Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 1988: The Year I Dressed Up as a Bar

I wrote about this as a chapter in my memoir, and I just had to dig through all my pics to find these. I am not supposed to have them. I took them from my mom years ago to show someone and never gave them back. Inadvertantly, I lost them in a sea of other pictures. A few weeks ago, I found them on a whim stuffed in a photo envelope of some concert photos from my radio days. Thank goodness I found them! Now I have electronic copies and maybe will give these back to my mom. Maybe.

I may post a portion of the chapter I wrote, but here's the nutshell version. When I was 10, my mom created this bar costume for me. I won "Most Creative" at the two fire hall Halloween parties I went to. The costume is made of cardboard, covered in contact paper that looks like wood and decorated with all the bar staples superglued to the bar- bottles, cans, shot glasses, napkins, cigarattees, etc. I was dresses as a bartender underneath with a white blouse, black slacks and suspenders with beer buttons up and down.

Now that I am 30, I can see that perhaps I was corrupted by the bar scene at a very young age and this explains a lot! haha. Seriously though- my mom was a creative and a whiz at Halloween costumes. I was very lucky. Maybe I'll go as a bar next year.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Post II of the Day: Internet Awaits Me at Home

Before I get too excited- I haven't tried the Internet at home, but today is the day the Internet is supposed to be on at home and today I even got the e-mail from Verizon, as show here in Exhibit A, saying its true. I already hooked up my modem and everything and keep turning it on everyday to see if it works incase they turned it on early. No luck. Can't wait to get home today to try it out.

I must send a big Thank You to the VP of Customer Service at the local office of Frontier Communications. Someone forwarded my blog post to them and he e-mailed me offering to help. I wrote back saying I appreciate his response and willingness to help, but I had already signed up for Verizon. It's a shame that things only get taken care of in some cases when a little noise is made. I do hope the company- not this local office- but the company as a whole makes some changes to make service a little easier. It is nice to know that this VP cared enough to contact me and offer help. It happend too late, but it was a very nice gesture and says a lot that there are some good people with customer's best interest at heart. I feel I need to post about it to even out my complaint post from a few weeks ago- nothing is more frustrating that not getting someone on the phone, having wrong hours posted, etc. But it's all over as of today. I think. I hope.

Centralia and Halloween Party I - A little late of a post

Last weekend was pretty awesome. I would have added a post sooner, but being without Internet at home and sheer laziness of going somewhere with wi-fi kind of got in the way.

Friday night, a few co-workers and I met up with my creative writing bud A. and headed to Gravestone Manor, a theatrical haunted house in Wilkes-Barre, where two of my other creative writing friends work. It was pretty cool. Then, we hit up Old Tyme Charley's in Plains for a little 40lb. Head and a lot of bomb shots- Jager bombs. Grape bombs. Raspberry bombs. I also ran into some old radio buds, so that's always fun!! With a case of heartburn, we then hit up Flaherty's in Edwardsville where we pretty much closed down the place. It was nice little tour of some of the finest bars in NEPA...

Saturday, I hibernated all day until it was time to get ready for A and C's annual Halloween bash. I'll post some pics later of that. Fun times ensued as usual. I reigned champion at Beer Pong, and then the Flip Cup team I was on also rocked. My friends may have had a pole, too. And you know what that means for a drunk Donna. There may or may not be videos.

Sunday, it was a hungover road trip to Centralia... you can read more about that on the post below. But I saw a part of Centralia I never saw before- the portion of Route 61 that is closed off. It goes on for a few miles- we walked a lot of it- really getting some exercise, too-- you just don't realized it's a big hill when you go down... haha. The big crack in the road was quite impressive- trees were growing out of it. But what was even more amusing was the graffiti painted on the road. Craziness.
So much changed in Centralia since I first started going- a lot more has been torn down, but there was still cool stuff to see. I just really enjoyed the weekend. I was completely exhausted by Monday! But what a great weekend- a haunted house, a few bars, a great party, a cool road trip and still some good sleep!
I still have yet to get my TV and washer and dryer, but I guess I'm not really home enough to watch TV. My two new neighbors commented on that fact last night, as I ran into the house to change and then leave again for dinner with co-workers at Rustic Kitchen at the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs casino. They were outside smoking and said, "When are you ever home?!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Spooky Hallo-Weekend Ahead! Costume Party and Centralia!

