Friday, December 30, 2011

NEPA Blogs year in review 2011

A year ago I was about ready to let NEPA Blogs die.

I had been letting the site drift into oblivion for a very long time. You can see that by looking at the number of posts each month on the "Blog Archive" on the sidebar. The site wasn't a priority for me.  It was difficult to locate blogs through brute-force searches alone.  The site showed no signs of approaching "critical mass" - the point where incoming links from linked sites would cause a sharp, sustained, and ever-rising increase in site traffic. I was disappointed with the site, and tired of putting effort into it. I wasn't planning to shut down NEPA Blogs, but I really didn't want to invest any more time into it.

Another "Blog Fest" was coming up in the Spring. I found about it by accident, while reading through some of the older posts on Dave Yonki's LuLac Political Letter. Dave's posts are titled more-or-less numerically, so the only way to have any clue as to what he's writing about is to go and read through each post.  So unless you're willing to put in the effort to pore over each post to see if there's anything that really interests you, it's very easy to miss something. Normally Gort would announce these get-togethers on his Gort42 site with much fanfare, but Gort was taking a break from blogging at the time. It turned out Joe Valenti had also announced it on his Pittston Politics site, but due to some coding bugs Joe's new posts were not appearing on the live updates sidebar on NEPA Blogs or anywhere else - so again, unless you were actively going to his site and checking it for updates, you weren't going to see anything.

That's when Michelle stepped in with some ideas for reviving and reestablishing NEPA Blogs. "Blog Fests" in the past had been less gatherings of bloggers and more opportunities for candidates for political office to get face-time with political bloggers, and vice-versa. Michelle wanted to try to bring in more non-political bloggers, many of whom might have been turned off in the past by the overwhelmingly political tone of the gatherings. She put considerable effort into publicizing the event, getting a notice published in The Weekender and a mention in Happenings magazine.  She contacted bloggers, posted notices, spread the word - and in the end the gathering was still mostly politicians trying to kiss up to political bloggers, and political bloggers letting them.  But the ball was rolling. Things were changing.

Michelle breathed new life into NEPA Blogs. Working together, she and I revised the look of the site for the first time in years. She worked out a way to replace the blog title with an image that incorporates the blog title. We started off with an image that had been gracing the site for several years, but then began rotating through different photos of various scenes throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Then Michelle took things to the next level. I believe she had created the NEPA Bloggers group on Facebook some time before, but she shepherded the group through one of Mark Zuckerberg's periodic catastrophic revisions, saving the group from the doom of being "archived." She also created a Twitter account for the site, and then brought us into the second decade of the twenty-first century by establishing a presence on Google+ as well.  Thanks to Michelle's efforts, NEPA Blogs was now sending out tendrils into all of the inter-tubes.

But Michelle wasn't content with achieving domination of print and online media. While rapidly adding blogs she was locating by scanning through the followers of the NEPA Blogs Twitter account, as well as tracking down and adding blogs the old-fashioned way (resulting in more blogs being added in the month of April than in the previous twelve months combined), Michelle was also making arrangements for NEPA Blogs to make inroads into other local media.

While she was working on that, we continued to add more and more blogs to NEPA Blogs, and more members to the Facebook and Google+ groups, and more followers to Twitter. I also came up with some simple button designs that people could add to their blogs to announce that they were listed on NEPA Blogs - and with the addition of a little bit of code, they could then link back to NEPA Blogs!  (Michelle wrote up very thorough instructions for doing this here.) I also created a basic set of instructions for submitting images for use as the NEPA Blogs header.

I was doing a brute force blog search in May when I came across something disturbing: a "scraper" blog that was reposting blog entries by bloggers throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and making it look like the blog entries had been written specifically for this other site. The newest entry was something I had just posted to my personal blog, but there were other entries by plenty of other people linked by NEPA Blogs - including, I think, NEPA Blogs itself. (Unfortunately, there were no blogs included on this scraper blog that weren't already listed on NEPA Blogs.) A few carefully-worded messages later and the problem (which is to say, the site) went away, but this got me thinking: if something is worth stealing, maybe it's worth having in the first place.

(UPDATE, 12/30/2011 10:40 PM: It was in the aftermath of this event that I mentioned to Michelle that someone else was effectively squatting on the domain name - a now-defunct "closed network" group of blogs that was started a few months after I created NEPA Blogs in 2006. Michelle immediately snatched up the domain and set it up as a redirect to While this was done as a precautionary move at the time, it turned out to be very useful later when we only had to give out the .org address rather than the full blogspot address.)

In June Michelle made the big announcement: NEPA Blogs would be featured in a half-hour segment of Blue Ridge Communication's ComputerWise TV. This was the biggest thing that had happened yet! We were very excited and did everything we could to prepare for the show. Despite nearly dying practically before we got on the road and then having a difficult time locating the well-hidden Blue Ridge Communication facility (even with a GPS!), the show went incredibly smoothly. George Roberts was an excellent host and made us feel extremely comfortable throughout the interview, which was broadcast live. Unfortunately, the show is considered a sort of premium for Blue Ridge Communications customers, so even online rebroadcasts are only available to subscribers. Maybe someday they'll change their policy...

The summer rolled by with plenty of blogs being added each month. Jessica Durkin of WFTE Community Radio contacted us and asked us to do a half-hour show with her! Despite the usual misadventures (I got us lost in the Hill Section of Scranton, and a scrambled address nearly led us to pound on someone's door and tell them we were there for the interview), the interview once again went very smoothly. We left with thoughts of turning this into a regular thing, if we could all coordinate our schedules. (Which meant, if my schedule could ever become stable enough to coordinate with everyone else's.)

And then the next big break: Local television station WBRE was creating PA Live!, a new hour-long lifestyles program focusing on Northeastern Pennsylvania. Once again, through Michelle's efforts we were going to be a part of it! They brought us in to "audition" at the studio. By then, of course, we were veterans of television and radio. Having just done two half-hour programs, one live and one recorded and rebroadcast without edits, doing a ninety-second spot would be no problem. Since my schedule allowed me the flexibility to appear in the afternoon every week, it was decided that I would be the NEPA Blogs spokesmodel. If everything went according to plan, the show would start the second Monday in  September. The NEPA Blogs Blog of the Week segment would run every Tuesday, starting with the second show. If everything went according to plan.

It nearly didn't.

Nature had other plans.  In late August an earthquake hit, one of the strongest east coast earthquakes known. Shortly afterwards Tropical Storm Irene scraped up along the east coast, saturating the ground with water and punishing the region with high winds. Trees fell everywhere, resulting in massive and sustained power outages. (Michelle was without electricity for many days.) Then, just a few weeks later, the ragged remnants of Tropical Storm Lee cut across Northeastern Pennsylvania by another path,  further soaking already saturated grounds. Then the storm parked itself in upstate New York and poured rain into the headwaters of the Susquehanna, much like Agnes did thirty-nine years earlier. And the flooding from this storm resembled that brought on by Agnes - except this time, things were even worse. And this time, parts of the Wyoming Valley were protected by an enhanced levee system.

