Thursday, July 31, 2008

We're on the big list!

So, what became clear while I was at Blogher is that the majority of people in attendance are not from the area. Today, Blogher sent out an e-mail survey asking attendees to rate their experience as well as offer opinions for next time. When they asked which city people would like the next blogher conference to be in. Pittsburgh was on the big list! What is important is that it gets its name on the list. Because we are AWESOME!

Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Chicago, IL
Cincinnati, OH
Dallas, TX
Denver, CO
Las Vegas, NV
Minneapolis, MN
New York NY
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Portland, OR
Salt Lake City, UT
San Francisco Bay Area
Seattle, WA
Southern California (Anaheim, L.A. or San Diego)
St. Louis, MO
Other, please specify


title="Wordle: unbidden,yet"> src=""
style="padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd"

it's one one my older poems "wordled"

you can wordle anything.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Cutting Edge?

Do you think the Post-Gazette opinion folks (yes, you Greg Victor) realize how diverse the blogs are in Pittsburgh? In terms of women, I realize they lap from the PittGirl pool on a regular basis and frequently quote 2pjs, though not so slavishly. My blog was picked up once I recall. Maybe some others?

Or does it just *seem* like they use the same blogs over and over and over? Are they even trying to find new pools from which to lap? It is like the Seen feature minus the ugly hats and fake smiles.

The Trib website?

Has anyone noticed that the "expanded search" feature on the Trib website is gone? It used to be a small link up under the big search box. If I type in "gay" in the regular box, tons of stories come up without dates or bylines or anything, making it near impossible to see what's new on gay coverage. The expanded search let me limit my keyword searches to a few recent days or weeks.

What's up with that?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

This is why you should go see Gab's show

Seriously sisters, we need to cultivate more of those strong, deep down belly laughs. Too many paunchy men making marijuana jokes and women making jokes about their weight. We need more of this. (Cuss words below):

Speaking of death, I almost died last night. There was a moth in my
bedroom the size of a bat! Seriously. If you don’t believe me then
just ask my sister Rose. Oh wait. Rose wouldn’t be able to
accurately describe the moth because she locked herself in her bedroom and
didn’t help me! True story. Beings the twisted, complicated, Grey
Gardens meets The Royal Tennenbaums meets The Golden Girls living situation that
we’ve got going on over here at The Bonesso Villa…My 64 year old mother with two
bad legs and a really bad back had to climb the stairs to my bedroom to assist
me in killing Mothra while Rose hid in her bedroom. I had the moth contained.
All I needed my mother to do was to kill it. Simple enough.
However, when you move about like Richard III killing a moth isn’t is easy
as it looks and she missed and he went flying to some dark crevice in my room.
At this point, mom started to get huffy. ”I’m 64 years old.
I’m too old for this shit! This is why I hate to turn off the
air-conditioning!” I could hear Rose giggling from inside her room.
5 minutes passed and my mother said that the moth must be gone for good.
I knew she was wrong. He was gigantic. We would have seen him
escape. Rose came out of her room at this point and was standing in the
hallway surveying the scene. My mom said,”Well, I’ve done all that I can
do. I’m going back downstairs.” I yelled, “NO!” and starting
swinging a pillow around violently to flush out the moth. It worked.
The moth came out from under my bed and flew right at my face. I
freaked-out and threw the pillow at my mother and locked her and the moth in my
room. Rose had already fled to her room for the second time and I began to
bang on her door to let me in while my mom was yelling in my bedroom. Rose
would not open her door. Thanks, Rose. The moth fled to the hallway
where for about 30 minutes my poor, mom tried to kill the moth. She can’t
really reach or stretch or move very much so it was a semi-frustrating affair
full of heavy sighing and swear words. Finally, the moth flew into our
bathroom where I was able to close the door on both the moth and my mother.
It took her about 5 minutes, but she finally killed the mother-fucker.
Rose finally came out of her bedroom. Moral of the story: we
survived. Thank you baby Jesus…and mom.