I love this time of year. In fact, I started off a post on my department blog with that same thought. I love sweaters. I love orange. I love pumpkins. I love being scared! By the way- if you are in any way interested in e-commerce (that's sellin' stuff online) or sales in general, you should give the Solid Cactus Sales Blog a read!

I am not sure, but I have to kick-off the weekend somewhere, somehow! Could it be Hops & Barleys??

But on to this weekend. I am looking forward to the annual costume party at my friend A&C's house-- this is their first Halloween in their new house, so it's going to be bigger and better-- and louder I am sure since they are nestled in the middle of nowhere in Hunlock Creek! I am stoked for the chicken wing dip, Jell-O shots, Flip Cup, Beer Pong and seeing lots of folks I haven't seen in a while. They have mad decorations, too.

Centralia!! I am so super stoked for this trip. Two girls from work were talking about it, and I told them that I went there so many times as a kid, and then took Dave there a few years ago. In 2003 I went with my dad and step-mom and took some great black and white pics-- I scanned them in here at work, but it didn't work too well because it was a copier and I think it thought the pics were paper. At any rate, I'll still post them here. The one up top is of me in the middle of the smoke, and the one right here is with the house that was going to be razed. Anway... we have plans to drive down there Sunday afternoon and I'll be the tour guide.

Oh wait?! What is Centralia you ask? It's an old mining town in Central PA that had an underground mine catch on fire back in the late 60s. The fire is still out of control. The town is now pretty much a ghost town, but some residents still live there- the diehards that refuse to leave. Most houses are torn down- it's eerie to drive around there- smoke still billows out of the ground. There are driveways that lead to nothing. I am pretty into this wierd stuff, so every time I go, I spend hours exploring. When I went back in 03 I had my picture taken in front of a house that was x'ed off to be torn down. My dad and I went inside the house and there was so much stuff still left there. Mail, even. So now we know who lived there incase we ever want to do an article or something. The story of this town is totally horror movie material. I have plenty of ideas for movies to be set here- I am surprised none haven't been yet. There was one a few years ago about a woman whose daughter is lost in an old mine town, but it wasn't exactly like Centralia.

Here are some Centralia links:

Before I made this post, I actually just read the Wikipedia entry, and another house I have a picture of was torn down in 2007. It was a house that had brick support on either side- so it looked like it had ten chimneys. I guess we won't be seeing that this weekend. But just to be in this ghost town around Halloween will be so cool!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Barely Connected at Wegman's, But It's Better Than No Connection At Home

October 30th. That's the soonest I can get hook-up at home from Verizon. Ugh. Who do I have to blow to get service quicker? Or how much extra do I have to pay? I'd do either at this point. Seriously! I can't stand this wait. I'll be living there about seven weeks without phone or Internet. My cell just doesn't cut it.

I came up to Wegman's today to TRY to do some work/play online. I was up unusually early today. Around 8:23 to be exact. I hit the sack last night right after work. I had kind of a late night Thursday and was just dragging all day. I knew if I took a nap I wouldn't wake up again to go out later, so I just caught up on sleep-- about 14 hours of it. So, I woke up and made scrambled eggs with cheese and whole wheat Eggo waffles and set off to run some errands during part of the week I always miss-- before noon on a Saturday.

I was amazed at how many people are awake before noon on a Saturday. I mean, really.... I just assumed everyone was lazy like me. I headed to the bank first, where I had to wait in line-- again, hard to think this many people want to wake up early on a weekend to run errands. I got my security deposit back from my old place and am stoked about that. Hello new washer and dryer!

Next, I went to Spirit Halloween store by the Wyoming Valley Mall and was helped by two friendly gals who helped me try on various costumes. I settled on Viking Girl but will absolutely need tights for underneath. Anyone behind me in the bobbing for apples line will thank me for those tights. It's amazing how small Halloween costumes are. I wanted to be Wednesday from the Addams Family because I really liked the wig, but they only had the outfit in a small and I am most definitely not a small.

Then, I needed a new lamp for my nightstand- I've been wanting something Eastern-themed with a red shade and I knew TJ Maxx would have one. So, I headed up to TJ Maxx and lo and behold, they had EXACTLY what I pictured in my head. I have to remember to get an extension cord, too. I can't wait to light it up and read by it. I can't wait to hang the rest of my Asian stuff up and have a really cool bedroom.