But not everywhere. And suddenly, the once-in-a-lifetime flooding of Agnes in 1972 became a twice-in-a-lifetime event for anyone who had lived so long. And in the midst of it, Michelle took the initiative to use the networking power of NEPA Blogs and all of the social media associated with it to focus on giving help to those affected by the flood.  Immediately this became our most popular post ever, as people scanned through the extensive list of links to look for ways they could give (or even get) help.  This single post received thousands of hits.  Since that time NEPA Blogs has seen an increase in overall readership that continues to this day.

WBRE survived the flood unscathed, and PA Live went on as planned.  One thing changed - the first Blog of the Week was hastily revised to be the Susquehanna River Sentinel.  Fifteen more shows have come and gone since then as of this writing, and in just four weeks PA Live will be airing its 100th episode!

At almost the same time that PA Live! made its debut, I was also scheduled to participate in a Bloggers' Roundtable discussion at the Vintage Theater in Scranton, representing both my own personal blog and NEPA Blogs. I appeared alongside bloggers Rich Howells, Justin Vacula, and Tom Borthwick.  Together we did an excellent job of communicating a broad view of blogging to the gathered audience. On a personal level this was an excellent networking opportunity that opened up new vistas of possibility for me.

Meanwhile, Gort resumed his blogging activities, taking a more active role in the Fall Edition of Blog Fest and organizing a smaller, more intimate bloggers' get-together in early November. He also got in on the TV thing in December, appearing as a featured guest on WYLN's Storm Politics show.

In October I realized that while posting our past header images to the NEPA Blogs Facebook page was nice, it didn't really make these images available to anyone who wasn't part of the Facebook group - and subjected them to the whims of Mark Zuckerberg. So I created a single post to which we would append each old header as the new header was activated. And as the weeks rolled by it became clear that the NEPA Blogs header image collection was gradually providing a complete photographic record of Northeastern Pennsylvania, in all its beauty and ugliness, in its mundane and sublime aspects, as seen by many different individuals from throughout the area. Scrolling through the images could really give you a sense of what Northeastern Pennsylvania is.

Thanks mainly to Michelle's efforts, we've added an enormous number of blogs to NEPA Blogs in 2011. And, as always, some of the blogs that we've linked to have soared, some have faltered, and some have drifted off into oblivion or simply shut down altogether. That's just the way of things in the blogosphere, and there's no reason NEPA's corner of the blogosphere should be any different. We still haven't reached critical mass, still haven't achieved a sustained chain reaction in which the traffic from linked blogs to NEPA Blogs and back out again to the linked blogs goes into an ever-increasing upward spiral. Maybe we never will. I don't let it get me down anymore. We've got a great team of co-administrators here, with Michelle keeping us on the cutting edge of all media, both old and new, and providing the necessary shots of adrenaline to the heart of NEPA Blogs, and Gort thinking about the politics so we don't have to. And me...well, I just do whatever it is that I do. Write pretty and talk pretty and look pretty on TV - all with varying degrees of success, I suppose.

So. Onward to 2012. I leave you with this video, created by Michelle, inspired by Mark Cour's always popular video flapdoodles. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Laughing At My Nightmare!

After I did my bit on PA Live! yesterday, Monica Madeja turned to me and told me excitedly about a remarkable blog she had read about in the Allentown Morning Call over the Christmas holidays.

Allentown Morning Call: "Happiness is always an option"

It's a blog by Shane Burcaw, a young man with a severe form of muscular dystrophy. His blog is called Laughing At My Nightmare!.

Laughing At My Nightmare!

I have a disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy that will eventually kill me. I have been in a wheelchair since I was two. I love to laugh and my life is pretty funny. Allow me to share...

Now, I immediately thought of a recent minor controversy involving the precise definition of "NEPA" and how, by pretty much any definition, places like Allentown and Bethlehem are actually part of the Lehigh Valley and not included in Northeastern Pennsylvania. But Monica twisted my arm and persuaded me to make yet another exception to the "NEPA" requirement for NEPA Blogs. So once again we allow one of our neighbors from the wrong side of the Lehigh Tunnel to come and hang with the cool kids from Northeastern Pennsylvania.  (If this keeps up we'll need to spin off a new site called "Lehigh Valley Blogs!")

Let's all welcome Shane Burcaw of Bethlehem to the NEPA Blogs family!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pa Live! Blog of the Week: The Plastic Waffle

NEPA Blogs will be presenting a "Blog of the Week" on the WBRE's PA Live! every Tuesday. PA Live! airs weekday afternoons on WBRE from 4:00 to 5:00.

Watch this episode on the PA Live! site:

Our PA Live! Blog of the Week this week is The Plastic Waffle (

Bob Merc grew up in the 1970's and music has always been a big part of his life.  Disabled with rheumatoid arthritis for the past nine years, he created his music blog, The Plastic Waffle, as a way to share music with the world - and keep his sanity. His blog covers bands from 10CC ("I'm Not in Love") to ZZ Top and everything in between - nearly five hundred bands so far! (The term "plastic waffle" comes from the song "An Elpee's Worth of Toons" by Todd Rundgren, one of Bob's favorite performers. It refers to a record album, made of plastic and full of little indentations.)

The Plastic Waffle features a new and different artist every day of the week. His posts contains facts and information, trivia, videos, and reviews about the artist. He also has links to take you to the best places to buy concert tickets, music equipment, and take music lessons.

While Bob can't get around as much as he'd like, he sees music as a way to bridge the gap between people, and his blog has attracted visitors from over eighty countries in the past few months alone. Blogging gives him a way to connect with the rest of the world that might not otherwise be possible, and it allows him to share his passion - his love of music - with people from all over.

So what's your passion? Do you enjoy art, or music, or food? Maybe you enjoy coin collecting, or setting up model trains, or geocaching? There are people all over the world who share your interest, and may have something to share with you. A blog is a great way to share your passion with the world, and connect with people from all over.  Why not give it a shot and see what people from the rest of the world have to say!

If you have a blog you would like us to link on NEPA Blogs, or know of a blog you think we should link, please let us know! You can always drop us a line at!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Unity Church Wilkes-Barre

This is another site that is not exactly a blog, though it does contain some bloglike features and may at some point incorporate a blog:

Unity Church Wilkes-Barre

From the "Welcome" part of their front page:

We are a spiritual haven in the greater Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area and beyond. We welcome all individuals who are seeking a spiritual path and a spiritual home. Our doors are open to all who seek to find their oneness with God and with all life.

Unity is considered more a way of life than a religion. It seeks to apply the principles taught by Jesus in a practical way to enhance our way of living in the world today. May you find the joy of unconditional love, the blessing of inner peace, and the inspiration to become all that God created you to Unity of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania!

