour work day and the stress that went along with having the work load of 2 people.  I did not have another job to go, but my mental sanity was at stake.  I left with the hopes that I would eventually find something better.  I had my fill of cookies and crackers.

I came to terms with the need to drop my VB.Net class.  I fell too far behind and there was no way to catch up.  I called my advisor and she understood my situation.  I made plans to stop on campus and meet with my advisor in person to formally drop the class.  I felt like a big fat failure.

I also scheduled surgery for women-related issues I was having, the surgery was to happen in April, but before that happened, I had to go for a slew of lab work before that could happen.  If you didn't already know, I FREAKING HATE BLOOD WORK.  You can read more on how much I despise it here

On the last day of the month, I had a job interview with the Topps Bubblegum/Baseball card company which ended up never materializing.  I was really starting to feel like something was wrong with me.  I kept going on all of these interviews and not a single solitary job offer.  I was seriously getting depressed.

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Black Friday 2011 Recap

By M Davies   /     Nov 29, 2011  /     Events, Family, Medical Issues  /     2 Comments

I know everyone hates me and will throw things at me for posting that I went Black Friday shopping this year, but oh well.  I've been going Black Friday shopping every year for as long as I can remember with my Grandmother, Aunt and Mother.  It's kind of a sick and twisted Thanksgiving family ritual.  We put the fun in dysfunctional.

This year, our Black Friday actually started on Thursday evening…at 7pm to be precise.  The players:  My Mom, My Aunt and me.

Stop 1:  Toys R Us in Wilkes-Barre

They opened at 9pm on Thursday evening.  We got there early and found parking without a problem.  We then stood in line for approximately 90 minutes.  Toys R Us would only let in so many people at once due to the fire code occupancy regulations.  We got into Toys R Us easily enough, it was getting out that was the problem.  They had the store blocked off with various shelves, so you could only go into certain sections if you wanted to checkout.  The checkout line wrapped around the store.  Thank god I didn't have to buy anything!  Here's a picture of the line wrapped behind Toys R Us:

Stop 2:  Wal-Mart in Wilkes-Barre Township

I specifically recall a TV commercial from Wal-Mart that said "Don't stand outside in line, come inside where it's warm."  Yeah, not so much.  By the time we got to Wal-Mart (around 10:00pm), every parking spot in the parking lot was taken and two lines formed outside at each of the entrances to the store.  My Mom dropped of my Aunt and I to get in line while she tried to find a parking spot.  And, when I said every parking spot was taken…I literally mean, every parking spot was taken.  People even resorted to parking in nearby restaurants, hotels and quadruple parking (forget double parking)!  My Mom eventually found a spot, where no one else parked….BECAUSE A GLASS BOTTLE WAS SMASHED ALL OVER THE PARKING SPACE.  So what does she do?  Pulls in, and parks it.  I'm like "Well, at least we are at Wal-Mart if we need to buy a can of fix-a-flat."  I received a text message from a friend that told me that Wal-Mart was "at capacity" and the police made them lock the doors because of fire code regulations.  There was security standing at the door letting in people only as others were exiting the store.  After waiting around for about 20-25 minutes, we all finally got in the door.  The Wal-Mart commercial was chalk full of lies.  Here's a picture taken from the line at Wally World:

Wal-Mart has THE WORST setup for Black Friday that I've ever seen.  They have doorbusters, some started at 10pm, some started at 11pm and some started at midnight.  However, all of the electronics were at midnight.  If you wanted any of the electronic items, you needed to get a ticket and stand in a line which is nice because it makes it fair for everyone.  I'll give them that.  But here's what I really want to know:  How do they expect people to leave the building to make room for the others coming in if all of the specials start in 2 hours.  You have to stand in line for 2 hours to get something…therefore no one is leaving the store.  If no one leaves the store, no one else can get in.  I guess I'm the only person that is missing the logic in this setup.  Why not start the deals ALL AT THE SAME TIME?  Does an hour really make that big of a difference between the specials?