While in the aisle I saw these cool minisculptures that were inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci's Virturvian Man. They are a combination of art and history and a tribute to the way the human body moves. I went to a great lecture a few years ago at Wilkes by Leonard Shlain (who I also got to interview!) and have been since marveld by the combo of art and science. At any rate, I got one of the human hand making the peace sign, very fitting for me. I got one of a human foot with a wing on it, no doubt referring to Icarus and finally one of a man huddled up in the fetal position with wings- I will have to look that one up. But I think they are really cool and different. I was trying to find a picture of them online, but I don't remember the name of the company, but I did Google "Virturvian Man Collection TJ Maxx" and a Washington Post shopping editorial came up, but the page will not load here at Wegman so I don't know if it is about these figurines, but I'll link to it anyway....

That brings me to here, Wegmans, where the Internet is unbelivably slow, just like when I was here last week. I am struggling to load pages in other windows right now. Last time I was here, I could not upload pics to my blog. So, for three weeks now people have not been able to share the rest of my San Fran pics or see my pics from Solid Cactus Boot Camp. This makes me sad. I may have to unplug and go to Panera Bread, but that place is way too small and always so loud and busy, and so is Dunkin Donuts. They just aren't the right atmospheres to be in to work. The cafe at Wegmans in Wilkes-Barre is huge and I have a private corner and access to a great coffee bar, sushi bar and more. And if you did not see the beer selection here- oh my goodness! I am happy they got the license to sell six packs. I am going to buy an assortment of beer when I leave - Harvest Moon by Blue Moon is out. Mmmm. So much good beer in the fall! And, I am surrounded by it all right now and I am getting thirsty!

Regarding the net, I asked for help, but the guy said there is nothing wrong. Wi-Fi works fast for me everywhere else so I don't really know what the problem is, but I am growing frustrated- for example, like last time I was here, it's going on 40-minutes for 20 pictures to be uploaded. It's insane. So, here I am. Still alive without the Internet at home, but it's like I am on life support. Barely breathing. Barely connected. I miss the Internet.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bill Maher is Pretty Much God in My Eyes Now. Wait. The Defeats the Purpose of the Movie

I never saw a documentary in a movie theater, but I'll be darn, it was one of the best cinematic experiences I've ever had. I saw Bill Maher's Religuous with a friend last night and it was pretty much one of the best projects I've ever seen.

Basically, Bill Maher travels the Bible Belt in the US straight on to the "most sacred sites" in the world-- getting kicked out of many of them, might I add. The mission of Religulous? To create doubt. To make smart people reconsider their beliefs. To stump believers by asking logical, rational questions that they end up not having answers to and really look like complete asses because they can't even explain what they believe in. He interviews people from most all mainstream religions, as well as followers, including visitors to a Jesus theme park in Orlando.
I'm like Bill Maher. I am against organized religion and am a complete skeptic.- always have been. All that said, this movie was so enjoyable. I encourage everyone to check out Religious so they can be enlightened, or just learn a new way of looking at things. It doesn't matter what religion you are or aren't, this movie needs to be seen.

Of course in Bill Maher style, the movie is filled with comdey as well-- clips of various movies, old stand-up, clips of televangleists and all sorts of unbelievable stuff, all edited in such an enjoyable fashion. In post-editing, subtitles were thrown in to make fun of what interviewees were saying- showing facts to the mistakes they make. A complete riot!

I think I am going to go see this again this weeked.

To learn more about the movie:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Landmark Torn Down in Swoyersville

The title of this post is misleading, but that's really what headlines do. Not a real landmark, but the landmark I've been using for three weeks to find me new house. See, I live in the middle of a really long block. There's no real landmark to show you are getting close to my house. This will be difficult when I start inviting people over. So, I moved in the the middle unit of my buildling but one apartment in the house was still available. The "For Rent" sign was prominent in the year, easy to see from down the road.

Last night when I headed down my street, I totally passed out my own house because the "For Rent" sign was down. I had to turn around and go back. I guess I have a new neighbor.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not One, But Two Phone Company Fiascos. Argh! Verizon and Frontier Are on My S-List.

Not one, but two phone companies have pissed me off this week. I like to be shiny and happy in my blog- usually. Today, while I sit on hold, AGAIN, I will vent. Mind you, not from my home computer because I STILL have no Internet at home.