Our Mission Statement:
Unity  is a spiritual community built on Love. We offer positive, practical, spiritual ideas to assist people to heal and prosper their lives.

We'll be adding this site to our sidebar list of NEPA Companies & Organizations.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

PA Live! Blog of the Week: The Nest Effect

NEPA Blogs will be presenting a "Blog of the Week" on the WBRE's PA Live! every Tuesday. PA Live! airs weekday afternoons on WBRE from 4:00 to 5:00.

Watch this episode on the PA Live! site:

Our PA Live! Blog of the Week this week is The Nest Effect (

NEPA Blogs doesn't just focus on blogs written by people living in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We also look at blogs written about Northeastern Pennsylvania, and blogs written by people who were originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania. The Nest Effect falls into this last category. It's written by Tiffany, who describes herself as a "a wife / blogger / teacher / organizer / deal-seeker / list-maker / and DIYer." As she tells on her "About" page, she is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania but moved out to Salt Lake City, Utah a few years ago with her high-school sweetheart - who became her husband earlier this year.  But it's clear from Tiffany's posts that she still carries a love of Northeastern Pennsylvania in her heart. She even came back to NEPA to get married, and returns to the area whenever she can.

The lines of one Christmas classic remind us that "there's no place like home for the holidays."  Sadly, not everyone can be home for the holidays. This will be Tiffany's first Christmas not spent in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Like many people who grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania but now live elsewhere, she will find the words of another, more melancholy song apply: "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams."

Not everyone from Northeastern Pennsylvania spends their entire life here. Some move out and make their way in the big wide world. If you're originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania but now live somewhere else, or if you're originally from somewhere else and now live in Northeastern Pennsylvania, you should consider staying in touch with your roots and keeping in contact with friends and family back home through the use of a blog.

To read about all of the blogs that we link to that are written by people who were originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania but now live elsewhere, click here.

If you have a blog you would like us to link on NEPA Blogs, or know of a blog you think we should link, please let us know! You can always drop us a line at!

Monday, December 19, 2011

NEPA Freethought Society

Here's another site that isn't exactly a blog.

NEPA Freethought Society

From their front page:

The NEPA Freethought Society is community of non-believers (atheist, agnostic, freethinker, humanist, secularist, skeptic, bright) in Northeastern PA. Our members come from Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, East Stroudsburg, Hazleton, and the surrounding area.

This site isn't exactly a blog per se, though it does include a news stream and intends to link to members' blogs. It also lists the group's podcasts, including "Discussion on Morals," "Discussion on Religious Faith," "Race & Religion," and the most recent debate, "Does the Christian God Exist" (not yet posted to the podcast page as of this writing.)

More information on the NEPA Freethought Society can be found through their FAQ page and their "Learn More" link.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Here's another blog sent to us via email! It's called justjacq, and it's written by Jacquelyn. Here's a little bit of what she has to say on her "About" page:

I’m a 25 year old girl from Pennsylvania who sees everything, thinks about everything, and reads. What I’m trying to be? A 25 year old girl from Pennsylvania who does all those things and incorporates a healthy living. I’m inspired by those who effortless eat healthy and stay fit. I guess my people watching and book habits don’t really fit that mold. But hey, I’m single, young, and kid-less. I should be able to do it all! So what will you find here?

- My thoughts
- My eats
- My day
- My reads
- My loves
- My friends
- My stories

I want to write about the things I see, the things I think about, what I read, eat, and do. I want to write about those who inspire me and those who need some inspiration. I want to write about everything.

...and things just go from there.

For a blog about everything and more, be sure to check out Jacquelyn's justjacq!

TECHNICAL NOTE: We're being a little fuzzy about the definition of the term "NEPA" here. Jacquelyn's email states:

I recently moved to NEPA (living in Bethlehem) and would love for my little blog to be added to your site. 

Bethlehem is technically in the Lehigh Valley, outside of Northeastern Pennsylvania by most definitions of the term.  But since she asked so nicely, I'm willing to allow our neighbor from the other end of the Lehigh Tunnel to come and hang with the cool kids from NEPA!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Congratulations to Bill Thomas!

Congratulations to Bill Thomas of Cinema Cyclops for being voted Best Local Blogger in Diamond City's Best of Luzerne County poll! Not too shabby for a blog that's only been around since October and has (as of this writing) eleven posts to its credit. Be sure to check out all of Bill's movie reviews!

Don't forget, you can continue to vote for NEPA Blogs for the Best Blog in the Poconos ("People" category, item #7) once per day per IP address through December 31!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's a Keeper

From the NEPA Blogs mailbag:

My name is Christina Hitchcock and I'm a food blogger. On my site, It's a Keeper (, I'm blogging my way through my recipe pile (ala Julie and Julia style). I started with a pile of 300 + recipes that I've collected and decided to cook my way through them and report the results back to my readers.

I've been featured a number of times (see my I've been Featured page - in The Times Tribune, Happenings Magazine and on WNEP. Plus, my husband and I have 2 cookbooks.

Christina is from Madison Township. It's very exciting to know that someone like her is right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania! Be sure to check out her blog, and all the recipes that have gotten her stamp of approval, at It's a Keeper!

If you blog in Northeastern Pennsylvania, blog about Northeastern Pennsylvania, or used to live in Northeastern Pennsylvania and have a blog, please contact us at so we can list you!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

PA Live! Blog of the Week: We are: clamco

NEPA Blogs will be presenting a "Blog of the Week" on the WBRE's PA Live! every Tuesday. PA Live! airs weekday afternoons on WBRE from 4:00 to 5:00.

Watch this episode on the PA Live! site:

Our PA Live! Blog of the Week this week is We are: clamco (

We first learned of this blog by tracking back a comment that they left to a post on NEPA Blogs a few months ago. When I told them I wanted to add them to our links list, they said they had thought about submitting their blog to us but didn't think they would fit in since their blog wasn't actually about anything specific. But that's the beauty of "life" blogs: you don't have to write about a specific topic, or have a specific theme. You just blog about whatever you want! We are: clamco is a blog by a family in Northeastern Pennsylvania - Chris, Lorraine, and Megan (the "c", "l", and "m" of "clamco", as explained here) along with a dog and three cats. Their blog documents their day-to-day adventures, whether it's Megan's art, or selling things on eBay, or running in a half-marathon, or taking a family vacation, or preparing for Christmas, or just celebrating the joy of a sunrise.

Once upon a time people sent out annual Christmas letters, detailing the changes in their family's life in the previous year. But with a family blog, you give friends and family a ringside seat to your life as it happens. And someday you may be glad to have a document of your family's life so you can look back and say "Remember when...?" For a great example of a family blog, be sure to check out We are: clamco!

