So, we call it PolyBar, or something…

This is the bar at the PolySkeptic compound:

Let it suffice that this is among the nerdiest bars I have ever seen.  There is no real point to this post, I just wanted to share how awesome the area behind my desk is.  I mean, I only have to walk like 10 feet to get to the closest bar!

I live a charmed life.

Hilarious corkscrew and lighter shown for scale

But the question becomes what we should call this bar.  It is dominated by Star Trek paraphernalia, so we could call it Ten Forward, but I’m not very fond of that.  I considered Trek, but the fact is that there is also a huge Yoda Pez dispenser, which means that there is a mingling of Star Trek and Star Wars.  Our goal is to piss off as many nerds as we can, I suppose.

So, here are some of the ideas we have come up with:

  • Trek
  • PolyBar Galactica
  • Bar Noir
  • Polycule (which is a term we like generally for our little family, as well)
  • Nerdgasm
  • The Fenzorselli-McBrownigal Liquor Depot
  • The Real Classy Booze Shack (because the nicer the description of the bar, the worse it is, amirite?)
  • [insert clever bar name here]

In any case, I’m sure we will settle on something eventually.  In the meantime, here’s some more close-ups.

Yes, those are rubber duckies in a basket.


Notice, below, the huge Pauwel glass, designed for drinking lots of Kwak, apparently.  If you have not had it, Kwak is a quite delicious Belgian amber ale.  You should try some.

That, in the background, is a signed picture of Brent Spiner (Data) with Patrick Stewart (Jean Luc-Picard), wearing 20’s style garb.

So, we should totally throw more parties.  Also, you should all come.
Now, to make myself a drink or something….


Screw This Survey and the Horse it (Monogamously) Rode in on!

One time at an Arcati Crisis rehearsal, Peter took the time to take a survey being conducted over the phone.  It was some kind of political survey, I think.  The mayoral elections were coming up and they wanted to know where people stood on the issues.  Peter took it and then got off the phone with a scathing review of the survey and the surveyor herself.

At one point she brought up the possibility of bringing gambling to Philadelphia.  Unless you were living under a rock (which I would hope a survey company wasn’t), you may have recalled that the possibility of bringing gambling to Philadelphia was not the simplest of things.  People were terrified of it.  What will it do to the traffic in the already congested area in which they want to build?  What about the potential of an increase in hobos on Delaware Avenue?  WHY DOESN’T ANYONE THINK ABOUT HOBO JOE?  But according to the surveyor, “You probably support gambling because it will bring revenue to the city, and everyone likes revenue, right?”

I feel like that’s like going into a weight loss seminar with a jar of sterile tape worms and saying, “This parasite will make the pounds fly off without any other side effects! Also, the early 1900’s were awesome, with absolutely no caveats!”

If that’s not biased, I don’t know what is.

So, Shaun just wrote about this monogamy survey the is conducting, in this post and despite being an intelligent person, I decided to go take it.  I mean, people like us with our big alternative lifestyle should be represented in such things, right?  Right.

Spoilers ahead!!!

I thought about writing a diatribe here, but after I got going it wasn’t so much funny as it was sad.  So instead, I will post the conversation Shaun and I had about it.

Me: Yep.  This survey is dumb.
Shaun: It’s totally monogamy privileged.  There are answers not available to give.
Me: Yeah.  I filled out “other” for relationship status and explained.  And then it immediately talked about you having one partner. And a statement like “monogamy builds intimacy between 2 people” is difficult to answer. Obviously it does, But I feel like I need a caveat there.  I’m sure there’s not the statement, “Intimacy builds commitment between 2 people”.
Shaun: Yeah.  I had the same issues.
Me:  Argh, this is aggravating.
Shaun: Yay, monogamous privilege
Me: It talks about infidelity, but never non-monogamy.
Me: Hahahahahaha  “What are the biggest barriers to monogamy for you? What a way to word that!
(Side note: You were supposed to check off all that apply here.  There were ones that made sense like “Life Experience” and “Attraction”, but there were also choices like “Money” and “Kids”.  The latter would seem like barriers to non-monogamy, but I would be amused if they were suggesting prostitution or something like that.)
Shaun: I was hoping for a feedback box.
Me: Wow…the last part of the questionnaire is the dumbest thing ever.  How well does your partner know you???? This is the Newlywed Game!
Shaun: I know.
Me: Are you thinking of fucking other people right now because you are uncertain your partner knows your favorite food???
Shaun: lol
Me: Well, I’m sure glad I did THAT
Shaun: You’re welcome.
 Me: I felt completely unable to take it honestly, haha.
“As a person who engages in infidelity, what makes you such a dishonest, mangy slut?”
“Well, I’m not committing infidelity and not particularly a slut…”
“Slut says what?”
“There’s nothing wrong with sluts.”
“Why are you such a SLUT? And why do you hate AMERICA???”
Shaun: You should write a post mocking that survey.
Me: Hmm, perhaps I shall. Ok, I’m doin’ it.  Heh heh, I said doin’ it.
So there you have it.  Shaun posted the results link also and of course the results are that everybody loves and believe in monogamy…but are cheating on their partners a lot, statistically speaking.  But what would the survey results have looked like if polyamorous people could have answered completely?  Would it have shown a decent percentage of people who were satisfied with their relationships, their sex life, and who hold commitment and honesty in very high regard?
Or maybe we’re just the dumb ones that actually took this thing.  Oy!