My aunt wanted a 13" TV that cost 98 dollars.  Both her and I got a ticket and stood in the line.  We had the third ticket issued for this item.  Once we got to the area of the store where the line was, we decided to sit on the floor and wait for midnight.  OH MY GOD.  You'd think we had just committed a mortal sin.  The Wal-Mart lady who was assigned to watch our line yelled at us and told us we were not permitted to sit on the floor because we could be trampled.  I looked around at the other people in line with us.  Two old ladies were in line with us.  Yeah, I'm sure Grandma will take us out with her Hoverround if we're not careful.  Are ya kidding me?  Meanwhile, we watched people walk past us with printers, computers, DVD players, freezers, and other "big ticket items" in their carts, but yet we have to wait until midnight to get a fucking 99 dollar no-name brand TV.  Makes perfect sense to me! 

Anyway, we people-watched for the next hour while waiting for the stupid TV.  Can I just ask….what the hell is wrong with people?  Do they not think about what they are wearing before leaving the house?  If your shirt doesn't cover your beer gut, don't wear it.  I think your jammies are adorable and all, but I don't think they are appropriate to wear in public.  Finally midnight arrived and we got the TV with no issues.  There was no trampling.  The line moved in an efficient and orderly manner.  By the way, I was up to Wal-Mart earlier today, and check this out: 

Look at how many fucking TVs are there now and at the same price!  Why does God mock me?  I'm debating on whether or not to sue Wal-Mart to get the 2 hours I wasted of my life in line back as well as other punitive damages.

Stop 3:  Target in Wilkes-Barre Township

All told, I'd say we got to Target around 1am.  Parking was no issue, because at that point they were already open for an hour.  Once again, here's another place that was easy to get into, but IMPOSSIBLE to get out of.  I forget who was going for what at this store, but I ended up walking out with a cheap DVD, a bottle of lemonade, earbuds and a tube of facial cleanser.  4 items, 30 dollars and 90 minutes of following the leader in the line maze that started way over in the frozen food section and we were finally on our way to our next destination.

Stop 4:  Kohl's in Wilkes-Barre Township

We got here about 3am.  We parked right up front and got right in.  There was hardly anyone shopping in the store…know why?  BECAUSE THEY WERE ALL STANDING IN LINE.  Don't get me wrong, every register had a person working at it, but it was the person at the beginning of the line directing people that was clueless.  They would make it so that only one person would go to one line at a time.  Wow.  Why not stack each line with 3 or 4 people to get things moving?  Why does it have to be so nitpicky?  I got all the way up to the check out and realized I didn't have my wallet.  Thus, my first panic attack of the evening began.  I figured I had left it at Target, or it was stolen or I dropped it somewhere.  Then I started thinking about all of the credit cards and ID that was in there and started hyperventilating.  My Mom tried to steer me in the direction of her car to check the back seat.  Yeahhhhh, it was back there.  Apparently, it fell out of my purse and I hadn't noticed.  Who can keep track of these complicated details when you've been up for close to 24 hours?  I took my wallet back inside and paid and left feeling like a big embarrassed dumbass.  Oh by the way, I seriously considered buying these shoes:

I get distracted by shiny things.

Stop 5:  The Mall / JC Penney's

At this point, I could not be more thrilled to see the sight of the Wyoming Valley Mall.  We rolled in here at 4:30, and my iPhone's battery was completely dead.  Twitter was keeping me entertained, so I had to figure out a way to charge the battery.  I took a walk down to FYE which did not have any iPhone battery chargers that would work for my purpose.  I needed an emergency charger.  The AT&T store did not open until 5am, so I had to kill some time.  I decided to walk around in Spencer's because I noticed that they had some funny hats.  I ended up buying one.

Also, did you know that they make Pacman Snuggies?  I had to take a picture to show to my friend Brian, because he'd never believe me.

Finally, the AT&T store opened and I was able to purchase the most awesome charging device known to man.  It's called the Mophie Juice Pack.  It's a charging phone cover.  Instead of charging your iPhone, you charge the cover essentially giving you double battery life.  You can check out more about it here if you are so inclined.

Stop 6:  Toys R Us in Wilkes-Barre

Yep.  At around 7:30am we went back to Toys R Us, because going once wasn't enough abuse.  This is the part where I began to get irritated with my Mom.  She wanted to buy Gabby and Owen something each for Christmas and Gabby's birthday.  Fine.  But, I don't know what to tell her to get because Gabby lost her wish lists.  She kept asking if she should get this, or get that.  I DON'T KNOW.  JUST PICK SOMETHING AND GET IT.  I was less than amused.  We were in Toys R Us for what seemed like an eternity.  I was seriously considering committing suicide with a nerf gun. 