See what I mean? I had one of the worst weeks ever. Like quit my job and go back to law school bad. But this ... this story made me laugh. Plus, I can't afford to pay for the schooling I do have much less law school. Seriously.

Gab and John: Tasteless or Talented

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

This made me laugh.

"Last night after tucking Leta into bed I turned off her light, sat down beside her on the edge of her mattress and told her I was only going to tell her one story. She pleaded with me to tell her a princess story, and I wanted to go, seriously? Do you know how many other stories there are to tell in this world besides VERY SCARY OLD WOMAN CURSES PRINCESS WHO IS THEN SAVED BY STRAPPING YOUNG MAN? Here, let me tell you about the one where the princess marries another princess, they adopt two kids and then take over congress. After helping to get an African American voted into the White House. I like that story better."-

Monday, July 21, 2008


This lady's my idol. Not. Busy since the damn third grade. Whew. Give her a medal.

You won't find me at this place anytime. Ever.

Part 2 of Day 2

I didn't have to record audio during the first session, so I decided to go see a speaker from the White House Project speak about her work. The White House project teaches women how to talk about national security issues in a way that uses the right lingo. Okay, I'm sure that's not their actual line, but that's what I gathered from it. I guess a lot of women are kind of shrugged off as not knowing about national security. She was interesting but the session just kinda ran out of time before she was able to say a whole lot.

Then, Allyson Schwartz and the RNC woman came and debated. I'm going to be honest here. I was really excited to hear Allyson talk. A lot of reporters showed up and the room was packed. But I got so mad at the RNC woman that I had to get up and walk out. I know I should be able to listen to each side of an argument, but I was tired and just decided to go check out some other things. I had researched Allyson Schwartz' voting history on legislation and she has voted on some great legislation. Rumor has it that she might run for Governor of PA-- I hope so!!

Then I went to record audio for a panel session about raising money for not-for-profits and activists using new media. It was interesting to hear new people speak but I've been running around the activist world for awhile and have heard of most of the stuff. There were two things they mentioned that I'd forgotten about, which seemed like good ideas for next time.

1. First Giving
2. Ebay's "Giving Works"

I went to hear some of the Open Source panel. Then I got tired and needed to get some fresh air and went and walked around blocks of the area surrounding the Station Square that I hadn't seen before. I have a kind of hard time paying attention for long, long spans of time at conferences. I always feel bad about it because I mean, I'm only there for a couple of days. But I just find myself wandering rather a bit. Nonetheless I did listen and get a lot out of this conference.

I came back for the Closing Keynote. I'm really glad that I did, it was definitely one of the things I enjoyed most about the conference. Elisa Camahort (one of the co-founders of Blogher) facilitated a conversation with Heather Armstrong of (apparently it is a very popular blog) and Stephanie Klein of Greek Tragedy (also a very popular blog). They were funny and thoughtful. I need to get up to snuff on my popular blogs.

I met a young lady from the Womens E-news there. We started talking and she said I should consider writing for them. I'm interested in the opportunity. There was a party afterwards at Macy's but I was exhausted and fell asleep. Sadly, I'm not the 21 year old I used to be....or something.

All-in-all a really interesting conference. So. What came of it in terms of you folks?

First off all, when I told people that we had a Pittsburgh Women's Blogger Society they told me that that was awesome. We are so cool.

Next I spoke with Elisa Camahort about the possibility of having their Reach Out tour (not their conference) stop in Pittsburgh the next time around. She said they will be voting in the next couple of months. I think it would be a neat way to check it out. Nothing too big, just a bus that stops in and stuff. More Info Here.

And if you're not into it. That's okay. It's just a possibility.

You know what I found interesting? A lot of women's blogs were about "juggling being a mother, daughter, wife, volunteer, career woman, etc etc etc". I think that's true of some our bloggers, too.


-Agent Ska-

P.S. All of the audio will be online in the next couple of weeks.