Verizon Wireless Sucks The Big One:
I Don't Care How Many People Are Outside my Door With Gadgets

We'll start with wireless. I recently had to change responsibility of my phone from the company into my name. Easy enough. Boom. Done. Okay, okay. I did have to wait for a while because the girl who serviced me at the counter at the Verizon Wireless location at the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre had not done this before. Two weeks later, I am smack-dab in the middle of a company event where I needed to reach people. One second the phone is fine. The next, I get a message, "The phone you are calling from cannot be authenticated." WHAT?

Since I do not have landline at home yet, I dialed 611, which is really a great service to have- that you can reach customer service right away. I give them credit for that. I found out that the person who switched my account over left an employer or employee ID on my account-- the company phones were to be deactiviated on the 10th. Since my accounted APPEARED to be a company phone- even after I got my welcome letter about MY new plan. So, just like that, with the flip of a switch, my phone was shut off. They apologized and immediately turned me back on. So it was really less than 12 hours without phone- but since I have no landline and no Internet it was an eternity.

So over a stupid field, I missed out on meeting up with some clients because I had no phone to call or be called on.

So I lost my charger. Left it somewhere and it was half-broken anyway. I went to the same Verizon store that messed up my account to purchase a home charger. I told the guy, "Home charger." He had to knock on the door to the office, swipe a card to gain access and go back to the stock room to get one. He peeked back out and said, "Home or car?" to which I replied, "Home." Speaking of home, I got home, opened my bag and saw that I got a CAR charger. Partially it's my fault- I didn't check the bag.

I went to the mall the next day with the intent to exchange the charger. The girl went in that same super-secure back room. She came back out and said, "Sorry. We don't have any of those." She told me to go to the Verizon store by Wal-Mart or wait until they were back in stock. I hate driving by Wal-Mart in Wilkes-Barre so I just walked away. I need to go somewhere soon though because I am borrowing a charger. Maybe I will just use the car one for now... but still... why can't they get ANYTHING right at this Verizon store in Wilkes-Barre.

Not the people. I talked to a really cool guy from Minnesota, a state where people think I am from for the way I pronounce certain words. But anyway, I called three weeks ago to transfer service. A year or so ago, Frontier Communications bought out our local phone company, Commonwealth (CTSI). After I explained my whole situation three weeks ago, the rep informed me that they do not handle service in 18074, which is less than five miles from 18708 where I was moving from. I was told to call a different office. But it gets better- I had to go through the whole queue again. I am busy and have limited time to do these menial tasks. I could not wait on hold any longer so I hung up. Since then, I was in San Fran, busy moving and busy with a work event.

Today was the day. I called again today, when I was connected with the nice Midwestern boy. I told him that I wanted to be transferred to the right person and told him what happened last time. He said, "Why would they send you to someone else. I can help with Frontier everywhere." I trusted the boy from the Viking state and carried on.

"Oh. I see what the other guy meant. I can't help you."
"See! I told you!" I couldn't get mad though. He was so nice. He explained the whole Frontier-buying-CTSI-but-TSI-gets-to-keep-some-local-jurisdiction. He put me on hold to come back with this, "Oh, Miss Donna. It gets better. The local Frontier you have to call closes at 6:00pm."

See- I knew that. But the main Frontier site says until 7:00 p.m. They really need to implement a map and you click on it to see which service center you need to call. I work in e-commerce- something like that can be done.

I hung up, but then I realized that I am still paying for service three weeks later at an abandoned apartment. I called back to cancel that service. Turns out, I still have the final bill. I have to pay that first before I cancel. So, I had to pay that via their phone service and then I have to call back to the OTHER number to get new service at the new place.

Mind you- when I signed up for service last time, I signed up online to avoid this PHONE CRAP. I was NEVER contacted even though I got an order confirmation e-mail. When I called, the lady laughed and said, "Oh yeah- you should never place an Internet order with us. That happens all the time with things getting lost."

I'm at a loss. I'm about to get two tin cans and a piece of string. Frontier needs 24/7 service to acommodate busy professionals who don't have 30-60 minutes in their day to deal with this.

So guess what. I am going for a beer. Thanks Verizon.. Thanks Frontier. Thanks for contributing to my drinking habit. Ugh!

--sorry for any typos- I am writing this irate and don't want to edit at the moment. (Again, the beer is calling!)