Where polyamory is needed; relationship advice blogs.

Occasionally I check out the blogs at wordpress (which is the software this site is run on) for tags like “religion” or, in today’s case, “relationships,” to see what people are writing about.  And most of the time I find a bunch of crap, but occasionally I find something interesting.  Today, I found a couple of posts that touched on polyamory.

Over at Emilystarz, we have a post simply called “My Life” which is about a fairly common situation of a woman who has a man in her life who has been, and wants to be, sexual with other people.  The added complication of a baby between them makes the situation more frustrating to see, and it is obvious to me that this is just one more situation where monogamy is not working for at least one person in the relationship.

Now, all I know from the post there is what is written, so any advice I have is most-likely crap.  But I think people in such situations should be aware of polyamory, even if they ultimately decide against it, part ways, or whatever.  I think that this issue of responsible non-monogamy needs to be part of the conversation, not only in specific cases such as this, but in all similar cases with relationships.

I think it needs to be part of our cultural conversation about relationships.  With that in mind, let’s move onto the next post I found.  In this case we have a writer asking for advice, and getting an awful response.  It’s over at, and it is entitled “Playing the Field.”  here’s the gist:

Q: Dear Love Jays,

Is it okay I’m dating one guy (we aren’t exclusive) and sleeping with another?

A: Dear Double Dippin’,

Non-exclusive dating gives you the freedom to date, sleep, or hang out with anyone your little heart desires. Dating is a time when you get to explore several options and decide which person (if any) has the potential of becoming more serious.

So, is it okay that you’re dating one and sleeping with another? Technically, yes. Would I recommend continuing this behavior? No. Sex embodies much more emotions than just the physical exchanges of pleasure between our “money spots”. Sex was designed to be shared between two people who are committed to each other and share something special. Casually having sex with people will eventually take its toll on the mental psyche of woman or man. I’m sure there are several of you who want to rebuttal my last statement, but rest assured – you will have your “aha” moment one day. Long story short, sex simply makes things complicated – physically and emotionally.

Easy advice – pick one and stick to ‘em! It’s much much easier to focus your attention on one person and will save you from emotionally damage, even if you are unaware of it at this moment.. If you get bored of him, on to the next one. That’s the beauty of dating!


Mr. J

This, quite frankly, is the poly equivalent to reading a creationist argument for an atheist.  Reading this is like looking at a train wreck of relationship advice.

To deconstruct what is wrong with this advice, I would have to start from page one of polyamory.  I’d have to link so many posts from this blog in the past…I just don’t have the energy to do it.

Oh fine…here a couple of examples:

  1. The Bachelorette and Polyamory
  2. Poly lessons I learned from cheating while monogamous

But, onto the post.  Let’s do it a piece at a time:

Non-exclusive dating gives you the freedom to date, sleep, or hang out with anyone your little heart desires. Dating is a time when you get to explore several options and decide which person (if any) has the potential of becoming more serious.

This is not awful.  If I were to try and be fair to this, I could even partially agree with this.  The first sentence, in fact, is spot on.  It’s a statement of fact, but then with the following sentence it takes a turn for the worse.

Where it says “…and decide which person (if any) has the potential of becoming more serious,” it could be read to mean that we use this time to decide which people are worth keeping around, which is true for polyamory as well.  But the “more serious,” as we shall see, implies exclusivity.  Exclusive does not mean more serious, nor vice-versa.