P.P.S. This was a neat sponsor product.
Primo water is the only single-serve bottled water whose bottles are made from plants, not crude oil. Primo gives busy consumers a sustainable bottled water option without having to give up portability, convenience, affordability and great refreshing taste. In blind taste tests conducted across the U.S. in late 2007, three out of four consumers preferred Primo over the leading spring water and four out of five preferred Primo over tap water. For more information, visit

FCC in Pittsburgh

Hello Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society,

I wanted to talk with you about the upcoming public hearing being held by the Federal Communications Commission on July 21st in Pittsburgh. The focus of the hearing is on Pittsburgh's vision for the future of the Internet. I am sure your readers would want to know about this important event, but I also thought that as a local blogging society, you, your contributors and readers are uniquely positioned to talk about the important role of the Internet in Pittsburgh at the hearing.

It is rare for the FCC to leave Washington, but on July 21st all 5 members of the commission will be at the public hearing which is scheduled for 4pm in McConomy at Carnegie Mellon University. We see this hearing as a key event in the fight for faster, more open and accessible broadband for all. We want to be sure that local citizens have a voice at this event. There will be a public comment period where people can speak directly to the FCC commissioners about the issues that matter most to them in terms of the Internet's central role in education, innovation, and economic and social opportunity.

I would be happy to talk more about this event. I hope that you will consider writing about the event on your site.

We have a website set up where you can find out more about this event:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Make it Green

City Council Hearing on Pittsburgh’s Climate Action Plan

Tuesday July 22nd



The City of Pittsburgh has an opportunity to significantly reduce it contribution
to global warming as well as reduce its reliance on expensive fossil fuels.

Please demonstrate your support for this laudable initiative by
attending a City Council Public Hearing on the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan.

1:30 pm, Tuesday, July 22
City Council Chambers
Fifth Floor
City- County building,
Grant Street

To register for a three-minute testimony time slot, call 412-255-2138.
Without registration the testimony time slot is one minute.

The useful Briefing Book for the Action Plan is available at

For some field-notes on Council’s July 7 Briefing Session for the Action Plan


Day 2

Yesterday's second two panels I went to were about Syndication and then one for mommy bloggers and dealing with how their kids might see themselves and stuff. The second one was kinda boring, because it just went into how society views women's bodies and stuff. I don't know about other people, but I've heard this conversation so many times, that I just wanted to go to sleep. But hey, I'm not a mommy blogger and to each their own.

Today I'm going to go see Allyson Schwartz, US Congresswoman from Pennsylvania represent the Obama campaign and debate RNC Online Communications Director Liz Mair who is representing McCain. It should be interesting.

The second panel I'm going to will be about activism and online fundraising.

Okay, I'll check in later.

-Agent Ska-

Friday, July 18, 2008

Editorial - No Friend of the Workers - Editorial -

Editorial - No Friend of the Workers - Editorial -

Day One

I left Pittsburgh in a huff. Working with a girl I hire to do graphic design, we designed a business card I was really happy with. The past two times I had cards designed, they were created by designers who were guys. They always came out with blue and green. I decided I wanted purple business cards. The woman I hired to design these ones is the only woman I've been able to hire during the past two years. Perhaps I should look harder, but I just keep coming across guys to hire. I feel bad. Anyways, working together, we came up with some cards that I was really excited about. They were purple with a glassy/glossy, slightly-transparent white lettering. Yay!

I went to Kinko's and when I picked them up the room was rather loud. Quietly, looking at my cards, I said, "They're so cute". The guy looked startled and said, "excuse me?". "The Cards. The cards are cute." "Oh...K." "You thought I was hitting on you, didn't you?" I said to him. "Yeah, I was a little surprised."

No. My business cards are cute, thanks.

Then I met up with my roommates and excitedly showed them to the girls. They loved them. Then, later that night, in a moment of excitement, I sent the pdf of the cards, out to a bunch of guys I work with, "Look at my new business cards, guys!". The response was exactly the opposite of the girls I live with.

"Uh, Honestly? That makes me cringe."

"Well. Uh. It's okay...I guess. I mom and sister would probably like it. It seems like it's probably better for girl-to-girl things, you know?"