Stop 7:  K-Mart

After the hell that was Toys R Us part deux, we made a pitstop at Dunkin Donuts to have a quick breakfast.  We couldn't go to the one near the mall because there was no where to park, so we stopped at the on on 309 by K-Mart (after the big cow).  The girl behind the counter screwed up my order three times over.  I mean really, how hard is it to get a sausage sandwich and a coffee wrong, but I digress.  According to my Foursquare, we got to K-Mart at 952:am.  K-Mart was pretty busy, but nothing like Wal-Mart or Toys R Us.  We had no trouble finding parking or getting checked out here.  I didn't buy anything, but my Mom did.  I forget what.  She was also picking up stuff for people she worked with so it may have been for one of them.  She's nuts.  I found these rejected gifts for your the special people on your Christmas list this year:

A Santa Thong, with free included Santa Sack.  I laughed so hard when I seen this (probably because I was punch-drunk due to lack of sleep).  How can you go wrong when you are getting Santa's sack free with this purchase?  You know what I say, if its free its for me!!!!  Anyone who's on my "naughty" list this year will be getting one of these.

Come on, is this for real?  It can't possibly be real.  A THREE WOLVES SHIRT IN MY LOCAL K-MART.  This is almost too much for my giddy geek heart to handle.  By the way, if you aren't getting the geek reference on this, then you need to check out this:  http://www.amazon.com/Mountain-Three-Wolf-Short-Sleeve/dp/B002HJ377A – Read all of the comments, from top to bottom.  You will piss your pants with laughter.  I think I originally learned about this from Slashdot.

Stop 8:  Boscov's in Downtown Wilkes-Barre

You know, I love me some Boscov's.  If I ever met Al Boscov in person, I'd probably pinch his cheeks.  At around 11:15am we rolled into the parkade at Bosco's.  We headed for the curtain section first which is on the 4th floor.  I sat down on the floor, indian style and waited while my Aunt and Mother perused the selection.  I was just there last month, and didn't feel like looking through everything again.  Yeah, sitting in the curtain section.  I am a rebel. 

Something you should know about Wilkes-Barre Boscov's….in case you have never been there before, know that it is hotter than the surface of the sun inside of that building.  Do not bring a coat.  I don't care if it's 35 degrees below zero outside.  Do not bring in a coat, trust me.  You will melt.  On Black Friday, the temperature of Boscov's seemed ok.  However, I found out something new.  The lower the floor, the hotter the temperature.  It's like taking the escalator to hell if you go down to the basement.  We spent most of our time in the basement, because that's where all of the kitchen crap, toys and savings auditorium are located.  I just about damn near had a heat stroke.  I didn't bring my coat, but I was wearing a light sweater layered under a tank top.  MISTAKE.  I found a new toe ring!

My Mom was feeling ill after that, so this was our last stop, we drove back to my Grandmothers, and I drove home after that.  This was around noon.

The damage:  I figure I spent about 150 on stuff I probably didn't need.  I got a few Christmas gifts.  We shopped for close to 18 hours.  I was awake for roughly 32 hours. 

Also, I think that all of the walking and activity injured my foot.  I woke up writhing in pain and couldn't feel the toe and outer step of my left foot.  I thought for sure I was having a stroke or the diabetes grim reaper was coming to pay me a visit. 

Cue late night, Black Friday-related panic attack #2 (this happened on Sunday evening).  As soon as I was able to, I called the doctor in the morning.  After looking over my foot and poking and prodding around, he determined that I have pinched nerve somewhere in the left part of my left foot.  There apparently is no magic cure for this.  Basically, you just have to wait it out.  Let me just tell you….I'm not happy about this.  I'm ready to call for a second opinion.  Like, I know my pinky toe is physically there, but I can't feel it.  All I feel is numbness and tingling.  It's not a fun time.  At all.

Still in all, I look forward to the Black Friday adventures again next year. 

I must be crazy.  But between me and you, all of the good people are.

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