“Mr. J” continues:

So, is it okay that you’re dating one and sleeping with another? Technically, yes. Would I recommend continuing this behavior? No. Sex embodies much more emotions than just the physical exchanges of pleasure between our “money spots”. Sex was designed to be shared between two people who are committed to each other and share something special.

Sex does often involve many emotions, and should be dealt with responsibly, both in terms of physical safety and emotional maturity.  My experience with sex with many people over the years in serially monogamous, polyamorous, and group sex environments has shown me that we are capable of sex in more ways than most people have imagined.

Sex is great between two people.  It has the capability to draw them emotionally close, bring great pleasure, and is even good exercise.  But there is no necessary damage to that relationship just because you have it with other people.  The only way this is possible is by not being safe (and thus subjecting yourself to potential infections) or to not developing your emotional self such that you deal with emotional issues such as jealousy.

Things like jealousy are real issues that need to be dealt with, and it is fortunate that they can be dealt with.  And let’s not forget that some people are simply not prone to it in the same way.  But jealousy is not, in itself, an excuse not to pursue our desires.  Rather, it is a challenge to work on.  Like fear, it stands against us and makes us dip into the well of our baser instincts.  It makes us act irrational, possessive, and petty rather than mature and rational.  Jealousy is not something to be proud of; it is something to try and heal if we can.

Sex can be shared between two people who share something special, sure.  It’s great when that happens.  But it does not imply that at some other time those same two people might also have some special sexy time with some other people with whom they share a close and special relationship.  Further, sex can also can be shared between three or four people who share something special, or even between some people who just sort of like each other a bit and like each others’ bodies.  This conservative view of sex espoused by “Mr. J” is simply not true in general, and so it should not be espoused as general advice.

It may be true for Mr. (and/or Miss.) J, but if it isn’t true for many people, then it’s only true by accident and not by necessity or generally.  Nonetheless, he continues:

Casually having sex with people will eventually take its toll on the mental psyche of woman or man. I’m sure there are several of you who want to rebuttal my last statement, but rest assured – you will have your “aha” moment one day.

I, and many other committed polyamorous (and swinging) people out here in the world have a different experience.  My “aha” moment was realizing that the mythology of the ideal “one” that exists for each of us was the problem.  Mr. J needs to check his assumptions about the very nature of relationships before proclaiming general truths about love and sex, because there are many of us who find his view, well, parochial.

Still, he persists:

Long story short, sex simply makes things complicated – physically and emotionally.

It sure does.  How does this imply that we should have to limit ourselves to one person, ultimately? Because it’s easier? It might be easier, except when you are in love with two people, when you have to repress your natural sexuality in favor of a cultural construct which asks us to repress much of that sexuality, etc for the sake of an ideal.  There is a real existential agony that can exist in moments when we yearn for two loves, and feel like we have to choose.  How awful to be told that you, in fact, should choose rather than consider other options, such as polyamory, swinging, etc.  How trite.  How small-minded. How limited—and limiting!

Why, for the sake of all that is not holy, would anyone have to choose simply because it is superficially “easier”? It’s only easier because it conforms to the narrative you, Mr. J, are drowning in.  Swim to the surface, Mr. J, and breathe pure air.

So, my advice to Double Dippin’; Love who you love, how you love them (even if it’s just dirty, fun, sex) openly, honestly, and with consideration and respect.  Don’t let Mr. J’s conservative views on sexuality ruin your ride in life or force you to choose when you may not have to.

That’s all I can stomach, today.

Monday, You Can Fall Apart…But it’s Friday, I’m in Love.

Today has been, to put it simply, a rather stupid day. I am choosing to write about it because I think often my particular brand of anxiety and other insanity can often be comical…at least when I think about it later.  It’s terrible when it’s happening, but I think I would be dead by now if I couldn’t laugh at myself.