If you have a blog you would like us to link on NEPA Blogs, or know of a blog you think we should link, please let us know! You can always drop us a line at!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mama's Cool Things

Here's a local blogger I found out about through her appearance on PA Live!: Karon Rehrig of Mama's Cool Things ( She's a single mom in Northeastern Pennsylvania whose blog is targeted at moms and specializes in product reviews. From her "About Me" page:

Karon graduated from Penn State and into the world of single mommyhood. After her second child and second career, she discovered the world of blogging. She shares her adventures of trend-hunting for herself and her daughters and their love of traveling. She has worked with many brands and serves as an ambassador for Chevy Girls, TrashCanKidz, Mom Pact, Claritin Mom Crew, Saline Soothers/Boogie Wipes, UbiSoft, Juno Baby and many others.

Check out the cool products Karon is reviewing, and see how you could get in on the act as well, by visiting Mama's Cool Things!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Congratulations to Mike Stevens and Tom Flannery!

Congratulations to Mike Stevens and Tom Flannery, who were jointly voted Best Local Bloggers in Electric City's "Lackawanna County Best Of 2011" poll for their blog Riding Both Rails. Hooray!

Don't forget, you can continue to vote for NEPA Blogs for the Best Blog in the Poconos ("People" category, item #7) once per day per IP address through December 31!

The Nest Effect

Brute-force searches for blogs are getting harder and harder to do. Maybe we've picked all the low-hanging fruit. Maybe we've made this task harder for ourselves, since so many searches for "NEPA blog" or "Northeastern Pennsylvania blog" point back to NEPA Blogs.

But after quite a bit of searching, I found one I haven't seen before. The Nest Effect ( is a blog written by Tiffany, who describes herself as "a wife / blogger / teacher / organizer / deal-seeker / list-maker / and DIYer." As she tells on her "About" page, she is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania but moved out to Salt Lake City, Utah a few years ago with her high-school sweetheart - who became her husband earlier this year.

I love blogging and started back in February of 2009 with Real Simple Saving Methods. That blog became way too much work when couponing exploded into a new way of life for many. I became uninterested in what I was doing and felt like there was way too much competition out there, always posting the same content as me, therefore not making my blog unique. In April 2011 I decided to begin The Nest Effect because I knew I had so much to share (about everything) and wanted to feel like I could post about whatever I want. The Nest Effect is such a blast to write/run because my readers are amazing and keep me inspired. I never feel like my writing is a chore; I love doing it. I only post what I want to and keep it real 24/7.

For a fascinating blog by someone originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania who is making her way out in the Big Wide World, go and visit The Nest Effect!

Are you a blogger originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania who now lives somewhere else? Well, don't be a stranger! Reconnect with your NEPA roots here at NEPA Blogs! Get in touch with us at and we'll be happy to list you!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Eddie Donlin

When Michelle first sent me a frame grab of this site from her iPhone, I was a little taken aback.

Ed died online? What the heck kinda name for a blog was that? And why was it spelled wrong?

It wasn't spelled wrong, it turns out. This is the personal blog of Berwick's Eddie Donlin: photographer, father, and newbie beer-maker!

Scroll through his blog to see examples of his work, plus stories of his travels and his photo shoots. It's always interesting to see Northeastern Pennsylvania through somebody else's eyes, and this is your chance!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Scranton #BlueKey Tweetup

On December 14, one of our fellow NEPA bloggers, Mandy Boyle, will be hosting a #BlueKey Campaign Tweetup at The Vintage Theater in Scranton. It's a fundraiser, but more importantly, it's a chance for you to network with Twitter users from NEPA.

What is The Blue Key Campaign?
The Blue Key Campaign is part of USA for UNHCR, an organization dedicated to helping refugees worldwide. The symbol of the campaign is a "blue key" pin or pendant; a key, because it's the one thing that refugees may never hold in their hands again.

Purchasing your own key for just $5 is a great way to show support for refugees, as well as for the tireless work of more than 6,000 UNHCR staff worldwide, who work 24/7 to provide the protection, food, shelter and relief refugees need.

To learn more about The Blue Key Campaign and the work of USA for UNHCR, visit

Why a Tweetup?
Tweetups are great ways to meet people from the community, both locally and on Twitter. So, if you're an active participant on Twitter and want to meet some of your fellow tweeps, this event is a great opportunity for you to introduce yourself, network, and have great conversations with some of NEPA's Twitter glitterati (or just really nice people who happen to be social media geeks). Plus, it'll be an opportunity for you to show your support for The Blue Key Campaign.

What are the Event Details?
The #BlueKey Tweetup will be held on Wednesday, December 14 at The Vintage Theater in downtown Scranton from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The Vintage Theater Cafe will have some delectable goodies and beverages available for purchase during that time, so stop in for a nice cup of tea and some conversation.

In the meantime, you can register and purchase your very own blue key by checking out the event on EventBrite:

The cost to register is $6.12 and it includes your very own blue key pin or pendant to be picked up at the event, as well as EventBrite's service fees.

Any questions? Contact Mandy Boyle at boyle(dot)mandy(at)gmail(dot)com.

~Michelle (although, this post was written in it's entirety via Mandy)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

If You Can Play Scranton

If You Can Play Scranton: A Theatrical History, 1871-2010 ( is a blog that's also a tie-in to a book of the same title by Nancy McDonald. From the entry "About the Book":

If You Can Play Scranton is a theatrical history of America as seen through the famous performers who came to Scranton, Pennsylvania. It discusses performances by the best known actors and actresses of the tragic and comic stage, ethnic performers, vaudevillians, musical comedy, concert, orchestra and band performers from 1871-2010. At the turn of the 20th century, Scranton was one of the most famous try-out towns for legitimate stage productions. The sophisticated taste of its audience, created by extensive exposure to world renown talent, continues to this day.

If You Can Play Scranton captures yet another aspect of the rich history of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The book can be purchased directly through the blog (in six different formats!), but the blog also provides a wonderful sampling of what lies within. If you're not familiar with Scranton's long history of theatrical and vaudeville performances, pay a visit to If You Can Play Scranton and see a world you might not believe was once right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania - and still is!

If you've written a book about a topic of interest in Northeastern Pennsylvania and don't have a blog tie-in, you're missing an excellent opportunity for promotion and sales! Create a blog for your book, and then let us know about it at so we can list it!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

PA Live! Blog of the Week: Scranton Christmas Windows, 1938 - 1960

NEPA Blogs will be presenting a "Blog of the Week" on the WBRE's PA Live! every Tuesday. PA Live! airs weekday afternoons on WBRE from 4:00 to 5:00.

Watch this episode on the PA Live! site:

Our PA Live! Blog of the Week this week is Scranton Christmas Windows, 1938 - 1960 (

This remarkable blog is a time capsule preserving and sharing images from a bygone era. I'll quote the site itself:

In 2009 Gene Giancini was cleaning out a building on Scranton’s West Side. His family had operated a business in the building for 60 years, and he was in the process of selling it. He found, stacked in the corner, old photos of Christmas window displays from Household Outfitting Company, 306-314 Lackawanna Ave. Mr. Giancini generously donated the photos to the Albright Memorial Library. We will be presenting them through this web site.