Do I know? What does that mean? What did they think I was going to say to that? "Oh. Yeah, I completely know what you mean. I can only give out my purple business cards to women because it's not okay or won't resonate well with men. Great point! I'm glad you pointed that out. Perhaps I should write, "ALPHA" on the back of the card? Would that be better?"

Gawd forbid I have purple cards...I muttered to myself repeatedly for the next 5 hours.

I arrived in San Francisco and it was freezing. That's okay, I'm from Pittsburgh, I can handle it. The hotel is right near the wharfs, right in Union Square, it's a great place for a conference. .

This morning, I went to get breakfast and meander around. It became clear that many of the women are older than me, many mothers. There are many, many groups here who sell products for mothers, babies, and children. Of course, it's not exclusively for that demographic, there was also Nintendo Wii, Symantec, green tech groups, etc. The spending power here is at minimum 5 million dollars. Minimum.

A company had been hired to run the audio stuff, so all I really had to do was have the recorder, teach myself how it works, and hook it up to the company's audio stuff. Now I'm sitting in the first panel that I was assigned to- one that I'm happy was assigned to me. "What We Believe: Top-notch political opinion commentary". Jennifer Pozner from Women in Media & News and Catherine Orenstein from the Op-Ed Project.

An interesting point that Jennifer Pozner spoke about was how women are treated in media debates. There will often be two men who speak to one another about an issue for a couple of minutes and then at the end they ask the woman to weigh in on the question. We're watching a media clip of what happened during an MSNBC debate of how some of the questions were framed and how often she was interrupted in comparison to the other men in the debate.

I'll keep you updated.

-Agent Ska-

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pre-Blogher Post

Hey everyone!

I'm packing for Blogher right now. On thursday morning I'm heading off to San Francisco. I got a scholarship in exchange for recording audio during various workshops. I'll let you know how it goes!


-Agent Ska-

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sex, Lies & (maybe) Videotape

Local Eyes to keep an eye on State Government

This week brought more evidence that our state government is corrupt
and needs the kind of oversight that only citizens and constituents
can provide. Most recently, the League of Women Voters of PA filed a
federal lawsuit claiming misconduct between the courts and the General
Assembly over the gambling law and the pay raise.

I wish I could report that the worst is over. It isn't. In the days
& weeks to come there will be more revelations of wrong doing.

Please join me at the 'Local Eyes' kick off tomorrow. 'Local Eyes' is
Democracy Rising's new plan for holding lawmakers accountable for what
they do – and don't do – to give PA the highest standards of public
integrity in America.

DETAILS: Saturday, July 12, at noon.
Coffee Tree Roasters, 5524 Walnut Street in Shadyside.
Free & refreshments will be provided by Democracy Rising.
Please RSVP to Terry Shaffer at, or at

Monday, July 7, 2008

Articles of Interest

  • City Paper had a fascinating article this week about foster parenting (written by Melissa Meinzer). Our own Sue Kerr was mentioned.
  • The New York Times ran an article titled, "36 Hours in Pittsburgh". I was at Borders coffee shop studying yesterday when a group of youngish men decided to sit down and talk loudly about this article. The young man studying for his mcat-s and I (studying for my Computer Science GRE) exchanged looks. Fortunately, the men speaking had positive things to say about Pittsburgh. The article was written by Jeff Schlegel.
  • Talking Points Memo had a long post by Steven Greenhouse about the difficulties facing young adults entering the workforce nowadays. I actually must say that I made my final decision to minor in computer science because I had seen so many job offers that included health insurance for people with programming skills. I mean, I'm already interested but the health insurance and an interest in going to a masters program in IT, IS, or CS tipped me over the edge. Database programming languages and going to see my doctor never would have struck me as related two years ago. This is no longer the case. The article brings up that there is a feeling amongst young people my age that an undergraduate degree no longer seems enough. I agree.
  • Better late than never. It must be commented upon that the end of an era has arrived: Bill Gates has retired. Here's an amusing "to do list" someone wrote for Bill...Gates, that is. (It makes me really happy that when I write Bill, I'm not referring to Bill Clinton.)
  • Okay this isn't an article but it is serious. I was chillin' at the pool the other day when a guy went into Cardiac Arrest. This was the second time in two months that I'd been around when an older guy had to be rushed to the hospital due to cardiac problems. The first one was at home when my dad's blood pressure interacted with his sleeping meds (he's fine now). According to the American Heart Association:
  • "Almost 80% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in the home, and many are witnessed by a family member. Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after a sudden cardiac arrest can double or even triple a victim's chance of survival. The American Heart Association provides life-saving CPR training to students, families, healthcare providers and others to increase survival from sudden cardiac arrest in every community, and works to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke."
  • Luckily, they were able to revive the man at the pool, but it made me realize that I couldn't really remember the process for what you're supposed to do in that situation. The American Heart Association will be offering two CPR classes, which I have now decided to attend, at the Blogher conference. I would encourage everyone reading this blog, to think about making sure you know what to do. The population in Pittsburgh is ah, getting a bit older, and as such, we should all be prepared to deal with these types of situations. The Red Cross has offices all over Southwestern PA offering trainings.


