Friday, October 17, 2014

The Nam on Facebook: The Many Faces of Bavarian Kreme

I doubt this is a problem unique to Fayette County, but still...

I encourage you all to join me in my quest of thinking of as many weird, potentially inappropriate alternate names for "Ovarian Bavarian Kreme" as possible.

My brother isn't thrilled about working at Dunkin' Donuts until he goes into the military...but I am!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Nam on Facebook: Seems Legit

Courtesy of my brother's Facebook.

Maybe this business is owned and operated by whoever runs the beer trailer at the fair.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Nam on Facebook: Connellsville Trick-Or-Treat

From Connellsville mayor Greg Lincoln's Facebook:

Yes, trick-or-treat has been moved from a Sunday afternoon to Halloween night from 6 to 8 p.m. Travesty!

Connellsville, your mayor's got a point--Connellsville doesn't turn into some lethal cesspool after dark, and I'm saying this as someone who occasionally drinks until very late at night at Lynn's. Yeah, things happen and they always will, but 6 to 8 on Halloween probably isn't going to put your kids or anyone else in any danger.

In fact, trick-or-treating on Halloween will probably just be more fun, and what kid wants to trick-or-treat and binge on their candy on a school night? Let's be real, here--weekend trick-or-treat will make your lives easier, parents.

But if you're that worried, you could always do what my parents did with my brother and I--drive us around to relatives' houses instead of neighborhood trick-or-treat. Which sounds like overprotective overkill now that I'm an adult, but we had fun and never missed out on a whole hell of a lot without the full door-to-door experience.

Or you can get in on the festivities in my parents' neighborhood, especially since I'm pretty sure all the parents there invite all their relatives and friends kids' up anyway. Which is a pretty good idea if you're concord about crime and safety in your own neighborhoods...

P.S.: If I help with trick-or-treat and I'm down to our last nice pre-made treat bags and am progressing to good-but-not-awesome treat bags because we ran out of most candy and your kid is dressed as a Wizard of Oz character or something else I like, I'll play favorites and give that kid one of the better bags. Unless maybe they're with siblings because we all know how that one will end.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fayette County among hardest places to live in the country

Thanks to a reader for alerting me to this on Facebook! Remember, if you want me to write about something, send it my way. I make no promises, but my readers tend to send me really interesting stuff. And I am but one expat with a day job and other writing ventures.

According to a new study, Fayette County is one of the hardest places to live in the country. After measuring six data points--education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor's degree), median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy, and obesity--things aren't looking so great for us.

The numbers are pretty interesting--median income of about $38,000, 14% are college educated, 9.3% are unemployed, 4.4% are on disability, and 42% are obese. The full study, as linked above, goes into more of the comparisons and such.

Interestingly, comparable counties are mostly in the south. Although for some local perspective, Westmoreland County--where my boyfriend lives--is closer to the best, and Washington County--where I live--is more in the middle. Now, I've always held the theory that people from the Nam who do get college educations or generally do pretty well for themselves ultimately leave for a better area, and so far, that's anecdotally true. My boyfriend and I both took our degrees and went to neighboring counties, while I know of others who left for different states entirely. And for a quick numbers comparison for how things go when you cross those county lines, Washington County has a median income of $53,000, 25% are college educated, 7.3% are unemployed, 1.7% are on disability, and 39% are obese. Westmoreland County has a median income of $49,000, 24.7% are college educated, 7.4% are unemployed, 1.6% are on disability, and 36% obese.

Fayettenam, maybe we can look to our neighbors for ideas on how to boost ourselves up a bit.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Nam to be featured on "Finding Bigfoot"

First "Treehouse Masters," now the greatest TV show of all time--"Finding Bigfoot," thus fulfilling all my dreams.

Cast and crew was in Uniontown last week filming. Based on her Facebook posts, we'll likely see Geibel teacher (and one of my favorites, and not just because she has awesome hair or because I think she should start selling Bigfoot jewelry in her Etsy shop) Julie Yankovich featured in the crowd. She also informed me that to attend the meeting, you had to get an invite through the show's unsung hero Ranae Holland's Facebook page, which taught me a very valuable lesson--like every single Facebook page related to my interests so I don't miss any cool opportunities, like being in the same room as national treasure Bobo. Hell, because I now live in Washington, I wasn't even in the same county as Bobo.
“This is the best town hall meeting we’ve ever had — the sheer amount of stories we had — we literally did not have enough time before we had to start wrapping things up,” said one of the show’s producers, Sean Mantooth.
I'm not surprised, being that I'm still praying that someone still has a copy of the Bigfoot eyewitness sketch the Herald Standard ran many summers ago. Like, the "Finding Bigfoot" crew coming here was probably my #1 dream for us, and getting that sketch is #2.

Anyway, they filmed in the State Theatre, which I'm hoping leads to some other Discovery-owned TV show dealing with the paranormal to do an episode there, like "When Ghosts Attack." We need the curse of Ernie and his band on national TV.
“So far, it’s been good. We just had one of the best town hall meetings we’ve ever had,” said Bobo. “We’ve had a lot of great witnesses. This is good territory with lots of food, sustenance, water, cover woods, and caves, so people shouldn’t be surprised — they’ve got Squatches here.”
Yes, Bobo, I do believe there's a 'Squatch in the Nam! Please, do your best to lure it out and capture it on film. Throw a rave. Cook it bacon. Host a Clarks concert.