There are just 23 posts on this blog, but the images they present are remarkable, a record of a time long past, an era with a style and grace that are too often lacking today, when Christmas was a season of magic even in the storefronts on Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton.

But these posts are also filled with historical mysteries gradually solved through careful detective work.  The photos themselves are records of places that have long since disappeared. How many of us have stacks of old photos sitting around, tucked away in boxes in basements or attics? How much of the history of Northeastern Pennsylvania is captured on these photographs, just waiting to be noticed?  Most communities have libraries and historical societies that would be happy to accept these treasure troves. Don't let these photographs end up in a landfill somewhere!

As Christmas fast approaches, it's good to pause for a bit and take a look at the way one Northeastern Pennsylvania business decorated itself for Christmas during the middle third of the last century. Be sure to check out Scranton Christmas Windows, 1938 - 1960!

If you have a blog you would like us to link on NEPA Blogs, or know of a blog you think we should link, please let us know! You can always drop us a line at!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Flavor of the Med

A submission via e-mail:

I own an online business based in Tobyhanna that has a blog online:

At first I thought this might, a company that made flavorings for medicine? But, no! The "Med" in "Flavor of the Med" is the Mediterranean, and it's a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Online Grocery. Go through the entries and see if you don't find yourself wishing that Flavor of the Med had a bricks-and-mortar presence where you could visit and smell and taste the foods!  If you're a fan of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking and are looking for some recipe ideas or an online source of ingredients, stop by Flavor of the Med and have a look around!

Do you own a business in Northeastern Pennsylvania? Have you considered using a blog as part of your business model? It's a great way of connecting with current and future customers, and letting the world know about what you have to sell. If you're in NEPA and have a business blog, contact us at and we'll list it here at NEPA Blogs!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Two by Brent Pennington

Northeastern Pennsylvania is home to many excellent photographers, both amateur and professional. Here are two blogs by Brent Pennington, a professional photographer who also captures images for his own enjoyment:

Brent Pennington: Photographer

From the "About" page:

I’ve been behind the camera for over 6 years and I have to say, it’s an exciting journey. It’s more than a hobby for me, more than a career – it’s a passion. I’ve been a photojournalist, worked for major universities & trade schools, sold fine art photographs, and recorded graduations, weddings, and families.

But most of all, I’ve worked with people. That’s the rewarding part. Getting to step inside the moment and see people as they truly are, capturing their feelings and their essence. I’ve been able to tell their stories.

Let me tell yours.

Brent also has another photography site, which has a very different focus:

The Roving Photographer

From that site's "About" page:

I specialize in portraiture and wedding photography. I get a thrill out of meeting people, getting to work with them, getting to peer just a little ways into who they really are, and make an image of it. But when the clients are gone and the light stands are put away, I retreat to nature and make images for myself.

It lets me forget the daily concerns and focus on the world around me, instead. The activities of the wildlife, the life cycles of the plants. It’s something I’m passionate about, and take great pleasure in doing. And that’s enough.

So if you’re looking for stunning models and beautiful brides, check out my professional site: Brent Pennington: Photographer. You won’t find any of that here on display here (although you may get to see some behind the scenes)… But what you will find are songbirds and eagles, mammals and wildflowers, and a taste of the landscapes across which I roam. You’ll also find info on the gear I use, a well as the gear that I build for myself.

Be sure to check out both of Brent's sites to see two sides of a photographer's work!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Dominick at WBRE

Well, here's one so recursive it may bend space-time...while engaging in a frustrating brute-force search for NEPA band blogs, I came across a reference to a NEPA band - and to myself! It was on the blog of Dominick, one of the interns at WBRE who helps out with PA Live! Among his many, many other duties at the station, he escorts all of the guests on and off of the set, gets us anything we need, and makes sure we're ready when it's our turn to go on. His blog serves as an excellent record of the goings-on at PA Live!, though he hasn't mentioned anything about The Cobra Incident yet (yes, having an angry venomous snake on the set is a fine idea, especially when the only person who knows how to deal with it is the person most likely to be bitten!)

Dominick at WBRE

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mark Mysterrio, Pennsylvania Birthday Magician

I attended a magic show held to to benefit Toys for Tots this weekend, and among the many local magicians I saw perform was Mark Mysterrio. Mark is a magician who also seems to be part Doctor Who (Sylvester McCoy's seventh Doctor, to be precise) and part Rip Taylor (the part that flings confetti and sparkles and marshmallows, if Rip Taylor ever flung marshmallows.) His performance delighted the children and adults there alike, and it was only in the aftermath of the event that I learned he had a blog.

Mark Mysterrio's Pennsylvania Birthday

His site may look like a standard website with a static front page, but it is in fact a blog built using the Wordpress platform. I'm hoping I can find a way to access the RSS feed to provide updates on our sidebar. (UPDATE: Mark sent us the feed information - - so now we have an updating feed on the sidebar!) In any event, be sure to check out his page - and check out his sidebar for his latest updates!

P.S.: Mark Mysterrio is also on the "Greatest Around the Poconos" Ballot on the "People" page in category #9, "Local Entertainer," just two categories below NEPA Blogs! So while you're voting for NEPA Blogs, and bloggers and blog friends like Andy Palumbo (#19, TV Reporter) and Rocky and Sue (#11, Morning Radio Team), why not cast a vote for NEPA magician and blogger Mark Mysterrio, too!

Are you a magician or other entertainer who has a blog? Don't keep it under your hat - let us know about it at

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

PA Live! Blog of the Week: The DnA Project Band

NEPA Blogs will be presenting a "Blog of the Week" on the WBRE's PA Live! every Tuesday. PA Live! airs weekday afternoons on WBRE from 4:00 to 5:00.

Watch this episode on the PA Live! site:

Our PA Live! Blog of the Week this week is The DnA Project Band (

The DnA Project Band is a band out of Northeastern Pennsylvania. They bill themselves as "Northeastern Pennsylvania’s craziest and most fun live act," and you'll get a chance to judge for yourself when they play live at Luna Rossa on Route 209 in Gilbert, PA on Saturday, December 3. They will be improvising a song on the fly from ideas shouted out by the audience, and will also be collecting new, unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots!

Band blogs are an excellent way for bands to reach out to and connect with their fans and potential future audiences in-between shows. A blog provides a format which is more interactive than a traditional website. Blogs are also very easy to set up - no "webmaster" required! Of course, these band blogs also give bands an opportunity to talk tough and build up expectations that they then have to meet when they perform live!