Not one, but two errors on Verizon's part.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Blog

I just created a new blog for "Kids, Have You Seen My Backpack." I know, like you need another blog from me to read! If you want to though, stop by for a visit.

I Really Like B. Moss & More

My cat was more active than I was yesterday. I had really good intentions. Really, I did. Wednesday through Friday was super busy at work with Boot Camp. And like usual, Friday night's finale dinner led to a great, fun night with school busses and all at the Woods on Friday. When I woke up Saturday and sensed the headache, it was an extra sign that it was a good night. To get rid of the headache, I went back to sleep. I slept on and off all day. I don't think I left my bed. When I woke up a little, I read a little until I fell back asleep. Every now and then I'd check my e-mail or Facebook from my phone, but for the most part, I hibernated. All day. Plans to go to a haunted hayride fell through. Plans to go to Target instead fell through. Plans to get up and make Ramen noodles downstairs fell through.

After all that sleep, you can bet I was wide awake and hungry this morning. I made myself four Eggo Whole Wheat waffles and had some coffee and OJ and took a shower- which felt amazing. I headed to the mall to pick up the coat I ordered at B. Moss about three weeks ago. I have this cycle with B. Moss.

1. Before I went to Oklahoma in August, I stepped into a really good sale at the B. Moss in the Wyoming Valley Mall. It was a Wednesday, but 50% off everything sale started Thursday, but you could pre-set aside the stuff the day before, get the same price-- you just had to pick it up the next day. I said I wouldn't be back for a week, but that was fine. As long as I left my card number, etc. they'd ring me up on the sale day and keep my stuff in the back. Super nice!

2. When I got back from Oklahoma to pick up my outfits, they were having another sale. This time, it was winter coats for 50% off. So, not only did I buy a bunch more regular clothes, I also ordered a lovely black, wool peacoat. They said it'd arrive at the store in 3-4 weeks.

3. Today- I was about two weeks late picking up my coat. It was still there. But like the last time I went to pick up an order, I bought even more. The sweaters at B. Moss were 50%. I grabbed a bunch of stuff to try on. The girl started a dressing room for me, while I continued to browse. When I tried on the clothes, she checked on me by name- they knew my name because they had already got out my coat. That was great service, I thought-- calling someone by name is Sales 101. I asked her to bring me a shirt in a medium instead of a large and she did, very quickly.

Once again, this store always had great sales, great service and they market the crap to me- I am on their phone list for their special "one-day sales" and also on their e-mail list. These guys market traditionally (they even do the signs on the road for their one-day sales) and via new media- they are on top of their game-- and once you get into the store, they continue to treat you well. So- if you can, shop at B. Moss in Wilkes-Barre!

Also- great service reported at the Shoe Dept. in the mall from a lovely young lady you looks like Taylor Swift-- she found me the right size boot, took all the crap out of it, unzipped it and gave it to me to try on. Reminded me of shoe-shopping when I was a kid where people really serviced you. You only really get that service at Department Stores where the men and woman have worked there for years, or local shops like our Gino's in Dallas.
After the mall, I hit up Target for random things like cat litter, velcro strips to hang pictures (no nail's allowed), letters for my mailbox (they didn't have the ones I was looking for, so I had to go to the scrapbooking aisle, haha), a card for someone and other random stuff I needed and random things I didn't need. Now I am at the office catching up on e-mails, etc. Then, it's off to Wegman's for their wi-fi.

Things Slip By When You're Busy

The past three weeks have been unbelievably busy. I've moved. I was super sick. I went to San Fran for four days. I had a busy work week with our semi-annual Boot Camp. So, it really was the worst time EVER to move. I have a to-do list, a very long to-do list.

1. I still do not have internet at my new place. I've become a frequenter of the areas in Northeast PA that have free wi-fi. Sure I have internet at work, but I really can't use it for the personal things I need to, like watch porn. Not, just kidding. I mean, my blog, my Facebook and work in stuff for school. And in general, e-mail. The only link to the outside world when I am at home is my Q. But the mobile apps for the things I use suck. I really should have listened to my friends and got the iPhone when I needed to get a new cell phone the other week.