-Agent Ska-



Wednesday, July 2, 2008


The Summer Movie Review

Seeing as it's summer, and I suddenly have a lot of free time on my hands, I've been seeing about one movie per week. I should say, that 2/3 of my friends in Pittsburgh are guys. I end up seeing movies that aren't always (or usually) my first choice. However, they have all been enjoyable. Here are my movie reviews.

1. "Iron Man": Surprisingly enjoyable. Really. Of course, I couldn't help but make notes in my head about the portrayal of women in the movie. Still, both of the women characters are presented as very intelligent and highly competent. At least there's that. It's still worth seeing if you just want to sit back and watch something with a lot of action and special effects. I won't be buying this one on DVD but I could watch it again without minding.

2. "Get Smart": I tried not to be the loudest person in the theater laughing and giggling, but I don't think I succeeded very well. I had bought new makeup that day, which became a completely moot point, after tears of laughter started streaming down my face. I can't remember the last time a movie has made me laugh to the point of tears. If you want to laugh, go see this movie. Really. I mean it. Go. see. it. I'll go with you, if you want. I can't wait for this DVD.

3. "Wall-E": I just saw this last night. It's very cute and exceptionally imaginative and creative. It once again proves why Pixar is the best in the world of animation. It makes a big statement, to both young and the uh, less young people, about the harmful effects of our current recycling problems. Meanwhile, it has an adorable and funny storyline about two robots who like each other. Very funny. No matter if you are an adult or a parent/babysitter with kids, you will all enjoy this. Definitely worth seeing.

4. "Sex and the City": I already wrote about this here. Basically, I've decided to just enjoy the re-runs on TV. If you are a Sex and the City fan, you should see it, but I'm warning you. It's not quite the same as the TV series. I actually went with a guy to this one, too. After one hour and 45 minutes, he started to get antsy. Actually, so did I. Oh right, it's two hours and thirty minutes long. Be prepared to sit. Maybe you could go Boondocks style, and sneak an entire meal into the theater.

"Batman" is coming out on July 17th. I keep hearing this every time I go see a movie with the guys. Did I mention that Batman is coming out soon? Oh okay, just checking. I can't go-- I'll be at Blogher. I'm er, not quite so disappointed but perhaps some of the readers here are Batman fans-- so now you know that it's coming out on July 17th. Don't forget! July 17th! Or wait, maybe it's July 18th...maybe I shouldn't zone out every time they start talking about it.

Happy Summer Movie Going!

-Agent Ska-

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Obama: Faith Based Rules

Yeah, ahem. This is some delightful news for those of us in the crosshairs of the evangelical community. Great.

Taking a page from President Bush, Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday he wants
to expand White House efforts to steer social service dollars to religious
groups, risking protests in his own party with his latest aggressive reach for
voters who usually vote Republican.

Once you fund them, how do you control them? How do you hand a fist full of dollars to an entity that is entirely premised on conversion and then expect them not to convert with those dollars? It makes no sense and it serves to hurt a lot of people.