The DnA Project Band isn't the only band blog listed on NEPA Blogs. We've recently added The Countercoup, another Northeastern Pennsylvania band that has been blogging for a while but has yet to play out. There are lots of bands out there in NEPA, and a blog takes so little effort to create and has such a huge potential payoff, it seems only natural for more of our local bands to take advantage of the format to stand out from the crowd.

If you have a band and are from or play in Northeastern Pennsylvania, why not consider starting a blog as a way of announcing upcoming shows, posting photos from past shows, connecting with fans, and reaching out to potential future audiences? We'd love to list you on NEPA Blogs!

If you have a blog you would like us to link on NEPA Blogs, or know of a blog you think we should link, please let us know! You can always drop us a line at!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pecha Kucha Night

I received a Facebook message tonight from fellow NEPA Blogger Mandy Boyle about the upcoming Pecha Kucha night in Scranton. She offered me an opportunity to speak at the event. I'm always a bit leery of public speaking, however, so I didn't commit to anything yet.

What is Pecha Kucha Night?

In a nutshell, Pecha Kucha Night Scranton is a quick-fire presentation format where local thinkers, dreamers, artists, and storytellers can come together to share in conversation with the community. You can read more about the format here.

We're looking to host Pecha Kucha Night Scranton on Saturday, January 28, 2012 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Vintage Theater in Scranton.

Here are additional details:

You can also follow them on Twitter: @PechaKuchaScran

Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 7:30pm at The Vintage Theater

If you are interested in presenting at the event, I suggest you connect with Mandy Boyle. This sounds like an amazing opportunity for artists and writers! Feel free to pass along the word about this event to anyone who may be interested.



Mike Verbickas is a senior journalism major attending the Pennsylvania State University. He's recently started a blog to, among other things, serve as a portfolio for his journalistic work. From his first post:

Journalism is a fantastic ride, taking reporters to the unlikeliest of places. I invite you to come along with me. In the coming weeks and months, I will be posting original interviews, published articles and daily reflections from a young professional’s life in media.

Check out mike's milog, mikeverbickas, at .

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Countercoup

Band blogs are a great way for bands to connect with their audiences and keep them up-to-date with the latest news. This one is by the band The Countercoup ( From their "About" page:

For too long, the local music scene and others like it have been overpopulated with interchangeable bar bands that are deriving their set lists from a limited and worn out song book. The only real difference from club to club on a given night is the name of the group and what order the songs fall in. Most of the time, the band members aren’t even into the idea of playing “Don’t Stop Believin’”, “Sweet Home Alabama”, or “Brown Eyed Girl” at all, let alone for the 50th, 100th, or even 5th or 10th time.

Just as bad as that are bands that seem to form out of nowhere, rehearse for a short period of time, rent a PA, play a few gigs, and then vanish. And sadder than that are bands that are good but don’t play that often by choice!

The Countercoup is not and will not be any of those things. The Countercoup is made up of musicians who remember when the music scene in Northeast PA was dominated by bands who had their A game on every weekend. The Countercoup is a rock unit that has had enough of how things are in the local scene and want to change things for the better, now!

Will The Countercoup live up to their own expectations? Follow along in their blog and see! And if you want to see them when they play out, be sure to watch for dates of upcoming shows on The Countercoup's blog!

Do you have a band in NEPA? Does your band have a blog? If not, why the heck not?! Get yourself a blog and have it listed here on NEPA Blogs!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Food, Wine and Culture

At nearly the very northwesternmost corner of Northeastern Pennsylvania is Troy, Pennsylvania, home to the blogger of the Food, Wine and Culture blog (  From her "About" page:

Welcome to my Food, Wine and Culture Blog! As with most things in life, my blog is influenced by the community that I grew up in and the communities that I have lived in. So far, that mostly includes the US Mid Atlantic region. I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled to Italy, Calgary, Cape Breton, Aruba, California and so many more. And the foods, wine and culture of these locations have also left their mark – but in the end, I find the strongest influences continue to be those from the PA Northern Tier and NY Southern Tier.

A native of the PA Northern Tier, I left for college saying that I would not be back. But after four great years of college at the University of Maryland, and a number of years living and working in the Baltimore-DC area, the desire to be back in the Northern Tier found me home again.

For information on Food, Wine and Culture, not just in NEPA but also in Central PA, the Northern Tier, and even Upstate New York (particularly the Finger Lakes region), be sure to check out the Food, Wine and Culture blog!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sassing Me

NEPA Blogs doesn't just link blogs written about Northeastern Pennsylvania, or written by people living in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We also link to blogs by people who were originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania but have since moved on - but have carried a bit of Northeastern Pennsylvania with them.

Sassing Me ( falls into this third category. From the "About" page:

I’m a twenty-something, NEPA bred, DC living, brand-new Mom. I’m a social media maven and lover of all things related to family, traveling, shopping and reading. My husband and Baby R are the apples of my eye and I couldn’t imagine moving through life without them.

Check out Sassing Me for true tales of motherhood, big city life, and the fine art of creating change in towing policies!

Are you originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania, but now live elsewhere? If you have a blog, we'd love to know about it! Contact us at!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from NEPA Blogs!

Gort, Michelle, and I would like to wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings!

Gort's guest blogger reminds us of the finest traditions of the holiday:

Michelle looks fondly at holiday memories with family:

While I serve up a rerun of a classic heartwarming illustrated tale. Gather the kiddies and share with them the true joy of Thanksgiving!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

PA Live! Blog of the Week: Bucktown Bargains

NEPA Blogs will be presenting a "Blog of the Week" on the WBRE's PA Live! every Tuesday. PA Live! airs weekday afternoons on WBRE from 4:00 to 5:00.

Watch this episode on the PA Live! site:

Our PA Live! Blog of the Week this week is Bucktown Bargains (

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, and Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season just around the corner, everyone should be putting some thought into how to save money with every purchase they make. And that's the idea behind Bucktown Bargains, where the motto is "Saving One Buck At a Time...In Stores and Online!" As Jenna, who runs the site, puts it in her "About" page:

Why spend the money if you don’t have to? We have all found ourselves second guessing purchases and thinking about a quick return. With this site, you will be confident in your savings in knowing that a Buck saved, is a Buck well spent. So, join me as we go hunting for bargains in stores and online and remember, if you put the time into deal hunting you will save one ‘Buck at a time’!

Bucktown Bargains is all about saving money on the things you buy. Whether it's alerting you to advertised specials, letting you in on special online deals, or giving you the inside track on stacking coupons on top of sales to get many items at vastly reduced prices - or even free - Jenna's Bucktown Bargains is an essential part of any strategy to save money while shopping during the holiday season and year-round!

Bucktown Bargains is one of several sites listed on NEPA Blogs that are dedicated to helping shoppers save money. Two of the other currently active ones are NEPA Mom (regularly featured on PA Live!) and We Shop Deals 4 You. Check them out!