I have recently become hyper aware of how often I get depressed or anxious for no particular reason.  In the past there has been little lag between “bad feeling in the pit of my chest” (somewhere behind my xiphoid process…Not to be mixed up with Zaphod Beeblebrox.  It’s the greatest term I ever learned in CPR training.  It’s the point at the end of your sternum! The thing that will stab the patient if you screw up! Which you totally will! If you are me! Most likely! Also, I wouldn’t really describe any other terms as great from training, so I’ll just say it’s a great term.  Not the greatest.  How do I always digress this fast?) to jumping to conclusions about what it is inherently depressing me.  When there’s no space between those two things, it becomes impossible to see the good things in your life.  You just either project on everyone and everything around you all the fears you have and see evidence of their validity or you remember shitty things from the past and get upset about them all over again.  This is a terrible habit to get into and part of my healing process lately has been to extend that gap and to try and accept more easily that I am feeling lousy for no real reason (although, I would venture to guess that it is purely physical, like a hormonal imbalance or dehydration or blood sugar levels).  My goal as of late has been to accept that sometimes I’m a mess.  It’s been worse lately.  Who knows why?  I stressed myself out a lot last month and maybe I’m still balancing out from that.  Anyway, I tell you all this because last night I really noticed it and I also noticed that my swings back to laughing a lot are also harder to predict.  Once I allow myself to just say, “You’re a mess right now, Gina”, it’s easier to laugh at stupid crap.

Scene One: This morning I did Jessie a favor by dropping something off for her at her doctor in the Northeast.  I figured this made a lot of sense.  Wes didn’t feel comfortable driving with his pirate patch worthy eye and my office is actually oddly close to that part of Philadelphia.  I gave myself an hour to get there and then to work.  This seemed completely reasonable, but I didn’t calculate for the oddness of Northeaster streets and the surprise attacks of the GPS. “Keep going…keep going…NOW TURN RIGHT! NOW NOW NOW! Oh…you missed it.  What a dumbass.  RECALCULATING.  RECALCULATING AGAIN. Dumbass.”  Perhaps I’m projecting how much my GPS berates me when I fail to follow it, but I figure this is how Skynet really prevails.  The machines won’t kill us with laser blasters.  They’ll just be passive aggressive and make us feel bad about ourselves.

Perhaps I just think that because I’m insecure and anything can make me feel that way.  Whatever.  STOP JUDGING ME, CELLPHONE.

Anyway, after taking yet another wrong turn, I lost it in the most functional way possible at the time.  I was fully capable of driving, but I could only do so for a second if I did a death metal drum solo on the steering wheel and screamed at the top of my lungs.  Nothing coherent, just the kind of primal scream that Tears for Fears is always going on about.  Then I had “Shout” stuck in my head and yelled, “Fuck you, Roosevelt Boulevard!”  Finally I managed my errand and was on the road to New Jersey.  And as I crossed the treacherous arch that is the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, Bruce Springsteen lulled me down from assuming that any minute my car would spiral off into the Delaware (not from a suicidal sense.  Don’t worry.  I just envisioned a scene where my car was plummeting towards the murky depths of the river and I would think, “Well, isn’t this just fucking great.  How am I supposed to get to work NOW? Fuck you, Bridge! Why won’t you send your water trolls to save me? Hmm???” or, more realistically, I would think, “SHHHHHHHHHIIIIIIiiiiiiitttttt…” kersplash!), and I was simply a little bit crazed.  OK, I was not actually listening to the Boss, but it’s just sort of in the air, OK?  For all I know, Nickelback was playing and I simply repressed the memory.

I get to work and find my email inbox full of bullshit and my voicemail in a similar state.  I started freaking out again.  I tried to extend that gap between the physical emotion and the justification.  It was hard.  I didn’t know what to do.  I was sobbing at my desk and talking to Wes and Shaun on gchat, saying that I really think there’ something wrong with me.  Then Shaun said, “otters”.  I decided that cute animal pictures were probably my best bet at achieving functionality again.  Wes agreed that this was a very good plan…and it was.  It was an instant fix! What the hell?  Why has no one written their dissertation on this?  And so, due to this photo, I was again able to work:

Scene Two: The other day I wrote an email asking for help from someone.  I spent a long time on the email.  I chose my words and punctuation very carefully, so as to avoid any misinterpretations of tone.  I did not use any emoticons.  Clearly this was my mistake.

I was then informed  that the person I wrote the email to is being vindictive because my email accused him of being inept.

This was so far from the truth that, if I were in a more stable state of mind, I would have had to laugh and say all kinds of snarky things.  But by then the great healing powers of otters had worn off and I was unable to keep calm about it.  There is a historic reason in this particular case.  Namely, the culture of my life before seemed to encourage people to not express their issues directly with the people causing the issues, but rather to gossip to others and allow it to trickle back to the “guilty” party.  By then, it has festered and doing anything about it probably means a big, stupid confrontation.