The cast also stayed for a meet and greet, which is pretty cool.

The episode will air sometime next year as part of the show's sixth season, which will start airing in November. Liveblog, anyone?

Friday, August 22, 2014

SPCA's license revoked

Anyone else find it ironic that "SPCA" stands for "Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals"?
More than 50 dogs and cats were removed from a Fayette County animal shelter just days after state officials revoked its license after allegedly finding numerous sick dogs and multiple health violations.

Read more:
More than two dozen citations were filed against the SPCA, including ones for failing to maintain sanitary conditions and vaccinate dogs within 10 days.
Inspectors who visited the Uniontown shelter on July 16 and Aug. 7 found sick dogs, piles of feces and an insect infestation.
The animals have been moved to Animal Friends of Westmoreland. They're still under quarantine, meaning they can't be adopted out, but when they're cleared, I strongly suggest our friends (and expats?) in Westmoreland County who are looking to add a pet to their family to consider Animal Friends--or any shelter, really. In the meantime, the animals will fortunately finally be getting the care they deserve, with costs estimated to be around $20,000. So I'm sure Animal Friends would love monetary donations and volunteers, as well. And if you have a smartphone, download the free app Walk for a Dog--it donates money to a shelter of your choice for every mile you walk, and I've let Fayette Friends of Animals know so they can look into it and hopefully get on the list.
"It's heartbreaking. There are a lot of good dogs here. They didn't ask for this," said Tammy McGregor, who had worked at the Fayette SPCA for nearly five years. "We've passed every other inspection up until recently."
Look, I'm sure they have passed inspection until recently, but this is a pretty damn huge way to fail an inspection. Beyond that, I've heard that they've had troubles in the past, and when I discussed the issue with someone I know who works with a local vet, she said, "This was a long time coming." Someone dropped the ball, and I don't mean literally so a dog could play with it. The dogs were probably all too sick to play, anyway.
Fayette SPCA president Sam Hunt says the facility has spent $15,000 since July 16 to clean the building and make repairs. The shelter had a week to appeal the revocation, but McGregor said at this point, the SPCA board did not plan to reopen the shelter.
Keeping it closed is probably for the best at this point, but way to give a shit, SPCA board!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Laurel Caverns rappelling

Until yesterday, I'd only been to Laurel Caverns once, and it was when my parents took my brother and I when we were pretty young. But I remember getting to see a bat up close and an optical illusion where a hill is so steep, it looks like a golf ball on a rail actually rolls uphill. This steep hill is also the reason why my legs are still sore. Anyway, I remember it was a pretty cool place, too, because duh, it's a big-ass cave.

After a trip to the movies last weekend, my boyfriend's college roommate was like, "Next weekend, rappelling at Laurel Caverns." Now, there was a time when I would've refused or needed lots of coercing, and while I wasn't really crazy about the idea of rappelling until I actually did it, I somehow went along with this pretty easily.

And I actually highly recommend it for something fun to do!

They recommend you get there early, although horrible fog meant my boyfriend and I made it just in time, and the rappelling instructors tell you and show you everything you need to know. This is entirely beginner-friendly--most of us in the group had never rappelled before. And it's pretty straightforward, and it's also super safe. As they tell you in your instructions, they've had rescue dogs in training do this.

Once you get strapped into your harness, helmet, and gloves, you get a little mini tour of the caverns, and you get to gaze up at the rock wall you'll be rappelling down. And honestly, it actually calmed my nerves a little bit to actually see it in person. It's a 40-foot rappel, but it doesn't look intimidating at all.

Until you're 40 feet up on the platform, of course, waiting for your turn--and in my case, insisting to go neither first nor last but either before or after my boyfriend. The scariest part, though, is the first rappel--it felt strange to sit back into the harness and let it support me. Not because I didn't trust that the equipment was safe--I actually trusted the equipment immensely, as well as one of the instructors who operates the safety line in case something does go awry--but just because it's a bizarre physical feeling. And then comes the awkward first step off the edge.

But after that, it's fun. The first rappel is awkward and a little scary as you get used to the sensations and the actual process of the rappel. But fortunately, you actually get three rappels, and even after our first one, we were joking about using the other two to race each other--although you descend one at a time, we were talking about timing each other. That said, I was still a little nervous going down, though I did go faster and faster each time. My problem was going too fast felt weird, although some of the rappellers in our group had no problem coming down in seconds. Some of us even had an audience, as the regular tour groups pass by and stop to watch and occasionally applaud.

All in all, the hardest part is climbing up that damn hill three times to rappel down then finish the cave tour. When you're all done, you get a certificate. And we also have video and photo proof that we actually did it.

So for something fun and a little adventurous, definitely go for rappelling at Laurel Caverns. It costs 35 bucks, which gets you three rappels and a little tour, which lasted about three hours total. Granted, that also depends some on how fast everyone does their rappels.

Maybe I'll take on spelunking next.