If you have a blog you would like us to link on NEPA Blogs, or know of a blog you think we should link, please let us know! You can always drop us a line at!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Three from one

Michelle has been very hard at work tracking down blogs to add to the NEPA Blogs link list, and I...have not. The closest I came to adding a blog this past week turned out to be one Michelle added over a month ago! These three blogs are just some of the many that Michelle has located and put on the list to be added.

These blogs are written under two different names, but they're all by the same person! As Catherine Shefski she writes the All Piano blog (, a blog which is, unsurprisingly, all about piano. In this guise, Catherine is a piano teacher who has taught at many institutions (see her linked bio for a full list!), and currently teaches at The Music Studio just outside of Scranton. From her bio there:

Catherine Shefski received her undergraduate degree from Smith College. After graduation, she enrolled in the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England where she studied with Carola Grindea, founder of the European Piano Teacher’s Association (EPTA) and earned an LGSM Diploma in Piano Performance and Pedagogy. In 1982 she received her M. Mus. Degree in Piano Performance from New England Conservatory in Boston, MA.

...A former faculty member of Settlement Music School in Philadelphia, Ms. Shefski has also held teaching positions at Wilkes Community Conservatory and Doylestown Community Conservatory. She currently teaches over forty piano students at her studio in Northeast Pennsylvania.

But Catherine is also a published author of urban paranormal fiction (The Doppelganger Song) who maintains an eponymous blog under the pen name of Caitlin Sumer ( Here she writes not only about her own works of fiction, but provides reviews of and commentary on the works of others.

In addition to these two she also maintains a Tumblr blog, Not Just Piano ( It's primarily a freeform photo/image blog, and as the title suggests, not all of the posts are related to piano - though many of the earliest ones are.

Three aspects of one person, expressed in blog form. Do you know of anyone else in Northeastern Pennsylvania who has chosen to creatively express their innermost self through the medium of blogging? If so, we'd like to list them here on NEPA Blogs!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Major Award

There is exciting news to report this evening! NEPA Blogs is up for an award! Through nominations, we have secured a spot in the "Best of the Poconos" Best Blogger category! I used three exclamation points in the last three sentences because I am that excited!

You, our readers, can help us win this award. Simply visit, in your favorite web browser and find category #7 - "Local Poconos Blog/Blogger" and select the radio button for NEPA Blogs. You can vote once per day per IP address over the next 45 days. Hey! Why not vote once from home and at work? We can use all the votes you are willing to give to us :0) BTW, fellow NEPA bloggers, Andy Palumbo, George Roberts and Rocky & Sue from KRZ have also been nominated for awards. Be sure to give them a vote or twelve while you are voting for us.

The bottom line is, our blog would not be successful without your continued input and support. This nomination and potential award would not be possible without all of our awesome blogger friends...we dedicate this honor to all of you. Thanks for 5 awesome years of blogging!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

PA Live! Blog of the Week: Mark's Tech Tock

NEPA Blogs will be presenting a "Blog of the Week" on the WBRE's PA Live! every Tuesday. PA Live! airs weekday afternoons on WBRE from 4:00 to 5:00.

Watch this episode on the PA Live! site:

Our PA Live! Blog of the Week this week is Mark's Tech Tock (

Mark Rutkowski is Professor of Technology and Coordinator of Innovative Technology at Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke. (His full resumé is as long as your arm and lists many community activities beyond his duties as a professor!) Mark's Tech Tock is a blog that explores innovations in technology and their effects on society. As he puts it, his topics include:

- Computer security and crime
- New or at least interesting technology
- Relationship between technology and society
- Sustainable and renewable energy
- Personal experiences related to technology

From the latest devices coming out and how they will affect your life to topics of solar and nuclear power - or even the role that flywheels play in the national power grid - Mark's blog posts cover topics across the spectrum of technology, all written in a language that is accessible and easy to understand, with plenty of links and helpful references for further investigation.

Whether it's a smartphone or a simple electrical outlet, we all use technology every day. If you want to get a better understanding of technology and how it affects your life, check out Mark's Tech Tock!

If you have a blog you would like us to link on NEPA Blogs, or know of a blog you think we should link, please let us know! You can always drop us a line at!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Schuylkill Buzz

Forgive me Blogfather, for I have sinned. Its been one week since my last blog post.....

I submit for your approval another *Twitter Find*

Schuylkill Buzz

From the About Page:

The Internet and the social media changes everything. We used to get most of our local news from the print newspapers of Schuylkill County. Now, it’s our citizens in our towns like Pottsville, Orwigsburg and Frackville who are reporting our communities’ news and events, publishing the latest restaurant reviews, and cluing us in on the latest sales down the street.

Schuylkill Buzz is a new local media resource; one just for you Schuylkill County! Follow us on Twitter and we’ll add you to our lists!

Schuylkill Buzz looks to be a Wordpress platform Blog. It incorporates several local newspapers and as well as local enthusiasts reports from the community into an easily readable/searchable format.

We don't have many blogs from the Schuylkill County area and many would probably argue that "Schuylkill County" isn't technically NEPA. This goes back to the age old question "What exactly are the boundaries of NEPA?" We are still trying to figure it out, folks. We've been trying to figure it out since our first blog post. always, if you have a blog that you'd like added to our blog roll, please send an email to with your information.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Soul, My Surrender

I'll be honest with you: I don't "get" Tumblr. From what little research I've done, the basic idea - embraced my many users - is that the Tumblr platform is well-suited to a format that just tumbles along, occasionally stopping to say "oh, look at this!" and then quickly moving on. Past posts are forgotten almost as soon as they appear, and new posts - usually still images or looping motion .gifs - are reblogged from sources that the user is following. It almost resembles a photo blog, sort of, kind of, not really. And some Tumblr users do use it as a photo blog. Heck, former Secretary of Labor (and sometime Conan O'Brien crimefighting partner) Robert Reich has a Tumblr blog that looks...well, pretty much like a conventional blog.

My Soul, My Surrender is the title (or current title) of the Tumblr blog located at This is another of Michelle's finds, by a NEPA blogger who is following the NEPA Blogs Twitter feed. From...well, the little block that I'm assuming is a Tumblr "About" thingie:

hello! i'm samantha, a 24 year old from pennsylvania who is obsessive, sarcastic and a total asshole. it takes a lot to offend me and i usually find humor in every situation. i also like a lot of things, especially supernatural. that's about it.

(It appears that "supernatural" refers to the surprisingly long-running TV series "Supernatural," now in its seventh season.)

If Tumblr is your thing, or if you're familiar with its layout and structure, this may be a great place for you to visit. If you are unfamiliar with Tumblr at all, this will be a great opportunity to see what Tumblr is about. Either way, check it out!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

PA Live! Blog of the Week: Rachel of all trades

NEPA Blogs will be presenting a "Blog of the Week" on the WBRE's PA Live! every Tuesday. PA Live! airs weekday afternoons on WBRE from 4:00 to 5:00.