Upon hearing this, I hit my desk, stood up fiercely and yelled, “Fuck no! This is NOT how we do things, god damn it!”  I stormed out to find the person who had a passive aggressive beef with me, making sure to calm the hell down before talking to them, and then talked to them directly about the situation.

Yes, yes, that whole direct communication thing again.  Gets me in trouble every time…apparently.  Yeah, fuck you.

After having a polite (meaning not laden with curse words and personal insults) conversation with the person, I left and stormed back.  I wandered around aimlessly, unable to focus through my extreme aggravation.  Then someone asked me about it and oh how the curse words flew.

I then looked at otters again and all was eventually well.

Scene Three: I went to the snack machine and purchased a bag of Fritos and a pack of TastyKake Butterscotch Krimpets, convincing myself that this passes as a lunch.  I had some Excedrin as an appetizer.

Scene Four: By 3:30pm, it was clear that the day was a wash.  I decided to clean up my desk and figure out how I was going to be productive next week.  Sometimes you just have to throw in the towel.  After doing this, I was chatting with Kelly who sent me this amazing rant against an anti-gay politician from Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe.  I was so entertained by it and Kelly said that she might have a crush on him based on the usage of the words “lustful cock-monster” alone.   We had the following conversation:

me:  This is pretty fabulous.  He wrote “holy fucking shitballs” to a politician!

Kelly:  I KNOW!  Amazeballs!  haha

me:  “the Russian judge gives you a 10 for ‘beautiful oppressionism”

Kelly:  I know!  He’s intelligent, brazen, pretty funny, and on the right side of this debate!  I’ve never even seen him, and I think I have a crush.  lol

me:  Hahahaha

Kelly:  Oh, he’s from Philly! And one day older than me.

me:  He’s pretty hot. I don’t know if I would think that without the impressive letter, but whatever

Kelly:  haha. I wouldn’t. I think he is rather average looking

me:  Ha, he reminds me of Christian Bale

So there’s that

Kelly:  But he certainly is hotter after the letter! He reminds me of someone I know, but I can’t put my finger on it

me:  He might be Christian Bale in this photo.

Kelly:  hahaha. If there is anything I NEVER thought would happen is you and I discussing the hotness of an NFL player.  Lol!

me:  Ha! Agreed. But it was because he wrote a sweet letter about an anti-gay fucktard.

Kelly:  which was overtly condescending and used an awesome array of curse word delicacies.

me:  Also, I like how much it talks about civil rights and is written by a privileged white guy.

Kelly:  Yes, absolutely.  The swearing wouldn’t have had any effect if there wasn’t intelligence behind it.


I should reiterate that the Christian Bale look alike aspect is powerful, but sure, it’s because of the letter.  And the Christian Bale part.

Christian Bale is Batman.

Shut up.


Anyway, there’s my nutso day in four acts.  I don’t really have a grand point to make here except to say that this is what most of my days are like.  I can’t imagine what it’s like for people with completely unmanageable problems.  There are days when I barely function at work.  My brain just craps out after too much stress and I have the ability to calm down on my own (most of the time).  How do other people do this?

My therapy appointment is about a week away and I keep oscillating between being terrified that this just won’t help me and thinking it’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time.  But most of my days are pretty sinusoidal, so this should come of no surprise to me.

Well, at least it’s Friday, ey?


My Polyskeptic Legacy: Cute Animal Internet Pictures

My day at work started off fabulously, but as yet another rain storm billowed in, my energy level was zapped.  I went to an uninspiring meeting, came back and dealt with a bit of an emotional episode, ate a bunch of pretzel Goldfish and then…well, then I was spent.

I had a choice to make: Be unproductive or look at cute animal pictures on the internet.

No, no, no…this wasn’t just an exercise in not getting work done.  A while back I signed up for this goal achieving game thing that gave you points for doing little things everyday to make your life better.  As always, my goal was to be happier which for me means stressing a lot less.  One of the tips was to look at a picture of a cute animal everyday because you get a happiness boost from that.

Now, you all know that I cold, black heart, right?

OK, that might be a bit of a stretch.  By cold, black, heart I mean I have a sarcastic sense of humor and can get pretty cynical about certain things pretty easily.  That said, I didn’t think that looking at kittens would really help me.