2. I still do not have a television at my new place. I made the concession in May when Dave and I split up to leave him the TV and then to NOT get a new one until I am done my memoir draft for the M.A. Turns out, I am quite lonely without a TV. Not that I ever watch it, but it's so quiet. Just for background noise, or news in the morning. Or to lure someone over to watch a movie... I will probably not get cable, but I think I need a TV. The TV stand is lonely. The DVDs and VHS tapes (yes, I have those) are lonely. And the living room just looks funny without one. Everyone is telling me to wait until Black Friday and thereafter to get one so I probably will. I trust the people who have more electronics than I.

# 1 and #2 make me feel like I am in the Stone Age. (But when I think about the Flintstones, even that prehistoric family and their neighbors had some kind of TV thing.) I get bored when I am at home, which leads to a lot more productivity at work because I work late. But when I am at home, I have nothing to do. I love to read, but sometimes I need a break. Sometimes I actually will call someone, but it feels so awkward talking on the phone these days.

3. I still do not have a washer and dryer in the new place. This means I must go to the laundromat. Ugh. I have only had to go once so far because I was between both places until last week. The good thing is that the one I must go to is a block from Hops and Barley's in Luzerne. Rather than sit there and watch the timers go, I went and put a load in the washer, went to Hops for dinner with two friends from work, went back to put then in the dryer, went back to Hops to have a few beers and then went back to the laundromat to fold the clothes. It made the chore less like a chore. Because of #1, I was dying for a laundromat with wi-fi. I will try to find one, but I highly doubt the ass-old laundromats would think of that, nor would the majority of the population who would need to use a laundromat would actually bring a laptop with them.

I would have Internet at home if it wasn't for the stupid hours Frontier has. They are only open until 6pm. I tried several times to call them on lunch, but I was on hold for 15 minutes once in the queue-- so I hung up. I rarely take a full lunch at work and I really don't want what little break I have to mean sitting there with the cell to my ear listening to crappy music. So, I get irritated and hang up. I usually work until 6-7pm, so by the time I leave work and try to call, I get the message that they are only available until 6 p.m. I forgot. Then, I did get a guy one day and after telling him everything-- he said, "Since you are coming from rural to city, you actually need to talk to someone else." I asked if I could be directly transferred. No. I had to dial back into a new number. Then, I was going away for a week and then last week was tied up with work events-- they told me I had to be on site to get the new phone and Internet hooked up-- well that just sucks. So, I decided not to call since I couldn't be available for two weeks anyway.

I really take being connected for granted now that I've been disconnectd for a while.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Wilkes Homecoming & Oktoberfest 2008

After sleeping off the trip to San Francisco, I woke up around 1 p.m. Saturday in time to hit up the 5th Quarter alumni tent, which my department (Communication Studies) co-sponsored. It was Wilkes' Homecoming, and a very special one at that-- the 75th anniversary! I didn't check out the game, just the party tent afterwards, which was held on the Fenner Quadrangle. I always love going back to Wilkes-- the profs in the communication department really are like my second family. It was wonderful to see Jane, Andrea, Dr. Kinney and Dr. Stine again-- and I was really surprised to see a few alums that I haven't seen in almost 10 years. I have a special situation- I started at Wilkes in 1996-1998 and then left and didn't come back until 2002. That being said, I knew a lot of people at homecoming as I was part of two classes. I enjoyed some beer and food and reminisced for a few hours about all things Wilkes. It was pretty awesome.

I already had plans to meet up with co-workers at Oktoberfest at the Lion Brewery. Since I had a "few" at the Wilkes tent, I opted to walk to Oktoberfest-- which seemed closer than it really was. On the way, me and my old friend M. stopped to visit a fellow alum who was at work. When we got to Oktoberfest, we met up with my work friends just in time to enjoy some really awesome fireworks set to the Star Wars theme. I enjoyed many Stegmeier Oktoberfest beers and listening to 40 lb. Head, by favorite local band. I ran into a slew of people there that I haven't seen in a while, too. Good times! NEPA sure is good for a good party, that's for sure!


I did not drive home last night, smartly. I was given a ride to my car, which was safely parked in a Wilkes University lot. When I arrived at my car, however, I noticed something dangling from the driver's side door. My freakin' mirror! Being homecoming weekend at Wilkes, I am sure it was an accident. Some drunk either hit it for shits and giggles, or someone drove into it. Either way, I didn't get mad. I walked to public safety and reported the incident and asked to borrow duct tape. It's an older car, so I wasn't too worried. I'll find another mirror at the junk yard and have Dave help me put it back on. But, such is my life. Always an unexpected adventure!!
(Pics- 1- Jane, Andrea and I. 2- A slew of Wilkes commuication alums from the past 10 years. 3- Me and pals at Oktoberfest. There's more on Facebook!)