Watch this episode on the PA Live! site:

Our PA Live! Blog of the Week this week is Rachel of all trades (

Rachel's blog is a "life" blog, a blog that focuses on topics that are of interest to her - or just things that have come up throughout the day. When Michelle added her to NEPA Blogs some months ago, she listed the topics covered on Rachel's blog as Fashion, Fundraising and advocacy, Cooking, Music, and Parenting. Rachel's posts since then have carried on in the same vein: clothing and fashion for moms and kids, posts about parenthood, recipes (zucchini bread!), her experiences during the Flood of 2011, and an issue that is very important to her - lung cancer research and awareness.

This past weekend Rachel was involved in fundraisers at the Columbia Mall and Buckhorn Firehall, and she has two other additional fundraisers coming up on November 19th (a Flapjack Breakfast at Applebee's in Bloomsburg) and 20th (a basket and doll bingo at the Buckhorn Firehall.) See this post for more information. Rachel would really appreciate any help anyone can give!

Rachel says "I blog because I am trying to make myself a better person. A better writer. And it's working. I have a long way to go, but the fact that anyone is still reading is a testament to the improvement I've made in my writing." These are words that every blogger can relate to!

A technical note: Rachel's blog is presented in Blogger's new "Dynamic Views" template styles and formats. Her blog is visible in multiple formats - Classic, Flipcard, Magazine, Mosaic, Sidebar, Snapshot, and Timeslide - but only in "modern" browsers like Internet Explorer 9, Google Chrome, or the latest versions of Firefox and other browsers.  For someone running Windows XP with IE8 (the highest version that can run on Windows XP), not all of the features of Rachel's blog will be visible, and it may not be viewable in every version. This is a recent innovation by Blogger, and may be revised or made into the new standard in the near future. So why not take it for a test drive, and maybe provide Blogger with some feedback as to what works and what doesn't work?

If you have a blog you would like us to link on NEPA Blogs, or know of a blog you think we should link, please let us know! You can always drop us a line at!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Cinema Cyclops

Bill Thomas's Cinema Cyclops ( is billed as "The Mad Musings of a Pop Culture Addict with an Eye for Movies - No-frills movie reviews in 500 words or less.  Because you've got places to be, dammit!"

Bill's goal is to add at least one new review each week. The films he's reviewed so far are mainstream films in the genres of science fiction (Real Steel, The Thing (2011) , In Time), fantasy (The Three Musketeers (2011)), and comedy (A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas.) But in the future he plans to cover a broader selection of upcoming movies, and some older films as well.

If you'd like to get the inside scoop on the latest movies before you plunk down your hard-earned cash to see them in a theater, or if you'd just like to read some funny, insightful reviews of those same movies, be sure to check out Bill Thomas's Cinema Cyclops!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

REMINDER! Blogger Meet-up is tonight

We hope that you can join us tonight at our Blogger Meet-up.

The Who/What: will be hosting an informal Blogger Meet-up. Come out and meet the NEPA Blogs (dysfunctional) family. ALL ARE WELCOME. There is no admission or cover charge. It is absolutely 100% free. You have to buy your own drinks though. Unless you serenade me with an off key version of Lady Gaga or something like that.

The When: Sun Nov. 6, 2011 starting at 5pm. Stay until the cows come home….or last call. Whichever comes first.

The Where: The Metro Bar & Grill in Dallas. For directions to the Metro Bar and Grille, please visit:

Come on out and meet the bloggers, politicos, lurkers and posers! Hope to see you there.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Twigs Restaurant, Cafe & Radio

Twigs Restaurant & Cafe is located in the heart of historic downtown Tunkhannock. Despite the devastation that occurred during the recent flooding, Twigs is open for business. I recently found their website by listening to the Gem 104 radio station. Twigs has a blog that they use to discuss to menu items, recipes, wine pairings and promotions. Here's another interesting thing - they also have an Internet Radio station. I found this announced in passing from their Twitter account @TwigsCafe.

More about the restaurant:

Our Mission at Twigs Restaurant and Café is "to offer outstanding food expertly served in a comfortable atmosphere." Our chefs use only the freshest market ingredients and incorporate the finest foods from around the globe.

Twigs also offers catering on your premises complete with a private chef who will meet your every expectation. Twigs has other options for on site parties. Call us for all your catering needs and any help needed to pull off the perfect event.

Twigs Restaurant & Café
Open Daily 11am to 9pm (10pm Friday & Saturday)
1 East Tioga Street, Historic Route 6
Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania 18657

I have only heard good reviews of this restaurant's food. I'd highly recommend checking it out if your travels ever take you where Rte 29 & 6 intersect.

Lastly, here's the directory to Twig's web presence:

Main Website:
Twigs Cafe Blog:
Twigs Cafe Internet Radio Station:


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The DNA Project Band

I received a Facebook message from one of my friends, Allan. He requested that I give his band's new blog a mention on NEPA Blogs. We are birthday buddies, both born on New Years I couldn't refuse his request. Allan is a member (and the webmaster) of "The DNA Project", a four member rock band from the bowels of the Poconos.

The DNA Project Band -- Your genetic building block of kickass music!
@The_DNA_Project on Twitter

As I mentioned before, this blog was just created as an offshoot of their main website The band is going through a webpage redesign and decided to incorporate a blog as a way of better connecting with their fans.

From the About:
Just WHO IS The DNA Project?

Simply put we are four guys with a mission and purpose. We love making music, we love sharing what we create with you, and we just f*****g LOVE MUSIC! Need anything else be said?

(A)l was created implanted in the genes of human parents by Apollo, greek god of music, and Selene, goddess of the moon. A creature of the night who sings nearly constantly, his words can move people to tears, lust, love and war.

Dave is the bastard child of Ares god of war, and Eris Goddess of Discord. seriously his musical nature is dark and foreboding, and his physical nature matches it don't piss him off.

Chaz well Chaz happened when Dionysus went on one of his many benders during a festival and got all hot and heavy with Athena, goddess of city, science and war. His fingertips having been blessed by Hermes control an unbelievable speed in lead guitar playing and his warlike nature comes through in the utter beautiful chaos of his solos.

Nitro Nick offspring of Zeus and Artemis (goddess of the wild) watch out.. his drumsticks have minds of their own and will impale you if you re not careful. But his beats summon all races of beings to march towards the cause that is The DnA Project.

Yeah that's us till we change this JAM ON!

The website and blog have links to their music (free download!) and videos to their performances. They do something really cool at their shows - improv song creation using interaction with their fans. Think Drew Carey's Improv-a-Ganza meets the bastard brothers of Green Day. Check out the video. Pretty neat stuff.

Also, *shameless plug*

The DNA Project has a show planned on Saturday, December 3rd at Luna Rossa on Rte 209 in Gilbert, PA. Some of the details are still being worked out, from my understanding. However, the band invites you to stop by and listen to some killer music.