But then I remembered that there are other animals out there other than kittens!  There are otters! And elephants! And ferrets! And, well, so many more.  Before I knew it, this became an actual useful trick for getting me out of a funk.  Take for instance this link to The Happiest Animals in the World.  How freaking effective is that in boosting your mood, hmm?  The second you see that smiling, strutting elephant, you can’t help but want to do the same.

I’m sure there are people out there more cynical than me who are saying, “Those animals aren’t smiling.  They have gas or…are having a seizure.”  Well, be that as it may…it’s the cutest case of gas and/or seizures I’ve ever seen.  And seriously, why do you want to steal this moment from me, hmm?  Why don’t you just click on the link and be happy for once.  JEEZ.

As you may recall, I talk a lot about otters and Shaun counters with talk of pygmy marmosets.  Today while I was searching for happiness boosting animal pictures on the internet (so difficult, I know), I found this:

This isn’t just an otter, but an otter nuzzling a goat.  I have asked Wes multiple times if we can have a goat in our backyard.  “It’ll mow the lawn…naturally!” I say.  “It will eat everything.” he says.  I make a case for making cheese or something, but it never ends with a definite, “Yes, Gina, you can get a goat.”  Plus, then I remember that we’d have to bring the goat inside in the winter and that indoor menagerie makes me laugh and cry at the same time.  Anyway, this picture is awesome and was the perfect “pill” for my shitty mood.

Then I found this:

cute Pygmy Marmoset

OK, fine, Shaun.  I concede this point to you at the moment.  That’s a Pygmy Marmoset hanging out ON a banana.  It doesn’t get much cuter than that.

The entire point of this post was to put pictures of cute animals up on the internet.  I am continuing the cycle of destruction…or something.  Destructive cuteness!  I’ll take it.

I hope these brighten your day just a little bit too.

And so it was that I became the complete and utter fluff writer for

No, that does not make me the fluffer.



Poly demographic survey in the UK

Over at Polytical, there is a summary and discussion of a recent small, anonymous, survey of polyamorous people which may be interesting to people who are interested in such things.

UK Poly Mailing List Demographic Survey Results

I was interested to see that the largest segment of them were atheist/agnostic/humanist.  Granted, it is the UK and not The US, but I like to see poly people who are also atheist/agnostic/humanist.

The overwhelming majority of people were white; 92%.  This seems about on par with, if not slightly above, the demographics of the UK in general (at least from the census from 2001, which may be out of date).  I would be interested to see the comparative demographics of polyamorous people in the US compared to the general population.  My guess is that the percentage of white people in the poly community would be higher than the general population.  That because while I don’t think polyamory is privileged, it is definitely easier to be polyamorous when you have privilege.

And, unfortunately, privilege and race often co-mingle.  It’s part of why I care about social justice, and thus support the whole atheism+ thing.

In any case, take a look at the survey results if you like, and let me know if you see more similar surveys in other parts of the world.

Pennsylvania atheist/humanist conference in September

From September 28-30, in Harrisburg, PA, there will be a gathering of non-believing heretics and other good folk in good ol’ central PA (AKA Pennsyltucky).  Not far from the Amish (which, for some reason get conflated with the Quakers, with whom I am much more familiar and which have a very different history), these conference-goers will get a chance to mingle with such luminaries as Dan Barker, Dave Silverman, Herb Silverman, Jamila Bey, Michael Newdow, Sharon Hill, and Sam Singleton!

In short, it’s the 2012 Atheist Conference in Pennsylvania at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Harrisburg, PA.

In recent years, more states have organized local conferences, and it is a sign that the larger community of reason is becoming more complex.  There have long been such conferences, but most have been on the national level (or international level, in the case of AAI), with  fewer at the local/state level.  There has been, of course, the United Coalition of Reason (COR), with it’s local chapters (including the PhillyCoR led by my friend Staks Rosch).

And, having been an activist for a number of years, having lived in PA for the vast majority of that time, I of course should be going, right?

Well, probably not.  Since I have been unemployed for a few months (I will be starting work within the next couple of weeks, but not in time to have money for the conference, most likely), I have not had extra money for such endeavors, and so it looks like I will not be able to make this conference.  I had considered doing just Saturday, but since I no longer own a car I will be relying on a bus, which I may end up doing anyway if I decide to go.

But if you are in the area and you have the means to go, I encourage you to do so.  And if you have an extra seat for me, I’ll come along!

Meh, worth a try….