Back from San Francisco

(editing on 10/12 to add pics and links- wrote this at Wegman's originally and their wi-fi gave me probs!)

I am in love with San Francisco. I returned to Northeast PA late Friday night from the three-day trip to the Bay City. The Online Market World expo was great- we met lots of great people! After the day's work at the expo, we were able to check out some of the city. My favorite neighborhood, as you could probably guess, was Haight-Ashbury. We checked that out on Tuesday, our first day in town.

I have a fascination with the 60s and in fact, sometimes feel I was born in the wrong decade. The area is still making money of the Summer of Love, for sure. (I know I spent quite a bit of dough in the various shops!) After Haight-Ashbury, we took a cab to North Beach, or the Little Italy area. A friend had told us that was a good place to find good eats. We asked our cabbie for a suggestion, and he dropped us off at a place called Rose Pistola. Mmmm. I had the sole and my co-worker had the lamb. We shared some awesome risotto balls for an appetizer. The kitchen was all open, and it included a big woodfire oven for their pizza. The chef came out to my table and fileted my sole for me right there. That was neat! Great service too from our waiter, Reuben. I loved their big, open kitchen!

After Rose Pistola, we walked around a bit. We stumbled upon the Beat Museum. We paid the $4 student rate and went through the exhibit. We met the owner, who was a really neat guy. He's been collecting beat stuff for years and four years ago opened the museum and gift shop. He had rare first editions of many books of the generation and lots of photos. It was a really neat place. After that, we were looking for a bar to have a few drinks at. We heard some blues music pouring into the street from this one bar (the name is escaping me), so we ventured in. We took a seat at the bar, which looked like it was converted from a greasy-spoon diner. As we waited for our Anchor Steam (me) and the red wine (co-worker), we gazed around and realized we were in a Steelers bar called Giordorna's. Top to bottom, left to right, it was all Steelers memoriabilia. We came all the way to California to visit a PA sports bar! I asked the bartender and he was from PA, as was the owner. This started a stream of PA people who were now living in Cali. Throughout the whole week, I'd say we met about 20 people who lived locally, but had roots in PA. After the first drink there, jet lag set in. We had plans to hang out all night, but the fluffy hotel bed won over.

Day 2 and 3 we worked at the convention all day. The second night, we hit up a really hip Sushi place called Blowfish: Sushi to Die For. The tagline comes from the blowfish legend-- anyone who eats one, dies. The place was super cool-- house music pumping through, anime playing on flat screen TVs everywhere and lots of cool Japanese action figures-- but most of the place was decorated in beautiful Japanese decor. The staff was awesome-- a really fun place to work it seems. The food was AMAZING- as were the drinks we had at the bar while we waited for our table. Blowfish Sushi was probably the best I've ever had. We had to wait a while for a cab- it was in the Mission District, but a little off the beaten path, so we had to have the matrie'd call for one. We went back to the hotel to get coats- it was pretty chilly- and then walked around downtown to find a bar. We realized that most of the cool stuff was in the neighborhoods, not downtown when we could not find a bar. We stumbled into a neat looking place called Farmer Brown. The place had a copper-top bar and lanterns made out of old burlap sacks. The bar menu had southern style stuff, and the house drink was Pabst Blue Ribbon with a shot of Jack (or something, I forget what the liquor was). Just as we sat down, the bartender said it was last call. At 11:00?? So we had one and then followed some guys from Switzerland to this club called Ruby Skye that that bartender recommended. That was pretty awesome- in this old theater which looked more like a gothic church. I was never in a club with velvet ropes before, so that was cool. Expensive, but cool.

Our last night in town, we attended a VIP Dinner Cruise around the bay with about 50 other attendees and exhibitors from the show. Our table was really great-- met some really great people. It was too foggy out to go to the Golden Gate Bridge, but we were able to see Alcatraz. That was really neat. When we got back to the hotel, I passed right out. We worked hard all week, were jet-lagged and I guess it caught up to me. The next morning, we had a great breakfast and my co-worker had an earlier flight than me, so she left. Then, me. Spent the day in the air. Overall, totally awesome trip! Hope I get to do it again soon!